Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Wellington Aves
Cover: Francesco Mattina
“War Crimes pt2“: Twelve issues deep into War Machine and I’m still excited about what Greg Pak has been bringing month after month! What seemed like just another revenge type tale has evolved into a smart story with great twists and a thought provoking peak at big business and politics in the Marvel Universe. Though Jim Rhodes has been through a lot as the best friend of Tony Stark – a.k.a Iron Man – which at times has brought him to the brink of death, this series has focused more on the man himself, shedding some light on who he is and the events that have led him to want to protect and stand up for those that can’t do it themselves.
Now with the trial of Jim Rhodes about to begin, he is visited in his cell by his lawyer and his mother. James doesn’t bite his tongue for anyone, so when he decides to make a few quips his mother asks the lawyer to leave then immediately smacks him in the back of the head! Regardless of her knowing her son is a hero, she’s still a mother and worried that he puts himself at risk for anyone and with this trial he is closer to death than ever before. After reassuring her that things will get better and that he hasn’t given up, Team War Machine is en route with Rhode’s other body: which was grown by Tony Stark after the accident which led to him being a cyborg. Just then, Osborn shows up in a hellicarrier and attacks, boasting that the Bainesville Ten will escape prosecution in an attempt to demoralize Rhodes and his team. Promptly, Ares comes bursting through Rhodes’ cell and what looks like round two for these guys quickly turns into a rescue.
Ares has the utmost respect for War Machine and has called him “My Champion” since their battle earlier in the series. However during the escape, Norman is shown on television spinning a tale demonizing Tony Stark yet again and showing the body of Jim Rhodes in stasis. He goes on to claim that the cyborg in custody is an evil Starktech creation and he calls for it’s destruction. As Ares and Rhodes fight their way through the guards, a child ends up in the line of fire and Jim Rhodes throws himself in harms way to save him while his mother cries out. As his body falls, Ares hangs his head, and Momma Rhodes kneels beside her son crying. Now I won’t reveal too much more but I will say that due to the ingenuity of Team War Machine and Rhodes, the Bainesville Ten are dealt with quite effectively just when they think they are safe and untouchable.
Pak has been impressive this entire series and brought War Machine to another level in my opinion. His interpretation of Rhodes feels the most real and has substance that (at this point anyway) makes him seem more viable and not some knock off or throw away character. Pak has introduced us to the strategist and forward thinker as well as the hero that is Jim Rhodes. Now, the art has changed a couple of times in the series but Wellington Alves does just fine, bringing great visuals to Pak’s words. I would suggest that Marvel release every single cover of this series as a poster because Mattina’s work has been consistently fantastic, and I’ll say there is not one bad cover in all twelve issues!
The series is now over and it’s good books like this that get lost in the shuffle of other big events. I suggest grabbing the trade as soon as it’s available and again I’ll say this: War Machine is one of the best books you’re not reading!