Cleavon Twain grew up in Louisana and wanted to be like his brother Cody. Despite his brother's admiration, Cody didn't particularly like Cleavon and even killed his dog in front of him when the animal bit him. The two brothers fell apart as time went on and Cleavon became a mercenary for hire known as Vassal. He was hired by Norman Osborn to do criminal activities on his behalf and was equipped with gear designed by Osborn, including a giant energy-powered battle axe and a early proto-type of Osborn's own goblin glider. He adopted the name Headsman and set out to help Osborn gain control of the criminal underworld.
Headsman was created by Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe and first appeared in Untold Tales of Spider-Man #8.
Headsman was introduced and pretty sharply forgotten among the incredibly large and memorably rogues gallery of Spider-Man. It was until Andy Diggle brought the character back as a member of Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts team during Dark Reign that he became anything more than a Z-list Spider-villain. While with the team, he acted as the Green Goblin from time-to-time and was one of the more "heroic" members of the team. He however didn't receive the chance to truly redeem himself in the eyes of heroes as he was killed just prior to Siege.
Major Story Arcs
Burning Down the House
Following the Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn assumed control of the country's security. He brought together a team of mercenaries to act as a secret wet-works squad. He recruited his former assosciate Headsman to the team to impersonate the Green Goblin and attack Air Force One. Osborn was using Headsman to help convince the public that Norman Osborn and Goblin were not the same person.
Headsman next mission was to hunt down the mercenary Deadpool and silence him since he was a constant thorn in Norman's side. After a seemingly endless game of Cat and Mouse, the Thunderbolts caught Deadpool and Headsman delivered a decapitating blow to him while he was on his knees. Alas, again Deadpool returned alive due to his healing factor.
In their next mission to recruit Mister X, Headsman was told by Ghost that he had saved his life twice. When he questioned Ghost about the second time he learned that during his first mission with the team Osborn had purposely given him a faulty Green Goblin glider, since Osborn considered him disposable and a loose end.
Upon Mr. X joining the team, he mocked Headsman on multiple occasions and even defeated him after provoking Headsman to fight him. The tensions between the two men were high and when the team were ordered to execute Black Widow and Songbird, Headsman (as well as Ghost and Paladin) turned on their team-mates. Headsman was again defeated by Mister X and only seconds away from being killed by him when Ghost again saved his life.
The Thunderbolts were sent on a mission to capture the Agents of Atlas, Headsman befriend his team-mate Ant-Man when Headsman began pondering his past and his current life. As the Thunderbolts fought against Atlas, Scourge had his mind tampered with by Marvel Boy and had the mental command placed in his mind to kill Norman Osborn on sight.
While on their jet on the way back, Osborn gave the Thunderbolts a briefing for their next mission through a hologram message. Nuke, following Marvel Boy's mental command, shot at the hologram - the bullet travelling through it and hitting Headsman in the head, killing him.
Follwoing Headsman's death, Ant-Man paid a visit to Cody Twain and told him of his brother's final days and his actions with the Thunderbolts and his desire to do something better with his life. Ant-Man gave Cody his brother's Headsman gear as Cody was left to ponder if he should follow in his brother's footsteps.
Powers and Abilities
Headsman is a well-trained fighter with great muscle strength. He flies a prototype version of Norman Osborn's Green Goblin Glider and uses a energy-powered battle axe which is powered by a circuit on his back.