Iron Man Month 2010

Psych Ward: War Machine 2.0

Released from custody and his humanity restored, James Rhodes checks in with his therapist.

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By Tim Stevens

Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes is an adult male who appears to be of above average physical fitness. In contrast to previous sessions, this time the client arrived in civilian clothes, well-dressed and appropriate for the situation. He had, prior, refused to remove his "War Machine" armor despite encouragement from the writer to do so. Rhodes admitted at the start of this session that this was due to not wanting anyone to see his body in the condition it was in at that time. Declining to be more specific on the matter, he would only report that the condition had been fixed and that he was comfortable living outside the armor once more. It is the opinion of the writer that this issue will need to be further investigated as therapy progresses.

War Machine
The client continues to show no signs of Axis I or Axis II mental disorders, including PTSD, despite the numerous physical and emotional traumas he has incurred. Further, there are no signs of a recurrence of the paranoid and reckless symptoms that the client exhibited when he assumed the role of Iron Man from Anthony Stark for a time. An MRI seems to reveal a normal healthy brain as well, continuing to reinforce the idea that the incident in question was a one-off occurrence brought on by a high tech suit of armor not properly collaborated to the client's brain waves.

Currently, Rhodes has come to therapy because "a lot has happened lately." While still careful to avoid mentioning what physical trauma led him to stay in his armor at nearly all times, he did report that it carried with it a photographic memory that made him unable to forget the horrible actions of some of the people he encountered. Driven by these memories and the dreams they induced, the client dedicated himself to solving the problems they represented, a mission that brought him into conflict with several governments, including that of the United States, and left him questioning his own moral code. Eventually, it paid off, but he found it taxing and often felt uncomfortable with the choices he made.

War Machine
Additionally, he saw one of his best friends, Stark, hunted across the world by H.A.M.M.E.R. and nearly killed. It was a manhunt Rhodes himself participated in at one point and while he also helped bring his friend back from the brink, he feels some guilt for what occurred earlier.

He has an opportunity coming up to serve with "a man I greatly respect" in a capacity he would not name and would very much like to take it on. However, the client does not want to commit to this responsibility until he can ensure that he is of a healthy enough state of mind to do so.

At this time, the client's emotions seem appropriate. The past several months have represented a time of great upheaval for him and it is understandable he would feel ambivalence towards what he did and how it affected others.

War Machine
Given this, the writer's recommendations to Rhodes in regards for the employment offer is that he should take it and continue to come to therapy. Given where the situation is right now, it is the expectation of this writer that four to six sessions of basic talk therapy will be more than enough to help the client express his emotions in a healthy manner and ensure that he will act in a functional state going forward. However, both Rhodes and the therapist have agreed to keep the work open-ended in case taking this jump produces unexpected psychological consequences.

Further information on Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes can be found in file SECRET AVENGERS #1 which was prepared by Doctors Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato and will be available for perusal on May 26. The Lieutenant Colonel will also be found in the follow-up to the highly successful documentary film "Iron Man" to be released in theaters on May 7 under the name "Iron Man 2."

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee at a college counseling center who works with individuals coping with recent stressors and conflicting emotions.

 

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, aka the super hero Iron Man in this sequel to the 2008 blockbuster. RDJ, Paltrow, Cheadle and Rockwell are joined by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Mickey Rourke as Whiplash. Jon Favreau once again takes up the directorial reins for Marvel's armored avenger.

"Iron Man 2" is one of a continuing slate of films being produced by Marvel Studios based on the Marvel characters, including "Thor" on May 6, 2011, "The First Avenger: Captain America" on July 22, 2011 and "Marvel Studios' The Avengers" on May 4, 2012.

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