Having faked his death with Tony Stark after an intense battle with the Living Laser, Whirlwind and Melter, the two men have hatched a plan to strike back at the Mandarin and Ezekiel Stane which involves the presumed dead Rhodey becoming the new Iron Man as his employer steps down from the role once again.
James Rupert Rhodes was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He first met Tony Stark while flying combat missions in Vietnam. Rhodes' helicopter had been shot down by Viet Cong rocket fire, and while trying to get the aircraft airborne again, he encountered Stark in a bulky prototype suit of powered armor. At that moment the Viet Cong attacked, and Stark, in his suit, helped to drive them off. Together, Rhodes and Stark made their way to a nearby enemy base where they stole another helicopter, flying it back to the American lines.
After the end of the Vietnam War, Stark, who had secretly become the superhero named Iron Man, offered Rhodes a job as his personal pilot, and Rhodes soon became one of Stark's closest associates and confidants as well as Stark Industries' chief aviation officer. As a result, he had numerous adventures with his employer where his daring and skills were valuable assets. When Tony relapsed into his alcoholism, James Rhodes took over the Variable Threat Response Battle Suit (War Machine). James Rhodes took up the mantle of Iron Man for some time, and would return to using this suit.
Mayor Story Arcs
During the Time Wars, James Rhodes traveled back to World War II with Sheva Josephs to stop Grinz, a Nazi officer who was receiving advanced technology from the future. Rhodes learned that Grinz was supplied by his own son, Raeder. Rhodes killed Grinz to prevent Raedar from being born; the resulting paradox shunted Rhodes and Joseph back to their own time, It was then that James Rhodes lost the War Machine Armor and was forced to retire from the superhero business.
It was during a fishing trip, trying to relax, that an alien race came to Rhodey and bonded him with the symbiotic alien suit, known as the Eidolon Warwear. The Eidolon Warwear System was a gift from unknown aliens who apparently wished to give the world a defender for Earth's coming battle with Kang The Conqueror. The black, orange and green battlesuit was an organic partner that sensed Rhodey's heroic nature and drew him near so that it could organically bond with him. When Stark died during a battle with Kang The Conqueror, Rhodes rejoined Stark Enterprises to protect his old friend's legacy. To prevent Stark's armor technology from being misused, he used the abilities of the Eidolon Warwear armor to erase all trace of Stark's designs from the Fujikawa systems, but the armor was destroyed in the process. Rhodes gave up his superhero career and started his own salvage company. Upon Stark and the other heroes' return from Counter-Earth, the two renewed their friendship, also dealing with the new War Machine, Parnell Jacobs.
Split with Tony
Rhodes quit his job at Stark Enterprises due to the fact that Tony lied to him about his fake death. After his dismissal, Rhodes is attacked by former War Machine pilot Parnell in an attempt to recover the War Machine armor. The two are picked up by Nick Fury and taken to the Helicarrier. It is revealed that Jacobs had sold his stolen War Machine to Hydra for money when he learned his wife was pregnant. SHIELD was able to recover the armor and was in the process of reverse engineering the Stark technology. Nick Fury planned to field a squad of War Machines commanded by Rhodes.
He would take a break from heroics for a while, Rhodes founded his own marine salvage company, but an extravagant lifestyle and an unscrupulous accountant left him bankrupt. Rhodes had heavily invested in Grace & Tumbalt due to their stated purpose of improving urban ethnic neighborhoods. While investigating the death of his sister Jeanette, he learned the company was corrupt, using their resources to fuel gangs and drugs. He would then form a team of superheroes called "The Crew." The team consisted of The White Tiger, Junta, and Josiah X, the son of the 1940’s super-soldier Isaiah Bradley, the black Captain America. Rhodes used part of a prototype War Machine armor to face off with Triage, the head of the 66 Bridges, and the gang was dispersed by Rhodes and his allies.
After the House of M incident, he would guard the mutants as the commanding officer and head combat instructor for Sentinel Squad O*N*E* and as a key member of the Office of National Emergency, using an Iron Man like armor that took advantage of sentinel technology, he would start controlling one of the large Sentinel suits after Tony Stark designed a "War Machine" model. He would drop the Sentinel armor and return to his superhero duties once the The Initiative went into effect. Jim Rhodes is back in the War Machine Armor for the first time in over 4 years and is the Field Commander of Camp Hammond and one of the head trainers of new recruits of The Initiative program. Jim dawn his armor again because while serving as a military consultant at a base in Dubai and test piloting a combat plane, the base was bombed by terrorists Rhodes had been severely injured and without limbs while fighting the terrorists . Dieing from his injuries Tony saved his with life cybernetic implants and James becomes a cyborg.
