War Machine #1
Marvel Comics (April, 1994)“Something To Believe In” WRITERS: Scott Benson & Len Kaminski PENCILER: Gabriel Gecko INKER: Pam Eklund COLORIST: Ariane LETTERER: John Constanza EDITOR: Nel Yomtov
After cutting ties with Tony Stark, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes is trying to decide what to do with his life. He doesn’t want to be head of a major corporation but those are the job offers coming. He’s looking for something he can believe in. His girlfriend, Rae Lacoste, introduces him to Vincent Cetewayo, a man who has done a lot of good in the world. It’s a minor trick, though, as Cetewayo wants Rhodey to head his new project, Worldwatch, to help increase his humanitarian operations. Rhodey refuses because it would still mean he’s the head of a big organization, which he doesn’t want to do again. This leads to an argument between Rhodey and Rae. Meanwhile, the crazed leader of Imaya, Africa, Eda Arul (which I’m betting is an anagram I’m missing–feel free to tell me, it’s the only issue I have), has declared Cetewayo a traitor for denouncing his homeland, a police state where the crowds cheer or else. He wants Cetewayo captured but the chancellor (who you know is playing this guy like a cheap violin) suggests a more private kidnapping. Hearing of Cetewayo’s capture and “trial”, Rhodey tries to get SHIELD to help him but Fury can’t do a thing and the Avengers going in would violate their charter. So Rhodey armors up and goes in himself. War Machine takes out the air force, but Cable is there trying to prevent an international incident. Their fight is interrupted by the arrival of Deathlok (a good one…long story), who also plans to rescue Cetewayo and dares anyone to stop him!
A lot happened for a slightly longer comic, didn’t it? They even snuck in War Machine’s backstory, with some discretion to protect secret identities as Rhodey explains his situation to Rae.
What they got right: War Machine is on his own now, apart from Iron Man, and while I hate seeing Rhodey and Tony at odds, maybe he can break from Iron Man’s shadow (even if he only sees himself there) and become his own person. They also have Arul keeping the heads of his enemies on a bookshelf, which might not be necessary (and it’s a bit sick, but so’s Arul) but shows off just what a psycho he is, joined by his “beloved” speech to his people. The scene also shows that the chancellor may be manipulating Arul, also shown when War Machine first attacks Imaya. I’m curious where that goes.
What they got wrong: I only have one issue of Deathlok so I don’t know why he’s so interested in Cetewayo outside of the man’s major humanitarian operations. Maybe that’s explained. Really all I have to work with here.
Recommendation: A decent start to War Machine’s solo title. Worth taking a look at.