|First appearance||Avengers: The Initiative #1 (March, 2007)|
|Created by||Dan Slott
|Alter ego||Roger Brokeridge|
|Abilities||Ability to create a variety of energy balls, normally originating from his hand, including "hard energy" and electro-magnetic energy.|
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2012)|
Hardball was one of the feature characters in the 2011 six-issue limited series Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt.
Fictional character biography
Roger Brokeridge (a.k.a. Hardball) is one of the new Initiative recruits who arrives with Cloud 9, MVP, Trauma, Komodo, and others. He appears to have a very outgoing personality, hitting on Thor Girl on the bus ride in and cracking a joke about not having a cape when receiving his fatigues. He also tries to convince Komodo and Cloud 9 to go out to a bar with him, even though he is two weeks short of his 21st birthday. During the training mishap with Armory he exhibits the ability to create an energy ball that deflects the lethal blasts from Armory's Tactigon. He attempts to capitalize on his new position by wearing a costume and flaunting his abilities at a bar in Stamford. Understandably, the patrons are less than happy to see a "grandstanding kid superhero", and are on the verge of attacking him, until a man in a suit rescues him. In return, the suited man has Hardball steal a S.P.I.N. Tech dart magazine from the weapon stores for him and replace it with a facsimile. Ironically, that same magazine is the one Iron Man attempts to use to defeat the Hulk during the events of World War Hulk. Upon realizing what he has done, Hardball is overcome with guilt.
It is later revealed that Roger was given his powers by the Power Broker. Hardball was then forced to work for the Power Broker, and was ordered to rob an armored car. He used his new powers to knock the car down while coincidentally a little girl entered the street at that time, in the path of the car. Wonder Man, who just happened to be flying by misinterpreted this as an act of heroism, and swiftly recruits him into the Initiative. The Power Broker then sold his "contract" to Hydra, whose commander is the man who saved him in the bar, Congressman Woodman, which means Hydra has a double-agent within the Initiative. When SHIELD agents were investigating the attack on Gauntlet, they found the Capekiller armor Hardball used to infiltrate the labs at Camp Hammond to steal the SPIN Tech dart. Hardball steers them away from discovering his mission by leaving a note hinting that they should take a look at the labs. Fear that the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents would find out about the MVP clones made Gyrich call off their investigation and leave the base.
Roger enters into a romantic relationship with Komodo.[volume & issue needed]
When he completed his training, Hardball was assigned to Nevada's Initiative team. He appears with the Heavy Hitters, including Gravity, Nonstop, and Telemetry, helping the Skrull Kill Krew and 3-D Man deal with a Skrull posing as an unnamed team member during the Secret Invasion. He then leaves with Komodo, 3-D Man, and the Krew to help the other Initiative teams.
At the start of the Dark Reign storyline, Hardball's status as an agent for Hydra led to a confrontation against the rest of the Heavy Hitters and a visiting Komodo. Hardball kills Congressman Woodman, effectively becoming the new leader of Woodman's HYDRA cell. This ends his relationship to the Initiative and to a saddened Komodo as well.
Hardball is revealed to be running a Hydra training camp in Madripoor and became the lover of Scorpion. The Shadow Initiative arrived in Madripoor to capture him, only to be caught off guard with enhanced S.P.I.N. Tech darts that drain Komodo's powers. The Shadow Initiative briefly retreats, returning and claiming they wish to switch sides, allowing them to gain access to the HYDRA base's weapons, and take them down from within. During the fight, it is revealed that Hardball only joined Hydra because he had no alternative. He willingly surrenders to Constrictor, and is incarcerated in the Negative Zone prison. Hardball is conscripted by Blastaar to serve him when he invades the prison, but Hardball aids the Shadow Initiative when they arrive to liberate the prison. He was then placed on the Shadow Initiative as a result of his efforts, prompting Komodo to quit the team. Hardball gets involved in the 3-way battle between the forces of Camp H.A.M.M.E.R., the Avengers Resistance, and Nightmare. During the battle, Nightmare gives Hardball visions of his brother calling him a liar and threatening to cripple him.
When the Avengers Resistance invades Camp H.A.M.M.E.R., Hardball and Cloud 9 walk in on a depowered Komodo holding Baron Von Blitzschlag at gunpoint. They take her gun away but only so she doesn't shoot Hardball before he can inject her with something that inhibits the SPIN Tech in her bloodstream. Cloud 9 then gets Komodo to listen to Hardball explain his actions by mentioning how Hardball aided the Shadow Initiative. Before they talk, the Baron surrenders and offers to give the three heroes a flashdrive containing records of every illegal order Osborn gave at camp HAMMER in exchange for leniency.
During the Heroic Age storyline, Hardball is one of the many guests invited to the Avengers Academy "prom night". After seeing Komodo flirting with Reptil, he threatens him to stay away from her. When Speedball steps in to break it up, Hardball attacks him and he retaliates by sealing him inside an energy bubble. Hardball cools down shortly afterwards using his powers to join in the festivities.
During the Fear Itself storyline, Hardball appears at a meeting held by Prodigy regarding magical hammers that have crashed into the earth. He helps the team in battling the Worthy and rescuing survivors. When he meets up with Gravity, he taunts him for his lack of leadership skills, leading to a confrontation between the two. Komodo and Firebird quickly break it up. They later battled Thor Girl, when she regained her designate powers.
Hardball later appears amongst the heroes on Jeremy Briggs' side.
Powers and abilities
The full extent of his powers is unrevealed. He appears to be able to create balls of "solidified" energy that he can use as a defensive shield; he can also use them in hand-to-hand combat by maintaining energy spheres around his fists, increasing the impact of his punches and protecting his hands from damage. These energy balls can be quite powerful, since they managed to deflect energy blasts from Armory (which previously had pierced through Ultimo's armor). He can imprison multiple nearby opponents in larger versions of these spheres. He can also create electro-magnetic balls of energy that can momentarily scramble electronic locks and cameras. He has not told The Initiative the full extent of his powers.
- Full name revealed in Avengers: The Initiative #4
- Avengers: The Initiative #1
- Avengers: The Initiative #3
- World War Hulk #1
- Avengers: The Initiative #4
- Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
- Avengers: The Initiative #6
- Avengers: The Initiative #12
- Avengers: the Initiative #17
- Avengers: The Initiative Special #1
- Avengers: The Initiative #20-24
- Avengers: The Initiative #27
- Avengers: The Initiative #28
- Avengers: the Initiative #30
- Avengers: the Initiative#35
- Avengers Academy #13
- Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #1-6
- Avengers Academy #26
- Hardball at Marvel Wiki