5716 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Crossbones (Marvel Comics) (Captain America enemy) leaping fist first

Crossbones

(Profile #1 - the 1990s)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Crossbones is a recurrent enemy of Captain America, who appeared in 1989. He’s an exceptionally strong and vicious mercenary fighter who admires the Red Skull.

This profile is an emergent history profile – it was written in 2000, so later retcons and depictions aren’t included. Appearances during the 2000s and 2010s seemed to have Crossbones be less formidable than during the 1990s.


Background

  • Real Name: Brock Rumlow
  • Former Aliases: Bingo, Bing, Frag
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Former leader of the Skeleton Crew
  • Base Of Operations: Red Skull’s H.Q., Rocky Mountains
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 290lbs
  • Eyes: Unrevealed Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Crossbones is one of the very meanest, baddest, toughest, most badass mofos on the planet. His physique is incredible. is impossibly powerful metabolism give him near-superhuman power, stamina and speed. He knows everything about street fighting, and is a master of a large number of weapons and martial arts.

He’s also a resourceful, ruthless fighter and agent. He is both fearless and more than willing to fight and operate dirty — and an expert at pain management.

He carries a small arsenal, including :

  • Throwing knives (x10)
  • Single-edged combat knives
  • “Wrist switchblades” – these are knife blades extending past his hands from the top of his wrist bands
  • Collapsible high-powered crossbow pistol (occasionally used to tow a line)
  • Crossbones-shaped shuriken (x12)
  • Beretta 92F handgun

His favourite weapon is his crossbow, followed by his various knives – but he enjoys fighting hand-to-hand almost as much. He seldom uses his pistol as he dislikes noisy weapons. Crossbones also carries some plastic explosives, mantraps, fishing wire, etc. which he uses for building booby traps when fighting powerful foes.


History

Brock Rumlow was apparently always a bad seed, a sadist and a master fighter. As a youth, he was the leader of the Savage Crims street gang, in New York City. The Crims are known to have fought with other gangs with a strong reputation, such as the Yancy Street Gang.

The Leighton family was involved with the Crims – two of the Leighton brothers, Danny and Ricky, ran with them. Their kid sister Ratsel wanted to join the set, wanting to be tough but being too young to understand that the girls in the Crims were only kept as concubines.

She sneaked into the Savage Crims’ HQ and was caught by Runlow who beat her, raped her and kept her prisoner. Willy Leighton, the older brother and cripple ’Nam veteran, came for her along with Ricky – but Rumlow was faster and killed Willy with a thrown knife.

These exactions forced Rumlow to flee the heat, and broke the Leightons. Ricky became unhinged and died a few months later in a hold-up. Danny left in shame, and would eventually become the costumed villain Cutthroat. Ratsel continued her descent into criminality and would eventually become the costumed mercenary Diamondback.

Frag

Within but a few years, Rumlow had hit the big time. He was recruited by Taskmaster to serve as a street fighting instructor. Among his trainees were the future Snapdragon (Sheoke Sanada) and the future Diamondback, though he did not recognise the latter.

As “Frag”, Rumlow became a reputed mercenary and weapons expert. His signature weapon was apparently a longbow firing explosive arrows. In unrevealed circumstances, Frag’s face was badly scarred and he began wearing a mask.

Some years later the Red Skull (Albert Malik) hired Frag and other mercs to break into Arnim Zola’s castle. Zola’s defence slaughtered the mercenaries – but a visiting Red Skull (Johann Shmidt) thought that Frag showed clear potential.

Captured, the brash Rumlow challenged the Skull to a fight. Though he lost, the duel confirmed the Skull’s impression that Rumlow would be an excellent recruit.

The Skull recruited Rumlow, changed his nom de guerre to Crossbones, and had him train for several years with a succession of teachers in Europe. Once his training was complete, Crossbones became the Red Skull’s bodyguard and main assassin, and later on the leader of the Skeleton Crew.

Against Captain America

Crossbones was first seen in late 1989. Captain America and his ally Diamondback (Rachel Leighton) had been attempting to recover all fragments of the Bloodgem before Baron Zemo (Helmut Zemo) and his mercs of Batroc’s Brigade could find enough of these to resurrect Zemo’s father.