After the events of the Secret Invasion, War Machine swore to get rid of Osborn's evil power and influence. This brought Jim to Aqiria where a friend of him, Dr. Glenda Sandoval, was kidnapped. With the help of Parnell Jacobs (Glenda's ex husband) and Bethany Cabe, War Machine infiltrated Aqiria and fought against Eaglestar's private army in order to free his friend
After a vicious battle, War Machine confronted Ares and also Davis Harmon, Eaglestar's CEO and the man who kidnapped Glenda. Jim managed to defeat Ares, even for a brief moment and Harmon freed Sandoval from the confinement area. Harmon was sure that he couldn't be prosecuted by his war crimes due to the legal status of Aqiria, but that didn't stopped Glenda of taking justice into her own hands. But Harmon's deep secrets were opened by Ares, a rabid pack of prisoners infected by the ultimo virus. And Glenda was of the first victims becoming an enraged slave of the virus. While this is going on Bethany Cabe is currently working on making a clone body for Jim to download his mind into because his cybernetic implants were meant to be permanent , but this is discovered by Norman Osborn who steal the body.
During this arc, James found himself facing the Doomsday device known as Ultimo, and in order to defeat it, he formed an alliance with Norman Osborn and together they defeated the robot. But Osborn revealed his true motives: to claim Ultimo for himself. While James was fighting Osborn, his Team War Machine ally Suzi Endo escaped to space with Ultimo in order to reprogram it. After Osborn defeated James, it was revealed that he was actually buying his team time in order to expose the Bainesville Ten, a group of politicians and industry captains responsible for horrific acts around the world. In order the prevent the prosecution of the Bainesville Ten, Osborn made a distraction of his own by sending Rhodes to the Hague to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The longer Rhodes' trial continues, the more time Osborn has to thwart the prosecution of the Ten and smuggles them out of the country. Rhodes sends away his lawyers and awaits prosecution in his cell room although evidence of his innocence exists. Rhodey's mom comes to his cell and attempts to talk him out of surrendering himself, but he tells her that he'll never give up and contacts his team who are in possession of his clone body, and are about to get the clone close enough to Rhodes so they can begin the transfer process of his consciousness into the body. However their plan was discovered by Osborn and sends a team of H.A.M.M.E.R agents after Team War Machine to thwart their plan. Jim was discovered talking to his team by the guards who started attacking him until Ares appeared and fought alongside Rhodey claiming to be his "champion". In the meantime, all of the Bainesville Ten have left the U.S and Norman gave a speech claiming that Rhodes was kidnapped by Tony Stark and that a Starktech cyborg (the real War Machine) committed the "atrocities" in James' name, while Osborn was attempting to control the cloned body of Rhodes and condemn the real War Machine. In the Hague, War Machine was apparently killed while trying to protect a child. When all seemed to go well for Osborn and the Bainesville Ten, the data that was stored in James's cyborg memory was transferred to the Bainesville Ten, and they started seeing every recording of every person that has suffered because of them over and over again causing them extreme pain. After seeing this, Osborn turned around to see James in a whole new body, and he punched him in the face. Team War Machine was successful in transferring Rhodes' consciousness into the new body. Rhodes left Osborn to deal with his defeat. He was cleared of all charges and given a new "fresh" body. It has been confirmed that he will be apart of the Heroic Age's Secret Avengers.
Iron Man 2.0
The one man armory, James "War Machine" Rhodes, will have a new mission, new armor, and is the new Iron Man! That's right, Iron Man! James has won many battles and wars. Physically, mentally, and in the grounds of combat, no other person is ready enough to wield the "Iron Man" title. That is why Rhodes is stepping up his game and fighting a threat that might be even bigger than Tony Stark, with a new series and new outlook, Rhodes is getting ready to fight for his life, or die trying!
War Machine's Armor
Variable Threat Response Battle Suit
Rhodey first wore the War Machine armor which holds various weapons such as repulsors, unibeam, concussion pulses, twin barreled cannon in right gauntlet, laser blade in left gauntlet, wrist-mounted flamethrower, shoulder mounted gatling gun, shoulder mounted box rocket launcher and shoulder mounted particle beam. The armor has more plating and shielding than standard armors. A polycarbonate coating further improves the surface. A additional polyprismatic coating was developed to counter laser fire.
