Willie Dance used to be a professional wrestler until he had to retire because a blood clot formed in his brain as a direct result from being hit too many times in the head during his career. His manager, Bernie Steinsinger (who Willie regarded as a father), always took care of Willie but never told him about his condition or that the blood clot was slowly killing him. The clot hindered Willie's ability to think clearly, and he wanted to return to the ring. Training in a gymnasium adjacent to Luke Cage
's Hero for Hire
office, he accidentally put a hole in the connecting wall when he missed his punching bag. Cage was already in a bad mood due to financial hardships, and he irrationally assaulted Willie, in addition to insulting Willie's intelligence and weight. Cage was unrelenting until Bernie arrived and promised to pay for the damages. Meanwhile, a thug named Bruno Murphy killed Dr. Klemph, stealing Klemph's version of the Super Soldier Serum (similar to the formula that empowered Captain America (Steve Rogers)
), and hid it in Willie's locker while being chased by police. Willie mistook the formula for a protein shake and drank it. The serum transformed him into a powerhouse, and he became X the Marvel. Drunk with power, he wanted revenge for Cage laughing and beating on him earlier and attacked. Bernie saw them fighting and tried to stop them, fearing for Willie's health, but when Willie threw a mass of bricks at Cage, they shattered on Cage's steel hard skin, and a chunk of debris struck Bernie in the head. Concerned for Bernie's injuries, Willie ignored Cage's retaliation and ran to his friend. The police arrived and the formula wore off, restoring Willie to normal, and they allowed him to ride in the ambulance with Bernie to the hospital.