Archive for the War Machine Category

The New Heroic Age – As it stands Part 2

Posted in Atlas, Black Widow, Comics, Iron Man, Marvel, Thunderbolts, War Machine with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2010 by pieman70

In part 1 I dealt with the Avengers titles.  Here’s a look at some non-avengers titles which have me interested.

Thunderbolts.

A new Status quo and a new line-up for Thunderbolts, it’s practically tradition that the T-bolts get re-organised after every big event.  This one is pretty interesting, gone is the covert wetworks squad of Dark Reign and back is the idea of Villains possibly seeking redemption.  The Thunderbolts programme is now run as an official scheme from the Raft.  Luke Cage is leader with ex-thunderbolts Fixer, Mach V and Songbird all acting as handlers to what amounts to a super powered chain gang.  The nanite restrained convicts looking for time off their sentence or merely a chance to see the outside of a prison for 5 minutes are Ex-thunderbolts Moonstone and Ghost plus Juggernaut and Crossbones with Man Thing used as a form of transport.  While issue #1 was mostly set up we get an idea of how things will work by #2 and it is interesting to see who genuinely wants rehabilitation and release and who, like Crossbones still has no chance of release.  As a sub-plot we also have the Rafts director, John Walker aka US Agent, who we last saw loosing a couple of limbs in Siege.  The limbs are still gone which is good continuity if nothing else.  What I like is Walker’s reasoning in not accepting advanced prosthetics from Pym or fixer.  He saw a potential side of himself in Nuke/Scourge, The thunderbolt who removed said limbs, and Walker still fears becoming something like Nuke.  It was unexpected and some good progression on a character who hasn’t seen growth since Force Works.  Thunderbolts has also weathered its first crossover, well I say crossover, events in 2 comics happened in the same place at the same time.  Scared Straight featured the events of an Avengers Academy story from the Thunderbolts PoV.  It is what I would class as a good crossover, in that you didn’t have to be reading both books in order to understand the plot, but hopefully it will encourage some crossover reading.  Overall while I’m not hugely enamoured with the art Thunderbolts has had a strong first arc.

Atlas

Marvel and I have something in common, we both really like the Agents of Atlas, or at least Marvel’s commitment in the face of poor sales seems to show a certain amount of love from the team formed from the 1950s avengers concept.  Atlas sees 3D man join the agents to uncover a mysterious group who appear to be pursuing him.  Its interesting stuff and good work to cover some of the discrepancies between the 1950s Avengers and the Agents of Atlas.  Marvel seems very keen for Atlas to have its own title regardless.  The backup stories featuring origins of the 1950s Avengers are a nice touch as well and I like the retro art style in these flashbacks.  In the end, its Atlas, it’s worked for me since the Agents of Atlas mini and continues to work.  I am enjoying the progression of 3D man, formerly Triathlon.  I missed the Skrull Kill crew mini, but it’s a nice touch that after killing Crusader, a Skrull who changed sides during Secret invasion, everyone hates 3D man and his life is basically in the toilet.  They’re building up further mythology of his powers making this a very interesting title.  The enemy is also interesting, creatures from the space between dimensions with the power to temporarily take control of hosts, it’s had some interesting side effects meaning Atlas has had to battle its own.

Black Widow

Another title finished its first arc sees Natasha pursued by friend and foe alike after it is revealed she had a recording chip implanted in her body to record secrets of the Avengers.  This took a good few of the elements of Widows retconned WWII past and her general extreme age and ran with it.  The real power to this and most of the good Black Widow stories in my opinion focus on her abilities as a Spy and indeed the chequered history of that career.  For all her foe eventually revealed himself as old Avengers punch bag Imus Champion so essentially it was still her vs. supervillain the use of her past and the feel and pace of the story really made this more of an action/espionage read than standard super hero fare.  Two things stood out as things I particularly liked.  The first was how dangerous Black Widow is.  She bests various spies but also stands toe to toe with Elektra and her defeat of Lady bullseye is classic.  Second is how they focus on how many good friends she has in the MU.  We see Stark, Logan and Bucky all worried for her health at one point and she receives assistance from Wolverine and Cap on several occasions.  My only real problem is that it felt a lot like a mini, but for trade purposes thats no bad thing.  Overall a strong start for the Black Widow Solo.

