|First appearance||Marvel Two-in-One #52 (June 1979)|
|Created by||Steven Grant
|Alter ego||William Cross|
|Team affiliations||Central Intelligence Agency
Cross Technological Enterprises
Masters of Evil
Villains for Hire
|Notable aliases||Agent Cross, Prisoner V22503|
Crossfire's first appearance was in Marvel Two-in-One #52 (1979) and was created by writer Steven Grant and artist Jim Craig. His next appearance in Hawkeye Vol. 1 #4 (1983) was the first of many encounters with the title character. Crossfire would later face off against Hawkeye in the pages of Captain America #317 (1986), Avengers Spotlight #24-25 (1989), Avengers West Coast Vol. 2 #100 (1993) and Hawkeye & Mockingbird #1-6 (2010). Crossfire has also battled Nick Fury in Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 3 #40-41 (1992).
The character was one of the central villains in Spider-Man: Breakout #1-5 (2005). Flashback scenes revealed elements of Crossfire’s life before his supervillain exploits. He also went on to appear as a central character in the limited series Villains for Hire #1-4 (2011-2012), a supervillain spin-off of Marvel's Heroes for Hire series.
Crossfire has made minor appearances in Agent X #6 (2002), Secret War #3-5 (2004) and Union Jack Vol. 2 #1-2 (2006). He appeared as a member of the Hood’s criminal syndicate in New Avengers Vol. 1 #35, 46, 50, 55-57, 60-61, 63-64 (2007–2010), New Avengers Annual #2 (2008), Secret Invasion #6, #8 (2008), Dark Reign: The Hood #1-2, 4-5 (2009), Marvel Zombies 4 #2 (2009), Dark Reign: The Cabal #1 (2009), Captain America: Siege #1 (2010) and New Avengers: Finale #1 (2010).
Fictional character biography
William Cross was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He later became an interrogation expert for the CIA. Cross was already building his own rogue covert operations when he romanced federal corrections officer Rozalyn Backus with whom he developed ultrasonic brainwashing technology. Backus was unaware of Cross' illicit activities, and they were engaged to be married until Cross stole the technology and disappeared. In his disappearance, he faked his own murder and framed Backus for the murder. Surviving an attempt on his life, which cost him his left eye and his left ear, he replaced them with cybernetic implants and became a prosperous high-tech freelance subversive as Crossfire.
Plotting to make the growing superhero community exterminate each other via ultrasonic mind control, Crossfire abducted the Thing to test his technology. Moon Knight (Marc Spector) interfered and Crossfire was defeated.
Crossfire secretly rebuilt his operations at Cross Technological Enterprises (or CTE for short) which was founded by his cousin Darren Cross. When Hawkeye and Mockingbird investigated, Crossfire first tried to eliminate them using the assassins Bombshell, Oddball, and Silencer. When his three assassins failed, Crossfire decided Hawkeye would make an ideal test subject for his super hero mind control plot, because Hawkeye was prominent enough in the super hero community to attract them en masse at his funeral and weak enough to be an easy target. Hawkeye thwarted the brainwashing, captured the criminals and rescued Mockingbird, and they married shortly thereafter.
A vengeful Crossfire subsequently stalked the newlyweds to the estate of former film star Moira Brandon. The elderly actress was declared an honorary Avenger after helping Hawkeye and Mockingbird recapture the supervillain. The juggling supervillain team known as the Death-Throws freed Crossfire from police custody. But when he proved unable to pay them, they held Crossfire for ransom until Captain America, Hawkeye and Mockingbird captured the whole gang. Crossfire later escaped and placed a bounty on Hawkeye's arm, hoping to destroy the hero's skills and break the archer's spirit. An army of supervillains (including Brothers Grimm, Mad Dog, Bobcat, Razor Fist, Bullet Biker and the Death-Throws) look to claim the reward, but are defeated by Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Trickshot. With the bounty hunting supervillains captured, Hawkeye pursues Crossfire through the sewers. Crossfire is knocked off the edge of an outfall dam and is left clinging on for his life. Hawkeye contemplates letting his foe fall to his doom and ending the feud between them once and for all. The archer ultimately saves Crossfire's life, letting him rot in prison instead.