Crossbones failed to get the recomposed gem, but he beheaded the reanimated Zemo, knocking back the zombie and the assembled Bloodgem into a volcano. He also captured Diamondback.

Rumlow wanted to use Leighton as a lure to duel Captain America and impress the Skull. He took her to Madripoor to set his trap up. However, Diamondback escaped and the fight against Cap was less than conclusive. The Skull ordered Crossbones to cease engaging Captain America, as Shmidt considered that he alone deserved to fight the Star-Spangled Avenger.

Crossbones leaps in

When the Red Skull joined the Acts of Vengeance conspiracy, Crossbones freed from prison a number of criminals so they could serve as operatives. These included the Controller and the Voice. However, Magneto kidnapped the Red Skull and left him to die.

Crossbones led the rescue effort to find Shmidt before it was too late. He was accompanied by the Skeleton Crew, which was back then the Voice, Mother Night, and Machinesmith wearing the body of a Schlaffer (Sleeper) wartime robot.

A bad tip from the Serpent Society led Crossbones to break into the Hellfire Club’s headquarters. There, the Black Queen (Selene) nearly killed the Voice and forced the rest to retreat.

Changing strategies, Crossbones remembered about the psychic Tristram Micawber, whom Baron Zemo had used to track down the Bloodgem fragments. This worked, and they found the Skull as he was hovering at death’s door.

Shmidt wasn’t recovering well, and to help him focus Rumlow took him to visit the trophy room in the Skull’s old manor. He then arranged a meeting with Captain America. His hatred rekindled, the Skull made a full recovery.

Streets of poison

In the summer of 1990, the Red Skull sent Crossbones to assassinate the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk). The overconfident Rumlow just went in and killed the crime lord’s bodyguard, but found himself outmatched by the Kingpin himself and his current ally, Typhoid Mary. Mary nearly killed Crossbones, though Daredevil (Matthew Murdock) saved his life. Crossbones beat up the exhausted Daredevil, but had failed.

The Kingpin repaid the favour by sending Bullseye to kill the Red Skull. Bullseye appeared to succeed but only “killed” a LMD, and barely escaped from the superior Crossbones. The whole business cumulated with a duel between the Kingpin and the Skull – the latter’s consciousness then being hosted in a clone of Captain America’s body.

During the duel Crossbones intercepted and fought a weakened Captain America, but Cap nevertheless won by yanking Crossbones’ mask in front of his eyes and hammering him in the throat.

Some time later, the Red Skull was captured by the German government operatives the Schutzheiliggruppe. Crossbones and the Skeleton Crew attempted a rescue, but were led into an ambush by the Gruppe and captured. However, a clever ploy by Arnim Zola allowed the Skull and the Crew to break free, and Shmidt then used Zola’s tech to fake his death and that of Crossbones and Mother Night.

By this point, though, the Skull was tired of Crossbones’ initiatives and lack of unthinking obedience. He fired Rumlow, but left him alive in case of a future need.

Breaking diamonds

Rumlow took a vacation, considering that Shmidt would inevitably want him back. Learning that his successors was a fourth-stringer, Cutthroat (Danny Leighton), strengthened his stance. While in New York City, Rumlow got lucky and stumbled upon Diamondback (Rachel Leighton), who had stopped training and retired her Diamondback identity.

Crossbones kidnapped the diminished Rachel Leighton, whom he recognised this time. He used his interrogation and torture skills to break her – partly out of sadism, partly out of nostalgia, and in order to gain information about her friend Captain America and barter this to get his position with the Red Skull back.

After a month he was successful, but wasn’t sure that the information pumped out of Leightnon was enough and he had her steal several bags filled with Captain America’s blood and kept in Avengers’ Mansion. They then drove to Shmidt’s current HQ, in the Rockies.

Learning what Rumlow had done to his sister, Cutthroat decided to kill him. However, his lover Mother Night betrayed him and warned Crossbones. When Cutthroat sneaked into Rumlow’s bedroom at night to murder him, Crossbones killed him instead – though years later Cutthroat was revealed to have somehow survived. With the position vacant, Crossbones was given his job back.

With Rumlow’s brainwashing weakened by seeing her brother, Diamondback escaped but was recaptured. The Skull decided to use her as a test subject to see what could be done with Captain America’s blood.