Iron Man

Reilly 2040 has written a pretty good piece on the new Iron Man title and I don’t feel too much need to expand on it.  I agree, its overall good, but the two main niggles for me are the ignoring of Stark’s past (Never having to rebuild his company from scratch, unless you count the two other times he rebuilt his company from scratch) and the fact that until the end of the most recent issue all we see Iron Man do is open a box.  Still there is a lot to like.  My personal favourite is the feeling of an extended family, with Iron Man, War Machine and Rescue making up the armoured contingent and people like Maria Hill and Bambina Abrograst along with the new staff of Stark Badly Named making pretty good supporting characters.  If we can get a little more Iron man action this will be a very good title indeed.

So, overall impressions on the new Heroic Age.  What I really like is the amount of crossing over characters are doing, not as official crossovers, just as an idea of an extended community of super-heroes who help each other out.  It’s actually how I thought the MU should have been post Civil War.  We see Valkerie turn up in both Thunderbolts and Avengers academy which is the first to come to mind.  There have been references to asking Steve for clarification, so we also know that everyone accepts Steve Rogers as head arbiter.  It gives a feeling that if Iron Man has a problem you get the feeling he could call up 3 squads of avengers plus extra heroes if needed and it really lends itself to a greater “Community” feeling.  Thankfully the MU is still an interesting place.

The New Heroic Age – So Far – Part 1

Posted in Avengers, Avengers Academy, Comics, Heroic Age, Iron Man, Marvel, New Avengers, Secret Avengers, War Machine with tags , , , , , , , on September 20, 2010 by pieman70

Quite a few of these titles have now completed their initial arc, and others are over 4 issues in, so time for a look at how we’re getting on.

First I’ll look at the four Avengers Titles, so much for saving myself money.

Avengers

Well, good news is we have a title that is just Avengers, not new, mighty secret, dark or minty.  However, so far at any rate, this is my least favourite of the Avengers titles.  To be fair, it has a few handicaps.  First is the art.  People seem to get excited when John Romita Jnr is drawing a book, and I feel like some sort of nutter because I really fail to see why.  I have joked in the past that Romita Jnr and myself have something in common; neither of us can draw Iron Man.  This is unfair of course; at least if we were both to draw shellhead you’d be able to work out who Romita Jnr was drawing.  In general though I wouldn’t count him as one of my favourite artists.  Add to that Bendis writing, which I don’t mind, but its never worked in an all out superhero book and for my money is better used in titles like Alias, or indeed New Avengers.  The plot has some interest to it, the Avengers must travel into the future at the behest of Kang the Conqueror because, something has to be done about their kids.  It also has its faults, yes it’s nice to see Noh-Varr used again after he was re-vamped in Dark Avengers, but overall so far this really isn’t doing it for me.  Hope the plot picks p pace soon.  Also hope we’ll see why Wonder Man is acting up, he’s really out of character at the moment and I think that jars too.  As for the line-up, well at the end of Dark Reign, Steve Rogers basically said anyone who wanted to be and avenger was, but there was going to be a core team, and it’s a slightly odd hybrid between classic and Bendis, so we have Iron Man, Thor, Captain America (Bucky Barnes) and Hawkeye, with Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Wolverine coming from the Bendis era.  It actually works quite well although I still don’t think Spider-Man and Wolverine work in Avengers.  A nice addition is Maria Hill, former Director of SHIELD as their liaison; in fact the three teams all have a liaison which is a nice touch.

