Comic Book: Steelgrip Starkey And The All-Purpose Power Tool
Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool was a six-issue Comic Book limited series created by Alan Weiss and published by Epic Comics in 1986. Positioning itself as a modern-day folk tale in the spirit of Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and Rosie the Riveter, it chronicles the adventures of Steelgrip Starkey as he embodies the virtues of honest labor.Patrick "Steelgrip" Starkey and his friend Flynn "Flyin'" Ryan are construction workers recruited by a mysterious Mr. Pilgrim, inventor of the All-Purpose Power Tool. Using a new technology called "technalchemy", the APPT can perform any construction job, quickly synthesizing new components as needed. Joined by the tool's programmer, Sharri Barrnett, the three spend a year traveling the world as they perform various amazing feats, demonstrating that a good man with the right tool can perform miracles.
Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool provides examples of the following tropes:
Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Mr. Pilgrim appears to have one of these, as Star Key Enterprises effortlessly provides Steelgrip and Flynn with a New York City apartment suite, a private jet, costumes uniforms, and anything else they need without any concern for expenses. Justified because the entire effort is run by the White Brotherhood, who can apparently use magic to provide whatever funds are needed.
Asian and Nerdy: Sharri, the All-Purpose Power Tool's programmer, is Filipino.
Decoy Leader: Mr. Pilgrim, who — when he appears — is actually a friend of Flynn's in a latex mask.
Empathic Tool: The All-Purpose Power Tool will only work for those pure of heart. Steelgrip Lampshades this trope when he says it feels like the APPT is silently communicating with him.
"I can feel it! Jolting up my arm, to my brain! It's communicating with me! Letting me know what it — what we — can accomplish together!"
Epic Race: Issue #5 centers on an "Around-The-World Super Construction Race" between Star Key Enterprises and Globelock Industries.
Evil Counterpart: Ironarm Gantry, recruited by Globelock to operate the Worldbeater in the Super Construction Race. He's brutish, selfish, and prone to bursts of anger and pettiness.
The Worldbeater itself is an Evil Counterpart to the All-Purpose Power Tool; it's a massive, polluting contraption with bolted-on components, and tears up the landscape as it performs its tasks.
Genius Bruiser: Flynn was a former student teacher at an Ivy League college, handles the team's logistics and finances, and his hobbies include animal tracking and Eastern philosophy. Played Up to Eleven when it's revealed that he secretly developed technalchemy and the All-Purpose Power Tool.
God Guise: Flynn pretends to be an angry Lion God (complete with lion suit) to frighten General Kingu into revealing his scheme to mine the Moon.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Flynn is a Vietnam War veteran with a scarred "R" in his forehead. It was done out of defiance when he and his fellow prisoners were ordered to make an anti-American propaganda video.
Heroic Sacrifice: Averted when Steelgrip is whisked away from a runaway nuclear reactor at the last second. Played straight when the All-Purpose Power Tool entombs itself with the reactor core to contain the meltdown.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Steelgrip Starkey, who was selected because he upholds the heroic ideal. Also enforced by the All-Purpose Power Tool, as it only works for him because of his "purity of energy and intent."
Instant Expert: Even though Steelgrip has no idea what new form or instruments the tool will create for a job, he can control it immediately with the skill of an expert. Justified by the tool's empathic nature and its familiar, construction-oriented controls.
Limited Wardrobe: Steelgrip and Flynn rarely wear anything other than their usual outfits. Justified for Steelgrip, as his red shirt/blue jeans combination is a uniform. There's no excuse for Flynn's overalls, however...
Magic Tool: The All-Purpose Power Tool is the size of a toolbox, but can be programmed to perform any task, from raising a skyscraper to clearing a polluted gulf. It runs on no visible power source, synthesizes new components out of thin air, and is apparently indestructible.
Starkey: Hey, Flyin' — how do you think it does this? Flynn: How should I know? It's magic to me!
Mr. Fanservice: Steelgrip, perhaps inevitably as his outfit shows off his musculature very well. Justified in that one reason he was selected was because he matched the archetype of a hard-working American hero.
Unreliable Narrator: Flynn invokes this trope with some of his thought balloons and dialog. While he's eventually revealed to be the tool's inventor and the mastermind behind Mr. Pilgrim, his thoughts often read like he's unaware of the big picture. Done particularly egregiously when he and Dr. Sartorus are secretly plotting against General Kingu, yet Flynn still refers to Mr. Pilgrim in the third person.