In the 1990s, WildC.A.T.s helped changed superhero comics forever. Created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi, the series was one of the blockbuster creator-owned titles that helped make Image Comics a major comic book industry player. While the series followed a group superheroes who made Earth a battlefield for an ancient alien war, Grifter, the gun-toting Cole Cash, quickly became one of the most visible characters in the series and the wider Wildstorm Universe.
At the peak of WildC.A.T.s popularity, Grifter could be found in TV cartoons, toy aisles and video games, and he even starred in several of his own solo comic book adventures. As he's faded from prominence, Grifter has found his way into the DC Universe, where he's played small roles in some major storylines and in the alternate reality series The Wild Storm. With Warren Ellis and artist Ramon Villalobos set to bring Grifter and the other Wildcats back to action with an upcoming relaunch, CBR is taking a look back at how this Image Comics icon moved to the DC Universe.
GRIFTER IN WILDC.A.T.S
Like several major figures in the Wildstorm Universe, Grifter was a member of Team 7, a paramilitary strike force. After being exposed to a mysterious substance called the Gen-Factor, Cash and his teammates developed psionic powers that destabilized their mental states.
After the alien warrior Zealot helped Grifter take control over his intermittent superpowers, both joined WildC.A.T.s. While the team went through several wildly different incarnations, Grifter remained a fairly consistent member of the group and even served as its leader for a time. Outside of the team, Grifter also worked with International Operations as a hero and independent mercenary.
HOW GRIFTER MOVED TO DC
In 1998, DC Comics acquired Wildstorm and all of the publisher's characters. Outside of the occasional crossover with DC heroes, the Wildstorm Universe still functioned as its own entity within the wider DC Multiverse, and Wildstorm titles reached new heights of critical acclaim in the early 2000s. As the Wildstorm Universe was rocked by several catastrophes, Grifter maintained a prominent role in the universe until it was shuttered in 2010.
In 2011, Grifter made a surprising debut in DC's Flashpoint crossover. In that alternate universe, Grifter was the leader of the U.K.-based Resistance, which rescued Lois Lane and fought back against world-conquering Amazons. Although he was killed by the Enchantress, he appeared in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, a 2013 DC Animated Original Movie that marked his first appearance outside of comics in years.
GRIFTER IN THE DC UNIVERSE
After Flashpoint, the Wildstorm Universe was incorporated into DC's New 52 universe. In the revised timeline, Grifter was still on Team 7, which was now a task force dedicated to countering meta-human threats. After the team disbanded, Cash was abducted by Daemonite aliens who activated his telepathic and telekinetic powers. Grifter went on to star in his own short-lived solo series in the early days of the New 52. Grifter also played a significant role in the weekly series, New 52: Future's End, which chronicled a future DC timeline rocked by multiple large-scale invasions and the threat of a cyborg uprising.
After making a few more guest appearances in the DC Universe, Grifter next appeared alongside other WildStorm veterans in The Wild Storm. While he doesn't appear to have any powers in the title's pocket universe, he's still caught up in a web of intrigue and conspiracy as a member of Jacob Marlowe's Wildcats who thrives on luck and experience alone.