New Avengers

The plot here is a little different.  Luke cage was a little put off that cap was returning things to business as usual, so cap gave him his own Avengers team.  Aside from the main squad he has his pick of members and he gets Avengers mansion to live in.  Funny thing about New Avengers, most of the members have another super-team.  Cage leads the Thunderbolts, Hawkeye, Spider-Man and Wolverine are all Avengers (actually lets not go into how many teams Wolverine is on, he does at least joke about it being his mutant power) and Thing is still on the Fantastic Four.  In fact only Iron Fist, Ms Marvel, Mockingbird and Jewel have no other affiliation.  They also have a Liaison in the form of Victoria Hand, Osborne’s second in command when HAMMER were running things, and probably one of the most interesting characters invented for Dark Reign.  Despite my mockery, it is actually pretty enjoyable; the plot is leading on from Dr Strange loosing his role as Sorcerer supreme and has mystic foes possessing various team members and in the last issue all appears to be linked to the Ancient One.  While Bendis’ writing seems out of place on Avengers it fits well with the team dynamic in New Avengers, hell half his team are usually in as wisecracking jokers in some form.  Immomen’s art is bright  Overall this is really promising which is a great turnaround as New Avengers titles have previously been the most forgettable for me.

Secret Avengers

This one had me a little excited, but then it had the advantage over every other comic bar Iron Man, War Machine was in it.  While the world is more Heroic, Steve Rogers leads a more covert squad to deal with serious problems hopefully before they become serious.  The Team isn’t exactly A-list, featuring Steve Rogers, War Machine, Black Widow, Valerie, Beast, Moon Knight, Nova and Ant Man (Eric O’Grady), plus Steve’s Girlfriend Sharon Carter as Liaison.  Not A-List but then they are meant to be a more covert squad.  So far it’s had a nice mix of espionage, mystery, in the secret society stalking the team apparently lead by nick Fury, and action, then I shouldn’t have doubted this from Ed Brubraker, who is definitely one of Marvel’s top writers.  Mike Deodato does a star turn on art as well giving us both luxury penthouses and Martian dig sites with ease.  I have a possible theory for this team, with Steve’s “Everyone Is an avenger now” idea I wonder if the roster for Secret Avengers might fluctuate a bit, with Steve doing Mission: Impossible style selections for each specific case.  I’d quite like that although the end of the first arc doesn’t really support this.  It did remove my misgivings regarding Nova being on the team as at the end he flies off and cap notes that he won’t be a reliable team member with his cosmic responsibilities.  Still, I know the story needed Nova but does Cap carry so much weight that Nova would say “Sorry trainee corps, but your most powerful member has to go off and do something for cap, good luck with the evil universe breaking into ours and all.”  Still, interesting stuff, and if it is Nick Fury in this secret society, does that link to the “Zodiac” society we’ve had glimpses of in Secret Warriors?  Or is Nick Fury the Wolverine of secret societies.  The story itself was a good setup involving the Serpent crown, secret societies and a huge throwdown on Mars.  A very solid title indeed.

Avengers Academy

I got over my initial disappointment that this wasn’t a knockabout comedy where mismatched wise-cracking recruits try to defeat the evil machinations of an overbearing guy called Harris.  Instead this replaces The Initiative and so for me has some big shoes to fill.  Fortunately it doesn’t disappoint.  We see a new batch of recruits, all near screw ups, most suffered some sort of abuse under HAMMER rule, all have one thing in common, as they find out they were the kids thought most likely to turn to villainy so the Avengers Academy faculty, as well as teaching them mastery of their powers also have to prevent them from turning.  Christos Gauge has a very nice setup, with the character Veil being the voice for #1 and Finesse for #2, and so far seems to continue through the following isses.  Once the twist is revealed near the end of #1, you can see quite clearly how close our young students are to villains.  Nice to see familiar faces in the faculty as well, although it seems to have its share of screw ups.  Wasp (Hank Pym) leads with Justice, Tigra, Quicksilver and Speedball as trainers.  I’m sure many fans are glad to see the back of Speedball’s Penance phase, me included but it is nice to see Speedball isn’t entirely recovered and back to normal yet, so it doesn’t have the stink of a retcon, just progress.  Mike McKone had not been on my radar before, but I do like his work in this.  More importantly, I liked The Initiative because it seemed like Marvel were trying to introduce some new characters and be a little creative, after all in Marvel and DC New Heroes are pretty rare.  What I like about this is that I could believe we may loose a few recruits to villainy, and that would make things very interesting.  This title is half way through its crossover with Thunderbolts called “Scared Straight” while it involves some of the T-Bolts it can be read in isolation (In fact the prison shutdown is handled in less than an issue over in Thunderbolts) but it is interesting to see the members who were directly harmed by osbourne teaming up to go after him.

