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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

You know, there's a very good reason that I don't do Marvel Legends customs: basically, any character I might have made is likely to show up as one of the real things. For instance, I thought about making Captain America's enemy Crossbones.

Crossbones is one of the very few non-powered criminals capable of holding his own within the ranks of the world's Super Villains. He is a world-class hand-to-hand fighter, very nearly the equal of Captain America and Bullseye. He maintains his fighting edge with a clever use of poisons and dirty tricks, including throwing knives and a number of small firearms secreted on his person. He has pursued the criminal path his entire life, and loves nothing more than a good fight. He'll work for any master that can guarantee frequent, intense action.

Crossbones, here (whose real name is Brock Rumlow, and if that were your real name, you'd go looking for an alias, too) is kind of a sadistic bastard and a half. When 15-year-old Rachel Leighton said she'd do "anything" to join his gang, he assaulted her. Later that same night, he killed her paraplegic brother. Nice.

No one would blame you for thinking that Crossbones was a new sculpt - I certainly did - but that's just because his source body isn't immediately familiar. Can you think of a big beefy guy with bare arms? He's not Bullseye, he's not Black Panther... holy crap, he's Hulkling! Wow, certainly not a body you'd ever expect to see again! Other than the size (7⅛" tall), it's a great choice: it's bulky, it's muscular, there's bare skin in all the right places... clever choice! The hands get a new sculpt, but it does tend to stick out - the "skin" texture on the new pieces is much deeper than the similar elements on the old pieces, but the gloves really do look excellent.

This is the modern version of Crossbones, rather than the "classic" (ie, '80s) version, so his mask looks more like something a luchador would wear than a scary supervillain kind of thing. The skull has gotten more stylized over time, more angular, and that's what we get here. The edges are sculpted in, and there are slight wrinkles on his brow and the back of his neck. Even the teeth and nose holes are sculpted, even though they'd really just be black marks on cloth - this is a mask, not a helmet.

Crossbones used to run around in a sleeveless shirt with, well, a crossbones on the chest. Now he wears a tactical vest, which is an entirely new piece - no existing molds would have fit on Hulkling's chest. There are pouches all around the belt, extra ammo clips on his chest and a knife sculpted on one side. The vest itself has a texture, and there are silver paint apps for the zipper and buckles, plus a blue wash. The vest is removable, but having it on keeps Crossbones' arms from looking too bulky. The only thing that would have been better would be if they painted the old-style crossbones symbol on the chest underneath, so you could have both looks.

The figure's accessories are the same two guns that came with the Hydra soldier, but his fingers fit the triggers in a way that the green guys' never did. He has a balljointed head, halljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel forearms, a torso hinge, swivel waist, balljoint hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, hinged rocker ankles, and hinged toes. He doesn't have any wrist joint, but that also means his hands look better than Hulkling's. The ankles seem less flimsy, as well, improbable as that is. Personally, I might have given him some minorly redesigned legs, to cut some of that height and bring him down to the 6'4" the cardback says he is.

Crossbones comes with Ares' left leg, and unlike the big guy's differently outfitted arms, both his legs look alike - thus, this is the visual twin of the leg included with Vision. Well, minus the sheath on the thigh. That's not duplicated here. The brown pants, armored greave and the spike on the toes are all the same, though. And of course, the same articulation: balljointed ankle, double-hinged knee and balljointed hip.

Remember we told you about the girl young Brock assaulted? She grew up to be the costumed adventurer (originally a villain, then a hero) Diamondback. Crossbones recognized her when they met, then kidnapped her and did it all over again. He chained her in an abandonned subway station, and set about brainwashing her to kill Captain America. When she tried to escape, he stabbed her in the back. Dick. Not many villains can actually pose a solo threat to Captain America, but Crossbones keeps coming back time and again. He's the one who shot Cap after the Civil War was over, and he's definitely deserving of a Marvel Legend.

-- 03/23/09

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