However, Captain America and the Falcon then attacked. During their assault, Crossbones got into a long, brutal fight with Cap and gained the upper hand when he took his shield.

However, an enraged Diamondback freed herself and pounced on Crossbones, strangling him with a nearby cable. Rumlow barely broke her hold and was struggling to get back up when he was hit by burning shrapnel from a nearby explosion. Leighton was just watching him burn when Captain America came in and extinguished the fire, accidentally jamming the shrapnel deeper.

Crossbones narrowly survived thanks to intensive care at the Vaults prison.

Recovery

The Vault doctors attempted to rehabilitate Rumlow, but he was far too hardened. Still, he played along with the therapy. In 1993, when the building he was in was attacked by terrorists, he continued to play along and defeated them single-handedly, even requesting treatment for their wounded leader rather than finishing him off.

In 1995, Captain America was dying of a degenerative disease. With about a day left to live he visited the penitentiary where Crossbones was being held under close watch. He told him that the Red Skull was planning big things – but had manifestly abandoned Rumlow.

Hoping to reach out to Rumlow before he died Cap asked the killer if he loved anything, or was wholly evil. However Crossbones couldn’t understand the question, and laughed as he assumed that love was necessarily a weakness.

Later on, Crossbones was transferred to the Rafts prison.


Description

Crossbones is a mountain of rock-hard muscle. He’s very tall and extremely broad, with huge arms. He looks roughly on the same level as a younger, slightly shorter but even more muscular Bob Sapp . He’s terribly disfigured, and he nearly always wear his mask.

Crossbones dresses with a sleeveless black skintight T-shirt with a crossbones motif, black pants, black fingerless gloves with utility bracers, low black boots and an utility belt with two thigh holsters. He wears a black mask with a white skull over his face, tied behind his neck like a bandana.


Personality

Rumlow is entirely about strength, domination and ruthlessness. He’s a brutal killer and mercenary with a sadistic sense of humour. He enjoys taunting his opponents, asserting that his might makes right and being snarky and relentless. He enjoys tormenting losers and wimps, and considers that his strength and wickedness allow him to do whatever he wants.

Crossbones is a pragmatic, smart, self-serving fighter. He’ll do anything necessary to reach his objectives, and civilians are only seen as hostages or as target practice. Rumlow is unpredictable in his mix of frontal assault (his favourite techniques), traps (against skilled opponents) and feints.

However, he tends to be overconfident and sometimes wastes time bragging.

Crossbones is a menace, plain and simple. He has no honor nor inhibitions, and enjoys killing, causing pain and using his weapons – especially blades. He’s also a sadist in bed.

Although he’s disciplined, Rumlow is very independent. He hates rigid chains of command, and prefers to have as much initiative and flexibility as possible. Left to his own devices, he is full of excellent ideas and pertinent decisions.

He also has a nasty tendency never to forget or forgive insults, even if he must bide his time.


Quotes

“Ever since I was a kid the Red Skull was my idea of the meanest, toughest, coolest bad guy on the planet. The baddest of the bad.”

(His most common answer to the Skull) “Whatever you say, boss.”

“You see, the rug you’re standing on hides a pressure-sensitive plate connected to a bomb. Move your weight off that plate, and kaboom ! The whole room explodes ! You along with it ! Tricky devil, ain’t I ?”

“Oh no, please don’t hurt me, MR SuperPro, SIR ! I give up ! You win ! I’ll tell you anythin’ ya want ta know… Just give me a minute ta catch my breath and… KILL YOU !”

(Cap hits Crossbones, who doesn’t budge) “Cute, Cappy. You musta been a holy terror on the playground !”

(When Cap held his shield against Crossbone’s throat): “You expect me ta believe that a goody-two-shoes like you would seriously do damage to my windpipe ? What a joker !”

Crossbones: “I’ll need a phone, three pairs of handcuffs, and some rubber hoses.”
Madame Xiona: “The usual, huh, Mr Bones?”

Diamondback : “How long was I out ?”
Crossbones : “About a day. When I hit people, they stay hit.”

“All I can say is, the boss had better appreciate all this. When it comes to violence, I’m a regular Rembrandt !”


DC Universe History

Crossbones is probably redundant with Bane.


