Promotional art for Grifter #1 (September, 2011).
Art by Cafu and Bit.
|Publisher||WildStorm (May 1995 - August 1997)
DC (September 2011 - Present)
|First appearance||WildC.A.T.S. #1 (August 1992)|
|Created by||Jim Lee
|Alter ego||Cole Cash|
Grifter (Cole Cash) is a fictional comic book character, a superhero in the Wildstorm Universe. He is best known as a member of Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.S. and has since been revived as part of the DC Universe.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Team Zero
- 5 Other versions
- 6 In other media
- 7 Reception
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The character debuted in WildC.A.T.S. #1 (August 1992). He was later a major character in the original Team 7 miniseries. In 1997, co-creator Brandon Choi picked this mini-series as his favorite Grifter story, explaining, "I really enjoyed [writer] Chuck Dixon's portrayal of the team members, especially Cole. He really wove Cole's background into the whole Team 7 story in a very believable fashion.
Fictional character biography
Cole Cash's natural talent for combat landed him in black ops, taking the dirtiest jobs as part of a squad known as Team 7 (which also included John "Topkick" Lynch, Marc "Backlash" Slayton, Jackson "Arclight" Dane, Philip "Bulleteer" Chang, Stephen "Wraparound" Callahan, Alex "Slaphammer" Fairchild and Michael "Deathblow" Cray). Cash's codename during these operations was Deadeye. The group was deliberately exposed to an experimental chemical called the Gen Factor, which activated a variety of psi powers in them, but which also detrimentally affected their sense of morality and mental health. After the experiment the survivors were classified as Gen 12. Some of their teammates went mad or committed suicide. One had to be put down by his friends. Cole suspects that in fact their own superiors, International Operations (I.O.), were behind the experiment, while their superiors claimed that it was an unknown chemical weapon. Cole grew more and more disgruntled with I.O.'s manipulations and secrecy and rebelled against team-leader John Lynch. Cash took charge and united the team's mental powers against a nuclear weapon that I.O. team-leader Miles Craven fired at Team 7 as a test. Team 7 went into hiding, but was eventually forced to return to I.O. One of the many missions Team 7 performed was destroying the dictatorship of a small African country. Andrew Johnson, one of the members, goes mad and glories in his ability to make people commit suicide. Disgusted, Cole kills Johnson. (Team 7 #1-4)
When the powers of many of Team 7's members started to wane, Craven became interested in their children, the Gen¹³, who should have inherited their fathers' powers. Most of the team went into hiding again, while others stayed with I.O. The team finally fell apart and Cole came to work as an assassin for International Operations (I.O.), but he soon became disenchanted with them too. He went freelance, and it was during this period of his life he encountered the ancient Kherubim warrior Zealot. They fell in love, and she took the unprecedented measure of teaching him, a male, the ways of the Coda, the warrior order she had once belonged to. Her Coda-teachings stabilized Cole's sanity and locked away what remained of his psionic powers.
The Wild C.A.T.s
Some time later Cole and Zealot broke up; for Zealot it was just another relationship, but Cole had become devoted to her, being eternally grateful to her for restoring his sanity. However they remained on good terms, and both were recruited to become part of Lord Emp's Daemonite hunting team, the WildC.A.T.s. Grifter later quit the team when they had to ally with Hightower, a Daemonite who had killed Grifter's friend Lonely. He rejoined when the team came back from Khera, even being the team's leader for some time. During this time Max Cash, his younger brother, was killed, came back as a zombie and was killed again by Grifter himself. He left the team again after Zealot's apparent death. At this point most of his teammates left as well and the WildC.A.T.s were disbanded. (WildC.A.T.s volume 1 and Grifter)
During a mission for Jack Marlowe - Spartan, Cole's legs were shattered by a FBI double-agent's daughter. Therefore he could no longer operate as Marlowe's field agent. He trained accountant Edwin Dolby (Grifter) to take his place. Dolby turned out to be unsuitable for the violent life that Grifter planned for him and resigned from Halo. After Marlowe apologized to him, he rejoined, but strictly as an accountant. Grifter remodeled the robotic body of former teammate Ladytron as a remote-controlled body for himself. (Wildcats 3.0)
Several months later, Grifter's legs were healed, a side effect of the dormant Gen-factor according to I.O. scientists. John Lynch, who had woken from his coma, restored Cole's memory. Cole was sent to take down Tao and working together with double-agent Holden Carver, Tao's organisation was completely dismantled and Tao was imprisoned. (Sleeper Volume 2)
Since then he has joined a makeshift team of former Wildcats to take down the assassin Nemesis. (Wildcats: Nemesis)
In the series Captain Atom: Armageddon, Jack Marlowe has died and Cole has taken control of Halo Corporation and all its assets. In issue #8 of the series Cole was killed by Apollo and Midnighter of The Authority, but was revived along with the rest of the WildStorm universe in the event dubbed WorldStorm.
WildCats vol. 4
The new WildCats series has shown Cole to be a man who has attempted to change himself, but keeps getting sucked back in to the hero lifestyle. He appears to be an employee of Hadrian as a core member of the new WildCats team that he is assembling.
Grifter & Midnighter
In March 2007 a mini-series, Grifter & Midnighter was launched, charting the team up between Grifter and Midnighter, written by Chuck Dixon, with art by Ryan Benjamin.
Ongoing series (2011)
In June 2011, DC Comics announced that Grifter would be incorporated into the DC Universe in a new ongoing series written by Nathan Edmondson and drawn by CAFU as part of its September 2011 relaunch of its comics properties.
