Crossbones (comics)


Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Cameo:
Captain America #359 (October 1989)
Captain America #360 (November 1989)
Created by Mark Gruenwald (writer)
Kieron Dwyer (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Brock Rumlow
Team affiliations Skeleton Crew
Partnerships Red Skull (Albert Malik)
Red Skull
Notable aliases Bingo, Frag, Mr. Bones
Abilities Expert military tactician
Extensive training in warfare and various forms of combat
Skilled hand-to-hand fighter, martial artist, marksman, interrogator, torturer, and pilot
High tolerance for pain
Mastery of various weapons

Crossbones (Brock Rumlow) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, usually depicted as an adversary of the superhero Captain America. Created by writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Kieron Dwyer, the character first appeared in Captain America #359 (October 1989). Crossbones usually appears as an ally of the Red Skull. He carried out the assassination of Captain America, although a hypnotized Sharon Carter is believed to have fired the fatal shots.

Over the years, Crossbones has appeared in various forms of media, including animated television series and video games. Most notably, actor Frank Grillo has portrayed the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Publication history

Crossbones first appeared during the "Bloodstone Hunt" storyline in the issues of Captain America. Technically, he made a cameo appearance in issue #359, in one panel, as a figure watching from the shadows. In the next issue, he was shown in costume, making this issue his first full appearance. He later revealed his name to Diamondback before knocking her unconscious in issue #362.[1]

He appeared as a regular character in Thunderbolts beginning with issue #144, but was dismissed from the team in issue #150.

Fictional character biography

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

As a mercenary, Rumlow enlisted with Albert Malik, the communist Red Skull, in Algeria, serving him under the name Frag until he was sent to invade Arnim Zola's Switzerland chateau. Ultimately the only team member to survive the assault, Rumlow there met and impressed the original Nazi Red Skull, Johann Schmidt; this Skull accepted Brock's services, code-naming him Crossbones.

Red Skull sent Crossbones to observe Baron Zemo's progress acquiring the Bloodstone fragments and to obtain them.[2] 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 the body of Heinrich Zemo; the destruction of the Bloodstone discorporated the Hellfire Helix.[3] Knowing that his master would be infuriated by the loss of the Bloodstone, Crossbones kidnapped Diamondback, taking her to Madripoor as bait for Captain America. He challenged Captain America to retrieve her, but the Captain defeated him, although Diamondback escaped, and the Red Skull ordered Crossbones to desist and return to headquarters.[4] The Red Skull then ordered him to retrieve the Controller after the Controller's breakout from the Vault.[5] With the Machinesmith, Crossbones investigated the disappearance of the Red Skull.[6]

Crossbones assembled the Skeleton Crew from the Skull's henchmen and became their leader, searching for the missing Red Skull with them. They battled the Black Queen and her Hellfire Club mercenaries.[7] Crossbones enlisted the aid of psychic Tristam Micawber to locate the Skull. Upon finding him, Crossbones took the Skull to Skullhouse for convalescence.[8] Crossbones always remained loyal to the Red Skull, even tracking him down when he is imprisoned and is left to die by Magneto.

He next attended AIM's weapons exposition.[9] He battled Daredevil during a failed assassination attempt against the Kingpin.[10] He battled Bullseye during Bullseye's failed assassination attempt against the Red Skull.[11] He battled Captain America again and was defeated.[12] He later recounts how he met the Red Skull.[13] The Red Skull assigned him to discover who killed the Skull's spare clone bodies.[14] Alongside the Skeleton Crew, he battled the Schutzheilligruppe in an attempt to rescue the Red Skull but was captured.[15] He was rescued from the Schutzheilligruppe's custody by Arnim Zola's fake Avengers.[16] Crossbones was eventually fired for questioning the Red Skull's decision to ally himself with the Viper.[17]

Desperate to regain his position as leader of the Skeleton Crew, Crossbones kidnapped Diamondback, imprisoning her in an abandoned subway station and forced her into a brutal regime of combat training. Crossbones believed that he had brainwashed her into betraying Captain America, but Diamondback was actually laying a trap for Crossbones. She stole samples of Captain America's blood from the Avengers' mansion, then accompanied Crossbones to the Red Skull's mountain fortress. The two were captured and imprisoned, and the Red Skull rehired Crossbones on a temporary basis. He was later attacked by Cutthroat, new leader of the Skeleton Crew, who feared that Crossbones will try to take back his position as the Red Skull's right-hand man. Crossbones killed him, never realizing that Cutthroat was actually Diamondback's older brother, Danny. Crossbones later stabbed Diamondback during her escape attempt, only to later save her with a blood transfusion in order to use her as bait. He was critically wounded by flying shrapnel during an assault on the fortress by Captain America and Falcon, and imprisoned.

Imprisoned in the Raft when Electro breaks the inmates out, Crossbones was seen fighting Captain America and Spider-Man. The latter kicked Crossbones in the face, knocking him out.[18]

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. Crossbones and his new lover, Synthia Schmidt (the Red Skull's daughter), began hunting the Soldier's commander, Aleksander Lukin. 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 Red Skull's Sleeper robot. While they escape the destruction of the plane, they found Agent 13, and are about to kill her, only to be stopped by the appearance of the Red Skull. They begin working with Red Skull/Lukin, whose minds both share Lukin's body.

Following the Civil War storyline, Captain America and his Anti-Registration heroes surrendered to Iron Man and his Pro-Registration heroes. While being led from Federal Courthouse, Captain America was shot in the shoulder by Crossbones, who was taking orders from Red Skull. Crossbones tries to escape in a helicopter but was tracked by Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Winter Soldier then beat Crossbones into unconsciousness, while Crossbones simply laughed in his face. Falcon then turned Crossbones over to SHIELD custody.

In Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America, Wolverine along with Daredevil and the help of 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.[19]

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 (implied to be Doctor Faustus) had erased several parts of his memory in order to prevent such a scan. Sin and a new incarnation of the Serpent Squad have broken Crossbones free of S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. They then capture Winter Soldier when he confronts Lukin to find out his relationship with the Red Skull.

When Sin and the Serpent Squad attacked the Senate Building, Bucky Barnes (formerly Winter Soldier), 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 intervention of Natalia Romanova, and he shot Crossbones several times in the chest. The gravely wounded Crossbones was then taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody once again.

At the start of the Heroic Age event, Crossbones has become a member of the new Thunderbolts team formed in the aftermath of Siege.[20] 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.[21] During the team's first mission, Crossbones was exposed to corrupted Terrigen Mists;[22] 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.[23] 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 an unsuspecting Steve Rogers. Crossbones was defeated and discharged from the Thunderbolts, after Ghost revealed his murder of the police officer.[24] Crossbones is shown incarcerated in a padded cell wearing a straitjacket, apparently no longer able to use his energy beam.[25]

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, the 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.[26] In Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #2 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.[27]

During the Ends of the Earth storyline, Crossbones was seen in one of Doctor Octopus' facilities. Sabra fights her way past some Octobots until Crossbones shoots her.[28]

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, the new Captain America, on Bagalia. Just as he was about to kill him, he is defeated by Misty Knight who was undercover at that moment.[29] He is later defeated by Sam Wilson when he attacks a HYDRA base located on Florida.[30]

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 uses her powers to de-age Rogers back to his physical prime, which allows him to defeat Crossbones.[31] In the aftermath of the events at Pleasant Hill, Crossbones founds a new version of HYDRA with the Red Skull and Sin.[32]

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. 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, and nearly so with Diamondback.

As a member of the Thunderbolts, Crossbones was exposed to corrupted Terrigen Mists during a mission,[22] 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.[23] The ability developed to the point where flames engulfed the entirety of his head while still allowing him to fire focused energy beams,[24] 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.[24]

Other versions

Cover of Captain America Vol. 2 (January 1997) Art by Rob Liefeld

Crossbones appears in the Heroes Reborn universe as a partner/enforcer for the Red Skull and Master Man's World Party.[33] This version also gets mutated by gamma radiation to combat Falcon and Captain America.[34] He is killed by Rebel O'Reilly.[35]

In the alternate reality depicted in the 2005 "House of M" storyline, Crossbones appeared as a member of Hood's extensive Masters of Evil.[36] Before the Red Guard attacked Santo Rico, Crossbones left the team alongside, Cobra, Mister Hyde, and Thunderball.[37]

In the pages of Old Man Logan, Crossbones was among the villains that worked to take out the superheroes all at once. During the fight in Connecticut, Crossbones killed Wonder Man before being stepped on by Giant-Man.[38]

A teenage version of Crossbones appears in the Ultimate Marvel universe as a street punk and a member of the Serpent Skulls gang.[39]

In other media



Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War.

Video games



  1. Captain America #362
  2. Captain America #359–360
  3. Captain America #361–362
  4. Captain America #363–364
  5. Captain America #365
  6. Captain America #368
  7. Captain America #369
  8. Captain America #370
  9. Quasar #9
  10. Captain America #375–376
  11. Captain America #377
  12. Captain America #378
  13. Captain America #383
  14. Captain America #387
  15. Captain America #390–392
  16. Captain America #393
  17. Captain America #394
  18. New Avengers vol. 1 #1–2
  19. Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America
  20. "Luke Cage Powers into THUNDERBOLTS as Heroic Age Leader". Retrieved 2011-01-11.
  21. Thunderbolts #144
  22. 1 2 Thunderbolts #147
  23. 1 2 Thunderbolts #149
  24. 1 2 3 Thunderbolts #150
  25. Thunderbolts #151
  26. Thunderbolts #159
  27. Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #2
  28. Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth #1
  29. All-New Captain America #2
  30. All-New Captain America #4
  31. Captain America: Sam Wilson #7
  32. Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1
  33. Liefeld, Rob; Loeb, Jeph (w), Liefeld, Rob (p), Sibal, Jonathan; Stucker, Lary (i). "Patriotism", Captain America (Vol 2) #3 (January 1997). Marvel Comics.
  34. James Robinson (w), (Various) (p), (Various) (i). "Crossroads", Captain America (Vol 2) #7 (May 1997). Marvel Comics.
  35. Heroes Reborn: Rebel #1. Marvel Comics.
  36. House of M: Masters of Evil #1. Marvel Comics.
  37. House of M: Masters of Evil #4. Marvel Comics.
  38. Old Man Logan Vol. 2 #8
  39. Fiffe, Michel (w), Pinna, Amilcar (a). All-New Ultimates #4 (July 2014). Marvel Comics.
  40. "Agent Web". Ultimate Spider-Man. Season 4. Episode 12. June 26, 2016. Disney XD.
  41. "Black Panther's Rage". Avengers Assemble. Season 3. Episode 17. September 25, 2016. Disney XD.
  42. Graser, Marc (October 29, 2012). "Frank Grillo to play Crossbones in 'Captain America' sequel". Variety. Archived from the original on November 1, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  43. Breznican, Anthony (August 10, 2013). "Marvel: D23 debuts new scenes for 'Thor' and 'Captain America' sequels". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 10, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  44. "Frank Grillo talks Crossbones' return in 'Captain America: Civil War'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-11-24.

External links

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