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Crossbones

Dex: 09 Str: 06 Bod: 06 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Mercenary
Inf: 06 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 025 HP: 060

Skills:
Acrobatics: 06, Charisma (interrogation, intimidation)*: 06, Martial artist: 10, Medicine (first aid, brainwashing): 06, Military science: 05, Thief (stealth): 05, Vehicles (land, air): 08, Weaponry: 10

Advantages:
Iron Nerves, Lightning Reflexes, Misc.: Crossbone’s metabolism is so powerful that fighters reading their opponent’s physiology, such as Daredevil, receive a -1CS penalty to their AV and OV against him (5 pts)

Connections:
Underworld (Low), Red Skull (Low), Street (Low)

Drawbacks:
MIA to overconfidence, Distinct Appearance

Equipment:
Crossbones carries a small arsenal, including :

  • Throwing knives (x10) [BODY 04, EV 04, Grenade drawback]
  • Single-edged combat knives [BODY 08, EV 03 (07 w/STR, 11 w/Martial Artist)]
  • WRIST SWITCHBLADES [BODY 06, EV 03 (07 w/STR, 11 w/ Martial Arts) – knife blades extending past his hands from the top of his wrist bands]
  • Collapsible high-powered crossbow pistol [BODY 03, Range: 03, Ammo: 01, Drawback : Long reload time] with Quarrel (x5) [BODY 02, EV 05, Note : occasionally used to tow a line or rope]
  • Crossbones-shaped shuriken (x12) [BODY 03, EV 03, Dart Bonus, Grenade drawback]
  • Beretta 92F [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo 15, R#2]
  • Crossbones also carries some plastic explosives, mantraps, fishing wire, etc. which he uses for building booby traps when fighting powerful foes.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Crossbones — Averaged PL 10.4

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
05 05 04 06 10 03 02 02

Combat Advantages

Close attack 6, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 3, Evasion, Fearless, Improved Disarm, Improved Grab, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 10, Takedown 2, Uncanny Dodge

Other Advantages

Equipment 3

Skills

Acrobatics 5 (+9), Athletics 4 (+9), Deception 3 (+5), Expertise: Brainwashing 9 (+12), Expertise: Criminal 4 (+7), Insight 2 (+4), Intimidation 4 (+6), Perception 6 (+8), Persuasion 2 (+4), Stealth 5 (+9), Treatment 6 (+9), Vehicles 5 (+11, Limited 1 to land and air), Technology 6 (+9, Limited 2 to demolitions)

Equipment

– Weaponry — Array ● 13 points

  • Throwing knives — Strength-based Damage 1, Ranged 6
  • Single-edged combat knives — Strength-based Damage 1, Threat 19-20
  • Wrist switchblades — Strength-based Damage 1, Threat 19-20, Feature (attached to wristbands)
  • Collapsible high-powered crossbow pistol — Ranged Damage 4, Threat 19-20, Activation (move)
  • Crossbones-shaped shuriken — Ranged Damage 1, Multiattack
  • Beretta 92F — Ranged Damage 3

– Crossbones also carries some plastic explosives, mantraps, fishing wire, etc. which he uses for building booby traps when fighting powerful foes.

Offense

Initiative +8
Unarmed +16, Close, Damage 5
Crossbow +16, Ranged, Damage 4, Threat 19-20
Wrist switchblades +16, Close, Damage 6, Threat 19-20

Defense

Dodge 13 Fortitude 9
Parry 14 Toughness 8/5*
Will 8

* Without Defensive Roll

Complications

  • Mercenary Crossbones is willing to go to great lengths for the big payoff.
  • Overconfidence Crossbones does not hesitate to challenge powerful foes, even on their own terms.
  • Scarred face Crossbones’ face was horribly scarred, leading to the use of the mask.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack & Effect PL 11, Dodge/Toughness PL 11, Parry/Toughness PL 11, Fort & Will PL 8
  • Point total 157 Abilities 74, Defences 23, Skills 28, Powers 0, Devices 0, Advantages 32. Equiv. PL 11.

Notes

Crossbones’ powerful metabolism makes him hard to target for foes like Daredevil, who can sense his vital signs. Treat it as a Complication that grants partial concealment.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Helper(s): Alex Hunter, Marvel SAGA Avengers Roster book, Ray Schaff. One illustration from rapsheet.co.uk.

Source of Character: Captain America (Marvel Universe)

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.