War Machine Returns
We haven't seen much of War Machine in very many issues of this series. Before this series we barely even saw any War Machine at all. If it weren't for that new ongoing series of his, we might have totally forgotten that he was ever real! Okay, well maybe that's going way too far. Anyway, the bottom line is that the Iron Man/War Machine dynamic has been missing for years now. Well guess what? It's BACK!
Firstly, I need to give credit where credit is due. War Machine would not have been as super cool in this issue if it weren't for regular artist Salvador Larroca. Normally I talk about art closer to the end, but here it was very nice and I just wanted to get my thoughts out there. Salvador Larroca draws literally the best War Machine that I have ever seen. The way he draws him is soooo good. It's a mix of badassery and high tech and it looks soooo stunning. I was captivated by Larroca's depiction of War Machine. The cover art here does not do justice. In the cover art, War Machine looks weird and boxy and just strange. But in the issue, he looks amazing.
So now that I got that out of the way, I should talk about something else now. Uh... story! Well the story was great. Fraction throws humor into this burning pit of despair, which doesn't make you want to kill yourself while reading this story (in other words, it's not super sad like Daredevil). Yet, he can give it a dark tone at the same time. That's not easy and he pulls it off. Plus, the way that he writes about the ensemble cast kinda' reminds me of Brubaker's Captain America, which is right up there in quality.
We get some suprises in this. Futurepharm, from the fabled Extremis arc makes a suprise appearance that only hardcore Iron Man fans could probably spot. For me, I was on the edge of my seat. However, you expect to find some sort of remnant of the old Extremis enhancle days, but instead find something... completely different. I don't know if this move made any sense at all. To be honest, I don't really know what's going on with the Futurepharm part of the story but I'll just wait and see.
But of course, what fans are loving about this issue is the showdown between Iron Man and War Machine, which is very great. The battle itself is fought for a really unique reason. It's fun to see these two best friends chat it up again and the fight, though not particularly different from any other superhero fight, was fun to read (mainly because of Larroca's BRILLIANT artwork). As I said earlier, Larroca draws an amazing War Machine. He gets props.
All in all, it's very hard for me to express my interest in this issue. There is so much that I want to mention, but I want to avoid spoiling the plot as much as I can. There's a great flashback with a really cool concept that will no doubt come up again as the series moves forward. HAMMER is depicted brilliantly. War Machine was fun to see again. Overall, this rocks.
Story - 9.5 out of 10
Art - 9 out of 10