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Damon Dran was originally known as a wealthy munitions dealer with shady contacts within both the underworld and the government, who apparently made the bulk of his fortune during WWII. Although very little is known about his life, his defining moment occurred in the 1940s, when the true power of nuclear bombs became known and the Cold War started. Dran became aware that the planet could now be destroyed at any moment, and that all his work, his abilities and his schemes would be swept away and forgotten, with himself helplessly killed.
Dran started making plans with a simple goal - to become able to survive the nuclear annihilation of Earth. He organized a mysterious research project called Project: FOUR (supposedly with ties to the government, but how much of that was a deception orchestrated by Dran is unclear), which by the 1960s developed a “power globe” of unclear properties. Dran intended all along to steal the globe to make himself indestructible, thus backstabbing his government contacts. To conduct this scheme he had a two-fisted West Coast mercenary Danny French infiltrate the Project: FOUR installation, along with the Russian spy the Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff). French and Romanoff succeeded, but after French used a capsule of gas provided by Dran to knock out the project’s scientists, he realized the “stun gas” was actually a deadly poison and that he had been turned into a murderer. Taking the globe with him, French fled and hid for eight years.
Furious, the ruthless Dran had his men hunt down French for eight years, and eventually captured him and Romanoff in San Francisco. Using a sophisticated brain machine, Dran’s scientists read French’s brain and saw where he had buried the globe. After two of Dran’s men recovered the globe (and were rewarded with death), the paranoid Dran decided that Daredevil, newly-arrived in Frisco and now looking for the Widow, was the main threat to his plan. He sent martial artist the Blue Talon after DD and, after that failed, a brainwashed Black Widow. Daredevil determined Dran was behind the scheme and invaded his fortified manor, freeing French - Dran, however, was already being imbued by the power of the globe. He emerged somewhat transformed and able to project energy blasts from his hands, but those blasts blew up the manor, which collapsed on him.
Grasping wires to have more power poured into him, Dran emerged from the wreckage as an inhuman giant. Daredevil and French escaped, and Dran was engaged by the SFPD and then the National Guard, who couldn’t hurt him but managed to slow him down ; however Dran’s power was slowly and steadily increasing, and threatened to collapse the bridge he and the Guard were fighting on due to his enormous weight. Daredevil and the Black Widow joined the fight, and suddenly gained the upper hand when French threw a steel debris into the globe, destroying it and robbing Dran of his power. Dran was taken to a prison, and French, fatally wounded by the exploding glove, died in the arms of the Black Widow.
Dran, however, was still alive. Now in prison, he bore a variety of deep scars from his experiences ; although he looked human again, he was actually becoming invulnerable again. Escaping, he plotted deadly vengeance against the Black Widow while building himself a new network. Dran was so successful that he managed to infiltrate the KGB with his own agents, and started operating from a gigantic submarine cruising in the Sea of China. He also assemble a cadre of deadly mercenaries - n’Kama, ’Deadshot‘ Darrance, the Iron Maiden, Laralie (later known as the Wrangler), Black Lotus, Kono Sanada (aka ’Kono the Sumo’) and Snapdragon.
Dran kidnapped Ivan Petrovitch, and then fed false information to both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the KGB. The Widow was sent to infiltrate a Russian project which S.H.I.E.L.D. thought to be connected with Petrovitch, performing an admirable job. Dran, manipulating the Soviets, pulled the rug from under her by having a cover blown, and a scientist with whom the undercover Widow had fallen in love killed before her eyes. He then fed further false intel to S.H.I.E.L.D., driving the Widow into a trap manned by his assassins. The Widow managed to defeat them, then took down the Iron Maiden with the help of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent James Woo - but was eventually taken out by Snapdragon.
Dran replaced the Widow with an impostor who was to trick Fury into flying the Helicarrier above a specially-prepared island, where it would be destroyed after she had murdered Fury in plain view of all. Since due to the previous machinations the Widow was wanted death by the KGB, she would now be hunted by all with nowhere to turn to. Dran had even brainwashed Ivan Petrovitch into serving him.
The Widow, however, escaped and defeated everyone who attempted to defeat her, had Petrovitch snap out of his mind control and contacted Fury in the nick of time; Fury killed the impostor and S.H.I.E.L.D.destroyed the island. Dran, his indestructible nature still unknown - perhaps even to himself - was thought dead in the bombardment.
Some years later, Dran has established a new criminal organization in New Orleans, with kidnapping and selling people as his main business. He was assisted by Kono Sanada, the second Golddigger and a large number of criminals and musclebound thugs. One of his best contracts involved kidnapping runaways to sell them to Baron and Baronness Zemo, but this brought his network to the attention of the heavily-armed vigilante Americop. At the same time, Diamondback II was investigating the death of Snapdragon, which led her to Dran; she was captured, bringing Captain America into the situation. Although all three crimefighters were captured, Diamondback escaped and summoned the Avengers. Despite their considerable armament, Dran’s forces couldn’t hold their ground against Earth’s mightiest heroes and he boarded an helicopter to flee. The helo was shot down by Americop, however, and Dran was arrested by his nemesis, the Black Widow.