William Cross was born in Madison, Wisconsin. Cross joined the CIA with the intent to learn the secrets of the trade and to make contacts which might one day prove useful to him. He intended to use CIA training and knowledge to obtain a profit for himself.
At this he met fellow CIA agent Marc Spector. They were stationed on top the roof of a building. Marc aims a high-powered sniper rifle at a building across the street, just as military officials escort a prisoner across the quad. He executes a blond haired woman who apparently revealed highly classified state secrets. Cross indicates that she had been previously brainwashed, and that she only revealed information already programmed inside her mind. Executing her was done merely to make the Germans and the Russians nervous.
He was romantically linked to Rozalyn Backus. She was unaware of his illegal activities, and helped develop experimental ultrasonic technology. The couple were engaged to be married until he ran off with the technology. In his disappearance he faked his own murder and framed Backus for the murder.
Quitting the CIA soon after, Cross used his skills and resources to begin a number of highly profitable criminal operations including drug trafficking, extortion, and assassinations. Assuming the codename Crossfire, he diverted a portion of his profits to hire a small army of mercenaries to serve as his enforcers. Crossfire's goal became to foment disorder and subversion within society in order to make a profit. At one point in his career, some of his enemies booby-trapped his headquarters. The ensuing explosion robbed him of his left eye and ear, plus 85% of his hearing. He replaced his losses with cybernetic equipment. Crossfire eventually located the men who had injured him, and eliminated them personally.
Cross eventually decided that the existence of superhumanly powerful crime-fighters posed a threat to his operations. He poured his monetary resources into the refinement of his ultrasonic brainwashing device, with which he hoped to brainwash all superhumans into battling one another to the death. To test the effectiveness of his machine, he arranged to abduct the Thing. Coincidentally, the Thing's plight was witnessed by Moon Knight, who was secretly fellow ex-CIA Marc Spector. The Moon Knight recognized Crossfire and went to help the Thing to defeat Crossfire's private army. Together, the Thing and Moon Knight managed to destroy the mind-control machine. Crossfire himself, however, escaped.
Despite this set-back, Cross began work on the construction of a new, advanced model of his ultrasonic brainwashing device. He arranged to have certain components constructed at Cross Technologies, a firm founded by his cousin, Darren Cross. Learning that the Avenger Hawkeye was employed as a security guard at CTE, Crossfire devised a plan to use Hawkeye, whom he believed to be the weakest of the costumed crime-fighters, as bait to lure other superhumans into his clutches where he could subject them to his brainwashing machine. To capture Hawkeye, Crossfire hired a trio of costumed criminals: the Silencer, Oddball, and Bombshell. Cross' minions managed to take Hawkeye and his companion Mockingbird captive, and Crossfire used his ultrasonic weapon to make them fight each other. During this fight, Hawkeye suffered permanent hearing damage. However, Hawkeye eventually escaped and defeated Crossfire and his henchmen. The second machine was destroyed, and Crossfire was arrested and sentenced to prison. His subordinates were rescued by Oddball's brother Tenpin.
From prison, Crossfire discovered that Oddball and Bombshell belonged to a criminal team called the Death-Throws, a troupe of costumed criminal jugglers. Crossfire contacted and hired them to release him in exchange for a sum of money, which he would pay after being freed. Crossfire had no money at that point; his devices had been confiscated by the police, and he had lost any link to Cross Technologies. The Death-Throws staged an attack on the prison and kidnapped the prisoner Crossfire. Once they had taken him to their HQ, they discovered that Cross had no money. They considered killing him in revenge, but they eventually decided to use the "fugitive" as a bait to attract Hawkeye and Captain America to a trap. However, Hawkeye and Captain America defeated the Death-Throws and sent Crossfire back to prison.
Bounty of Hawkeye
Cross later escaped and put a bounty on Hawkeye's arm, hoping to destroy the hero's archery skills and break his spirit. An army of criminals consisting of Razor-Fist, Brothers Grimm, Bobcat, Bullet Biker, Mad-Dog, and the Death-Throws looked to claim the reward. They, however, were defeated by Hawkeye teaming up with Mockingbird and Trick Shot (Buck Chisholm). Hawkeye pursued Cross through the sewers. During the chase, Cross was knocked over and found himself clinging to a lege for his life, but Hawkeye rescued him so he would rot in prison.
Avengers: West Coast
Cross seeking revenge followed the newly married Hawkeye and Mockingbird to the estate of former film star Moira Brandon The elderly actress was declared an honorary Avenger after she helped them take down Cross.
Cross was recruited by Lucia von Bardas to attack Nick Fury and a group of heroes who were involved in a Secret War in Latveria a year earlier. The hired mercenaries were each a component of a bomb designed to destroy the city. Fury and the team were able to stop them and arrested them all including Cross.
While in prison Cross met and befriended Vector (Simon Utrecht) of the U-Foes whose secret power to nullify technology, he hoped to exploit. Cross was imprisoned in the Vault where Rozalyn Backus part of Vault's Guardsman force. She seemingly stopped an escape attempt by Cross and the U-Foes, but it was revealed she stole cash and goods from the criminals, including Vector's power nullification chamber. The criminals were later transferred to the Raft, and all escaped during Electro's mass breakout, Cross worked with a team of mind-manipulators: Mandrill, Controller, Mister Fear, and Corruptor. While on pursuit of Rozalyn the U-Foes and Crossfire's Crew fought a gang war until the New Avengers stopped. Cross and his gang were recaptured and Backus surrendered herself to the authorities.
