Brock Rumlow was a small-time gang leader who controlled a criminal gang in eastern New York. When his “trade” leads him to kill the brothers of a girl he had raped and who had come to seek revenge, he is forced to flee the city, enrolling in the Taskmaster villain school. A piece of work that has a clear future. After having been an instructor at the school himself, he becomes a mercenary and is recruited by Albert Malik, but eventually ends up in the service of the Red Skull, which is impressed with him when he becomes the only survivor of a team – sent by Malik – that tries to storm his castle. From that moment on, he became one of his most valuable and used lieutenants and it was he who baptized him as Crossbones. He soon uses it to try to put an end to his arch-enemy, Captain America, with whom he begins a rivalry that borders on hatred.
That hatred explains why, beyond the orders of the Red Skull, Brock is implicated to the core not in defeating but in hurting Captain America, kidnapping allies like Diamondback or attempting against his life. In fact, although Crossbones is a villain by three quarters, who is far from being important or recognized, it is he who shoots and (apparently) kills Captain America at the end of the Civil War. But it’s all Steve Rogers and Red Skull. Brock leads Team Skeleton, a group of mercenaries who work under the orders of the highest bidder with no morality whatsoever and considerable bloodshed. Come on, a group in your image. Finally, it should be noted that, although he initially has no powers beyond elite military training, when he is exposed to the fog during a mission Terregenesis gets powers that allow him to create energy bursts. Of course, it is Captain America who, by throwing him into a strange lake in another dimension, takes away his powers. In case I hated him little anymore.
The personality of Crossbones
Crossbones is one of the clearest examples of a ruthless villain who puts force and domination above everything else. In his moral compass, only he and his objectives matter, and he does not care, for example, to kill civilians if he needs it. In fact, he even enjoys it. Although disciplined, he is a lone wolf that reacts badly to the hierarchy. After all, he thinks he’s superior to everyone else. In fact, more than once he’s lost a battle to show off. Those insults to his pride, however, feed him more than anything else because he does not forgive or forget them.
Friends and Enemies of Crossbones
Like many other villains in the Marvel Universe, Brock is incapable of having friends, but he has been in the shadow of a few villains like Dr. Octopus, Helmut Zemo or Red Skull and has also led the skeletal crew of the Red Skull itself, which had in its ranks butchers like Jack O’ Lantern, Mother Night or Black Wing. For a while, she was part of Luke Cage’s Thunderbolts… but it didn’t take long before she betrayed him and turned on him.
As for his enemies, none more recurrent than Steve Rogers, Captain America, who represents everything that opposes him, but is not the only one he has faced. Also on his list are the Black Widow, Gambit or Dr. Strange.
Crossbones in the Kinematic Universe of Marvel
Brock Rumlow debuted as an S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. in Captain America: Winter Soldier, on the debut of the Russo brothers in the Marvel Kinematic Universe, who would eventually become the crucial directors for their future. Played by Frank Grillo, he is one of Hydra’s infiltrators within the organisation and you can see how he despises everything that Steve stands for, and returns the same courtesy. That betrayal and that grudge accumulated over the years of being undercover at S.H.I.E.L.D. and hiding their own identity are unleashed at the end of the film in their confrontation with Falcon as they both represent the two attitudes towards Captain America. Respect and admiration and hatred and envy. In the end, the whole weight of S.H.I.E.E.L.D. falls on Brock – literally because he is crushed by the building – but manages to survive, completing his transformation into Crossbones, which reappears at the beginning of Captain America: the Civil War, already in his usual costume and with the spirit of revenge. However, he dies in the early stages of the film, largely so that the spectator does not have to wait for Captain America to die, as happens in the comic books of the same name.
The character of Crossbones is one of those villains that the Cinematic Universe of Marvel insists on killing too quickly, but I believe that in this specific case there are elements that redeem as it has been used on the big screen. His story of origin is very different from that of the comics, but it has enriched the character a lot. Your betrayal of S.H.I.E.L.D. embodies everything that the Winter Soldier intends to convey since one of the good guys, whom Steve trusts, may not be so good, and the organization that saved the world in The Avengers is no longer what Captain America thought it would be, assuming the real blow of reality after 50 years of hibernating. Although he dies in the initial moments of the Civil War, many rumours suggest that Avengers 4 – still untitled – would be a film about time travel and the same rumours suggest that the character played by Frank Grillo could return. We’ll see.
What powers does Crossbones have?
Brock Rumlow has no superpower, but like Falcon, for example, he has received extraordinary military training that makes him a threat to almost anyone with the right weapon or with surprise as an ally. In addition, many times he wears a mechanical suit that allows him to better resist the blows, hit harder and take his body a little further than possible for a human being.
# InFewWords: A Crossbones conclusion
A book villain
Crossbones is not the most profound character in the Marvel Universe, of that there is no doubt, but it fulfills its function. When Brock is in front of you you know that the hero in question, whoever he is, can give it all without fear of really hurting him because Brock deserves that and much more. If there are heroes like Captain America who are clearly always good – or almost always… – Crossbones is always the bad guy in any situation. No extenuating circumstances.