Friday, April 13, 2007

Seeing Red Part Three: Change Partners (DC comics)
Green Arrow #71 When: April 2007
Why: Judd Winick How: Scott McDaniel

The story so far...
The Red Hood has rolled into town and he's survived the fight with Brick long enough to team-up with him in a diabolical plot against the Batman and Green Arrow!

Red Hood orchestrates a series of scenarios across the city to lure out the heroes, and lead them into an opponent swap! Having educated Brick in the ways of his former mentor, the plan is going without a hitch, except for the presence of a fifth wheel: Speedy!

Will the young hero come to the rescue of the legends, or is there something more than meets the eye to Red Hoods plans? What are those cries in the distance? What lies behind door number three? Doom for Speedy, perhaps?...

Previous Form:
Green Arrow (#11): Green Arrow has two victories over Brick.
Red Hood (#15): Red Hood is undefeated against Brick and The Society.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Draw 2 (Average)
Intelligence: Red Hood 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Red Hood 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: Draw 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Red Hood 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Red Hood 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Draw 4 (Arsenal)

Well, according to the tape, there isn't a field in which Green Arrow gets the better of Jason Todd. I guess there's no category for lady killing smarm, or dodgy goatees...

If you asked me flat out who would win a fight between these two, I think I'd be leaning toward Green Arrow. This guy's got the experience over Jason Todd, and that's not even including the time he spent dead. Time considerably less than Todd's time taking a dirt nap... In the real world, at least.

I felt the need to upgrade GA's energy power stats to reflect the arsenal of weaponry at his disposal, and while I haven't done so yet, I feel there may be need to recognise his prowess as a hand-to-hand combatant. I was reluctant to rate GA with the other martial artists, but given the strength of his recent training during the One Year Later flashbacks, it might be time.

Of course, that said, Red Hood has eaten, lived, and slept [hello!] with the Batman, which means this guys lives and breathes fighting. He's all about the tactical edge, and delivering every necessary blow with tempered precision and deadly accuracy.

Green Arrow's no slouch in the accuracy department. You don't get a reputation as the world's greatest archer without shooting a few apples off heads, but it could be said that GA's talents and scope are narrow. Certainly compared to the forward planning of a Red Hood, ala Batman training.

Maybe I'd be wrong in my initial assessment, if you asked me who would win a fight between these two. Maybe when we pull out the tape and measure everything up, the mechanics of the two characters lean toward Red Hood.
Then again, maybe the mechanics lie. Maybe Red Hood's impetuousness is a weakness exposed and fileted by Green Arrow's experience...

The Math: Red Hood
The Pick: Green Arrow

What went down...
While Speedy abandons her mission of aid to the heroes under fire, Green Arrow finds himself diving for cover from the afforementioned spray courtesy of Red Hood and an automatic weapon.

GA lands on his back, slinging a few arrows Red Hood's way, but the kid is good. He sees it coming before the arrows have even left the bow, and slips out of the line of fire, accordingly.

The Hood returns the favour with another spray of ammunition, forcing Green Arrow to backflip his way out of trouble and search for a new solution.
Still on his back, he spies water piping across the lab ceiling, and as mayor has the privilege of knowing water has been restored to this part of the Earthquake torn city.

He uses one of his trick arrows to set off the sprinklers.
Water cascades down on them both, distracting the Red Hood sufficiently enough to give Green Arrow an opportunity to fire off an arrow at his achilles.

The Hood blocks the arrows path with the blade of a sword.
He challenges the senior hero, questioning whether or not he'd had time to practise with his new sword in the rain. Green Arrow draws his blade, and gladly boasts his ability to cope with the terrain. He charges into battle.

Sparks fly as the two titans clash swords.
Locked together, Red Hood acknowledges GA's progression beyond "... just a sharp shooter!"

Green Arrow ducks a wild swipe from Red Hood, and props up to catch the Hood on the completion of his swing with one of his own. GA's sword slices across the armored helmet that is Todd's namesake. The slash leaves a line straight across the eye area.

"You missed. Either that or you weren't going for the throat. That's the problem with all of you. Limits."

GA ducks another swipe, and strikes back with a lunge that pierces the Hood's jacket. The sword provides a guideline for Red Hood to move into close quarters, using his helmet to viciously headbutt his opponent.

Arrow indulges the grapple with Todd, and uses it to throw his feet out onto a shelf of chemicals, pushing them back to the ground.

He follows with a swinging roundhouse kick that knocks the Hood silly enough to disarm him. With that, GA takes possession of his sword and forces him to yield, his neck in a scissored vice.

Despite the predicament, Todd mocks the situation.
"You and me fight with a few pig stickers and I'm going away in cuffs?"

He challenges GA to connect the dots, asking him if he really thinks a katana is a regular piece of his carry-on arsenal. He then highlights the fact that he's where he is, and Batman is across town. Then as the handle of Red Hood's katana begins to sizzle in his hand, Green Arrow gets it.

He tosses the sword into an adjacent wall, and on advice of a fleeing Jason Todd, does more than just toss it. They both make a dramatic escape, but it's Todd who has the barings to leap on a motorcycle to make his getaway.
GA fires an arrow into the air, but Red Hood is able to narrowly steer clear of it, getting notification of his package's arrival: Speedy.

The hammer...
Despite letting the baddie get away, Green Arrow earns comprehensive victory against a sword wielding Jason Todd!

As you may have gathered, this issue also contains a fight between Brick and Batman, and while that probably would've been the easier choice of the two, there was certainly a lot more meat to Green Arrow/Red Hood. Which you would really expect for the title character. Even so, hopefully we'll get a chance to revisit this issue just to get Batman/Brick on the board.

Though he's suffered a substantial fall from grace, I really like the idea of Brick as a criminal presence big enough to become regularly involved in the Gotham underworld. It's the kind of development that could've really slot well into Winick's period on Batman, with a more flowing and developing sense of Gotham City and it's criminal activity.

Another great reason to feature Green Arrow/Jason Todd was that it meant would could continue to diversify our featured characters, and maybe reflect a little bit of what's going on. Even though we've been talking about Red Hood more this year than last, when he was a lot more relevant.

To the former point, hopefully you've noticed a conceited effort to feature a greater balance of DC material. I fully acknowledge that I was more of a Marvel kid growing up, but I really have a great affection for many of DC's characters, and in the latter years really jumped the fence to their side.
Right now I fall somewhere in the middle, but for integrity's sake I just like the notion of getting more DC material on the site. And heck, we all know the Marvel zombies that probably visit us here could use the education. Oh yes! I went there!

Judd Winick's been a pretty regular feature on the site, but I haven't really talked at length about Scott McDaniel. It's interested me that he's remained on the title for so long, because after the initial departure of the art team of Phil Hester and Ande Parkes, I really didn't expect him to last it out.

While I'm reluctant to really slam the quality of his art, I personally feel it's somewhat lacking. I don't think the inks are doing it a lot of favours [this issue inked by Andy Owens] in respet to refining and cleaning some of the lines up, but to be fair, that isn't really the inker's job description.

It continues to work conceptually, following on from the cartoony vibe established previously, despite the book's tendency to delve into more traditionally dark and psuedo-realistic themes. Which has helped the title keep it's charms, but I still can't help but feel the style of energy, and the exaggerated limbs and action produced, just isn't feel right.

I've been quite surprised by some of the positive reviews I've heard, that specifically mention McDaniel as a highlight. iFanboy is a recent source of interest that springs to mind.
I'd have to honestly say, if the subject material wasn't so fun, and the characters featured weren't of initial interest to me, I probably wouldn't be buying.

The Fight: 6 The Issue: 5

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