By Jim Beard
A good villain never truly dies; just ask Cameron Hodge.
Once the college roommate of Warren Worthington III-better known as the X-Men's Archangel-Hodge nurtured a virulent hatred for mutants in his heart and made himself into one of the X-Men's worst enemies. The ultimate cost? His life.
But he got better. And meaner. And much more powerful. These days he's working for the evil Bastion, as X-fans will witness in April 14's NEW MUTANTS #12. We cannot say what destiny may hold for Hodge from this moment on, but we can tell the sorry tale of his life and death before he once again faces off against his hated foes, the X-Men.
After helping the Angel form X-Factor, Hodge's true nature became apparent. The team fired him as their PR man but when Cyclops tried to tell the public of Hodge's less-than-kindly plans, he called in his soldiers, a mutant-hating group called the Right, and directed them to attack civilian targets. Routed, the Right retreated but doubled back to X-Factor headquarters and chose a few new targets.
Hodge's crony the Animator created half-human, half-animal creatures called Animates and drew the wrath of his employer. Attempting to experiment on his captives, the New Mutants, the scientist found himself interrupted by Hodge and the Right, seeking to wipe away the Animator's island. The New Mutants fought bravely and chased Hodge and his soldiers into the arms of a gigantic Animate octopus, then mourned one of their fallen comrades.
Strife and distrust laced the alliance between Hodge and the demon N'astirith, but the mutant-hater sought a bigger bird to pluck its feathers: Death, the former Angel transformed. The two arch-enemies clashed violently while the life of Warren's old love, Candy Southern, hung in the balance, but Hodge pulled the plug on the lady and Death swore to rain eternal destruction on everything his former friend held dear.
Reduced to a human head atop a cold mechanical body, Hodge once again held sway over the New Mutants, this time on the nation-island of Genosha. The young heroes tried valiantly to break free from Hodge's grasp, but the evil man desired Warlock's shapeshifting abilities and as a result the techno-organic warrior lost his alien life. To make matter worse, the nation of Genosha then declared every single one of the X-Men enemies of the state.
During a rescue attempt to Genosha, the X-Men encountered the monstrous Hodge and paid dearly for their efforts. With many mutants seriously injured, Cyclops and his brother Havok took on the madman as others cleared the citadel in which they fought. The two X-Men's destructive bolts of pure power whittled Hodge down and then left the once all-too-human flesh to Wolfsbane's tender-and vengeful-mercies.
The entities known as the Phalanx resurrected Hodge, but their best-laid plans fell apart under the attention of the X-Men. In a battle at their Mt. Everest base, the Phalanx's "psi-net" came under attack from Cable, Jean Grey and Psylocke, yet Hodge absorbed his allies' energy and in doing so obliterated the entire race. In the final conflagration, the X-Men's foe snatched up the traitorous Steven Lang and seemingly did away with himself.
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