Iron Man 2

Posted in Iron Man, Marvel, Movies, War Machine with tags , , , on June 16, 2010 by pieman70

Well, I posted a bit showing my excitement for this film, and I have actually seen it, should I perhaps post a review.  I will warn at the moment, I won’t shy away from spoilers.

First, a plot summary, picking up where Iron man left off, Tony Stark has gone public about being Iron Man, and has been using the armour for some time, both in a “Fighting Evil” role and for publicity stunts like we see in the opening.  Only problem is that the Arc Reactor in his chest is slowly killing him and as he sees death coming Stark begins to act more and more recklessly.  A situation not helped by senate hearings demanding Stark hand over Iron man to the military and a new threat in the form of Disgruntled Russian Vanko.

This film has taken a fair amount of criticism, mainly for being more of the same.  For my money I think more of Iron Man is no bad thing, there were some nice echoes to Tony’s remarkably flaky character, and particularly the Demon in a bottle Story as Stark goes off the rails in quite a bad way.  While Vanko is more grunts and gestures as a villain perhaps the real for is Justin Hammer, a rival arms manufacturer who works really well as a potential rival to carry through future films.  It also sets up a bigger supporting cast, we saw Nick Fury at the end of Iron man and we’re also introduced to The Black Widow as well as more screen time for Faverau himself as Happy Hogan and Don Cheadle taking the role of Jim Rhodes/War Machine and making it his own.

On the Cheadle/Howard front.  I had no objections to Cheadle, and actually think he captured the comic’s version of Jim Rhodes and particularly War Machine that may not have suited Howard’s depiction in the first film.

Criticisms, well, introducing such a big cast means some people get less screen time, Vanko isn’t particularly fleshed out as the main Villain, and we don’t see that much of Black Widow.  If you’re wanting a non-stop action fest then you’ll probably be disappointed too as there is still more Tony than Iron Man.

Thing is, to me Iron Man has always been more about Tony than Iron Man.  He’s often compared to Batman (Both rich orphans who dress up and fight crime) however, while with Batman there is a real ambiguity over whether Bruce Wayne dresses up as batman, or batman dresses up as Bruce Wayne, there was never such ambiguity with Iron Man.  People criticise Tony’s wisecracking and the films humour, but this is part of his character.  Indeed while I’m never sure about Tony/pepper pairings the chemistry between the characters and the witty rapport would be sorely missed if it was excised from the film, more so if it was excised for brooding.

I suppose you’ll like or dislike this film based on how much you like the central premise of Iron Man.  I’ve heard people complain that it lacked Darkness or grit, yes it does, and to add that to Iron man would make it more generic and less unique.  If you accept that this is a film about a guy who, to an extent masks his insecurities with a bombastic public persona, and a big metal suit you’ll definitely have more fun.

For Fans, the film has some really good references.  Obviously we all love the Avengers stuff and the Thor cameo post credits, but there were other gems.  During the race scene one car is sponsored by Roxxon, a fictional Marvel company, Cap’s Shield makes an appearance again and my personal favourite is the War Machine suit being called the Variable Threat Response suit, a nod to the comic’s designation.  In fact, a nice touch is the lack of people calling themselves names.  Rhodes never calls himself War Machine (Although Tony calls him this once) and similarly Vanko doesn’t turn up saying “Cower Iron Man, now you face the might of Whiplash” its good, fans and toy manufacturers know who these people are, but to add their names to dialogue would seem clunky.  Not that it may not happen in the future, particularly if Titanium Man or Crimson Dynamo makes an appearance. (You could argue that Crimson Dynamo already has although he wasn’t crimson)

So, I really enjoyed this, and it has 100% more War Machine tan any other film released in 2010, in fact than any film released to date, so that must count in its favour.

