Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
You may not realize it, but this character turns 30 years old next year: Grifter
Appearances in Heroclix: Batman
First Appearance: WildC.A.T.S. #1 (August 1992)
Team Affiliations: WildC.A.T.S., Team 7, The Authority
Powers: Expertly adept at hand-to-hand combat; Excellent marksman with both firearms and thrown weapons; Possesses powerful psi talents (usually either dormant or passive); Accelerated healing factor; Espionage mastery; Longevity
Created by: Jim Lee and Brandon Choi
Cole Cash’s father, Jacob Winston “Win” Cash, involves him in hundreds of grifts from a young age. Cole seems destined to follow his father’s path into the underworld until the elder Cash is murdered by mobster Sam Del Gracci. Through some cruel twist of fate, Cole’s mother marries Del Gracci and the mobster regularly beats Cole. If this was not bad enough, Del Gracci shows limitless love and kindness to Cole’s younger brother Max, attempting to create a rift between the boys. Once he reaches his teenage years, Cole runs away from home and becomes the driver for a crew of robbers.
On one particular job, his crew becomes excessively violent and Cole intervenes, saving the life of a FBI agent. This leads to Cole being apprehended by the agent, Joseph Brockmeyer, and he is given a choice: join a clandestine agency known as International Operations (IO) or go to jail. Cole joins IO and receives extensive training before joining Team 7.
In Team 7, Cole is given the codename Deadeye. The team is exposed to an experiment chemical named “Gen Factor,” which activates a variety of psi powers in them also decimating their mental health. The survivors of this experiment are classified as Gen 12. Cole believes this exposure was purposeful and quickly begins to suspect IO officers, leading to various insubordinate behaviors. The breaking point comes for Cole when Slayton kills an innocent scientist on an operation that Cole is in the process of rescuing. The rest of Team 7 soon quits after discovering their children, known as Gen 13, are intended to be used as weapons after inheriting the powers of Gen 12.
Cole begins operating on his own and very quickly crosses paths with the Kherubim warrior known as Zealot. The two fall in love and Zealot performs a massive taboo, teaching Cole the ways of the Coda, a warrior sisterhood. These teachings heal Cole’s mind and suppress his psionic powers, likely saving his life. Together the pair wage a private war against Daemonites and the Coda, with Cole adopting the Grifter codename for the first time.
Grifter and Zealot remain partners, though they end their romantic relationship before joining the WildC.A.T.S. They remain with the team, battling Daemonites, for some time until a mission forces them into an uneasy alliance with a Daemonite that had killed one of Grifter’s friends. Grifter is outraged and threatened with dismissal only for Grifter to quit on the spot. The mission ends up with Grifter murdering the Daemonite and the other WildCATS seemingly dead, though in reality they are sent through warp space to Khera.
Cole does not join the WildCATS team that soon forms after, even though it has his brother Max on it. Instead, he acts as a freelance mercenary. During this time he manages to obtain a confession from Del Gracci for his father’s murder, learns from Max that Win had actually faked his own death, and Cole even confronts his father in New Orleans. There is no love lost in this reunion, however, as Cole sees his father for the heartless con man he is for the first time. Cole threatens to kill his father if he ever sees him again.
When the WildCATS return from Khera, Grifter rejoins them. There is some romantic tension between Grifter, Zealot and Spartan. This ultimately resolves itself as Grifter becomes the leader of the CATS. Max Cash soon joins this team and is sadly killed by a Coda assassin. Before Grifter can take vengeance, fellow CATS member Olympia kills the assassin, revealing that she had feelings for Max.
The team disbands and reforms a few time with Grifter acting as a mercenary throughout. Grifter eventually makes peace with Spartan, Backlash and a resurrected Zealot through these adventures. Team 7 leader John Lynch is injured and left in a coma, by Cole, who is then manipulated and mind wiped into forgetting all of this twice by former CATS member Tao. Grifter is eventually seriously injured and unable to continue field work. He attempts to train a replacement only for that to fail miserably. Instead they rebuild the robotic body of Ladytron to act as a surrogate for him in the field.
Months later, Cole’s legs miraculously heal just as John Lynch comes out of his coma and is able to restore Cole’s memories. Cole is sent to dismantle Tao’s criminal organization and succeeds.
After the horrific event that nearly wipes out all human life on Earth, Grifter joins what remains of the Authority.