Z'Reg, a Skrull operative who had been scarred by fellow trainee K'rtem, was sent to spy on the Avengers after his training was complete. However, he arrived on Earth shortly after the Avengers had already disbanded. His mission irrelevant, he began to admire the planet's customs; in particular the noble pursuits of the superhero community. Realizing how wrong the Skrulls were about humanity and its heroes, under the civilian identity of Aubrey Thompson, Z'Reg decided to become a superhero himself. He called himself the Crusader, a name he chose specifically because it gave no clue as to his abilities.
He briefly became the mentor of his neighbor Freedom Ring, revealing his origins to the young hero and explaining that he had renounced his species. However, he guided Ring with a softer hand than the one with which he had been trained, which led to his protege's downfall, as he was killed by Iron Maniac. Crusader took the boy's reality-altering ring for himself. Rather than using the ring to continue his superhero career, Crusader seemed to retire to a life of leisure, using it to create fake Skrull women. However, when Titannus attacked the USA, Crusader helped the other superheroes to defeat the enhanced Skrull, having no problem fighting against one of his own as Titannus was under the control of humans.
After the Civil War, he was listed as a potential recruit for the Initiative, and went Camp Hammond along with Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), Melee, Geldoff, Dragon Lord, Geiger, Red Nine, and Diamondback.
The clone of MVP known as "KIA" attacked Crusader and the other new trainees, and severed Crusader's hand in the battle. His hand was surgically reattached by the Camp's doctor, Physique. Fearing a medical examination would reveal his true form, Crusader used the fragments of the Cosmic Cube in his ring to make himself appear human to the doctor's medical tests (in fact, an overly average human, so much so that the doctor commented on how generic his readings were).
During the Skrull Invasion Crusader discovered that camp director Yellowjacket was actually a Skrull impostor. He almost told the camp's counselor Trauma but changed his mind. When 3-D Man arrived in Camp Hammond to announce to everyone assembled that the Initiative had been infiltrated by Skrulls, Crusader feared that he would be exposed as a Skrull despite his good intentions. Crusader used the Freedom Ring to reverse the goggles' power so that they caused 3-D Man to see Crusader as human and all humans as Skrulls.
Realizing the ramifications of this act, Crusader managed to get Delroy to move out of the Ring's range, nullifying the effect. Crusader joined the rest of the Initiative in combating the Skrull invasion of New York. Crusader killed his old friend K'rtem, who had given him a scar down his face during Skrull training which Crusader had worn in all forms as a proud reminder, out of reflex during battle against the Skrulls in Manhattan, as he was afraid K'rtem might give him away after recognising him. After killing K'rtem, Crusader removed the scar from his form. Crusader witnessed Initiative cadet Proton being executed by the Skrulls, and after some doubt as to which side he should fight for, Crusader decided to continue fighting for Earth, aiding Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors when they arrived to fight the Skrulls.
After the battle, Crusader noticed Criti Noll (the Skrull impersonating Pym) running off and chased after him. Crusader fought and defeated the impostor, but 3-D Man then realized that Crusader was a Skrull and shot him through the head. As Crusader lay injured, he wished aloud that things could have ended differently, his Cosmic Ring glowed, enveloping his body which then disappeared.
Powers and Abilities
- Cosmic Ring: Curtis Doyle's ring. The ring was crafted from a fragment of a destroyed Cosmic Cube. It allowed the wearer to alter reality within a radius of roughly 15 feet (4.6m) around him, giving him a 30-foot sphere of reality he could alter.
- Appeared as an African-American, black-haired human as part of the Initiative. Previously appeared as a white human man with black hair and a facial scar.
- Crusader received the Purple Heart before his death.
- 21 appearance(s) of Z'Reg (Earth-616)
- 2 mention(s) of Z'Reg (Earth-616)
- 2 image(s) of Z'Reg (Earth-616)
- 2 quotation(s) by or about Z'Reg (Earth-616)
- 2 victim(s) killed by Z'Reg (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Z'Reg (Earth-616)