Cleveland Brand: 1933 - 1940
Cleveland was the second son of the wealthy British media mogul Nigel Brand and his American wife Emma. Cleveland and his somewhat older twin Boston were named after the American cities their mother had grown up in. The two brothers enjoyed the lap of luxury in their earliest years and never knew much suffering, that is until the Second World War.
Cleveland Brand: 1940 - 1951
While Boston was with his father on a business trip, Cleveland and Emma were at home during one of the first bombings of London. Trapped in the rubble and debris, Cleveland was forced to watch as his mother slowly bled to death before his eyes. Though he survived, Cleveland was never again whole. Other than the loss of his mother, Boston was more or less unaffected by the war, having somehow avoided the bombings and much of the bloodshed, and as such was never really again able to empathize with his brother. As adults, Cleveland took off to travel post-war Europe and Boston lived off their father’s wealth, often disappearing to exotic locales on an extended holiday.
Cleveland Brand: 1951 - 1953
When Nigel Brand passed, Cleveland was unable to be reached as he was in the midst of being trained to become an assassin. He returned on his twentieth birthday to find that his brother Boston had Cleveland declared legally dead and sold off the family assets. As half of those assets should have belonged to him, Cleveland was upset. He contacted his handler for the League and extended his stay, claiming he needed to tie up other loose ends. He spent the next month tracking down his brother who was island-hopping in the Caribbean.
When Cleveland found Boston, he ambushed him after a night of drinking in Boston's own hotel room. Cleveland deftly tied his brother up and ritualistically carved Boston's heart from his chest, marking his brother's corpse with arcane sigils while invoking a dark ritual taught to Cleveland by Malcolm Merlyn. Sacrificing his own left hand, Cleveland completed the ritual which turned Boston's heart into smoke which Cleveland breathed in.
The Hook: 1953 - 1955
Leaving his hand behind but taking his brother's body with him, Cleveland returned to 'Eth Alth'eban and after being affixed with an arcane hook befitting his new name, Cleveland gave all his family's wealth to the League and then took his brother's body to Nanda Parbat. Cleveland had the monks there give his brother a proper burial and a quiet funeral. Cleveland said his farewells to Boston and returned to the League.
The Hook: 1955 - Present
Cleveland became one of the greatest assassins known to the League of Assassins. He killed Heads of State, Warlords, Terrorists, Clergymen, Public Officials, and Heads of Industry. Interpol reported his death no less than seven times, unaware of the ritual he had performed which made him a unique form of the undead. Neither truly living nor truly dead. When he took a supposedly fatal injury, Cleveland would simply collapse into a state of torpor and recover. He would then return to life and flee. Often times he would allow himself to be caught and killed just to put his target at ease, only to come for them the next night and end their life. He became the basis for the urban legend of the Hook Man.
Nowadays he is known as Malcolm Merlyn's right-hand man (fitting as that's the only hand he has left) and a constant member of Merlyn's seven-strong brotherhood, the Hebdomad of Death, or the Seven Men of Death.
- Undead Physiology: After absorbing his brother's heart and sacrificing his own hand to complete the ritual, Cleveland is a unique member of the undead. He is neither living, nor dead. Worth noting, during an autopsy during one of his "deaths" it was noted that Cleveland had an unusually large heart. Twice the size of a typical heart.
- Enhanced Resiliency: Cleveland is able to withstand significant damage without losing his step. He has been shown to be hit with multiple gunshots from high-powered rifles before collapsing and absolutely been peppered with small arms fire before he has fallen.
- Healing: After a certain amount of time, which seems to vary, Cleveland can go from visibly dead to fully alive in an instant. He has recovered from being a charred crisp corpse, a decapitated dead guy, and once even was several severed segments. When this healing takes place, Cleveland's remains turn to smoke, coalescence together, and then reform his whole body (minus his left hand).
- Intangibility: For brief periods, Cleveland is able to transform into smoke or a smoky specter to pass through solid matter or filter through grates. While in this state, he can even just dissipate into the wind, effectively allowing him to teleport elsewhere sometime later.
- Peak Conditioning: Cleveland Brand is in excellent physical condition.
- Martial Arts: Cleveland is a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, due to his training with the League of Assassins. He now has over half a century of regular combat experience. His skills have allowed him to defeat multiple opponents in combat at the same time, including highly trained and powerful teams. Like his mentor, Merlyn, Cleveland rarely fights fair. He is quite adept at using his hook as both a lethal and non-lethal instrument.
- Thrown Weapons: Cleveland is highly proficient in the use of knives and shuriken.
- Marksmanship: Despite his preference for using his hook for most of his targets, Cleveland is a master marksman and often carries a handgun to make quick work of any security or police that may attempt to hinder his mission.
- Cunning: Cleveland is an exceptional tactician. He was also one of the only assassins to tactically outsmart Tim Drake and escape capture on New Year's Eve of 2013.
- Manipulator: Cleveland is highly talented in the art of deception. He is able to fool and convince others of his agenda. However, his actions and nature as a liar make it difficult for people to ever believe him.
- Interrogation: Cleveland is a trained torturer due to his time in the League of Assassins, having once studied under El Penitente.
- Occult Knowledge: Cleveland is well aware of the existence of magic and mysticism. He knows of the existence of the Lazarus Pits and in his long life, he has gained a higher understanding and knowledge of the arcane fabric of the world and how to exploit to his benefit. He has become a master of the first circle of alchemy and potion-brewing. Cleveland is also familiar with the necessary means and methods for the killing of supernatural beings such as vampires and werewolves, though the magical nature of his hook usually is all he needs to kill most things.
- Indomitable Will: Cleveland has an extremely high tolerance for pain like most members of the League of Assassins. He was also able to cut off his own hand without making a sound.
- Stealth: As a highly trained assassin, Cleveland is a master in the art of stealth.
- The Hook: Cleveland's favored weapon is the prosthetic device which has replaced his left hand. The hook is made of a rather unique alloy of silver and adamant, and was forged in Nanda Parbat under the specifications of Malcolm Merlyn. It is said to also be enchanted with a number of enchantments that make it practically indestructible and resilient to wear and tear. It burns anyone it pierces with powerful esoteric energy and is quite warm to the touch, only becoming unbearably hot when blood touches it. It is often decorated with a number of crosses or medallions, all are trophies taken from previous victims which Cleveland just likes to use for ornamental purposes.
- Boston Brand: Cleveland never accounted for Boston's spirit to leave Nanda Parbat. He routinely underestimates his brother. The two also share a minor psychic bond on account of the ritual which keeps both trapped in their respective states of unlife. This bond can be exploited to track Cleveland, though he has shown himself quite adept at countering this in the past.
- Physicality: 5 - Master / Remarkable
- Occult: 5 - Master / Remarkable
- Weapons: 6 - World-Class / Superb
- Experience: 5 - Master / Remarkable
- Ranged: 4 - Expert / Enhanced
- Strategy: 4 - Expert / Enhanced
Trivia and Notes
- He is a true disciple of the Light.
- The Hook has a Threat Assessment ranking of 90, marking him as a High Threat.
- He's a composite character of Cleveland Brand and the Hook, Boston Brand's killer.
- In the comics Hook's name is unknown except for Matson being his last name. Roy Martin was his alias.
- In the comics Hook killed Boston Brand during a trapeze act.
- Emma Ziegler in the comics is a character from Savage Hawkman.
- Design of his hook is based on the one used by Hookman in Supernatural TV show.