Crossfire was among the army of technology based supervillains recruited by Lucia Von Bardas to attack Nick Fury and a group of superheroes who were involved in a secret war in Latveria a year earlier. The hired supervillains were revealed to each be a component of a bomb designed to destroy the city. Fury and the heroes were able to foil the plot and arrested the supervillains involved, including Crossfire.
At some point during one of his prison stays, he befriended Vector of the U-Foes whose secret power nullification technology he had hoped to exploit. Recaptured following an encounter with S.H.I.E.L.D., he was imprisoned in the Vault where Rozalyn Backus (long since exonerated) was a member of the Vault's Guardsman force. Seemingly aiding and then foiling an escape plot by the U-Foes and Crossfire, Backus turned the criminals against each other, faked her own death, and stole a fortune in cash and goods from the criminals, including Vector's power nullification chamber (which Backus later claimed to have secretly destroyed due to feeling it was too dangerous to preserve). The criminals were later transferred to the new Raft super-prison, and all escaped during Electro's mass breakout, with Crossfire leading a gang of his fellow mind-manipulators: Controller, Corruptor, Mandrill and Mister Fear. Pursuing Backus, the chamber and their grudges against each other, the U-Foes and Crossfire's gang fought a super-powered gang war in New York until Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man broke it up. Crossfire and his gang were recaptured (except Corruptor) and Backus surrendered herself to the authorities.
Along with the Death-Throws, Crossfire was hired by R.A.I.D to take part in a terror plot in London, only to be foiled by Union Jack, Contessa Fontaine, Sabra and the Arabian Knight. Crossfire was knocked from the top of Tower Bridge and fell to the River Thames below. He was believed to have perished when he didn't resurface.
Crossfire is revealed to have survived the fall and is among the supervillains gathered by the Hood looking to take advantage of the split in the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act. Crossfire becomes a member of the Hood's crime syndicate who go on to battle the New Avengers. He is seen battling his old enemy Clint Barton as Ronin.
Crossfire appears is part of the Hood's crime syndicate that come together with the superheroes to battle the Skrull invasion force in New York City. After the Skrull invasion was thwarted, the Hood's criminal army (including Crossfire) fights against the New Avengers laying in wait for Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers. Once again, Crossfire is seen battling Ronin and Mockingbird.
Crossfire is later seen conferring with the Hood to discuss the zombie virus. Whereas the Hood wishes to use the virus to gain more power and influence in the world, Crossfire protests, explaining that one of the reasons he was compelled to ally himself with the Hood was that 'world-conquering' schemes would be avoided. Crossfire is quickly put in his place with a single stern gaze from the supervillain kingpin.
Led by the Wrecking Crew and Dr. Jonas Harrow, Crossfire and the rest of the Hood's crime syndicate rebel against their leader and seek out to make their own deal with Osborn. They attack and defeat the New Avengers and subdue the Dark Avengers. Crossfire was part of the Hood's criminal army that took part in the siege of Asgard, an event orchrestrated by Osborn. After the battle was over and the heroes had won, Crossfire managed to evade capture and branched out on his own once more.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird thwart Crossfire's illegal arms dealings, much to the supervillain's anger. He is later confronted by Jaime Slade (the new Phantom Rider) suggesting that they form an alliance. Together, along with Crossfire's new robotic army of Death T.H.R.O.W.S. (Techno Hybrid Remotely Operated Weapons Systems), the villainous pair plot to destroy the lives of the two heroes. Crossfire and the Phantom Rider are ultimately foiled, but not before Crossfire almost succeeds in killing Hawkeye and Mockingbird, severely wounds Mockingbird's mother, and murders Hamilton Slade. As a result, Crossfire is captured and viciously beaten by Hawkeye. Despite being imprisoned with numerous injuries, Crossfire takes away a small victory in knowing that he has pushed Hawkeye to a breaking point. Hawkeye later discovered that Baron Zemo was the mysterious "benefactor" behind Crossfire's illegal arms dealings.
Luke Cage tells Hawkeye that, as long as Luke is the leader of the Thunderbolts, Crossfire will never be given the opportunity to be part of the team. Steve Rogers had already recommended that Crossfire should not be considered for the Thunderbolts program due to his technological prowess that could see the supervillain override the nanite system used to control the inmates.
Crossfire was later recruited by Max Fury to join the Shadow Council's incarnation of the Masters of Evil. He is later seen in Bagalia being paid off by Nick Fury, Jr. to let Taskmaster out of imprisonment at the time when the Secret Avengers raid Bagalia to recruit Taskmaster.
