Art by Greg Tocchini
|First appearance||Captain America #359 (October 1989; cameo appearance)|
Captain America #360 (November 1989; full appearance)
|Created by||Mark Gruenwald|
|Alter ego||Brock Rumlow|
|Team affiliations||Skeleton Crew|
|Partnerships||Red Skull (Albert Malik)|
Red Skull (Johann Schmidt)
|Notable aliases||Bingo, Frag, Mr. Bones|
Crossbones (Brock Rumlow) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as an adversary of Captain America, and played a part in his assassination.
The character has been adapted into multiple forms of media, most notably being portrayed by Frank Grillo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Created by writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Kieron Dwyer, Crossbones first made a cameo appearance in Captain America #359 (October 1989) as a shrouded figure watching from the shadows, making a full appearance during the "Bloodstone Hunt" storyline in issue #362.
He has appeared as a regular character in Thunderbolts beginning with issue #144, but was dismissed from the team in issue #151.
Fictional character biography
Brock Rumlow led the Savage Crims gang on New York City's Lower East Side, during which time, he assaulted fifteen-year-old Rachel Leighton and fought Rachel's two brothers, killing the elder brother. Rumlow fled, entering Taskmaster's school for criminals, within three years becoming an instructor under the name Bingo Brock.
As a mercenary, Rumlow enlisted with Albert Malik, the communist Red Skull, in Algeria, serving the Red Skull under the name Frag until he was sent to invade Arnim Zola's Switzerland chateau; Rumlow was ultimately the only team member to survive the assault. There, he also met and impressed, Johann Schmidt, the original Nazi Red Skull, who accepted Brock's services and code-named him as "Crossbones".
The true Red Skull sent Crossbones to observe Baron Helmut Zemo's progress acquiring the Bloodstone fragments and to obtain them. He stowed aboard Captain America's flagship, and entered Zemo's ship to steal the Bloodstone fragments. He overpowered Diamondback, and shot a crossbow bolt that coupled with Captain America's shield. Crossbones was forced to shatter the Bloodstone fragments when the alien entity known as the Hellfire Helix used it to take control of Baron Heinrich Zemo's body; the destruction of the Bloodstone discorporated the Hellfire Helix. Knowing that his master would be infuriated by the Bloodstone's loss, Crossbones kidnapped Diamondback to Madripoor as bait for Captain America. He challenged Captain America to retrieve Diamondback, but the Captain defeated him, although Diamondback escaped, and the Red Skull ordered Crossbones to desist and return to headquarters. The Red Skull then ordered him to retrieve the Controller after the Controller's breakout from the Vault. With the Machinesmith, Crossbones investigated the Red Skull's disappearance.
Crossbones assembled the Skeleton Crew from the Red Skull's henchmen and led them on a search for the Red Skull, who had been missing since Magneto imprisoned him in an underground bunker. They battled the Black Queen and her Hellfire Club mercenaries. Crossbones enlisted the aid of psychic Tristam Micawber to locate the Red Skull. Upon finding his master, Crossbones took the Red Skull to Skullhouse for convalescence.
He next attended AIM's weapons exposition. He battled Daredevil during a failed assassination attempt against the Kingpin. He battled Bullseye during Bullseye's failed assassination attempt against the Red Skull. He battled Captain America again and was defeated. He later recounts how he met the Red Skull. The Red Skull assigned him to discover who killed the Red Skull's spare clone bodies. Alongside the Skeleton Crew, he battled the Schutzheilligruppe in an attempt to rescue the Red Skull but was captured. He was rescued from the Schutzheilligruppe's custody by Arnim Zola's fake Avengers. Crossbones was eventually fired for questioning the Red Skull's decision to ally himself with the Viper.
