Former U.S. Representative and industrialist Simon Utrecht decided that economic and political power was insufficient, and sought super-powers. Scientist Michael Steel identified a window where the conditions which created the Fantastic Four could be duplicated, so Utrecht hired him to design, build and fly a spaceship. Accompanied by life support specialist Ann Darnell and her brother, propulsion engineer James "Jimmy" Darnell, the foursome rocketed into the cosmic rays and were changed. Physicist Bruce Banner found their New Mexico launch facility and aborted the flight; believing Banner had prevented them from gaining greater powers, the foursome (naming themselves the U-Foes after Utrecht) attacked Banner, but their unfamiliarity with their powers let the Hulk defeat them. Fearing their lack of control could prove fatal, Utrecht funded research into technology to further this control. This technology proved capable of "curing" certain powers, which later intrigued Utrecht's friend and associate, rogue CIA agent William Cross. Seeking recognition and revenge, the U-Foes attempted the Hulk's execution on live television, but the Hulk defeated them with help from the alien Bereet.
The four accidentally exiled themselves to the Crossroads of Reality when Vector's escape efforts repelled the U-Foes’ home dimension from them. There, they again met the Hulk, who briefly trapped them in four separate dimensions with the aid of the Puffball Collective, an alien life form. Regrouping, they were returned to Earth by the mutant Portal (Charles Little Sky) but immediately defeated by the Avengers. Ironclad, Vapor, and X-Ray were placed in the Vault, but escaped during the so-called "Acts of Vengeance." Led by Loki to believe that the Avengers had slain Utrecht, the threesome attacked the Avengers Compound before learning the truth and fleeing. Vapor briefly joined Superia's female army the Femizons, but the foursome reunited to seek Portal's aid in recovering some extra-dimensional artifacts. Interrupted by Captain America, Daredevil, and Darkhawk, the four were returned to prison before being freed by the Leader, for whom they broke into the Pantheon's Mount. Vector was later sighted at the Brass Bishop's energy auction of the corpses of Silver and Auric, and the four were shortly thereafter recaptured. Imprisoned in the Vault, they allied with Crossfire to attempt escape, but project director Rozalyn Backus stole much of Utrecht's wealth (including his power nullification technology) and tricked Utrecht into believing Crossfire had betrayed them, sparking conflicts between the U-Foes and Crossfire's mind-controlling clique. The Thunderbolts foiled another escape attempt before the Master freed the U-Foes, using them to contact the evolved White Tiger and then to break into the Vault for him. At the Master's behest they captured the Hulk and several U.N. scientists, using the Controller's discs to drain information from them. The nascent Heroes for Hire team stopped them, but they escaped and captured Luke Cage for the Master before being betrayed and left comatose by their employer.
Imprisoned in the miniaturized "Big House," they were part of that facility's mass escape, but She-Hulk, Southpaw, and Henry Pym recaptured them and they were moved to the Raft. Escaping the Raft, they fought a running battle with Crossfire's gang while both groups sought the Vault's corrupt former administrator Rozalyn Backus and Vector's lost technology. She claimed to have destroyed Utrecht's power-removing technology, destroying the U-Foes ability to regain their humanity, so Vector vengefully destroyed Backus' charitable projects. The U-Foes remain at large.