A former gang member, Cell's mutant power first manifested when he was wounded in a shoot-out with the police. Cell's body fused itself into a single cell, then liquefied and oozed down into the sewers beneath Chicago. Cell was rescued from the police by members of the group of outcast mutants known as the Morlocks. Seeing himself with no other choice, Cell joined their ranks.
After invading the base from which the giant mutant-hunting robots known as Sentinels were launched in attacks on the Morlocks, Cell decided he was tired of running and, to ensure his newfound friends could escape, wrapped himself around the base's commander, Doctor Metellus. Targetted by a Sentinel, both Cell and Metellus were killed in the ensuing explosion.