The Death Commandos are duly constituted agents of the intergalactic Shi'ar Imperium employed to undertake missions deemed to politically sensitive or controversial for the more public Imperial Guard to perform. Comprised of elite alien mercenaries gathered from all corners of the Empire, the Death Commandos include BlackCloak, the groups tall masked leader with clawed hands and feet who wields a warspear, fires energy beams from his eyes and controls a portal to null-space within the folds of his cloak; Krait, an avian Shi'ar warrior whose finger and wings are tipped with razors-keen battle claws sharp enough to cut through walls; Shell, a massive powerhouse with multi-tentacle liquid rock-like form used to entrap and neutralize any enhanced abilities they possess; Hypernova, who generates solid light weapons - most often throwing daggers, which she wields with deadly skill; Offset, the team's second-in-command, a four-armed, mantis-like carnivorous insectoid with a chitinous exoskeleton who can assimilate her prey's memories by biting off their head and can also lock the superhuman abilities of others into any state she chooses on physical contact; SeGa, a sentient gaseous anomaly resembling a stellar gas cloud who acts as the team's command, coordinator and communication expert and can generate near-impregnable force shields; Warshot, an armored hominid marksman with intuitive target sensing and near-flawless accuracy who wields a rail-gun that can fire rounds at close to the speed of light; Colony, an intelligent insect swarm that strip the flesh off an enemy in under a second and can also eat through steel; Devo, who can devolve his adversaries into earlier evolutionary incarnations of their species; and Flaw of the Warskrulls, Skrulls bio-engineered into combat mega-morphs capable of emulating superhuman abilities in addition to appearances.
Fearing that human mutant Rachel Grey might possess the same genetic potential as her mother to bond with the primal cosmic Phoenix Force, which represents the "end-of-all-there-is" in Shi'ar technology, the Shi'ar considered this an unacceptable threat and dispatched the Death Commandos to Earth to completely exterminate the Grey family genome. Arriving in a Shi'ar transport ship, the Death Commandos attacked a Grey family reunion. Despite opposition from the X-Men, the Death Commandos took only 24 seconds to slaughter every member of the Grey family except for Rachel and her grandmother, Elaine. Under Shi'ar cannon law, BlackCloak ritually branded Rachel with a deathmark that etched itself into her DNA, marking her for life. Enforcing the Imperial edict that had condemned Rachel, BlackCloak sought to slay her but Rachel fought back, defeating him. The X-Men subsequently made short work of the Commandos; however, in a last ditch effort, BlackCloak slew Elaine before surrendering. The Death Commandos were taken into custody and incarcerated by the Office of National Emergency (O.N.E.) in the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Manhattan.
Biding their time, the Death Commandos eventually located Rachel by means of her deathmark and realizing that she was alone, seized the opportunity to escape their cells; however, at that moment Bishop and NYPD Officer Charlotte Jones arrived to check on them and opposed their breakout alongside an O*N*E Sentinel. Despite Bishop defeating several Commandos, Jones was trapped in the null-space within Blackcloak's cloak before the Death Commandos were teleported out by their transport ship's crew. The Death Commandos attacked Rachel while she was visiting her therapist, but they were again defeated by the X-Men; however, this time, the Shi'ar transport ship's captain sought to finish the task by firing a high energy weapon at Rachel, even though it meant sacrificing the Commandos. Rachel combined her telekinetic powers with those of her teammate Psylocke to reflect thee beam back to the ship, damaging it. The Death Commandos were subsequently sent back to the Shi'ar Empire in disgrace for having failed in their mission.