The final issue of the “War Machine” series sees an end to the trial of James Rhodes. Of course, a man who fights under the moniker of “War Machine” and is good friends with Tony Stark isn’t going to surrender peaceably to charges of any nature. This makes for an enjoyable, if somewhat contrived, story. The resolution to James Rhodes’ situation and its ties to Tony Stark leave me questioning the path that is being taken in the “Invincible Iron Man” title, but that’s not important right now.
Alves art is journeyman-like and rugged: nothing spectacular, but technically very strong. His storytelling is straightforward and his characters are distinct, but occasionally flat and sometimes not animated. There is potential in the work that Alves shares with us here, and it is too bad that we won’t see more of Alves and War Machine together as the shots of Rhodes armored up are some of Alves’ best work in this issue.
This issue single-handedly adds greater depth to the options Iron Man related toys on the shelves and peghooks, War Machine Armored Support suits appear in green and gold, manned by Jake Oh and Bethany Cabe respectively. Of course, this also shouts as an immediate appeal to Power Rangers fans that may be just now discovering Iron Man and his allies.
Iron Man and War Machine are eternally linked to one another and inevitably their adventures will cross once more. This issue doesn’t set up any such crossover, but it does move the story of James Rhodes forward to be more approachable to pedestrian Iron Fans while at the same time preflighting the character to return to battle alongside his mentor. What role War Machine plays in the future of the Marvel Universe, and whether or not he maintains the alliances he established in this series will have to play out over the next few months. I suspect, given Rhodes interaction with Osborn in this issue, that there will be a reckoning of sorts, or at least a rematch, perhaps within the pages of “Siege.”