Prior to becoming assassins, the Commedia Dell'Morte performed throughout Europe many years ago in a Commedia Dell'Arte troupe (a theater group giving improvisational performances based on sketches or scenarios), but their trade did not pay much money. They began stealing from those who hosted their show and moved on before they could be implicated in the crime. Traveling to a Transylvanian castle, the Commedia attempted to steal from Baron Mordo and were caught. Mordo, a master of mystic arts, cursed the Commedia by trapping their souls within their masks for all eternity, forcing them to kill one person a day or be consigned to limbo: troupe leader Pagliacci, the humble harlequin who believes the Commedia are ancient archetypes rather than old clichéd "stock characters"; Mister Punch, the uneducated lout with a hair-trigger temper; Pantalone, a scheming miser who will do anything to add to his horde; La Signora, Pantalone's wife who is beautiful, vain, socially striving, and deadly; Captain Scaramouche, a boastful military man; and Columbina, Pagliacci's wife whose tongue is as sharp as her sword.
In Venice, the Commedia was looking to collect on a contract for a mafia informant when they crossed paths with Crime-Buster (Eugene Mason); sent overseas by Aryan prison gang Divine Right's leader Gerry Kammill, posing as Crime-Buster's boss "Joe Duffy" in the security firm Penance Group. In order to escape back to the US, Crime-Buster kidnapped Columbina, but the Commedia followed. Meanwhile, Kammill got Columbina's mask to Heroes for Hire's former secretary and Crime-Buster's lover, Jennie Royce, and Columbina's spirit possessed Royce, using her to kill Crime-Buster before he could expose Kammill's true identity. Kammill then gave the enchanted mask to crimeboss Pokerface to auction in his undersea casino. The Commedia discovered the location of Crime-Buster's apartment and found Power Man (Victor Alvarez), searching for evidence of Royce's innocence. Believing Power Man knew where Columbina was, they threatened him for information, but Iron Fist (Danny Rand) saved him; battling the Commedia until police arrived, and the Commedia escaped.
At Pokerface's auction, Fist's girlfriend Joy Meachum found Columbina's mask and was possessed by her. She sought to sacrifice Power Man to avoid limbo but was unable to after Fist accidentally damaged the structure during another battle, flooding the casino. The Commedia was presumably headed back to Europe when Fist called Joy, asking for help against Divine Right. Still seeking revenge for Columbina's kidnapping, the Commedia went to Ryker's Island penitentiary and assisted in Divine Right's defeat. At Ryker's, Fist removed Columbina's mask, restoring Joy, and Pagliacci took possession of it once more; the true Columbina's whereabouts has yet to be revealed.