Desperate to regain his position as leader of the Skeleton Crew, Crossbones kidnapped Diamondback, imprisoning in an abandoned subway station and forced into a brutal regime of combat training.[volume & issue needed] Crossbones believed that he had brainwashed Diamondback into betraying Captain America, but Diamondback was actually laying a trap for Crossbones.[volume & issue needed] Diamondback stole samples of Captain America's blood from the Avengers' mansion, then accompanied Crossbones to the Red Skull's mountain fortress.[volume & issue needed] The two were captured and imprisoned, and the Red Skull rehired Crossbones on a temporary basis.[volume & issue needed] He was later attacked by Cutthroat, the Skeleton Crew's new leader, who feared that Crossbones will try to take back his position as the Red Skull's right-hand man.[volume & issue needed] Crossbones killed Cutthroat, never realizing that Cutthroat was actually Diamondback's older brother.[volume & issue needed] Crossbones later stabbed Diamondback during Diamondback's escape attempt, only to later save with a blood transfusion in order to use as bait.[volume & issue needed] He was critically wounded by flying shrapnel during an assault on the fortress by Captain America and the Falcon, and imprisoned.[volume & issue needed]
After he escaped from prison, Crossbones became a mercenary and assassin for a number of organizations, until he was rehired by the Red Skull who was later apparently assassinated by the Winter Soldier.[volume & issue needed] Crossbones and his new lover, Synthia Schmidt (the Red Skull's daughter), began hunting Aleksander Lukin, the Winter Soldier's commander.[volume & issue needed] They plotted to crash a stolen World War II era plane into the new Kronas Headquarters in London, only to have their plane destroyed by the Red Skull's Sleeper robot.[volume & issue needed] While they escape the destruction of the plane, they found Agent 13, and are about to kill Sharon Carter, only to be stopped by the Red Skull's appearance.[volume & issue needed] They begin working with Red Skull/Lukin whose minds both share Lukin's body.[volume & issue needed]
Following the Civil War storyline, Captain America's Anti-Registration heroes surrendered to Iron Man's Pro-Registration heroes.[volume & issue needed] While being led from Federal Courthouse, Captain America was shot in the shoulder by Crossbones taking the Red Skull's orders.[volume & issue needed] Crossbones tries to escape in a helicopter but was tracked by the Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier then beat Crossbones into unconsciousness, while Crossbones simply laughed. Falcon then turned Crossbones over to S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.[volume & issue needed]
In Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America, Wolverine, along with Daredevil and Doctor Strange, broke into S.H.I.E.L.D. to interrogate Crossbones and threatened to kill him. Crossbones revealed no knowledge of his hiring by the Red Skull. Wolverine left him a bloody mess on the floor after being convinced by Daredevil to spare his life.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Tony Stark arranged for Professor X to scan Crossbones' mind for information, but Professor X found that someone had erased several parts of his memory in order to prevent such a scan.[volume & issue needed] Sin and a new incarnation of the Serpent Squad have broken Crossbones free of S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.[volume & issue needed] They then capture the Winter Soldier when confronting Lukin to find out a relationship with the Red Skull.[volume & issue needed]
When Sin and the Serpent Squad attacked the Senate Building, Bucky Barnes arrived as the new Captain America. After battling and injuring many of the Squad, Crossbones attacked Barnes. After a brutal fight in which Crossbones launched Barnes out of the building. Bucky was saved by the Natalia Romanova's intervention, and Bucky shot Crossbones several times in the chest. The gravely wounded Crossbones was then taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody once again.[volume & issue needed]
At the start of the Heroic Age event, Crossbones has become a member of the new Thunderbolts team formed in the aftermath of Siege. Government agents, working with Luke Cage, add Crossbones to the team knowing that he cannot be reformed, hoping that his extreme methods will alienate the other Thunderbolt members and push them towards rehabilitation. During the team's first mission, Crossbones was exposed to corrupted Terrigen Mists; during the events of Shadowland, Crossbones manifested the ability to fire a powerful, piercing beam of energy from his face, theorizing that this ability originates from his exposure to the Terrigen mists. He uses this ability to murder a police officer. Fearing that the Thunderbolts are close to being disbanded following Cage's decision to leave, Crossbones attempted to escape alongside Ghost and Juggernaut. During the attempt, Crossbones used his new ability to fight the unsuspecting Steve Rogers. Crossbones was defeated and discharged from the Thunderbolts, after Ghost revealed his murder of the police officer. Crossbones is shown incarcerated in a padded cell wearing a straitjacket, apparently no longer able to use his energy beam.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Crossbones was constantly harassed while he was behind bars, because he was both a former Thunderbolt member and a neo-nazi. Shortly after when he was being beaten up by more thugs, Juggernaut unintentionally causes a break out in the prison facility called the Raft. Man Mountain Mario (the cousin of Man Mountain Marko) helps defend Crossbones from the thugs. While the two of them were trying to escape, Mario told Crossbones about his grandma who helps criminals leave the border. Crossbones manages to escape and returns the favor by killing Mario to help with his escape. He confronts some of the former Avengers Initiative members in New Jersey after he escapes the Raft. He fights Gravity, Frog-Man, Geiger, Scarlet Spiders, and Firestar. When he's surrounded, he tosses a grenade at Gravity but Geiger catches it and is seriously injured, creating an easy distraction for him to escape.
