Alexander Gentry was originally a scientist who worked as a weapons designer for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the United States Army, and conceived the idea of designing a techno-organic battle-suit in imitation of a porcupine: the suit would be bonded to its wearer and covered with quill-like projections for defense. The suit would then be able to shoot its quills, or gases, flames, chemicals, paralysis-inducing pellets, or weapons from quill-like tubes, at an opponent. Gentry spent months working overtime to create his porcupine battle-suit, but when HYDRA revealed themselves to the world, Alex was convinced to join the terrorist organization to finish his suit on the basis that the government would pay him virtually nothing for his creation.
He originally served under Baron Strucker and spent months working with him to create the armor. Finally, after successfully testing the armor with the subject Steve Kroptin, who would later be known as Razorblade, Alex then took the data from that research and used it to give himself the armor and had it genetically attached to him. Thus, Gentry gave himself the title of the Porcupine. After his transformation, Baron Zemo took an interest in Porcupine and made arrangements to have him be part of his HYDRA division, known as the Masters of Evil.