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Hershel Goldstein was a janitor who was dying of cancer with a few weeks left to live. One day a crazy man killed the driver of Hershel's bus, which was the start of his transformation. Hershel got blood on himself and his clothes but didn't seem too shocked as he went home. Later that night the police came to take a statement and noticed that Hershel had blood on him. They got suspicious and though he had done nothing wrong, he ran from them and ended up stumbling upon the area where International Operations stored the Brass Virus. Hershel unwittingly exposed himself to one of the five vials of Brass virus and after an incredibly painful and disorienting process, found himself transformed into a living war machine. Right as his transformation finished the four cops that had been chasing him found him, and each one of them were exposed to one of the other samples of the virus. The cops didn't seem slowed by the changes and they continued to pursue Hershel, now in the form that would become known as Brass. But as Brass, Hershel was more confident and much more capable of defending himself. He was able to kill two of them and while that was happening an automated signal was sent to Miles Craven alerting him that the virus was active. Craven sent teams to retrieve his property and their ships killed a third cyborg cop before capturing Brass and the final cop.
While unconscious in a lab run by Craven, Hershel spoke with the Brass virus inside him. The virus (in the form of a young girl) told him that Craven was going to inject something in him so he would become Craven's slave and personal weapon. To prevent the new substance from being able to alter him on a basic level, Hershel and the Brass virus merged to become a single being with even more control over itself and anything in it. Hershel woke up in his human body with Craven standing over him, who lie to Hershel about injecting something to counteract the virus that had made him into a machine and let him go as he was no longer useful, but Hershel knew the truth. He was Brass.
A few years had passed and not much had changed in his life. Even with all the power at his fingertips, he'd done nothing more than get a job washing windows. One day though, his job had him on a building above a street where an assassination was taking place. Deciding it was time to really live his life, he jumped from the building into the street below, turned into Brass, and laid waste to the gun-toting assassins. Unfortunately Brass was too late to stop them from killing their target, and even worse, his presence convinced some of the remaining assassins that their target was still alive and they fired explosives onto the busy street. Brass was unharmed but many civilians lost their lives before he could kill the attackers. As a result of the disaster Hershel was registered as an MHOI (meta human of interest) since he couldn't actually be arrested because he was so powerful, and also lost his job. As he was leaving the police precinct where he had been held and registered, he met an alien known as Eryx, who would give him a new perspective on what Brass actually was.
Eryx requested Hershel to defend her planet, Tilaug. To get him to come with her she explained everything she knew about the Brass virus and why it was important to saving her planet. Everything on her planet was a perfect blend of machine and flesh. The plants and animals were all cyborgs, living machine that grew and existed similarly to how things worked on Earth. And like on Earth, living things on Eryx's planet can get sick. There were periodic outbreaks of a virus that turned organisms violent and caused them to kill everything they could. This was the War Virus that would eventually become Brass. During one low level infection of the virus, scientists on Eryx's planet isolated the virus so they could cure it. They were never able to, but after a long series of quarantines their isolated sample was the last trace of it. They didn't know what to do with it and instead of destroying it they flushed it out of their dimension and into the dimension where Earth exists. It was then discovered by I.O. and so began the testing in 1967 that led to Hershel becoming Brass. With the virus gone and violence and war no longer a part of their ecosystem, Eryx's planet became a peaceful utopia. That lasted for about a hundred years until a very violent race from another planet, the Kusht, came to destroy and take over the planet. That was why Brass was needed. Hershel refused, but Eryx used her technology to take him against his will before he knew what was going on, and since the virus didn't see any of that as a threat, it let her do it. Hershel found himself on Eryx's planet while her people were under attack. He quickly realized what he needed to do and destroyed the enemy force. After that small battle was over Hershel was able to to see more of the planet but almost everyone was afraid of him because they thought he was contagious. Eryx took him to five other of her people that were willing to talk with him and then revealed that her plan wasn't for Brass alone to fight the war, but to have him infect the six of them so they could defend themselves. Brass agreed and let them take samples of himself with which to infect themselves with. The six of them transformed immediately and became things that resembled Brass and the other humans that had been infected with the virus. After that, Brass trained the Tilaugians, a task made very difficult by their still peaceful mindsets.
