44 years ago - Cole Cash is born
27 years ago - 17-year-old Cole joins the army. He excels and is moved into an elite tactical ops unit.
25 years ago - 19-year-old Cole is recruited as the youngest member of Team 7. During his time on the team he is secretly genetically manipulated by S.H.A.D.E. enhancing his natural psionics.
23 years ago - 21-year-old Cole, unwilling to follow the rest of Team 7 into the DEO, and becomes a mercenary and con man.
12 years ago - 32-year-old Cole is abducted by the Daemonites in their earliest incursions into Earth. he escapes and hijacks their ship, and begins a one-man war against them, hunting down their hives across their planet using their own re-purposed technology.
9 years ago - 35-year-old Cole saves an enclave of Kherubim, refugees of one of the Daemonite plunder worlds. They begin operating as his support staff, maintaining his equipment and providing tactical support.
3 years ago - 41-year-old Cole agrees to join the Elite, bringing his decade of experience fighting the Daemonites. The Khereubim move his resources into Bunny, manning the ship.
The entire Wildstorm universe began with Jim Lee's Wildc.a.t.s. He had just left his gig as the artist of the best-selling X-Men, and built his new team to be almost identical to but legally distinct from the X-Men. Grifter was his answer to fan-favorite character Gambit, but also happened to have a healthy dose of Wolverine's personality. He very quickly became a flagship character for the team, and as Wildstorm continued to grow he remained one of the forefront characters of the imprint. As the Wild.c.a.t.s. evolved over the years the team was largely structured around him. When Wildstorm began to crossover with DC, he was often the character that was used. Finally, when the new 52 event merged the Wildstorm universe with DC, Grifter was one of the few Wildstorm characters to have his very own book.
The fact is, Wildstorm characters really don't mesh well into the regular DC universe. they're built for a different purpose with different, alien motivations, and simply don't feel at home there. We've built our team the Elite as an answer to that fact, to give our DC universe a touch of that Wildstorm energy, but the team is largely populated by characters that aren't actually FROM the Wildstorm universe.
Grifter is the exception. He is THE Wildstorm character, and has been from the beginning. If there is any character from that universe that we're going to work into our timeline, It's Cole Cash. Shredded trench coat and all.
To begin with, Grifter's early backstory actually fits into our timeline incredibly well. The new 52 took the idea of Team 7, an elite group of spec-ops operatives, from Wildstorm and repopulated it with classic characters like Amanda Waller and Deathstroke. we've done the exact same thing, building our own version of the team, and included Grifter as their youngest member. We already have our own government agency intrigue between the DEO and Checkmate that he fits quite nicely into, and even an easy explanation for the 'genetic manipulation' he unknowingly endured thanks to our re-purposing of S.H.A.D.E. So far, he's looking great. He becomes a mercenary in a world that includes characters like Deathstroke and Deadshot, and he fits into that perfectly.
Here is where our re-purposed version of the Wildc.a.t.s. villains the Daemonites becomes useful. Grifter is one of the ORIGINAL abductees. He escapes and manages to steal one of their ships. The idea of a mercenary character stealing an alien arsenal and then engaging in a one-man war against those aliens that stretches over a decade feels PERFECT. It's a concept that keeps his a weird outsider to the rest of the DC Universe, but in a way that plays right into is unique idiom. It also manages to evoke a certain popular one-man-war-waging character from Marvel, although with a cool sci-fi spin, and that makes him awesome. Even better, we've re-purposed the Kherubim from a advanced alien race with unlimited resources to a small group of alien refugees that he has rescued and who agree to provide him with tactical and armament support, which also gives him a certain cable vibe. All of this really give him a unique feel, reinforces the elements of his story that make him special, all while fitting that uniqueness into the DC Universe in a way that doesn't conflict with the tone of the regular timeline,
Lastly, obviously, when Vera Black forms her team to battle the Daemonites, it makes so much sense to recruit a lone human that has been fighting them for a decade, the whole story comes full circle. He WORKS in the Elite. It gives the whole group legitimacy as a reflection of Wildstorm. We're very excited about this.
As an afterthought; in 1993, there was a crossover that ran across DC called Bloodlines. it involved an invading alien race that was harvesting human spinal fluid, and it introduced several new books and dozens of new characters all empowered by the alien experiments. In a lot of ways, it seemed to be an effort to infuse DC with something akin to Marvel's mutant population. Among the characters introduced this way was Tommy Monaghan, the Hitman, a creation by Garth Ennis, the Quentin Tarantino of comics. He was a trench-coated gun-slinging character who was very popular at the time.
The entirety of Bloodlines has faded into obscurity; and I don't think a single one of those characters has been referenced in the longest time. They're relics of the 90's. I bring them up to point out that our Elite, our merging of existing characters to replicate the storytelling style of Wildstorm can also be used as a stand in for the Bloodlines invasion.
Grifter is the hub of all of this. The Elite is a pretty dense confluence of influences that we built almost entirely from scratch, but by including the flagship Wildstorm character, it actually feels like we're exactly where we want to be.