The New Heroic Age

Posted in Atlas, Avengers, Captain Britain, Comics, Heroic Age, Iron Man, Marvel, Thunderbolts, War Machine, Young Avengers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2010 by pieman70

What, no Dark Reign sum up?  No Siege speculation.  Have you seen how out of date my blogging has got these days, my only chance is to blog about things before they happen.

In all seriousness I might comment on Siege post event, but I’m interested at the moment on how the universe is going to unfold post-Siege.  Marvel have been releasing various things regarding the new shape of the MU and it looks brighter, sunnier and happier.  Some have said this could be a response to the Disney takeover but I reckon that with a probable Avengers movie coming out marvel want the universe back on a more approachable tack.

So, what do we know about this new age, lets look at the team books that have been revealed so far.

Avengers

Marvel has released the line-up of this new team in the wake of Siege.  Line-up Includes Iron Man, Captain America (Bucky Barnes Version), Spider Woman, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Thor and Hawkeye (Clint Barton).  Its kind of a half and half, half Bendis’s new avengers, half traditional Avengers.  I’m in two minds about this, on one hand it will be nice to see a more traditional Avengers Team, I’m very happy that we’re not loosing Bucky cap just yet and that Barton is back to being Hawkeye.  On the other hand I’ve never been thrilled with Bendis writing Avengers, his work on Mighty wasn’t bad but I think there are better avengers writers out there.  It does leave at least one question; Barton is taking back his “Hawkeye” identity, what will happen to the Young Avengers Hawkeye?

Secret Avengers

This has been secretive, unsurprisingly.  We know its written by Ed Brubraker which is exciting enough, we know what the team members look like as silhouettes,  we don’t know what the team is about, what their purpose is or indeed the identity of any members, although speculation includes Steve Rogers, War Machine, Moon Knight and Black panther.  Either way this will be one to watch.

Atlas

Another go at agents of atlas, I really enjoyed the previous Agents of Atlas series and like the commitment to keep trying to get them ingrained into the Marvel Universe, and I’m also keen to see the New 3D man meet the team.  Again another good sign.

Thunderbolts.

Another interesting looking title, going back to the concept of criminal rehabilitation that existed throughout Thunderbolts but in particular in “The Initiative” period.  Luke Cage leads a team based on the Raft, Currently looks like the team will include Moonstone, Crossbones, Ghost, Juggernaut and Man Thing with the theme of criminals doing heroic acts as part of their rehabilitation.

There is also an interesting looking title called Heroic Age, not sure if it’s just a one shot or a series but it’s more of an anthology book and will see the return of Captain Britain and MI13 in a short story.  Solo title wise Iron Man has new armour and solicits show that it will feature Jim Rhodes, possibly as War Machine.  And Captain America, at least for the next story will continue to show the adventures of Bucky Barnes which is good as I can still see mileage in that concept.

What are we loosing; to my mind so far it looks like we’ll loose two significant titles.  The first is confirmed axed, that is Ms Marvel.  It’s a real shame because this title has been holding on and with a bit more promotion she could have been Marvel’s Wonder Woman.  Marvel are doing a comic featuring female heroes, but I preferred a female solo book (and with She-Hulk gone as well I struggle to think of any Marvel female solo book).

Second is Avengers: The Initiative, and while I wasn’t enamoured by the “Disassembled” story it’s been consistently good.  I like the concept (Hero boot camp) and I liked the often personal approach to stories they took.  It was an interesting book, so far no announcements of what will become of the initiative but I hope it will survive in some shape or form as it’s really been too good an idea to drop.

War Machine, Final Arc

Posted in Comics, Marvel, War Machine with tags , , on December 30, 2009 by pieman70

This was initially going to be a post about the second arc of War Machine, but this arc has also been the final. Its been fun, and lasted just a little less than half the number of issues of the first ongoing, still, 12 issues is better than none, and at least calling it an ongoing showed confidence from Marvel.

