Born in the former East Germany, Christoph Nord was an idealist who fought against the communist regime as a freedom fighter for the West German Cell Six. Nord’s brother Andreas fought for the East Germans, and when the two met in battle Nord was forced to kill his brother. Later, after an encounter with an assassin called the Confessor, Nord was recovering in a German hospital where he fell in love with nurse Ginetta Barsalini. The two married, and she soon fell pregnant, but he later learned that she was a double agent and was forced to kill her after she attacked him. Guilt and pain drove him further into his mercenary work, and he eventually accepted an offer to join the Central Intelligence Agency’s Weapon X Program. Nord joined the Program’s covert operations unit Team X, changed his name to David North, and took the codename Maverick.
In recent years, Japanese crimelord Matsu’o Tsurayaba and his allies, including former Weapon X scientist Doctor Cornelius, resurrected the Russian super-soldier Omega Red. In order to stabilize his mutant power, Omega Red required the Carbonadium Synthesizer, a device stolen from him by Team X decades earlier. Omega Red captured Maverick’s former Team X teammate Wolverine, who had the location of the C-Synthesizer buried in his memory, and several of Wolverine’s teammates in the X-Men. Maverick was hired by former Team X liaison Major Arthur Barrington to prevent Omega Red from obtaining the device, and he tracked another former Team X member, Sabretooth, to Omega Red’s location. With Maverick’s help, the X-Men were able to defeat the villains, and he subsequently killed Cornelius in an act of revenge.
Barrington later sent Maverick to recover documents known as the Xavier Files, after the father of the X-Men’s telepathic founder, Professor Charles Xavier. The files were in the possession of a former colleague of Xavier’s father, Doctor Alexander Ryking, who was under the protection of the superhuman mercenary Warhawk. During the ensuing clash, Warhawk exploded, killing Ryking and seemingly destroying the files.
Maverick was then assigned by the U.S. Government to protect Aldo Ferro, a former Weapon X ally. Maverick’s former Team X alumni sought Ferro after one of their number, Mastodon, died when his age suppression factor was seemingly reversed. Unbeknownst to Team X, Ferro was responsible for secretly implanting them all with false memories during their time with Weapon X. After Ferro betrayed Maverick, he sided with his former teammates against Ferro who was seemingly killed in the subsequent battle.
Maverick next sought to hunt down Sabretooth to make him pay for his numerous crimes, and joined forces with the X-Men in capturing him. Maverick subsequently learned that he had contracted the deadly mutant-killing Legacy Virus. He asked Wolverine to kill him in order to avoid prolonged suffering, but Wolverine refused and Maverick came to form a sibling-like bond with another Virus sufferer, Chris Bradley.
During the final stages of his infection, Maverick encountered the Russian mutant telepath Elena Ivanova who was hunting Sabretooth to avenge his murder of her mother. The Virus claimed Maverick’s life, but Ivanova managed to use her powers to coax him back to life. As a result, Maverick’s Legacy Virus went into full remission and his powers further mutated.
Maverick was then captured by Russian crimelord Ivan Pushkin, whose scientists implanted false memories into Maverick’s mind to make him believe that Barrington had been responsible for his wife’s betrayal. Pushkin intended for Maverick to kill Barrington to prevent him from providing testimony that threatened Pushkin’s financial interests. Maverick located Barrington’s safehouse but was opposed by members of the Canadian super-team Alpha Flight. Maverick overcame Pushkin’s mental manipulation, however it was too late to save Barrington from Pushkin’s agents, Hammer and Sickle.
In a later encounter with Hammer and Sickle, Maverick’s left eye was gouged out by Sickle, and he was left to die in the Swiss Alps. Forced to cauterize the wound to stop from bleeding to death, Maverick survived and later resurfaced to aid Wolverine against a revived Weapon X Program. This new Program sent Sabretooth to recruit both Maverick and fellow Team X alumnus John Wraith. Neither accepted the offer, and so Sabretooth killed Wraith and critically injured Maverick. Brought to the Program with only minutes to live, Maverick reluctantly joined in order to survive and was genetically modified to become Agent Zero.
Although an efficient operative, Zero hated what he had become and frequently considered suicide. On his first assignment as Zero, he was sent to assassinate Wolverine in an attempt by the Director to further break his spirit. Deliberately missing his target, Zero was punished with an electric shock. Later, Zero recaptured Sabretooth after his betrayal of the Program and would have killed him had the Director not shocked him again.
After a change in leadership of the Program, Zero was assigned to track the anti-human terrorist group Gene Nation that had been revived by former Weapon X operative Marrow. Confronting her, Zero learned that her latest recruit, a man using his former identity of Maverick, had been sent to attack New York’s Grand Central Station. Confronting the impostor, Zero inflicted a fatal wound upon him only to learn that it was his friend, Chris. Zero then set about the task of wiping out Gene Nation with new zeal, although he declined to make Marrow a martyr. Returning to an abandoned Weapon X facility, Zero’s investigations led him to join Wolverine and the enigmatic mercenary Fantomex in opposing the Project’s original founder, John Sublime.