Cliff Dagger is a brute, with all the traits and stereotypes that that role typically entails: he is slow and dim-witted, but incredibly strong and dangerous. The victim of an abusive father, Cliff grew up believing in brute strength over all else, a philosophy that led him down a dangerous life that ultimately cost him his left eye. However, things changed when Miles Mayhem recruited Dagger to his black ops team, V.E.N.O.M. Dagger is incredibly loyal to Mayhem, seeing him as the father he never had. Cliff's primary weapon, other than his fists, is his Mask, which has the power to create a large flamethrower powerful enough to take on M.A.S.K.'s vehicles.
As a child, Cliff Dagger's father would constantly berate and abuse the timid Cliff for not fighting back against another kid who was bullying him. His father told him to "never let anyone take what was his" and to fight back with anything he had. His mother tried to protect her son, but she was abused just as badly. But this abuse worked, as Dagger would echo his father's words into adulthood. As a teenager, Cliff was placed in juvenile detention, where he put his father's words into practice by beating another kid to become top dog. As an adult, Dagger became a ship captain. During one of their voyages, his ship was attacked by pirates. Dagger and his crew fought them off, but they were outnumbered, and the leader of the pirates ended up slashing at Dagger's face, taking out his left eye. However, he refused to give up his ship, still fighting even with one eye.
Now adorned with an eyepatch, Dagger became a rising star in the world of MMA, climbing the ranks of the circuit better faster than anyone else. This ultimately led him to a fight with the reigning champion, Body Bags. Both men were strong and adept fighters, and they seemed evenly matched. Though Body Bags gained the upper hand, Dagger was able to make a come back, shocking everybody. One person who was impressed at his victory was Miles Mayhem, who, at the behest of Big Boa, placed a last-minute bet on Dagger winning the match. Boa confirmed that Dagger was physically suited to Mayhem's program, and while he may not be the smartest, he can easily be molded into a fine soldier.
Sometime later, Dagger officially joined V.E.N.O.M. He was sent with Vanessa Warfield to retrieve the head of the Decepticon Astrotrain from G.I. Joe, who had quarantined the remains. Dagger fought the Joes off while Warfield used her Manta to retrieve Astrotrain's head. Lifeline was able to fight off Dagger and escape with the collected specimens. Dagger alerted Sly Rax, who pursued.
Dagger joined Mayhem when he met up with Destro to deliver the Astrotrain pieces V.E.N.O.M. had recovered. However, the exchange was interrupted by Matt Trakker and Scarlett, the latter of whom engaged Dagger in combat. During the fight, Scarlett was able to manipulate Dagger, using his Mask power to engulf Mayhem's Switchblade in flames and forcing it down. As the rest of V.E.N.O.M. arrived, Trakker and the Joes decided to return to base, leaving Dagger unconscious on the ground.
- Cliff is the only member of either M.A.S.K. or V.E.N.O.M. to not have a designated vehicle or code name. In the original M.A.S.K. cartoon, Cliff's vehicle was the Jackhammer (which became Julio's in the comic) and his Mask was called "Torch" (it has yet to be named in the comics.)