The suit quickly adapts to environmental conditions and possible dangers, such as sealing against the vacuum of space. Protective force-fields can also be created. Furthermore, the suit is capable of healing injuries to both itself and the wearer. The suit flies incredibly fast and is suited for interstellar travel. The armor can produce (referred to as "unskinning") remote drones that can be morphed into weapons, probes etc. as the wearer needs. A set of small rotating drones are normally around the right gauntlet, while a large cannon is mounted on the left. The suit's main firepower is plasma-based.
The armor is constructed of a unique mix of steel and fiberglass based on a formula developed by Mister Fantastic. The hands can fire pulsar beams while blasters are mounted in the eye and chest area. Sonics and missiles can also be deployed. Non-lethal weapons such as nets and smoke bombs are also usable.
The gauntlets possess blasters, shoulder mounts include a gatling gun, beam weapon and rocket launcher. On at least one occasion the launcher has been set to use the Super-Powered Inhibiting Nanobots (SPIN) power neutralizer. Cannons can also extend from the chest area, epaulets, and hip pods. The arms can function even if separated from Rhodes. The armor also has satellite interface with internal monitors that allow him to access any database on the planet.
Iron Man 2.0
In this story arc, James "War Machine" Rhodes will be getting new and more powerful armor. Removing all of the extra bulk, and cannon rockets/machine gun, he will be getting an advanced model that resembles Iron Man's newest armor. He will be able to move much faster, however will still have the same abilities like his previous armor. Everything about this armor is upgraded. It has a new operating system, and will have different abilities that have yet to be revealed.
“In Rhodey's internal monitors, a thing called a 'Kill Number' pops up when he eyes a new villain. That's not the number of people the villain's killed; that's a rating based on all the information Rhodey's downloaded from every accessible database on the planet that helps Rhodey decide who deserves the ultimate sanction"- Greg Pak
The armor possesses stealth features such as invisibility and holographic projections. It also has technology similar to Iron Man's long time foe, Ghost. The War Machine can render itself and the wearer intangible. It also has a "Combat Mode" which Iron Man describes as a feature Rhodes can use to "Hulk Out" The armor does possess limitations. Intangibility and invisibility are exclusive and the add-on features drain the repulsor battery relatively fast. Chameleon Mode won't give the wearer migraines but it can still disorient the user.
War Machine vs Iron Man
One of the most requested and sought after battles in the Marvel Universe has always been War Machine vs Iron Man. We've seen them battle only a few times but it's not always been James Rhodes in the War Machine armor, in Iron Man vol. 2 it's been Parnell Jacobs.
- Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #2 (1993)
- War Machine #8 (1994)
- Iron Man #310 (1994)
- Marvel Action Hour: Iron Man #2 (1994)
- War Machine #22 (1994)
- Iron Man #11(1998) Parnell as War Machine
- Iron Man #12(1998) Parnell as War Machine
- Iron Man #19(1998) Parnell as War Machine
- Iron Man #20(1998) Parnell as War Machine
- U.S. War Machine 2.0 #2 (2003)
- Invincible Iron Man #11, Worlds Most Wanted (2009)
War Machine in Alternate Realities
In the year 1602, the Lord Iron suit was engineered by Lord Anthony Stark and Rupert Rhodes, his accomplice.
In the Marvel zombies universe, War Machine is one of the last heroes to be not infected by the zombie plague.
In the alternate future of MC2, Jim Rhodes has become a humanoid robot because of nano implants inside him gave him superhuman capabilities but at the cost of his mind being wipe out. Supposedly Tony Stark was supposed to infect himself with the nanotechnology by Jim thought that it was too much of a sacrifice to himself to do such an act, so he volunteered for the experiment. Although now-blessed with exponentially-increasing invulnerability and an impressive array of energy-based attacks, the nanites slowly corrupt Rhodes' mind, eventually destroying his personality and leaving him as little more than a very powerful, humanoid robot. He eventually works as a personal bodyguard for Tony Stark, and although he adopts a super hero uniform. During a mission with members of the original Avengers to bring in the Venom-symbiote. One of the Scarlet Witch's hex bolts hit Jim and caused him to go out of control. Eventually Spider-girl and Normie Osborn who was the user of the symbiote at the time was able to short out the nano-bots that left Jim comatose. Allowing Tony Stark to repair his neural patterns.
In the Ultimate Universe, Jim Rhodes is first seen a student being bullied at school until he was defended by Tony Stark. He even let Rhodey wear his Iron Man suit that he and his father was developing. Jim was later making his own armor named War Machine, which he plans on trading with Tony's Iron Man suit when he finished with it. Tony and Rhodey use their armor to go after a terrorist cell for the government. As an adult, Rhodes is recruited into the Avengers by Nick Fury.