Before going off for a large battle, Hershel talked with the aliens under his command. He discovered that since there was no cure, after the war was finished they would be quarantined for the rest of their lives, never to see their loved ones again. This upset him and he demanded they all be able to see their families, even if it was through a barrier. This was allowed and they were allowed a viewing which went well until one of their wives fled at the sight of her husband, Asubal, taking her child with her. Afterward, Brass and his team attacked a Kusht camp with huge success. However, Brass became overconfident and flew into a trap and was taken captive. Soon later he was rescued by Eryx and his allies. But, Brass realized that they had become succumbed to the emotional aggression of the War Virus as they laid waste to thousands of helpless Kusht in space. This forces the other remaining Kusht to cease the war and abandon Tilaug.
In the aftermath, only Brass, Eryx, Asubal and Jeq survived the entire conflict. Jeq had lost his brother and was showing signs of depression and Asubal was also suffering emotionally, though showing signs of uncontrollable anger instead of sadness. When they returned home Asubal wanted to see his family but his wife would not see him and someone else had to bring him his son which only made him more furious. Things weren't going well but Hershel didn't know what to do so he prepared to go home. He was about to leave when news reached him that Asubal had gone insane and was going after his son, killing everyone in is way. Brass went after him after checking on Jeq and seeing that he was so far gone mentally that he was about to die because he wouldn't do anything but cry. He found Asubal but it was too late. He had already killed numerous people including his own wife, and infected his son. When Brass confronted him Asubal attacked and they fought until Brass was forced to kill him. Returning to where he would depart for Earth he found Jeq dead as long as the corpse of Eryx's father with a message written on the wall saying "Come get me." Eryx had escaped to Earth and Brass had to stop her.
Brass returned to Earth and could see destruction around him. He went home and then tried to contact Eryx with his mind. It worked and Brass was able to find her, but what he saw wasn't the Eryx he knew. She had transformed further into an almost dragon-like form. She wanted Brass to be with her because they were the only ones like each other and she promised to keep killing until they were together. When he refused a fight broke out that destroyed much of the city and left Brass injured. He retreated back to his apartment and waited for her to catch up to him. When she did she found him holding a gun at the head of Asubal's infected child. Brass knew that Eryx wouldn't let the only other thing like them die so he told her he would spare the child if she would leave. She agreed but attacked Brass so she could take the child she now considered hers with her when she left. Eryx flew off to places unknown leaving Brass as the last of his kind on Earth. Later, when Hershel was being questioned by the cop who had registered him before he was told to consider joining the Wildcats but he threw away the calling card he was given. As he was leaving he was contacted by Eryx and she told him that some day she'd prove to him that they were meant to be together.
Following Armageddon, Hershel survived Earth's Apocalyptic landscape and has been "sneaking up on bad guys is much all [he's] been doing". He participated in Earth's war against the Knights of Khera, and was bitter towards Diva and Gen 14's Runt for their ineptness in the midst of battle in UnLondon. Brass, along with Runt and Diva, was teleported by Fuji to one of Earth's magnetic poles to stop the Knight's terraforming process. There Brass and the other heroes were under attacked by invisible-cloaked enemies and was wounded. He requested Runt and Diva's help in destroying the Kheran's cloaking device. However, all three were ambushed. Though Brass managed to reveal the cloaking device's location, enabling Runt to easily destroying it.
- Enhanced Senses: The virus allows Hershel to communicate with machines and effortlessly hack advanced systems just by "talking" to them in their own language.
- Molecular Reconstruction: Hershel has total control of his body down to a subatomic level, Brass can reconfigure himself in many different ways, adding new armor, creating wings and propulsion systems for flight, changing modes to better deal with a threat, etc.
- Superhuman Durability
- Multilingualism: Because of Brass, Hershel can speak any language because the virus interprets everything as code and can translate for him.
- Vulnerability to EMP: The only physical weakness of the Brass armor is that it is vulnerable to Electromagnetic Pulses and extremely powerful electrical attacks.
- Technological Reliability: When in his armored form Hershel is much more prone to violence and his conscience is muted to where he doesn't feel sadness or remorse for actions that would bother him normally.
- 12 Appearances of Hershel Goldstein (Wildstorm Universe)
- 2 Images featuring Hershel Goldstein (Wildstorm Universe)
- 1 Quotations by or about Hershel Goldstein (Wildstorm Universe)
- Character Gallery: Hershel Goldstein (Wildstorm Universe)