Cross and his Death-Throws were hired by R.A.I.D. as part of a terrorist plot against the city of London. They were tasked with causing massive civilian casualties amongst citizens fleeing London on Tower Bridge. They were opposed by the Israeli superheroine Sabra, who Crossfire temporarily blinded by shooting her directly in the eye. A partially blinded Sabra is still able to defeat the villains thanks to the arrival and help of Union Jack. The Death-Throws are captured while Crossfire fell off of the bridge into the Thames River, prompting Union Jack to believe that he had presumably drowned.
Cross was among the Hood's army of criminals, who took advantage of the superhero Civil War caused by the Superhuman Registration Act. The team go on to battle the New Avengers. He battled his old enemy Hawkeye now operating under the Ronin identity.
Cross and Hood's Hood's Gang work with the heroes to stop the Skrull Invasion. After the Invasion was defeated the gang battled the New Avengers, who were laying in wait for the Dark Avengers. Cross had the opportunity to fight his longtime foes Hawkeye and Mockingbird again.
Cross and the Hood planned to use the Zombie Virus to gain more power and influence in the world. Cross however protested as the main reason he teamed up with the Hood was they would not pursue world conquering schemes.
Cross and the other members rebelled against their leader and attempted to make their own deal with Norman Osborn. They attack and defeated the New Avengers and took out the Dark Avengers.
Hawkeye & Mockingbird
Hawkeye and Mockingbird stopped Cross' illegal arms dealings. He was later confronted by Phantom Rider (Jaime Slade), together along with the Death T.H.R.O.W.S. they attempted to destroy their mutual enemy. They however failed, but severely wounded Mockingbird's mother Susan, and murdered Phantom Rider (Hamilton Slade). Cross was captured by Hawkeye and beaten to an inch of his life. Hawkeye later discovered that Baron Helmut Zemo was the benefactor behind the illegal arms dealings. Luke Cage told Hawkeye that as long as he was the leader of the Thunderbolts, Crossfire would never be allowed on the team.
Misty Knights' Crew
Crossfire joined Misty Knight's Crew along with Tiger Shark, Bombshell, and Nightshade. The team was set up to defeat Purple Man and his Villains for Hire. When the two teams battled, Misty found most of her team abandoned her when they were offered more money to join Purple Man. Cross was the only member who did not abandon Misty, citing professionalism and honor, and his prize for this was being shot and left for dead by Scourge.
Masters of Evil
Cross was recruited by Max Fury to join the Shadow Council's Masters of Evil. He was later seen in Bagalia being paid off by Nick Fury, Jr. to let the Taskmaster out of his imprisonment at the time when the Secret Avengers raided Bagalia to recruit Taskmaster.
Return to Hood's Gang
Crossfire attended a meeting of various villains organized by the Wizard to discuss what to do about Doctor Doom who had unexpectedly decided to become a superhero and become the new Iron Man. As the Hood brought up the idea of forming a gang of villains to take Doom out, Doom suddenly appeared and took down all of the villains present. He later participated in an ambush against Doom along with many of the other villains that Doom had earlier defeated. He also attended a meeting to discuss the rise of Hood as the new Kingpin of crime.
- Crossfire is highly skilled at the various arts of espionage and is an expert marksman and probably a martial arts aficionado. He is proficient at unarmed combat, particularly killing blows.
- Although no scientific genius, he possesses sufficient technical ability to develop and modify reasonably sophisticated computer technology without aid.
- He has specialized pitch for the human ear to perceive.
- Without the removable cybernetic orthopaedics, William Cross cannot see from the left side, and almost cannot hear. As a result, he can be easily surprised with an attack coming from the side.
- Cybernetic Eye: Crossfire's left eye has been replaced by an infra-red imaging device which affords him a semblance of sight even in total darkness.
- Cybernetic Ear: Crossfire's left ear has been replaced by an audio sensor that is far more sensitive than the human ear. The explosion that damaged his left eye and ear also caused an 85% hearing loss in his other ear. Consequently, Crossfire is immune to the effects of his own ultrasonic machinery as long as he adjusts his artificial ear to be unaffected by it.
- Crossfire's Uniform: the uniform composed of a special bulletproof, flame-retardant fabric, and has special hidden compartments containing various weaponry and devices, including a compressed oxygen tank, various miniature surveillance devices, and small single-shot weaponry.
- Mind Control Equipment: Crossfire had developed ultrasound-based mind-control devices. The sounds would fill hearers with intense hatred and violence; unprotected victims would attack anyone in range until the device was shut off. The range of the device was minimal, because it was only a prototype.
- Short-range single-shot guns hidden in the pouches of his uniform.
- Captain America has stated that he considers Crossfire to be a 'master planner' but does not consider him much of a physical threat.
- 85 appearance(s) of William Cross (Earth-616)
- 4 minor appearance(s) of William Cross (Earth-616)
- 5 mention(s) of William Cross (Earth-616)
- 15 image(s) of William Cross (Earth-616)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by William Cross (Earth-616)
Links and References