U.S War Machine
In the alternate universe the series takes place in Rhodey was portrayed the same as his 616 counterpart. He is fired by Tony Stark (who was drunk at the time) for killing an black criminal that had just executed a white woman. The press deemed this a hate crime not knowing the pilot of the War Machine armor was also black. He is attacked by his former friend Parnel Jacobs who is looking for the War Machine armor (that Rhodes no longer has). The duo are then taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. for a new team. S.H.I.E.L.D. has acquired the remains of another War Machine armor and has reverse engineered it for their own special ops team, U.S. War Machines. Rhodes and Jacobs are to comprise part of the team (with Rhodes serving as field commander). Unlike the 616 universe, these armors use standard ballistic armaments, not energy weapons. A fatal flaw in the original design of the armors had the power cell for the armor dead center on the chest. This was fixed immediately.
War Machine appeared as a main character in the 1994 Iron Man series. He was a member of Force Works and Tony Stark's close personal friend. This version of the character also appeared in episodes of X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, and Spider-Man. He was voiced by James Avery in the first season and by Dorian Harewood in the second.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures
War Machine has featured in the most recent animated adventures featuring Iron Man. In the series, the stars have been de-aged into teenagers who are still in high school. Rhodey gains the War Machine armor at the close of season 1, where he uses it to help Tony in a battle against Fin Fang Foom. He was voiced by Daniel Bacon.
The Super Hero Squad Show
War Machine guest-starred in the episode "Tales of Suspense", voiced by Star Trek alum Levar Burton.
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Rhodey did not appear in the first season beyond one of the micro episodes that acted as a prequel to the series. He eventually made a proper debut in the season 2 episode "Alone Against AIM", where he used his War Machine armor to help the Avengers fight AIM and the Technovore. When Captain America asked why War Machine was not a member of the Avengers, he responded by saying that he had little desire to be a superhero, and only donned the armor in the first place to keep Tony out of trouble (possibly an inside joke to his absence in the Avenger film). Despite this, War Machine returned in the series finale, "Avengers Assemble!" as one of the numerous heroes who helped the team fight off Galactus. He was voiced by Bumper Robinson
The Invincible Iron Man
Rhodes appears in The Invincible Iron Man, but does not utilize any sort of armor. The War Machine armor appeared in Ultimate Avengers 2, piloted by Tony. Rhodes was voiced by Rodney Saulsberry.
In the 2008 film Iron Man, James Rhodes is played by Terrence Howard. In the film, Rhodes is a US Air Force Colonel who serves as the military's chief liaison to Stark Industries. He is also Tony Stark's most trusted ally and best friend. In film Rhodes is constantly covering for Tony and watching out for his back. In this film Rhodes doesn't don the War Machine armor, there is one particular scene where he glimpses at an older version of Iron Man's armor and proclaims: ''Next time, baby.''
Iron Man 2
War Machine appeared in the 2010 cinema release of Iron Man 2, with actor Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard from the first movie. Rhodes begins to take a more active role in Tony's new life as Iron Man. Rhodes is at first worried about Tony's declining health, but knows something has to be done. During Tony's birthday party, Stark gets drunk while wearing the armor. he then proceeds to fire his weapons in house.
Rhodes seeing the potential danger that may follow, dons one of Tony's older suits. He orders Tony to stand down, Stark on the other hand wants to continue his prty. A fight ensues and Tony clearly has the upperhand. The fight is long and destructive. In the end both armored men end up in the kitchen, staring each other down. A verbal fight ensues. James thinks Tony isn't fit to wear the suit, Tony reacts by by saying Rhodes can't handle the armor even going as far as saying: '' You think you can handle the suit, you think you can become a War Machine!!''.
Both men fire of their repulsors at the same time, thereby creating a energy sphere. The sphere grows larger and larger until it explodes in a bright flash. After the flash Tony looks up to see Rhodes at the window with a look of discontent on his face. Rhodes activates his jets and flies off. The following morning we see a military base. James Rhodes arrives at this base in the armor. his superior is very happy with their new addition and contacts Justin Hammer to weaponise the suit. Justin is delighted with the suit and gathers all possible weapons that could be fitted onto the suit. After giving the demonstration Justin asks what Rhodes thinks about it, Rhodes reacts by taking all the weapons.
