Donnie Gill was working as a minor hired thug for Hammer Industries until businessman Justin Hammer gave him a battlesuit reminiscent of the original Blizzard (Gregor Shapanka). Gill mastered the use of the battlesuit, grateful and excited by his new powers, and began his first assignment: to recapture the supervillain known as Force, an agent of Hammer who had deserted him. Gill and his allies, the Beetle (now, MACH-IV) and Blacklash (now, Whiplash) engaged Force and his new ally, Iron Man. During the battle, Force saw Gill as misguided and misled by Hammer as he once was, and he tried to reach out to the young villain. In the end, however, Blizzard accidentally tripped himself up, electrocuting himself and allowing himself to be captured while his allies fled.
Before he could be remanded to prison, Gill was rescued by the Rhino on behalf of Hammer, which served to strengthen Gill’s loyalty to him and curtailed Tony Stark’s efforts to lend Gill legal and moral guidance. Gill continued to work with Hammer and his agents, but Hammer knew of Stark’s interest in helping Gill and used him as a bargaining chip to elicit Iron Man’s help in taking down their mutual enemy, the Ghost. Iron Man and agents of Hammer managed to stop the Ghost, but the villains turned on Iron Man, abandoning the Blizzard. Gill still held hope that Hammer would rescue him, until Iron Man played a recording of Hammer's bargaining. Crushed, Gill allowed himself to be placed in custody.
Later returning to criminal activities, Gill appeared to hold no interest in reforming. He worked on behalf of the Spymaster once, trying to loot Stark Enterprises but was opposed by the Avengers, and he later turned to a solo career as a criminal. He attended the A.I.M. weapons expo on his own behalf, and later tried a replica of Shapanka’s final Blizzard suit. This suit proved defective, and he managed to use this in court as testimony against its repair man, the Tinkerer, who was being sued by the Trapster. Later still, he tried robbing an armored car and faced the New Warriors, but a rogue Iron Man suit of armor viscously beat him.
With this series of failures, the Blizzard tried to be a part of a team again-- an mercenary group working on behalf of the Four Winds crime family. The group was hired to invade Agent X’s headquarters, but they suffered a humiliating defeat. (Gill was even force-fed a candy apple.) Afterward, Gill joined the Crimson Cowl in one of the largest incarnation of the Masters of Evil, but their plans to hold the world ransom using a weather-controlling device were thwarted by the Thunderbolts.
When the Avengers formally disbanded, MACH-4 decided to re-form the Thunderbolts, a team of former superhuman villains who were attempting to reinvent themselves as a team of heroic champions. Gill was recruited as a founding member of the new team and earned a parole. The Thunderbolts made their debut by saving Manhattan from the terrorist attacks of renegade Atlanteans. Although Gill continually doubted his effectiveness as a hero, he began to grow more confident in the role despite the increasing deterioration of his battlesuit and overwhelming personalities in teammates like Speed Demon. In fact, when Gill discovered Speed Demon moonlighting as a criminal in his old Whizzer identity, he tried to force Speed Demon to stop only to be left hanging from a bridge in his underwear for his efforts.
The new Thunderbolts experienced some shuffling membership after their big success in stopping the Purple Man from controlling New York. Songbird became the leader and dismissed the Blizzard from their ranks. Demoralized, he was nevertheless recruited by fellow ex-Thunderbolts MACH-4 and Baron Zemo, who recruited the Blizzard into a new team they were forming. With his costume redesigned and upgraded by the Fixer, the Blizzard joined Zemo’s team in confronting the Thunderbolts and their teammate Photon. During the battle, they forced Photon to realize his unstable personality and powers would result in the destruction of the universe, and Zemo killed him to safeguard reality. The two teams returned to Zemo’s headquarters, where he formed a new team of Thunderbolts under Songbird’s field leadership and his guidance.