Crossbones later appears as a member of HYDRA who are planning to spread poisonous blood extracted from an Inhuman boy named Lucas. He fights Sam Wilson as the new Captain America on Bagalia. Just as he was about to kill Wilson, he is defeated by Misty Knight who was undercover at that moment. He is later defeated by Wilson when he attacks a HYDRA base located on Florida.
During the Avengers: Standoff! storyline, Crossbones was an inmate of Pleasant Hill, a gated community established by S.H.I.E.L.D. When Steve Rogers was at the Pleasant Hill Bowling Alley trying to reason with Kobik, Crossbones attacks Rogers. Before Crossbones can kill Rogers, Kobik's powers de-age Rogers back to physical prime, which allows the Captain to defeat Crossbones. In the aftermath of the events at Pleasant Hill, Crossbones founds a new version of HYDRA with the Red Skull and Sin.
During the Secret Empire storyline, Crossbones appears as a member of the Army of Evil and took part in the attack on Manhattan in retaliation for what happened at Pleasant Hill. Crossbones and Sin are shown to be in charge of a super-prison that was established by Hydra. Their super-prison was raided by the Underground in their mission to free their captive friends.
Powers and abilities
An expert combatant trained in warfare, Crossbones is an accomplished military tactician, and is thus able to formulate strategies on the battlefield. He also has extensive training in martial arts, street-fighting, marksmanship, and various forms of hand-to-hand combat. He once served as a student at the Taskmaster's school for criminals before becoming an instructor there himself.[volume & issue needed] Physically, Crossbones is tall and well built, but moves with an athletic grace uncommon for a man of his bulk. In addition, he is proficient in the use of various weapons, such as guns, bows, and throwing knives. One of Crossbones' primary weapons are spring-loaded stiletto blades housed in his gauntlets. He also has experience with torture and brainwashing, having effectively "reprogrammed" Sin,[volume & issue needed] and nearly so with Diamondback.[volume & issue needed]
As a member of the Thunderbolts, Crossbones was exposed to corrupted Terrigen Mists during a mission, and shortly after manifested the ability to generate a circle of energy in front of his face which could fire energy beams capable of piercing and burning his targets. The ability developed to the point where flames engulfed the entirety of his head while still allowing him to fire focused energy beams, though these flames could seemingly be doused in water. While his power is active, Crossbones does not appear to be entirely impervious to the flames he generates. After the flames died following his first usage, his mask appeared to have been burnt away and his face was heavily scarred.
Crossbones appears in the Heroes Reborn universe as a partner/enforcer for the Red Skull and Master Man's World Party. This version also gets mutated by gamma radiation to combat Falcon and Captain America. He is killed by Rebel O'Reilly.
House of M
In the alternate reality depicted in the 2005 "House of M" storyline, Crossbones appeared as a member of Hood's extensive Masters of Evil. Before the Red Guard attacked Santo Rico, Crossbones left the team alongside, Cobra, Mister Hyde, and Thunderball.
Old Man Logan
In Old Man Logan, Crossbones is among the villains who work to take out the superheroes all at once. During the fight in Connecticut, Crossbones kills Wonder Man before being stepped on by Giant-Man.
In other media
- Crossbones appears in the Toei anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers.
- Crossbones appears in the Avengers Assemble animated series, voiced by Fred Tatasciore. In the episode "In Deep", he and the Grim Reaper are captured by the Avengers and replaced by Captain America and Iron Man so they can infiltrate the Cabal. In "Panther's Rage", Crossbones is hired by Ulysses Klaue to target an assembly that T'Challa is speaking at, only to be intercepted by Captain America. With Black Panther's help, the latter defeats Crossbones. In the episode, "Why I Hate Halloween", Crossbones and Crimson Widow are sent to retrieve Whitney Frost from Hawkeye. After fleeing from Dracula's vampire army, they are apprehended by the Avengers. In the episode "The Vibranium Coast", a pirate version of Crossbones serves as the Red Skull's first mate while hunting for Typhoid Mary off the titular location before being defeated by Ant-Man and Ms. Marvel. In the episode "House of M", another version of Crossbones serves as an enforcer of the Red Skull alongside Crimson Widow and Typhoid Mary while confronting the Avengers and dealing with Madame Masque.
