After the lackluster attempt to have Rhodes in his own title in Iron Man 2.0, Marvel is back at it again with Iron Patriot. No longer known as “War Machine,” he’s taken a new role in both his personal and superhero life. A direction that he feels is much needed to better serve his country as well as family. Though there are those that don’t seem to agree with this change, as political figures that were once aligned with Rhodes are now publicly condemning him. Not only that, but a course of action is being put in place that doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of Rhodes or his family. There’s a glimpse of these actions in the first few pages of the issue.
I must say that Kot already has me ready for the second issue’s release due to such a strong opener to this series. There’s a serious focus on Rhodes and his family ties that helps to flesh out the character, which is much needed for any new reader or even an old fan of the character. The father/son relationship here is a strong one that serves as a blueprint for the man that James Rhodes is today. Though Kot hints that his niece just may play a bigger role later in the series, as her actions here were pretty integral to the plot. There’s also a nice dose of political corruption being introduced into the story as Rhodes’s ties to the military are a big part of who he is, so this just makes sense. The pacing might throw some people off because it’s not balls to the wall action, but if this is an introduction issue then some even paced character building won’t hurt.
The look of the title was unexpected but welcomed, as Gary Brown’s artwork does the job of visually moving the story and looking good in the process. The only sequence that raised my eyebrow was during the press conference that Rhodes was giving. He looked like a different guy, and the only reason you would have known it was him is because of the beginning of his speech. Aside from this, things are back on track when Rhodes has to suit up and the action kicks in.
Iron Patriot starts off pretty strong, though much of it is because of what we don’t see yet. If Kot can keep this series from falling into nothing but “Iron Man’s buddy,” then this may be the best solo series Rhodes has had since Greg Pak’s War Machine run.