Erik Josten was a former soldier turned smuggler employed by Colonel Helmut Zemo to serve as one of his many mook soldiers in protecting his Nu-HYDRA base following the events of the Avengers Civil War and his escape from the Raft. Eventually, Erik, wanting to make himself more than just a nobody, actively volunteered to make himself the next test subject for receiving a mutagenic treatment with ionic energy mixed with a derivative of the Pym Particle serum. The result gave Erik superhuman strength as well as the ability to manipulate his size. He was thus given the alias of Goliath and sent alongside the other members of Zemo's Masters Initiative to battle the New Avengers at the HYDRA base in the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal.
Later on, when Zemo made a deal with Norman Osborn to propose the idea of HAMMER and the Thunderbolts Initiative to the Government, Erik was brought on board to serve as a member of the superhuman team under the identity of Atlas.