Later at the Stark Expo, Hammer unveils his new military drones, captained by Rhodes in a heavily-weaponized version of the confiscated Mark II armor, now referred to as the Variable Threat Response Battlesuit. Stark arrives at the expo in his new Mark VI armor, attempting to warn Rhodes and find Vanko, but Vanko takes complete control of both the drones and Rhodes's new armor and attacks Iron Man. Rhodes is unable to move and warns Tony of his attacks. Tony, Rhodes and the drones engage in a chase which ends up in a Japanese garden. Black Widow manages to hack Vanko's system and gives Rhodes control over his armor back. Together they fight off the rest of the drones. They then confront Vanko, who has developed a powerful suit of armor for himself based on a Hammer battle suit but incorporating scaled-up plasma whips that he used against Stark earlier. Stark and Rhodes are easily overpowered by Vanko's more powerful armor. Stark and Rhodes are promptly strangled by Vanko in his plasma whips and with their armors being heavily damaged. Stark and Rhodes then overloaded their repulsor gauntlets and aimed the repulsor beams towards one another. The resultant repulsor beam collision created a massive explosion and shockwave that successfully destroyed Vanko's armor. A dying Vanko reveals he had rigged his armor and the drones to self destruct. Iron Man and War machine rush off to save Pepper. Tony saves the girl and they kiss.They are surprised to see Rhodes also on the roof. It turned out that Rhodes arrived at the same rooftop earlier than them and witnessed them kissing. He leaves with the War Machine armor despite Stark's objection, determined to keep the armor for national security purposes.
Iron Man: Rise of Technovore
War Machine will appear in the Japanese anime film Iron Man: Rise of Technovore. In the film he wears a bulkier suit of armor reminiscent of his Ultimate counterpart.
Iron Man 3
Don Cheadle will reprise his role in Iron Man 3, set after the events of The Avengers. Rhodes is shown sporting an updated War Machine suit with a paint job resembling that of the Iron Patriot armor.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1998)
War Machine appeared as a playable character, notably replacing Iron Man, who was absent in this game.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000)
War Machine was once again featured as a playable character in the sequel.
Iron Man (2008)
Developed by Sega, voiced by his movie counterpart Terrence Howard, he features as a non-playable character.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009)
Voiced by Nolan North, War Machine appears as a non-playable boss character in the Anti-Registration campaign, exclusively to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game.
Marvel Super Hero Squad (2009)
War Machine is featured as an unlockable character.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Developed once again by Sega and voiced by his movie counterpart, this time being Don Cheadle. He features as a playable character, with additional dialogue provided by Phil LaMarr.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011)
War Machine makes a cameo appearance in Hawkeye's ending as part of the new West Coast Avengers.
Marvel: Avengers Alliance (2012 - )
War Machine appears as an unlockable character in the Marvel: Avengers Alliance video game on Facebook. He is a Tactician Class character.
List of important War Machine / Jim Rhodes issues
- First appearance ( Iron Man #118, 1979)
- James Rhodes back story ( Iron Man #144, 1981)
- First became Iron Man ( Iron Man #169, 1983)
- Battled The Mandarin ( Iron Man 180- 181, 1984)
- Battled Tony Stark in clash of Iron Men ( Iron Man #192, 1985)
- Almost killed during Earth re-entry ( Iron Man #216, 1987)
- Became CEO of Stark Enterprises and became Iron Man again ( Iron Man #284, 1992)
- Quit Stark Enterprises, went off on own as War Machine ( Iron Man #291, 1993)
- Led Iron Legion against Ultimo ( Iron Man #300, 1994)
- Became head of Worldwatch ( War Machine #5, 1994)
- Battled Iron Man over use of War Machine armor ( War Machine #8, Iron Man #310, 1994)
- Joined the Avengers West Coast (Avengers West Coast #94 1994)
- Went back in time to stop Nazi time-travel plot (War Machine #15-#17, 1995)
- Lost War Machine armor in timestream (War Machine #17, 1995)
- Became bonded to Eidolon Warwear (War Machine #18, 1995)
- Lost Eidolon Warwear (Tales of the Marvel Universe #1, 1997)
- Joined the SHIELD US War Machine program (US War Machine #3 2001)
- Battled Doctor Doom (US War Machine #11 2001)
- Bought together Crew (The Crew #4 2003)
- Became head of training for Sentinel Squad ONE (Sentinel Squad ONE #1 2006)
- Choose a side in Civil War (Black Panther #22 2006)
- Became an administrator for Initiative (Civil War: Battle Damage Report #1 2007)
- Battled Spider-Man (Avengers: The Initiative #3 2007)
- Battles the Skrulls during the Secret Invasion, Injuries revealed (Iron Man: Director of Shield #33-35)
- Helps get his suit and Fight the Mandarin (Iron man armored adventure: 2009)