Art by Greg Tocchini
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceCameo: Captain America #359 (October 1989)
Full appearance: Captain America #360 (October 1989)
Named: Captain America #362 (November 1989)[1]
Created byMark Gruenwald (writer)
Kieron Dwyer (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoBrock Rumlow
Team affiliationsThunderbolts
Skeleton Crew
Assassins Guild
PartnershipsRed Skull
Notable aliasesBingo Brock
Mr. Bones
  • Skilled military tactician
  • Expert hand-to-hand combatant, martial artist and marksman
  • Enhanced strength, stamina, durability, and reflexes[2]

Crossbones (Brock Rumlow) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Mark Gruenwald and Kieron Dwyer, the character first made a cameo appearance in Captain America #359 (October 1989), before he was fully introduced later that month in issue #360 and his name was revealed in issue #362 (November 1989).

In his comic book appearances, Crossbones is depicted as a mercenary who is often employed by other villains such as the Red Skull and Hydra. He serves as one of the most enduring adversaries of Captain America, and even played a part in his assassination in the aftermath of the superhero Civil War. A black-and-white skull mask and an insignia on his chest symbolic of his namesake serve as Crossbones' visual motif.

Crossbones has been adapted in various media incarnations, having been portrayed in live-action by Frank Grillo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Grillo has also voiced alternate versions of the character in the Disney+ animated series What If...?.

Fictional character biography

Young Brock Rumlow led the Savage Crims gang on New York City's Lower East Side.[3] After he brutalized fifteen-year-old Rachel Leighton, two of her brothers assaulted Rumlow and he killed them. Rumlow fled, entering the Taskmaster's school for criminals, and within three years he became an instructor there under the name Bingo Brock.[4]

As a mercenary, Rumlow enlisted with Albert Malik, the communist Red Skull, in Algeria, serving him as Frag until he was sent to invade Arnim Zola's Switzerland chateau. Ultimately the only team member to survive the assault, Rumlow met and impressed Johann Shmidt, the original Nazi Red Skull, who accepted Brock’s services and codenamed him "Crossbones".[5]

The true Red Skull sent Crossbones to observe Baron Helmut Zemo's progress acquiring the Bloodstone fragments and to obtain them.[6][7] 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.[8] Knowing that his employer 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.[9] The Red Skull then ordered him to retrieve the Controller after the Controller's breakout from the Vault.[10] With the Machinesmith, Crossbones investigated the Red Skull's disappearance.[11]

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.[12] They battled the Black Queen and her Hellfire Club mercenaries.[13] Crossbones enlisted the aid of psychic Tristam Micawber to locate the Red Skull. Upon finding his employer, Crossbones took the Red Skull to Skullhouse for convalescence.[14]

He next attended AIM's weapons exposition.[15] He battled Daredevil during a failed assassination attempt against the Kingpin.[16] He battled Bullseye during Bullseye's failed assassination attempt against the Red Skull.[17] He battled Captain America again and was defeated.[18] He later recounts how he met the Red Skull.[19] The Red Skull assigned him to discover who killed the Red Skull's spare clone bodies.[20] Alongside the Skeleton Crew, he battled the Schutzheilligruppe in an attempt to rescue the Red Skull but was captured.[21] He was rescued from the Schutzheilligruppe's custody by Arnim Zola's fake Avengers.[22] Crossbones was eventually fired for questioning the Red Skull's decision to ally himself with the Viper.[23]

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.[24] 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 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]

Imprisoned in the Raft when Electro breaks the inmates out, Crossbones was seen fighting Captain America and Spider-Man. Spider-Man kicked Crossbones in the face, knocking him out.[25]

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.[26]

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 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.[27] 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.[28] During the team's first mission, Crossbones was exposed to corrupted Terrigen Mists;[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] Crossbones is shown incarcerated in a padded cell wearing a straitjacket, apparently no longer able to use his energy beam.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34]

During the "Ends of the Earth" storyline, Crossbones was seen in one of Doctor Octopus' facilities. Sabra fights past some Octobots until Crossbones shoots Sabra.[35]

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.[36] He is later defeated by Wilson when he attacks a Hydra base located on Florida.[37]

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.[38] In the aftermath of the events at Pleasant Hill, Crossbones founds a new version of Hydra with the Red Skull and Sin.[39]

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.[40] 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.[41]

During the "Devil's Reign" storyline, Crossbones appears as a member of Mayor Wilson Fisk's incarnation of the Thunderbolts at the time when Mayor Fisk passed a law that forbids superhero activity. He leads the NYPD into raiding Rand Corporation to arrest Danny Rand. As he didn't have his "iron fist" ability, Danny held his own against Crossbones and the NYPD operatives with him before they defeated him.[42]

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,[29] 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.[30] The ability developed to the point where flames engulfed the entirety of his head while still allowing him to fire focused energy beams,[31] 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.[31]

Other versions

Heroes Reborn

Crossbones appears in the Heroes Reborn universe as a partner/enforcer for the Red Skull and Master Man's World Party.[43] This version also gets mutated by gamma radiation to combat Falcon and Captain America.[44] He is killed by Rebel O'Reilly.[45]

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.[46] Before the Red Guard attacked Santo Rico, Crossbones left the team alongside, Cobra, Mister Hyde, and Thunderball.[47]

Old Man Logan

In the pages of Old Man Logan that took place on Earth-21923, 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.[48]

Ultimate Marvel

A teenaged Crossbones appears in the Ultimate Marvel universe as a street punk and a member of the Serpent Skulls gang.[49]

In other media


Marvel Cinematic Universe

See also: Brock Rumlow (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Frank Grillo portrays Brock Rumlow / Crossbones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).[51]

Video games


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