Appearance: Invaders #35 (December 1978).
Appearance: Invaders #35-37, Thunderbolts #40, Citizen V & the V-Battalion v1 #1-3, v2 #1.
Years Active: 1942-present.
Helmut Gruler grew up in Germany as a patriot and supported the country no matter what, being one of those "My Country Right Or Wrong" types. This meant that when Germany elected Adolf Hitler as its leader, and then supported Hitler and the Nazis down the path into madness and evil, Gruler supported them. And when Germany went to war with the world, Gruler continued to support his country.
In 1942 Gruler found a suit of power armor in his friend's laboratory and put it on, becoming the Iron Cross. He used the armor to fight for Germany, clashing with the Invaders. At the end of that battle he was presumed drowned, but he survived and remained active for the Germans during the War. In 1945 he fought against the Destroyer and the Blazing Skull.
At some point Gruler was rehabilitated and allowed to join the V-Battalion. Gruler served the V-Battalion as Iron Cross over the decades, in 1953 attending the funeral of Union Jack (II) with the other members of the V-Battalion. In recent years he suffered from various unnamed ailments and was confined to his armor. In the pages of Citizen V he sacrificed himself to save the world.
Gruler has no superpowers but his Iron Cross armor is superstrong and capable of flight and energy blasts.