First, the story itself, this concerned War Machine and his crew travelling to the US following the trail of the Ultimo Virus seen in the previous arc. This pits Jim directly against the US army, HAMMER and even Tony Stark’s brother Morgan. During this he sets up Bethany Cabe and Jake Oh as armoured support and encounters his old buddies from the West Coast Avengers. The final two issues have Jim on trial for war crimes, mainly set up by Norman Osbourne as a distraction after Jim revealed inpropriatories by various Politicians.

Not to spoil for anyone trade waiting, but basically by the end Rhodey has beaten Osbourne (in a subtle way) is cleared of all charges and placed in his cloned body. In short he has been set to a basic point where he won’t seem completely unfamiliar to movie audiences should he appear in Iron man after the release of Iron Man 2. But to the comic.

I’ve loved Greg Pak’s writing, for starters it is very obvious that he has read a lot of War Machine, perhaps more than me. Yes he may have got hold of that “tales of the Marvel universe” where Rhodey looses the Eidolon warwear. It’s not referenced but I believe he has read it. The art was a little inconsistent but again used various flashes which referred back through War Machine’s history. The story itself really brought out Jim’s humanity, despite his cyborg nature in this series, whether it was his past love and old friend in Glenda and Parnell respective, or his relationship with his mother as seen in the first issue of this arc.

Overall it was a worthy run, and I look forward to seeing much more of War Machine after his upcoming big screen appearance.

Finally, this is covered very well on my good mate Reilly 2040s Blog Here.

War Machine in Iron man 2 Teaser

Posted in Marvel, Movies, Uncategorized, War Machine with tags , , on August 17, 2009 by pieman70

The CDCC footage of Iron Man 2 has been leaked, War Machine is confirmed. I have my reservations, but can’t help being excited that I get to see War Machine on the big screen. It shows teh faith I have in Favereau to do the character justice.

I hope my faith is not misplaced, roll on Iron Man 2

War Machine – First Arc

Posted in Comics, Marvel, War Machine with tags , , on May 27, 2009 by pieman70

Recently, Marvel’s new War Machine title finished its first arc, and I thought I’d post some thoughts on how I think it went.

Overall, very good. In this story Rhodes starts his mission to take out the worlds untouchable bad guys by “Killing the **** out of them” My first gripe was that this was a far cry from the War Machine we knew and loved who did question the ethics of killing, but Jim’s been through a lot since then, and indeed there isn’t much left. In fact the reason he’s picked up a bloodthirsty streak was even better explained. Now that he is a cyborg he can’t forget, ever, anything. Every killing, atrocity and genocide, he remembers.

There have been a few changes to the general gist set up in the War Machine: Weapon of Shield story in iron man. Suzi Endo left in disgust of Jim’s killing, to be replaced in issue 1 with his old friend Parnell. He also now has a ground crew in the form of Bethany cabe. He also has a new ability, to incorporate any technology into his armour automatically. This leads to some rather bizarre armour configurations later in the story.

The story itself sees Jim head out to the nation of Aquaria, to kill the CEO of arms company Eaglestar, and rescue Parnell’s wife and Jim’s old school crush Glenda. On the way he runs into Ares, God of war, which actually provides some of the story’s finest points, the interplay between War Machine and Ares is top stuff. Ares admires Jim’s work and forces him to take a good long look at how much of his humanity he has given up. At the end of the story Ares refers to War machine as his champion, hopefully a plot thread that will be followed up.

The art was good, not fantastic but good, grimy and muted. It suited the mood of the book. A particularly nice touch was when we see things from War Machine’s POV, the chaotic mass of data really gives a good impression of how he sees the world.

So, at the end Osbourne has the newly cloned body for Jim, and indeed offers everyone a reward, but Jim has other ideas. It looks like he has a nice supporting cast, with the possible love triangle between Jim, Glenda and Parnell plus Bethany Cabe, Suzi Endo (Cybermancer from Force Works, yes, I remember Force Works) and new character Jake Oh, Ex SHIELD agent and medic. I’m genuinely interested to see where this is going.
Ok, so any war machine story is a soft sell on me, and it really would have had to have been utter drivel for me to hate it, but I like the characters, enjoyed the story and want to see where it is going next. War Machine is back.*

*Unless Marvel have cancelled the book by the time this gets posted