Arthur Blackwood was a seminary student in Chicago who believed the church should be more active against Paganism and godlessness in modern society. Blackwood was dismissed from the seminary after getting into an altercation with a superior. Afterwards, Blackwood visited his family crypt to meditate and had a religious vision from his ancestors who served in the Crusades. A spirit of one of his ancestors bequeathed to him the combined power of all his ancestors and dubbed him knight. He was then presented with a sword, shield and knight's rainment. He decided to take up the sword and new abilities to destroy Pagans and infidels.
Blackwood called himself Crusader and his first target was the Asgardian Thor because his claim of godhood seemed blasphemous to him. Crusader attacked Thor at a public assembly and the strength of Blackwood's faith granted him enough power to hold his own against the thunder god and inflicted major injuries with his sword. Thor later reappeared with his wounds fully healed by the power of Odin. The Crusader's belief in his own infallibility was shaken and was unable to comprehend how Thor could be superior to him. The Crusader fled after Thor shattered his sword with his mighty hammer.
Crusader was created by Alan Zelenetz and Bob Hall in 1983 and first appeared in Thor # 330.
Blackwood would later reappear and reforge his sword. He ended up killing two church thieves and the Black Knight was detained for questioning regarding the murders. Mrs. Blackwood informed the Black Knight that her husband went insane after reforging his sword and had plans to kill a man he referred to as the Saracen. The Black Knight had an idea that the Crusader was going to target the Emir of Ghulistan at Dulles International Airport. The Black Knight tried to plead to the Crusader during their fight and not engage in combat as enemies but to join hands as fellow knights. Blackwood refused to listen and was going to strike down the Black Knight until Blackwood's stepdaughter named Jenny intervened. The Crusader listened to reason and Blackwood surrendered after shattering his own sword against his shield.
The Crusader would resurface with his flaming scythe and kill a street gang for vandalising the Canindelein Cemetary outside Chicago. He decides to use the power of the media to influence and carry his message to the world. His first conquest in his holy war is the offices of the Chicago Spectator and comes into conflict with Luke Cage. The Crusader's faith begins to wander when the crowd turns against him and begin to stand behind Cage. Luke Cage overpowers Blackwood and knocks him out with his own sword.
A few years later, Blackwood reappears in a secluded monastery in Northern Ireland to seek refuge and find peace in his own restless soul. Blackwood and his brothers witness an accident during a thunder storm where a delivery truck carrying American publications crashes into a tree. Blackwood sees a newspaper on the ground with a picture of Nate Grey and the words "Faith Healer" sighted in Ireland printed below. Blackwood becomes enraged and calls upon his ancestors where he asks for their forgiveness and for the might to do God's will once again. Blackwood is struck by a lightning bolt and the Crusader lives again. The Crusader calls Nate Grey a blasphemous imposter and must die. The Crusader appears in the center of London's Picadilly Circus and calls out the mutant Nate Grey. The two would battle on the streets and the Crusader's actions nearly claims the life of an innocent girl. The Crusader begins to have doubts about his cause and Nate Grey strikes Blackwood with a telekinetic blast.
Blackwood was a prisoner in the Raft when Electro hit the super prison with a massive electrical surge and the other incarcerated super villains were able to leave their cells. Several heroes including Spider-Man arrived to the scene and were quickly overwhelmed. Crusader was part of the mob that ambushed Spider-Man and started to beat him down until Captain America intervened. The breakout was under control once Iron Man and SHIELD arrived so Crusader and a number of other villains would return to their cell.
Blackwood would encounter Wolverine after hijacking a plane and attempted to bomb the headquarters of numerous super-heroes. Wolverine gouges out the Crusader's right eye in battle.
Sometime later the Crusader is hired by the Hood to join his gang to take advantage of the split of the superhero community caused by the Superhuman Registration Act.
Powers and Abilities
The Crusader possesses superhuman strength, endurance, speed, and agility. When his faith and self confidence is at its peak then the Crusader can lift 20 tons. Although the parameters of these attributes have yet to be measured, it can be noted that the Crusader is one of a select few mortal beings capable of facing Thor alone in physical combat. Whenever his faith is shaken or has self doubt then his strength and abilities begin to diminish. Crusader is highly skilled with the sword and shield.