Crossfire was hired by his second cousin Augustine Cross to capture Cassandra Lang for Cross Technological Enterprises due to Augustine's belief that Cassandra's Pym Particle-irradiated heart could sustain Darren Cross's body.
Powers and abilities
Crossfire has no superhuman powers, but is a highly trained former CIA operative. He is an expert marksman with proficient unarmed combat skills and extensive espionage training. Crossfire is a master of brainwashing techniques and has been known to develop his own technology to further these skills. With his gifted intellect, Crossfire is an expert in the field of robotics and cybernetics. He also has specialized knowledge of applied ultrasonics. Crossfire created the "undertaker" machine, a brainwashing device which employs ultrasonic waves to stimulate rage in the emotion centers of his victims' brains.
An explosion caused Crossfire to lose his left eye, left ear, and 85% loss of hearing in his right ear. His left eye was replaced with an infrared imaging device which affords him a semblance of sight even in total darkness, while his left ear was replaced by an audio sensor that is far more sensitive than the human ear. The loss of natural hearing in his right ear has resulted in Crossfire being unaffected by his own ultrasonic technology. His costume is made of Kevlar and has special hidden compartments containing various weaponry and devices. Crossfire uses twin handguns and a sniper rifle as his weapons of choice.
In the past, Crossfire was known to employ the supervillain group, the Death-Throws, as his foot soldiers. However, deciding to leave behind the "fifth rate hacks in ridiculous costumes", Crossfire created a new army for himself. His "Death T.H.R.O.W.S". (Techno Hybird Remotely Operated Weapons Systems) are robotic constructs that obey only his commands and each carry a small capable arsenal concealed within their armored shells.
Originally, the robotic Death T.H.R.O.W.S. were known as 'Magnum Z's'. The Magnum Z's were fully automated smart soldiers created for the United States. But the US senate ceased their development when they realised that the Magnum Z's abilities were in conflict with the Geneva Convention. Crossfire acquired some of the defunct Magnum Z's to use in a plot to conquer the Isle of El Guapo, then later adapted them for his own purposes.
Covenant of the Shield
An alternate version of Crossfire appears in the 2000 three issue limited series Avataars: Covenant of the Shield, where the Marvel Universe is re-imagined in a fantasy setting. In this reality, Crossfire is known as Iron Cross and is a member of the Minions of Evil.
In other media
- Crossfire appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Neil Ross. This version is a former criminal partner of Scott Lang. In the episode "To Steal an Ant-Man", William Cross and his men (consisting of Big Ben Donovan, Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton, Gideon Mace, Ray "Piranha" Jones, and Spear) kidnapped Cassie Lang so that Scott could pay the money owed to him. After Scott obtains the money via the stolen Ant-Man costume, William met up with Scott to get paid off. However, Cross thought that his ex-partner was Ant-Man all along and alters the deal. Just then, Hank Pym, Luke Cage and Iron Fist help fight Cross' henchmen. After Scott gets Cassie to safety, Cross ends up defeated by Scott.
- Spider-Man: Breakout #1-5
- Marvel Two-in-One #52
- Hawkeye Vol.1 #1-4
- West Coast Avengers Vol.2 #100
- Captain America #317
- Avengers Spotlight #24-25
- Secret War #4
- Spider-Man: Breakout #1-5
- Union Jack #2
- New Avengers #35
- New Avengers Annual #2
- Secret Invasion #6 & 8
- New Avengers #50
- Marvel Zombies 4 #2
- New Avengers #55-58
- Hawkeye & Mockingbird #1
- Hawkeye & Mockingbird #1-5
- Hawkeye: Blindspot #3-4 (2011)
- Hawkeye & Mockingbird #6
- The Heroic Age: Villains #1
- Villains for Hire #1 (2011)
- Secret Avengers #29
- Secret Avengers Vol. 2 #2
- Ant-Man Vol. 2 #4
- Hawkeye vol. 1 #4
- Marvel Two in One #52
- Captain America #317
- Hawkeye & Mockingbird #3
- Heroic Age: Villains #1 (2011)
- Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #40-41 (1992)
- Hawkeye & Mockingbird #3 (2010)
- Avataars: Covenant of the Shield #3