Batman: Urban Legends revealed Grifter’s DC Universe backstory, showcasing a little bit of how the WildStorm Universe hero got his powers.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “The Long Con” from Batman: Urban Legends #2 by Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, Antonio Fabela & Saida Temofonte, on sale now.
Batman: Urban Legends continues to put a spotlight on Cole Cash, the Grifter. Though he was originally a character in the Wildstorm Universe, this former WildC.A.T. has recently become much more connected to the world of DC’s Dark Knight. While his alien Kherubim allies have yet to show up in person, several elements of his old continuity have.
Batman: Urban Legends #2 details more of Grifter’s backstory, showcasing how he gets some of his iconic physical abilities. Here’s how Grifter’s powers seem to work in the DC Rebirth continuity, how they worked in the old comics and how they make him similar to Marvel’s Wolverine.
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Grifter’s Healing Factor
The issue picks up after the backstory shown in Batman: Urban Legends #1, wherein Cole and his brother Max were caught in the midst of a battle involving Mr. Freeze. The resulting blast caused them both to suffer terrible injuries. Said injuries felled Max Cash, but Cole was saved in time due to the intervention of the Halo Corporation and Lucius Fox, who had the financial backing of Bruce Wayne.
They performed an experimental, albeit not clearly defined procedure on Cole, with the result saving his life in spite of his being shot nearly 20 times. This miraculous healing factor is displayed again later in the issue after he and Lucius are attacked in the present. Cole doesn’t notice that he had been grazed in the neck by a bullet, causing him to begin bleeding out. When a doctor examines him just a little while afterward, he notices that the wound had pretty much already closed up and healed. This power may seem strange to those who know Grifter more for his marksmanship skills, but it’s based on the original WildStorm continuity.
In the old WildStorm comics, Cole was featured as a member of Team 7 called Deadeye, where he was exposed to the experimental Gen Factor substance. This activated all manner of psionic abilities in Grifter, which were as debilitating as they were strengthening. It was only after he received training from the Coda warrior Zealot that he was able to control these powers.
Another side effect of being exposed to the Gen Factor, however, was an incredible healing and regeneration factor. One way in which it manifested was in slowing or seemingly even halting Grifter’s aging. Roughly around 20 years after interacting with the Gen Factor, Grifter still had the look and health of a man who was only about 30 years old. Unfortunately for him, this healing factor would be mostly unreliable in terms of how fast it acted. While a broken neck healed pretty much instantaneously, Grifter’s temporarily shattered legs took months to heal completely.
In the current DC Universe, Grifter’s ability to unconsciously repair injuries puts him on par with other comic book characters known for having healing factors, such as Deadpool, Sabretooth and especially Wolverine. Sharing a power with the popular Wolverine does make sense, as it was the franchise Jim Lee was most known for when he created WildC.A.T.s. It’s still unknown exactly how far and how fast these regenerative abilities can take Grifter, but they’ll certainly help him out when he inevitably comes into conflict with Batman himself.
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