Howard Mitchell was a member of Advanced Idea Mechanics' board of directors under the leadership of Aldrich Killian, with his specialty being in the production of motor-vehicles for the police and military, mostly armored trucks. However, he wasn't fully on board with the company's founding just for Killian to get his petty grudge-fueled revenge on Tony Stark, so he left the board to go work for Cross-Tech, though not before hiring a few grunts to steal one of his armored truck prototypes and a valuable amount of profits for him to make his transition more comfortable.
From then on, Mitchell became one of Darren Cross' top board members, using his talents to establish a secret connection to the Maggia to help fund the creation of Pym Particle serums and armored battle-suits for the military. Mitchell eventually commissioned an armor for himself in secret to use in moonlighting work as a mercenary for the criminal underworld in order to make more profit. The result was a padded bodysuit equipped with nanotechnology and various gas-based weaponry which would allow him to control technology, mostly vehicles, and knock out select targets to make his escape. With the fall of Cross at the hands of Ant Man, Mitchell signed up full-time as a super-human operative in the Maggia faction led by the Slug.