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Marvel Universe 

War Machine (James Rhodes)

Revision as of 14:55, 17 June 2009 by Pete (Talk | contribs)

 

Universe
Marvel Universe

Real Name
James "Jim" Rupert Rhodes

Aliases
"Rhodey," Iron Man

Identity
Secret

Citizenship
U.S.A.

Place of Birth
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Appearance
Iron Man #118 (1979)

Origin
Iron Man #144 (1981)


James Rhodes grew up in South Philadelphia. Bullied as a child, he was determined to get out and make something of himself, eventually becoming a U.S. Marine. Rhodes served several tours in Southeast Asia, studying while in the service to become an aviation engineer. As a soldier, Rhodes was willing to kill if a mission required it, but every life he took would haunt him. During one mission, Rhodes' helicopter was shot down and he crashed into the jungle. He was found by Iron Man, who had only recently escaped from Wong-Chu and needed transportation out of the combat area. Iron Man helped repair Rhodes' helicopter and the two men made it to safety together. Afterwards, Rhodes was approached by Tony Stark, Iron Man's "employer" (in fact, Tony Stark was Iron Man). Stark offered Rhodes a job as his pilot, and Rhodes agreed to take him up on his offer when his service was over.

Rhodes was true to his word, serving for some time at Stark International as Stark's personal pilot and becoming Tony's close friend. Rhodes was forced to watch as Stark gave in to alcoholism, and finally, during a battle with the villain Magma, Stark went into battle as Iron Man while intoxicated. After a humiliating defeat, Iron Man went to Rhodes to help recharge his armor, and inadvertently revealed his double identity to Rhodes. Too inebriated to continue his fight with Magma, Stark passed out, and Rhodes donned the armor in order to save Stark International from Magma's rampage. Rhodes succeeded in his first mission, and Stark asked him to stay on as Iron Man so that he could continue to pursue his life of alcoholism.

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Rhodes as Iron Man

Although a novice, Rhodes' combat experience served him well for his new lifestyle; he turned to inventors Morley and Clytemnestra Erwin to help him maintain the armor and began taking mercenary jobs to fund the armour's upkeep. Stark, meanwhile, continued drinking and eventually lost Stark International. Rhodes made a name for himself facing threats such as Thunderball, the Radioactive Man and the Mandarin, and banded with many of Earth's heroes on Battleworld during the Beyonder's so-called "Secret Wars". Most of these heroes continued to believe that he was the original Iron Man.

When Rhodes returned from Battleworld, he found that Stark was now trying to make a recovery, and he hesitantly allowed Tony back into his life. As Rhodes, Stark and the Erwin twins prepared to set up their own company, Circuits Maximus, Rhodes found himself increasingly at odds with Tony, jealous of the armor to the point where he would refuse to let Stark repair it. He finally learned that his emotional problems were related to the armour's cybernetic interface, which had not been adjusted for Rhodes' brainwaves. Rhodes also joined the Avengers when Hawkeye opened the West Coast branch, although Hawkeye was shocked when he finally learned that he wasn't working with the original Iron Man.

Rhodes' Iron Man stint came to an end when Obadiah Stane, the man who bought out Stark International, blew up Circuits Maximus, killing Morley Erwin and injuring Rhodes. Rhodes offered Stark the Iron Man armor back so that he could bring down Stane, but Stark built a new suit instead and faced Stane in a battle that ended with Stane's suicide. Stark remained active as Iron Man and Rhodes resumed his role as pilot and confidant, occasionally suiting up to aid Stark against such threats as the Living Laser, Kearson DeWitt, and Fin Fang Foom. As an extra Iron Man, Rhodes also aided the Avengers against a renegade Quicksilver and his Zodiac allies.

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War Machine

Stark began to suffer from nervous system troubles during his clashes with Kearson DeWitt, and eventually suffered a total nervous systems collapse. On his apparent deathbed, he transferred control of Stark Enterprises to Rhodes, and left him a new suit of Iron Man armor (nicknamed the "War Machine" armor). Rhodes reluctantly honored his best friend's dying wish and became Iron Man again. During his time as CEO of Stark Enterprises, he became involved with Rae LaCoste, a former girlfriend of Stark's. Rhodes was insulted when he finally learned that Stark had faked his death so that his scientists could find a cure for his condition. Stark let Rhodes keep the War Machine armor as a peace offering, but Rhodes wanted nothing else to do with him. As War Machine, Rhodes joined the western Avengers, but he resigned after an angry confrontation with Iron Man during a team meeting convened to shut down the group's West Coast headquarters.

As Rhodes pondered his place in the world, he was approached by Vincent Cetewayo of Worldwatch, a human rights organization seeking a leader. Although Rhodes turned them down at first, he reconsidered when Cetewayo was killed. In Worldwatch, Rhodes made enemies in several countries, but gained valuable allies in the Worldwatch staff, including former Mossad. S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sheva Joseph. Rhodes was also forced to return to Stark for repairs on his armor, and the two men finally came to terms. Rhodes continued to date Rae LaCoste, despite his parents' attempt to split them up by claiming that Rhodes had fathered a child out of wedlock with another woman. Rhodes doubted that their story was true.

During a time travel mission to World War II with Sheva to stop Grinz, a Nazi officer who was receiving advanced technology from the future, Rhodes learned that Grinz was supplied by his own son, Raeder. Rhodes killed Grinz to prevent Raedar from being born; the resulting paradox shunted Rhodes and Joseph back to their own time, but the War Machine armor was destroyed in transit. Haunted by Grinz's death, Rhodes took some time off Worldwatch.

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Rhodes then encountered Skye, a mysterious woman who was an opponent of Immortus (who had disguised himself as Kang). Skye helped lead Rhodes to a suit of Eidolon Warwear armor, bio-technology of a long-dead extraterrestrial race, and the Warwear bonded itself to Rhodes. Rhodes used the armor to battle Stark, who had been made into a sleeper agent of Immortus, and Stark finally gave his life opposing Immortus while Rhodes saw to the destruction of the Starcore satellite that Stark had armed with temporal weapons. Afterwards, Rhodes was horrified to learn that Sheva had become ravaged by a temporal disease caused by their adventure, a disease that killed her. He also learned that the Warwear had protected him from the disease and resisted attempts by S.H.I.E.L.D. to capture and study him. Rhodes was forced to leave Worldwatch to preserve their good name.

With Stark gone, Stark Enterprises became Stark-Fujikawa, and Rhodes was offered a position with them, but learned that they were after the secrets of Stark's armor. Rhodes sacrificed his Warwear in order to purge Stark's computers of all data on the armor. Stark was restored to life by Franklin Richards and eventually returned to his previous career.

Rhodes founded his own marine salvage company, but an extravagant lifestyle and an unscrupulous accountant left him bankrupt. At that time, Rhodes' sister Jeanette was killed by members of the 66 Bridges gang in a part of Brooklyn called "Little Mogadishu". Unable to get at his sister's killers through the police system, Rhodes became a vigilante in order to bring the 66 Bridges to justice. He was aided in his mission by Kevin "Kasper" Cole, a.k.a. the White Tiger, a police officer and protégé of the Black Panther; Danny Vincent a.k.a. Junta, a former secret service agent trying to regain his reputation; and Josiah X, a Muslim minister who was the son of the 1940's super-soldier Isaiah Bradley. Rhodes used part of a prototype War Machine armor to face off with Triage, the head of the 66 Bridges, and the gang was dispersed by Rhodes and his allies.



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