As Speedball, Robert Baldwin was a member of the New Warriors. Along with his team-mates Speedball tracked down Nitro to the Conneticut town Stamford. They engaged the super villain on live TV, and were about to defeat him when he activated his powers, destroying the town and killing most the New Warriors. A week later the FBI and S.H.I.E.L.D. found the injured Baldwin 500 miles from the point of the blast and took him into custody, publicly releasing his secret identity. Jennifer Walters, AKA the She-Hulk, helped Baldwin get a pardon in court.

While imprisoned on Ryker's Island, Baldwin designed a new costume designed to leave him in a constant state of pain. He sent the designs to a costume creator who was appaled at the idea but created the costume anyway. After recieving his new suit Baldwin claimed Speedball to be dead, and took the name Penance. Baldwin willingly registered with the goverment and was stationed at the Ryker's Island/Negative Zone prison as a guard. When the Nanites started taking control of themselves, Nick Fury sent the Ultimate Alliance to the prison, where they encountered and battled Penance, eventually defeating him. After beating him Penance joined the ranks of the Ultimate Alliance and aided in stopping the Nanite Fold from taking over the world.

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