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Captain America: The First Avenger
by yo go re

You know how Taskmaster runs a henchman training program, selling his students' services to various villains? Crossbones, here, is his star pupil.

What Crossbones lacks in superpowers, he makes up for in marksmanship and hand-to-hand combat. As an instructor at a school for criminals, he's always got to have plenty of weapons and ammo on hand. His trio of explosive weapons almost makes him a match for Captain America himself!

Brock Rumlow was a low-grade criminal - leader of a small local gang and kind of a bastard - until he got in a fight with the older brothers of a girl he attacked and ended up killed one of them. He ran away to Taskmaster's school, where he enrolled under the name "Bingo Brock" and eventually became an instructor. His first job was henching for one of the impostor Red Skulls, but that led him to meet the real one, who offered him a job and set him on a path to become one of Captain America's biggest threats.

Crossbones is 100% new sculpt, even the head: since he wears a full-head mask that even has lenses over the eyes, it could have been simple enough to use a generic head, but they did one better; the white sections of the mask have sculpted edges - in fact, they're raised slightly higher than the rest of the mask.

Having done away with the traditional superhero-style costume (which, when coupled with the mask, always made him look like a luchador), Crossbones wears what could almost be considered street clothes. He has a button-down black shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, a pair of cargo pants and the same combat boots you can buy at any Hot Topic. Swap the head out, and you have any black ops soldier you want. Any giant, muscular black ops soldier. He finishes off this peppy ensemble with gloves, heavy kneepads and the world's tiniest holster strapped to his right leg. Honestly, look at that thing. His hand is larger than the entire gun that would fit inside that thing. It's silly.

Just like the Marvel Legends version, this Crossbones has a removable vest, and it, too, is a new sculpt. To simply describe it, he sounds like a '90s monstrosity: it's lots of straps, pouches and zippers. But really, that's what tactical vests look like these days. They say life immitates art, so that means soon the Army will be all be wearing Liefeld shoulderpads, right? There are really good details on the vest, considering it's molded from soft PVC. It's sculpted with a zipper down the center, latches on the pockets, a knife sheathed on the left side, pads protecting the spine, one belt with utility pouches and a second with bullets, and even varied textures on different areas.

Crossbones is a big figure, 4¼" tall, so he really looks like a guy who would be able to physically compete with Cap. The articulation is the same as many of the 4" Marvel figures: a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed torso (which works even under the vest), swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles. Crossbones is a bruiser, a stand-up fighter, not a lithe, athletic gymnast, but just because he has plenty of joints it doesn't mean you have to pose him wildly - better to have the full range of motion and not need it than need it and not have it.

Since he's a killer, Crossbones comes with a few guns as accessories. He has an M4 Carbine and two TEC-9 submachine guns. They're molded in green plastic, for some reason, and though his hands are gigantic and it seems like he'd be unable to hold anything, the guns actually stay in place quite well. The color is the only thing that looks out of place.

There are actually two Crossbones figures available: this one, which is single-carded, and a second in a Target-exclusive comic pack; they use the same mold, and just have differences in paint. The two-pack version gets black weapons, but lighter clothes, so it's kind of a trade-off. Crossbones is a good release, and an important character in the world of Captain America, but he's ridiculously hard to find. Between him, Red Skull and the various Hydra soldiers, you may think there are no villains in the Captain America line at all.

-- 09/26/11

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