Friday, February 10, 2006

"New Blood Part Six: Coming Out"
Green Arrow #45 When: February 2005
Writer: Judd Winick Artist: Phil Hester

The story so far...
In the midst of personal battles at home with his HIV positive ward, and his son, Green Arrow has been fighting a war on the streets.

The war, thus far, has been for naught. Daniel "The Brick" Brickwell, a mutated thug with skin like stone, has been taking Star City piece by piece from under the feet of Green Arrow.

As The Brick's control spreads through the Star City underworld, it becomes obvious that Green Arrow has to put a stop to it.

Tale of the tape...
At this point the Brick really hasn't been in action all that long, so to a degree he's a bit of an unknown quantity. Still, there are some very obvious assumptions that a strategist like Green Arrow could marke.

Strength: 5 (Super strength)
Fighting ability: 3 (Street wise)

Brickwell's most obvious strength is his 'brick' hard skin, and the proportionate super strength that comes with it. In a one on one confrontation, it's his invulnerability that make Brickwell such a difficult obstacle to over come.
A heavy hitter like a Superman could probably handle Brickwell relatively easily, but as a normal human with weapons, Green Arrow runs out of options.

Even if he is able to shoot off a few arrows, there's no guarantee they'll do more than distract Brickwell.

Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)

This has to be a battle of smarts for Green Arrow. Some of his trick arrows might prove as useful distractions, but this is a battle of ego. Green Arrow's motivation is to prove to Brickwell that he wears the trousers in Star City, and if he wants to, he can slap any gangster around.

Of course, against someone with the strength, and resources of the Brick -- that's easier said than done. On paper, if Green Arrow wasn't the super trooper hero he is, you'd have to lean toward Brickwell. Particularly considering Green Arrow has taken little time to plan for this fight.

What went down...
It was an evening like any other in the Brickwell household. Daniel was discussing ways to evade the attentions of the Penguin by outsourcing his arms running, when there was an interruption. Apparently Green Arrow had stopped by.

You've got to admire a hero who knocks on the front door, and challenges his arch-nemesis. Brickwell acknowledges the gaul it took, and orders his boys to hand GA his "toys" back, so they can step outside.

"Bitch, I have not got all day..."

Four arrows stop Brickwell mid-sentence, jamming themselves into his rock hard skin just barely. Brickwell appears surprised by the force of the shots, even though they don't slow him down. GA tries to fire off a couple more, but the Brick manages to swat him before they leave the bow.

Brick challenges GA to do better, and he tries, but Brickwell shows surprising speed. He snaps an unshot arrow, and slams Green Arrow against a concrete pillar. GA spits blood in the gangster's face defiantly, and gets hurled across the lot for his troubles.

The fight continues, Green Arrow finding himself grossly outmatched as he tries to slug it out physically with the Brick. Exhausted, he gets slapped around physically and verbally.

As Brick lunges in to finish him off, GA manages to stuff one of his ball ended trick arrows down his throat. Cold and concisely he fires off a glue arrow straight at Brick's gullet.

"That's not the regular glue bomb arrow." "It's a high-grade industrial adhesive."

Brick struggles in vain, until he falls to the ground -- suffocating.

GA shows mercy, spraying the adhesive with a dissolving compound. Though barely conscious, Brickwell is allowed to live, but not before Green Arrow delivers closing words.

"And don't forget... Don't you ever forget, Mr. Brickwell... who was wearing the boots. "Bitch.""

The hammer...
This was a fight akin to Daredevil putting the "final" kibosh on the Kingpin, so it's a shame The Brick didn't have an opportunity to established himself more as a character. It had the makings of a very solid story, but ultimately fell short through creative premature ejaculation. One would assume this may have come about by editorial mandates.

Quite obviously, despite getting slapped around like a little girl's doll, Green Arrow came out the other end victorious. As far as I know, we haven't seen The Brick since. If anyone wants to let me know, that would be greatly appreciated.

I really enjoyed this issue of Winick's GA. It's been on the pile for Secret Earths entries for a while. My only real critical disappointment with the story is the fact that the book didn't have a more mature tone to it, and couldn't have built up it's urban threats. Previous issues were marred by monsters and goblins.

After this issue things get considerably more Saturday morning super heroey, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for us. No doubt you'll see more GA in the future, but this might've been the best of it.

The Fight: 6
The Issue: 6

NEXT WEEK: The hero, the villain and the lover!

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