The Secret Origin of Red Tool!
Huh. Talk about your deep cuts…
In the latest issue of the ongoing Harley Quinn comic, writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have revealed the secret origin of one of my favorite characters, Red Tool! I didn’t know he even had a secret origin! And it’s a bit of a neat little doozy!
Haven’t even heard of Red Tool? That’s OK! That’s what I’m here for! Red Tool is a Deadpool knock-off and supporting character in the current Harley Quinn comic, introduced a couple years ago. He’s one of Harley’s various sidekicks and happens to be quite infatuated with the lady. She tolerates his advances to an extent, and might even reciprocate from time-to-time, but for the most part she is trying to teach him not to be one of those weirdly infatuated Nice Guys. It’s a fun story and he’s a pretty cool guy!
And being an Internet scribe who loves Conner and Palmiotti’s Harley Quinn comic, and possibly one of the only people on the Internet who thinks this is a big deal, I thought I’d chronicle their page-twisting, deep cutting new reveal! Someone’s got to let them know that we readers love and appreciate their nifty storytelling and long term character-building!
Join me after the jump!
Like I said above, Red Tool is basically a Deadpool knock-off, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. Deadpool himself is just a knock-off of Deathstroke the Terminator. That’s comics for you. And like I also said, I enjoy Red Tool as a Harley supporting character.
Well in the latest issue — Harley Quinn #31 — we learn that Red Tool is actually from both the future and the past! The DCU’s future and the comic book’s past. Trust me, it will all make sense.
The current storyline involves a woman from the future who won a Batman-themed fighting tournament where the prize was a trip back in time to meet the actual Batman. But the woman instead dedicated herself to going back in time and killing Harley Quinn, because in her timeline, Harley eventually murders the Batman.
After duking it out with Harley, both women are kidnapped by a mysterious figure who ties them to chairs and keeps them in separate rooms. He then goes to great lengths to convince the future woman that killing Harley won’t change her timeline because time travel doesn’t work like that in comics.
Then it’s revealed that the mysterious figure is Red Tool! And he’s also from the future woman’s timeline! In fact, he also won the same Batman-themed fighting tournament and came back to the past! Only he was obsessed with Harley Quinn and wanted to meet her!
That’s a pretty crazy twist! Until now, I mostly just assumed that Red Tool was a general mercenary/assassin who just happened to join up with Harley’s crew. But now we know he’s a time traveler! OoooOOOoooo!
But it goes even deeper than that, folks.
Red Tool then reveals that the reason he hasn’t returned to his own timeline is because he lost the arm that contained his return chip. So being stuck in the present, he went and got a job at a hardware store.
In fact, in an even more exciting twist, Red Tool reveals that we actually met him as a civilian way back at the very, very start of this Harley Quinn series!
Did you catch that editorial note in the bottom right corner?
Harley Quinn #3? That’s going way way way back! Like, three years back! Fortunately, I was definitely reading and reviewing comics at that time. And sure enough, I reviewed Harley Quinn #3 back when it came out! I liked the series back then, too!
So I grabbed my old gitial copy of Harley Quinn #3 and scoured it for the We-B-Tools scene. The only employee in the scene is this older guy with a mustache.
He doesn’t seem to even recognize Harley Quinn. Perhaps he really is just “playing it cool”.
The storyline is about Harley emitting some kind of pheromone smell that makes men fall madly, homicidally in love with her. The mustache guy gets infected, and then killed by the army of rampaging lunatics that chased Harley into the store.
So a lot of this is checking out. Red Tool did say that she smelled great — the pheromone — and he wasn’t injured.
That then reminded me of the fact that we’ve already seen Red Tool’s origin! Back when he first appeared, in Harley Quinn #26! We were told the parallel story of how an older, mustachioed man went crazy, got a bionic arm and eventually started loving tools. At the time, I was a little confused because these cutaways came out of nowhere. How was I supposed to remember that We-B-Tools doorman all these years later?
Still, I looked up my copy of Harley Quinn #26 and here he was!
And here he goes crazy looking for tools.
And he made his debut in costume as Red Tool at the end of that issue!
That’s pretty much that. I’ve been reading Conner and Palmiotti’s Harley Quinn since the first issue and I’ve loved pretty much all of it. And I offer mad respect to writers who play around with their own stories like this to create long-lasting character threads.
Did they anticipate turning the mustachioed doorman from a single scene in issue #3 into a solid supporting character and Deadpool knock-off? Did they plan on making Red Tool come from the future? Who knows (I bet they do)!
Either way, I think it was super neat!
Also, Red Tool’s real name is Wayne Wilkins, because of course it is.