By Jim Beard
An old Chinese curse states, "May you live in interesting times!" That may very well describe the future of James Rhodes—aka War Machine—after the Skrull invasion to a "T"!
With the devastating Secret Invasion at an end but no finish in sight for evil's spread throughout the Marvel Universe, writer Greg Pak and artist Leonardo Manco will be inaugurating a new mission for Rhodey that kicks off in WAR MACHINE #1 this December 17.
We requisitioned a few questions with Pak—the man behind such hits as WORLD WAR HULK, X-MEN: PHOENIX ENDSONG, SKAAR: SON OF HULK and INCREDIBLE HERCULES—and begged him to dish on what Dark Reign will mean for the man beneath the deadliest armor in the Marvel Universe.
Marvel.com: Greg, as WAR MACHINE launches out of Secret Invasion, what can reader's expect as the book's mission statement?
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Rhodey's going places no other Marvel hero can. His mission is to take on the monsters and madmen around the globe who up until now have gotten away with horrific atrocities because no power on earth was willing to claim the responsibility to intervene.
My mission as WAR MACHINE writer is to invest these stories with as much immediacy, relevance, and realism as I can so that we can begin to understand the moral, emotional, and life-and-death human cost of this kind of undertaking.
Marvel.com: How will Dark Reign's influence be felt in WAR MACHINE?
At least two of the major baddies of Dark Reign will play major roles in WAR MACHINE. It's gonna be Dark Reignoriffic!
Marvel.com: Norman Osborn's obviously one of the focuses of attention after the end of the Skrull invasion; what might his impact be on Rhodey's world?
Can't say too much for fear of spoilers, but you won't want to miss the last few pages of WAR MACHINE #1 for some of the shocking answers.
Marvel.com: Coming on the heels of the invasion and the chaos it has caused for Earth's heroes, where's War Machine's head at when his new series kicks off?
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Foremost on Rhodey's mind might be a few cybernetic implants that might affect his thinking in interesting ways.
Marvel.com: Tony Stark's relationship with Rhodey has been an up-and-down rollercoaster; how will Dark Reign impact Rhodey's opinion of his former boss now?
Right now Rhodey and Tony are on very good terms, as we've seen in the pages of Matt Fraction's awesome INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. But we'll drop a few more hints about disturbing events in their recent history in WAR MACHINE #1.
Marvel.com: If Rhodey feels there are world situations that are being ignored in the wake of the Secret Invasion, why does he feel he's the one that should address them?
Growing up on the mean streets of South Philly, Rhodey learned always to stand up to bullies, no matter what the consequences. Later, as a soldier and a super hero, he always stood up for the underdog. So his core motivations have never changed. It's just that now with his enormously amped up capabilities, he has the responsibility to go after the biggest bullies on the planet—and the stakes for everyone involved become exponentially higher.
Marvel.com: What aspect of WAR
MACHINE do you most look forward to writing every time you sit down at your keyboard?
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I've already fallen for Rhodey's supporting cast. We have some pretty great characters from the Iron Man/War Machine mythos [that] will be an ongoing part of the book. Bombshells and scoundrels—every one of 'em's a blast to write and has his or her own motivations that will end up having a huge impact on Rhodey in more ways than one.
I'm also thrilled about our villains. We're playing with some of the biggest, meanest kids in the sandbox here, and I can't be happier.
But most importantly, I love Rhodey. It's a new world, and his time's come.
Come back tomorrow for more Dark Reign-Makers as we talk with SECRET WARRIORS writer Jonathan Hickman!
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