- Crossbones appears in Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six, voiced again by Fred Tatasciore. In the episode "Agent Web", he and his HYDRA agents take Nick Fury hostage and meet with Spider-Man and Triton at the Inhumans' abandoned city of Atarog to obtain Madame Web for HYDRA in exchange, but the heroes are able to save Fury and defeat Crossbones' forces after receiving assistance from Madame Web's precognitions. In the multi-episode "Symbiote Saga", Crossbones has become HYDRA's leader after Arnim Zola's apparent demise and orders Michael Morbius to capture Doctor Octopus and experiment with a weaponized symbiote for the organization. Crossbones later meets up with his vampiric cohort beneath Midtown High, where they have the Carnage Queen load symbiote-laced missiles to launch around the world. After Spider-Man destroys Carnage Queen's mind control device, Crossbones escapes. In the two-part series finale "Graduation Day", Crossbones became an unwilling member of the Sinister Six after being attacked by Scorpion, who mutated him into a Lizard on Doctor Octopus' behalf. Following his battle with the Sinister Six, Spider-Man later gives Crossbones an antidote, who takes his leave not long after.
- Crossbones appears in the Spider-Man animated series, voiced again by Fred Tatasciore. In the episode "Spider-Island (Pt. 2)", Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen find Crossbones robbing an armored car containing the key to a Vibranium vault on Arnim Zola's behalf while Manhattan's citizens were developing spider powers. They subdue him and leave him for spider-powered police officers. When Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, and Black Widow arrive at the Vibranium vault to stop Crossbones' fellow Hydra agents, Crossbones himself caught up to them after escaping from the police and developing spider powers of his own. With help from spider-powered bystanders, the heroes defeat Crossbones and his group of Hydra agents while Zola and his group escape. In the episode "Goblin War (Pt. 3)", Crossbones became a leader of the Goblin Nation's War Goblins. An internal scuffle results in Crossbones weakening fellow leader Electro before being attacked by Ghost-Spider and defeated by Spy-D.
- Crossbones appears in the Marvel Future Avengers anime series, voiced by Masato Obara in Japanese and Fred Tatasciore in English. In the episode "Here Comes Deadpool!", he is seen working for Hydra and hiring the eponymous character to retrieve specs for a new Iron Man armor promising to give him money and his own Japanese anime cartoon. After Deadpool gets the target, he meets with Crossbones, who reneges on the deal. While Crossbones wins the ensuing fight, the Avengers show up and capture him.
- Brock Rumlow first appears in the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He is depicted as the commander of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, but is later revealed to be a double-agent for the terrorist organization Hydra. Rumlow first assists Captain America on a mission to free hostages taken by Georges Batroc's pirates. When the Captain later refuses to disclose S.H.I.E.L.D. information to Secretary Alexander Pierce, Rumlow and his team are tasked with capturing Steve Rogers and Black Widow. Once Captain America outs Rumlow's unit and Pierce as Hydra agents, Rumlow comes into conflict with both Sharon Carter and the Falcon until a Helicarrier crashes onto the Triskelion, leaving Rumlow with severe burns and scars.
- The character returns in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War, now operating as Crossbones. Prior to the movie's events, the Avengers have tracked Rumlow for six months before finding him in Lagos, Nigeria. Rumlow and a group of mercenaries storm an institute for infectious diseases and steal a biological weapon when the Avengers intervene. Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon and Wanda Maximoff chase them down, and despite having acquired strength-enhancing gauntlets, Rumlow is defeated while his fellow mercenaries are captured. In a final attempt to kill Captain America, Rumlow detonates his explosives, but Wanda uses her powers to contain the explosion and levitate him out of harm's way. However, she inadvertently destroys a nearby building, killing him along with dozens of civilians.
- A past version of the character appears in the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame, in a scene taking place during the events of the first Avengers film. Rumlow is part of a group of Hydra double-agents who attempt to obtain Loki's scepter following the Battle of New York, but are tricked by a time-traveling Steve Rogers into giving it to him instead.
- Crossbones appears as a boss in Captain America and the Avengers.
- Crossbones appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel's Avengers, voiced by Darren O'Hare. The MCU version of Brock Rumlow is also playable, initially in his STRIKE uniform from Captain America: The Winter Soldier before his Crossbones design from Captain America: Civil War was added later via DLC.
- Crossbones appeared in Marvel Avengers Academy during the Captain America: Civil War event.
- Crossbones appears in Marvel Heroes.
- Crossbones appears in Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Crossbones is a playable character in Marvel Strike Force.
- Crossbones is a playable character in Marvel: Future Fight.
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