By Ben Morse
Yesterday we unveiled the upgraded armor designed by artist Barry Kitson that will carry James Rhodes, aka War Machine, into his impending ongoing series, IRON MAN 2.0, premiering February 9. But today, we’ve got the man who will be programming Rhodey’s course in this bold new era, writer Nick Spencer, here to chat about what the future holds for Tony Stark’s best friend and Iron Man’s most trusted ally.
“This is an ‘evolve or die’ story,” says Spencer, echoing the comments made by the book’s editor, Alejandro Arbona, when we spoke to him. “This [series] is all about challenging the way Rhodey operates, the way he fights, even the way he looks at the world. As with any good Iron Man story, the armor embodies the journey of the person that wears it.”
Speaking of that armor, how did Spencer react to Kitson’s initial take on the upgraded War Machine?
“It was a pretty incredible feeling,” the writer shares of both seeing Kitson’s work and being part of the redesign process. “I’ve never had a hand in a [redesign] like this for one thing—though to be fair, [Barry] did most of the heavy lifting. It’s exciting to think about how we might be making a lasting change to the character here, introducing a new armor that could last for years. I was even excited for the character; Tony changes armors on a somewhat semi-regular basis, [but] Rhodey far less often. So it was cool to see him finally get a serious upgrade.
“[And] Barry’s work is out of this world good. He’s an amazing storyteller, ever panel is loaded with dynamism, and he really knows how to get to the core of a character and then capture it in a visual. It’s [an] absolute honor getting to work with the guy and I think he knocked it out of the park with this re-design.”
From status quo to supporting cast to threats to the way he’ll be approaching the Marvel Universe, everything will be new for James Rhodes in IRON MAN 2.0, hence why Spencer feels the armor change became a necessity:
“Rhodey is facing a new challenge that’s different from anything he’s ever come up against before. This new adversary is a symbol for the changing face of war in the new century, and to face it, War Machine will have to undergo a dramatic overhaul. He’s changing the way he fights, going from essentially a walking tank to something faster, stealthier and more versatile. The new armor allows Rhodey to cut through the static and work with deadly precision.”
IRON MAN 2.0 #1 will arrive on February 9!