||Brown, originally solid red,
then grey with no visible
||Young X-Men #5
||unnamed parents (deceased)
||Young X-Men, formerly Paragons training squad, Xavier Institute student body
||Dominant Species bloodline gives him lupine features, heightened strength, speed, agility, and reflexes, hyper-acute sensory perceptions, a vocal mimicry talent to recreate the words and voice patterns of others, and razor sharp fangs and claws
Nicholas Gleason was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, his mutant nature obvious at a young age. His furred body and bulging red eyes drew the attention of anti-mutant forces and his parents were attacked and presumably killed as a result. Nicholas was left alone and a short time later, he was attacked by men armed with high-tech cybernetic enhancements and weapons. Young Nicholas was saved from certain death by the timely arrival of the X-Men Chamber and Cyclops. Despite his own visible mutations, Nicholas was repulsed by Chamber’s mutation and called him a monster. The boy was calmed by Cyclops, who had sought him out after reading about what had happened to his parents. Cyclops assured him that he was safe now and would have a new home at Xavier’s school. Nicholas joined the growing student body at Xavier's and quickly bonded with the younger kids living there. [Chamber #1, 4]
Despite his new circle of friends, Nicholas struggled with his feral nature. While playing football with his fellow student Carter Ghazikhanian, Nicholas became upset when Havok sided with Carter in a dispute over a play. Becoming enraged, Nicholas attacked and seriously wounded Havok. As Alex was being treated in the infirmary, his mind was being co-opted by an alternate version of himself. The dimension-hopping team called the Exiles arrived to stop this persona from killing Carter and Nicholas. Frightened by what he had done and the chain of events he had set in motion, Nicholas fled into the woods beyond the school grounds.
There Carter was approached by Maximus Lobo and his pack of lupine mutants who called themselves the Dominant Species. They urged Nicholas to give in to his feral instincts and join them. Nick was drawn to the wolf pack on an instinctual level but felt a loyalty to his friends among the X-Men who had offered him a place to belong when no one else would. Wolverine urged Nicholas to fight his instinct and maintain control over his urges and his destiny. In the end, Nicholas sided with the X-Men against the corrupted Havok as well as Lobo and his pack. In the wake of this, Wolverine took Nicholas under his wing to help him manage his anger and his wolfen nature. [Exiles (1st series) #28-30]
Nicholas remained at the school and over time, his lupine form continued to evolve. As part of a general restructuring, the Institute’s student population was divided into smaller training squads. Nicholas was given the codename Wolf Cub and assigned to the Paragons squad, under the guidance of advisor Rahne Sinclair aka Wolfsbane. The squad performed well in the competitive challenges designed to hone their powers and teamwork and weathered the transition when Wolfsbane abruptly left the school and their team was assigned Magma as their new mentor. [New X-Men (2nd series) #12]
The Xavier Institute was rocked by the sudden effects of M-Day, which left the vast majority of mutantkind powerless. Of the nearly one hundred and fifty students at the Xavier Institute, only twenty-seven retained their mutant powers. Wolf Cub was one of the lucky few. Devastated by what had happened on M-Day, headmistress Emma Frost declared that the school would do away with the former training squad structure. She summoned Nicholas and the other students who still possessed their mutations and pitted them against each other in a contest to determine which were worthy to be trained as the next generation of X-Men. Early in the skirmish, Wolf Cub was subdued by Rockslide and eliminated from consideration. [New X-Men (2nd series) #21-23]
Following M-Day, Wolf Cub and the remaining students faced a series trials and tragedies. They all watched in horror as the bus carrying away forty-two of their depowered classmates was blown up in a vicious attack by the anti-mutant, religious fanatics called the Purifiers. The Purifiers' assault continued and they laid siege to the Xavier Institute and attacked the remaining students. Their campaign resulted in the brutal murders of Wallflower, Icarus and Quill. [New X-Men (2nd series) #24, 26-28]
The kids’ trials were far from over. Wolf Cub was one of a handful of students abducted by the demon lord Belasco, who believed they could lead him to his former protégé Magik. Some were taken by Belasco while Nicholas and a few others were cast out into Limbo where they were beset by Belasco’s demon hordes. They survived this attack only through the timely arrival of the Darkchild, Illyana Rasputin.
Once they were back, the X-Men realized that they needed to take the training of their remaining students more seriously. They selected a team of New X-Men that consisted of the more advanced students. Wolf Cub being one of the youngest was not among those selected to participate. In any case, this team did not last long. The birth of the first new mutant since M-Day resulted in a war between the X-Men, the Marauders and various anti-mutant factions. While the X-Men responded to this crisis, a creature called Predator x attacked the school. In addition, the O*N*E* Sentinels protecting the school were co-opted by outside forces and destroyed the Institute. Wolf Cub and the other students present were fortunate to survive these attacks. However, in the wake of these events and the death of Professor X, Cyclops made the decision to shut down the school for good. [Messiah Complex]
With nowhere else to go and filled with anger at recent events, Nicholas decided to lash out. He tracked down Maximus Lobo, who was depowered on M-Day, to exact revenge for attacking him and the X-Men months earlier. Wolf Cub was prepared to kill Lobo but was stopped by Cyclops who offered to give him other ways to vent his anger. Cyclops recruited several other former students to band together as a new team of Young X-Men. Their first target was a bit surprising – the surviving members of the original New Mutants team. Cyclops claimed that they had taken over the Hellfire Club and now posed a threat to mutantkind. Surprisingly, his orders to the Young X-Men were to kill them. Nicholas and the others questioned Cyclops’ sudden lethal methods as in the past the X-Men had avoiding killing even their deadliest foes.
Despite the team’s hesitation, Wolf Cub embraced their new mission. When they took on Magma, Wolf Cub nearly killed her. Though he was relieved that she survived, he continued to use lethal force against the other New Mutants. The Young X-Men held their own against the former New Mutants but soon learned that they had been played by one of the X-Men’s oldest foes – Donald Pierce! Pierce had been impersonating Cyclops the entire time, using the X-Men’s former students to help him reclaim leadership of the Hellfire Club. Infuriated that they had been so easily manipulated, the Young X-Men joined forces with the New Mutants to take Pierce down. Pierce directly confronted the Young X-Men and a battle ensued. Pierce’s cybernetic claws proved more than a match for Wolf Cub. Nicholas was mortally wounded. Wolf Cub’s teammate Rockslide went berserk from seeing yet another friend murdered and was about to kill Pierce. With his dying breath, Wolf Cub told Santo not to kill Pierce and that despite Pierce’s deception, that they were X-Men and X-Men don’t kill. [Young X-Men #1-5]