Friday, January 10, 2014

Brotherhood of the Fist Part 5: GREEN ARROW #135

The Brotherhood of the Monkey Fist cult is out to kill the current Green Arrow, Connor Hawke, but Batman, Robin, and Nightwing have his back.  Lady Shiva has come to Gotham to challenge Connor to single combat, and she'll kill any Monkeys that get in her way.  Meanwhile, ex-CIA spook Eddie Fyers has traveled to Southeast Asia to the headquarters of the Monkey Fist, where Black Canary and Bronze Tiger are being held captive.  Fyers is there to stop the cult, but the hired gun Deathstroke has their back.

Green Arrow #135: "Brotherhood of the Fist Part 5: The Borrowed Life" was written by Chuck Dixon, drawn by Doug Braithwaite, inked by Robin Riggs, and colored by Lee Loughridge.

In the wreckage of a luxury hotel knocked over by the Gotham earthquake, Connor and Nightwing come face to face with Lady Shiva.  She is in town because, like a shark attracted to the scent of blood in the water, she heard that the Monkeys were taking out martial arts masters and she wanted a piece of the action.  Specifically, she wants Connor Hawke, whose status as a Master has risen since he defeated the Silver Monkey.

Shiva incapacitates Nightwing fairly easily, and then she and Connor square off.

While Nightwing, as well as Batman and Robin battle Monkeys in other parts of the hotel, Shiva tells Connor that she will kill him to secure her place as the greatest fighter in the world.

In the headquarters of the Monkey Fist, Fyers and Deathstroke draw down on each other and open fire.  The chaotic shootout in the temple is overheard by Black Canary and Bronze Tiger, who are trapped in a cell below.  Fyers is wounded, but he sets off some shaped charges and the explosion traps Deathstroke on the other side of the temple.

Back in Gotham, Shiva praises Connor's ability even as she escalates her attacks to kill him.

In the Monkey cages...

The original Silver Monkey is also locked up and pleads for Fyers to release him.  Fyers doesn't.  He escapes with Canary and Bronze Tiger, while the Sensei of the Brotherhood saves Deathstroke, but admonishes him for his failure to stop Fyers.

In Gotham, Shiva is about to kill Connor.

Lady Shiva grants Robin's request, and takes off, leaving Connor and the rest alive.  Robin and Nightwing help Connor recover while pumping up his self-esteem by talking about how few people have ever come that close to defeating Shiva.

Batman's praise is more dire and dreadful than the youths.  He tells Connor that his new credentials as a master fighter is going to paint a target on his back.

Connor accepts the inevitability and circle of events: "Win, lose, or tie -- another enemy will be there to take the last one's place."

This was a fun rock 'em, sock 'em little crossover.  I don't think the story needed to be five chapters--three or four could have sufficed perfectly well.  As much as I love seeing Black Canary and Bronze Tiger teamed up, they didn't accomplish anything and their entire part in the story could have been reduced to a couple panels in one issue.  Since I don't care about Eddie Fyers and I've never been a big Deathstroke fan, that whole subplot was uninteresting to me, as well.

I read Green Arrow #0 as part of the Zero Hour even back in the '90s.  That was the first time I saw Connor Hawke, and I was intrigued enough to read a few more GA issues after that.  At the time, I liked that Hawke was younger and "greener" than Oliver Queen; that made him feel like my generation's Green Arrow, the whole purpose for the Legacy heroes that DC kept churning out decade after decade.  I'm glad Oliver Queen is back, because I've since read more (and I've grown up) and I want him to be the Emerald Archer.

Is there a place for Connor today?  Not in the New 52, not when Ollie and the rest of the heroes have been de-aged to their early/mid twenties.  I guess Connor and Wally West and Donna Troy will have to exist on a parallel Earth somewhere.  Maybe we'll see them again someday.

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