Daniel Broughton put his superhuman powers to use as the Battler, a costumed super-villain operating out of Manhattan. His loot bought his parents a house in Hempstead, Long Island. After a string of highly publicized defeats, the Battler was definitively beaten by Spider-Man, receiving a severe left eye injury in the process. Charged with a laundry list of criminal offenses, Broughton sold the Hempstead house to pay for a legal team who cut his prison sentence down to 3 years. While imprisoned, Broughton changed his surname to "Axum" to reflect his African heritage. The outside world did not stand still while Daniel was locked away: his father died and his estranged girlfriend, Gina, gave birth to their son, Benny.
Even after his release, Axum's life was still miserable. Renting a modest apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he lived with his mother, Axum was hired as a construction worker by Griswold Construction through an early release program. Axum was granted unsupervised visits with Benny, but with little money to his name, he had difficulty making timely rent and child support payments. In addition, Axum's parole officer, Mr. Eales, constantly threatened to report him for minor parole violations. As such, Axum reluctantly accepted an offer from shady sports promoter Rey Trueno to join his fledgling superhuman fighting federation, the Ultimate Brawling League. In his first match, Axum defeated Armadillo (Antonio Rodriguez), and was crowned New Jersey Regional Champion. With the money he earned fighting, Axum regained his self-respect, paid his bills, and rekindled his relationship with Gina. Trained by the similarly super-powered Coach Cady, Axum embarked on a winning streak, but was constantly pressured by Treuno to quit his day job and become a full-time fighter. Axum complied and eventually fought his way to the World Champion title bout against Slag, a giant brawler from Vladivostok, Russia. After a marathon battle, Axum defeated Slag and was crowned the Ultimate Brawling World Champion.
Man-Killer (Katrina van Horne), another former super-villain in the Ultimate Brawling League, soon invited Axum to join her, the assassin Delilah, and Scorpion (Mac Gargan) in attacking Spider-Man, whom Axum still blamed for scarring his face and ruining his life. Axum nearly joined their "Spider-Man Revenge League", but later decided not to participate after talking to Armadillo-who had been living in an alley since his defeat-and realizing that holding grudges and getting revenge wouldn't improve his life. However, Axum had a major falling out with Trueno shortly after winning the World Championship, so his future with the Ultimate Brawling League remains uncertain.