In the new post-Flashpoint DC Universe as seen in The New 52, Grifter is a former U.S. Army Special Ops soldier who deserted and became a con-artist. During one of his latest cons, Cole Cash is assaulted and abducted by Daemonites, aliens who can "possess" human bodies. Cash is held for 17 days, while a Daemonite attempts to take possession of his body. For unknown reasons Cole wakens prematurely, aborting the transfer and leaving him with the ability to overhear the telepathic communication of Daemonites. He subsequently hijacks a plane and kills several Daemonites disguised as humans resulting in him being wanted for crimes and terrorism. Cash is now wanted by several intelligence agencies and his brother Max, also a military special operative, is tasked with apprehending him. Furthermore, the Daemonites also wish to retrieve Cash in order to maintain their secrecy. On the run from his many pursuers, Cash dons a costume from a costume shop in order to conceal his identity.
Powers and abilities
As a result of the Gen-factor exposure, Grifter had strong powers of telekinesis and telepathy. These powers began to burn out over the years and by the time of the Dead Reckoning mission, his telepathic assault was only enough to give an enemy agent a bloody nose. His Coda-training sealed his powers away, but he can still use them under certain circumstances (usually the presence of another Team 7 member so that they can combine their powers). A side effect of his Gen-factor exposure seems to be accelerated healing. This healing factor also appears to have slowed his aging. He was the youngest member of Team 7, and though over 20 years have passed since his exposure to the Gen-Factor, he still has the appearance and vitality of a man in his mid-to late 20s.
Apart from these superhuman powers, Cole is a talented marksman with both firearms and thrown weapons. He has single-handedly taken down large groups of armed opponents.
During World War II, Team Zero, a precursor of Team 7, was formed. This team had a member codenamed Grifter and a member codenamed Deadeye. Team Zero's Grifter, William S. Miller, is a gambler and a corporal, formerly a 1st lieutenant, formerly a tech sergeant and formerly a 2nd lieutenant. His specialty is requisitions and as his demotions hint at, most of those requisitions are illegal.
Team Zero's Deadeye is Sergeant Samuel (Saito) Nakadai. He is the team's sniper. There has been some tension in the group because of Nakadai's Japanese origin. Neither Miller nor Nakadai seems to be related to Cole Cash in any way. (Team Zero)
In the Flashpoint timeline, Grifter is the leader of the United Kingdom's resistance movement against the Amazons. In a flashback, Grifter assembles Team 7 to battle against Muslim extremists in the Middle East, until they were killed. Grifter was saved by Penny Black (Britannia) and escapes from the Middle East. While Grifter was recovering, the United Kingdom is invaded by the Amazons. Grifter assembles the Resistance to fight against the Amazons. In the present, Lois Lane is rescued by the Resistance from a camp just before she is converted into an Amazon. It is revealed that the Resistance were helping to find Penny's armor prototype at Westminster, as it could turn the war around. While the Resistance are headed towards Westminster, Resistance member Miss Hyde betrays them and contacts the Furies. She then tries to make the Resistance surrender by holding a knife to the throat of Lois. However, Miss Hyde regains control of the body and fights the Amazons, allowing the Resistance to gain the upper hand. After they escape the Westminster Palace, Grifter gathers with Britannia, who has then recovered her armor and found a group of released prisoners. The two then lead the Resistance in an all-out battle against the Amazons. Grifter and the Resistance arrive to attack in the Atlantean/Amazon war, and Grifter heralds their arrival by shooting an Atlantean twice in the head. Grifter is killed in battle by Enchantress.
In other media
Sales for The New 52 version of Grifter struggled. Despite a strong launch that found the series debut selling 37,100 issues, sales quickly plummeted. According to Comics Beat, the series had lost nearly 60% of its readership in only six months. Edmondson's final issue sold under 15,000 issues.
Critical reception for the series was mixed. The A.V. Club's Keith Phipps and Oliver Sava disagreed on the debut issue, with Phipps saying: "It reads like a book that could turn into something, but as a jumping-on point, this didn’t really work for me," while Sava called it "a solid action thriller with a sci-fi twist." The reviewers at read/RANT were similarly divided, with one reviewer calling it "an exciting, genre bending superhero story" that "could easily become one of the coolest titles of the relaunch," (though he warned, "it could just as easily devolve quickly into melodrama and camp"), while another said it tied with Hawk and Dove for the worst book of the relaunch. MTV Geek largely panned the opening issue, giving it a score of 10/52 and saying "Grifter feels like a series of sort of clever action beats that never got put together as a proper story".
- Brady, Matthew (August 1997). "Character Profile: Grifter". Wizard (72). pp. 124–5.
- Rob Liefeld Takes "Deathstroke," "Grifter" & "Hawkman" to the Extreme - Comic Book Resources
- Liefeld Was Right: DC Cancels Blue Beetle, Legion Lost, Grifter, Frankenstein - Comics Beat
- Team 7: Objective Hell #1-3
- Team 7: Dead Reckoning #1-4
- "September’s THE EDGE Solicits". The Source. DC Comics.com. June 13, 2011.
- Grifter #2 (October 2011)
- Grifter #1 (September 2011)
- Flashpoint #3 (July 2011)
- Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #2 (July 2011)
- Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #3 (August 2011)
- Flashpoint #5 (August 2011)
- ICv2 - Top 300 Comics Actual--September 2011
- DC Comics Month-to-Month Sales: March 2012 | The Beat
- ICv2 - Top 300 Comics Actual--April 2012
- The New DC 52, Week 3 (Green Lantern, Batwoman, Frankenstein, Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. and more) | Books | Crosstalk | The A.V. Club
- Review: Grifter #1 « read/RANT!
- DC New 52 – One Sentence Reviews, Part 2 « read/RANT!
- MTV Geek – New 52: ‘Legion Lost,’ ‘Grifter,’ ‘Superboy,’ and ‘Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.’