I’m just going to call this title “War Machine” for expediency’s sake during this review. Now that we have that out of the way, this title truly surprised me. In more ways than one. I’ve usually relied on the Avengers family for my monthly dose of heroes wearing tech suits of armor crusading against evil and tyranny. Until I saw “Iron Man” in the theaters this summer. Yup, Marvel got me, I started buying “Invincible Iron Man”, but I refused to buy “Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.” for the same reason I won’t be voting for one of the presidential candidates this fall —- I don’t agree with the views expressed. Tony Stark was a jerk for the whole Registration Act, and since that didn’t play too highly in “Invincible Iron Man,” I was willing to overlook it. Not so much here.
Enter James Rhodes. Aside from moderate exposure in “Avengers: Initiative,” Rhodey and I hadn’t crossed paths since “Force Works”. Let me tell you, this isn’t “Force Works”. Christos Gage gets this story running from the first page, with StarkTech under attack (as seen in “Secret Invasion”). We get to see, however, the contingency Tony Stark put in place should something like this occur. War Machine steps into action and is set off on a mission to strike at the heart of the Skrull invasion.
This title may as well have been a new #1, as it is very War Machine-centric, and only features the former title character on one page and in a handful of holographic messages. Perhaps Marvel is hoping this will be akin to the success Hercules is enjoying in his adopted home aboard the displaced “Incredible Hulk” title. At any rate, make no mistake, this title, whether it’s “War Machine” or “Iron Man: DOS” takes a sharp turn into the action of the Secret Invasion event, complete with paranoia.
Chen turns in some strong, detailed work, but his character’s posing and posture smacks strongly of 1990s Image art. Ramos’s colors complete the artwork, as textures and lighting are more potently described through the color than the composition of the page proper.
In all, this book may seem like another collection of paper to push the Skrull agenda, and it is. What it does, though, is provide a viewpoint on the Secret Invasion that had yet to be shown before this issue. What exactly becomes of the title in the aftermath of “Secret Invasion” is certainly unclear, but for the remainder of the battle, “War Machine” appears poised to offer some significant fireworks.