Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writing: Louise Simonson
Artwork: Walter Simonson
Coloring: Laura Martin
Release Date: 23rd June 2021
As entire comic book length battles go, Louise Simonson’s script for “Tools!” doubtless satisfied the best part of its 39,098 strong audience in June 2021, thanks to some truly sense-shattering action sequences involving numerous laser bolts, writhing hydraulic tentacles and a veritable avalanche of murderously metallic rectangular plates. Indeed, it’s hard to recollect a more intense fracas appearing upon the printed page as Apocalypse’s “deadly robot attacker” initially appears to have the upper hand over a frantically back-peddling original X-Men line-up, and actually threatens the very well-being of Marvel Girl’s infant son, Christopher Summers.
But due to this “all-new tale” being set just before the events of Issue Forty-Three of “X-Factor”, when an entirely intact team venture off into hyperspace together, any sense of Scott’s colourfully-garbed comrades-in-arms actually being in jeopardy during their confrontation against a mechanically-enhanced Cameron Hodge is arguably lost – even when two thirds of the way through the publication En Sabah Nur confidently announces that the super-heroes are about to die at the hands of their former public relations agent; “Brave talk. But the fight is all but over. Cyclops, Jean, Iceman, and Beast have fallen. Death and the infant are next.”
Fortunately however, the Atlanta-born author does try to make up for this debatable lack of tension, by posing the question as to just how the badly-battered mutants will ultimately overpower so seemingly invincible a robotic body as the one Apocalypse has conjured up for Warren Worthington’s old college roommate. The “metal monster” genuinely appears unstoppable at the start of the skirmish, with legendary artist Walter Simonson even pencilling Cyke’s ruby-red eye-beams harmlessly bouncing off of the towering brute’s armoured carapace and dangerously firing off wildly about the field leader’s surroundings.
In addition, “Weezie” pens an excellent insight into the psychological workings of Hodge’s mind, as he tries to seek his revenge upon an X-Factor who are wholly ignorant as to the true identity of their opponent. Cameron’s ability to mentally direct his behemoth’s physical properties in order for him to use his adversaries’ formidable abilities against them helps turn this comic’s narrative into more of an intriguing game of chess or cat and mouse, than an uninspiring, straightforward slugfest, and as result provides some surprising depth to the character’s hatred of all Homo sapiens superior.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]