James Rupert Rhodes (War Machine)

Let’s continue with the characters we’ll se again in the upcoming Iron Man 3. This time, we’re speaking about Tony Stark‘s best pal, James Rhodes, who in the second movie donned the War Machine armor. He’s been portrayed by Terrence Howard in the first film and by Don Cheadle in the sequels, and he’s a childhood friend of Stark’s. In the comics, they met quite later…

James Rupert Rhodes was born in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, and was raised in a patriotic family. He joined the U. S. Marine Corp, becoming a lieutenant. Immediately after his military academy, the Vietnam War broke out, and Rhodey was called in service. Trained as a combat pilot, the best of his platoon, James joined the war as an elicopter pilot, distinguishing himself in many heroic acts. During an action, anyway, he got ambushed in the jungle, and a Viet Cong rocket destroyed his elicopter. Rhodey survived, but he lost his men. Stranded in the jungle, Rhodes met Tony Stark, who was escaping from warlord Wong Chu‘s prison in his first Iron Man armor, just a prototype, but operational enough. The two of them were soon attacked by some Viet Congs, and the armor saved them both. During the battle, Stark and Rhodes found a Viet Cong rocket base, the one from which the enemies shot down Rhodey’s elicopter. They destroyed the secret base and stole an elicopter, managing to come back to the American defense perimeter. Once in Saigon, Rhodey was brought to the local hospital, where Stark himself came to pay visit: the billionaire thanked him for helping Iron Man in his escape, and offered him a job as his personal pilot. As long as the war was on, anyway, James was unable to accept the offer: Stark came back to US, while Rhodes stayed in Vietnam to fight for his country. After the war, Rhodes tried many occupations, first of all the mercenary one: since nobody back home wanted his no-more-useful skills, he tried selling them to the best bidder, but his strict moral code wasn’t satisfied with that life. Eventually Rhodes remembered of Stark’s offer and, hoping it was still on the table, went to Stark’s office to accept it. Tony Stark not only accepted James Rhodes as his personal pilot, but also gave him the charge of chief aviation engineer at the Stark International (the future Stark Industries). With time, bond by the common, traumatic experience of war, Stark and Rhodes became friends, and Rhodey became the person closest to the usually misanthropic Stark.

Tony Stark trusted Rhodey to the point that he didn’t make a secret to him of his double identity as the superhero Iron Man (of course Rhodey had already seen the armor in action in Vietnam, but everybody else believed that Iron Man was Stark’s body guard nevertheless). When Obadiah Stane, the man who would have later become the Iron Monger, managed to destroy Stark’s public and private life, Tony couldn’t bare the stress and relapsed into alcoholism. In one occasion, he tried to fight Jonathan Darque, a silly villain known as Magma, while drunk, thus resulting in an epic defeat. Trying to protect his friend’s image (and the world in the process), Rhodey took Iron Man’s Variable Threat Response Battle Suit armor and fought and defeated Magma. Still prisoner of his addiction, Stark asked Rhodey to be the new Iron Man, and he accepted. As Iron Man, Rhodey became a real hero, and a member of the West Coast Avengers, he quit the Stark International and hid all of Stark’s technology (and armors) from Stane and S.H.I.E.L.D. The armor’s interference with brainwaves, anyway, damaged his brain, leading to painful headaches, aggressivity, paranoia. Cured by Hank Pym, Rhodes left the Iron Man’s persona, leaving it to a healed Stark. After Stark’s apparent death, Rhodes was left in charge of the rebuilt Stark Enterprises, and donned once again the Iron Man armor. When Stark was revealed to be alive, after a brief clash between the two, Stark gave the armor to James, stating that the Variable Threat Response always belonged to him. With the armor officially his, Rhodes created the War Machine identity, becoming a whole new superhero.

War Machine has been the member of many superhero teams, but he mainly serves the Army. James Rhodes has always been a honourable and rightful man, with a strict moral code and a strong sense of right and wrong, quite opposite to the carefree temper of his best friend Tony Stark, with whom he has often clashed. His sense of duty makes him the perfect man to take on the responsibilities of a hero and to be a modern day knight in the shining armor, even if, being a soldier, he lacks of the freedom of act that distinguishes his red-and-gold ally and friend.



  1. […] In the meanwhile, he had the other Chessmen attack Tony’s personal advisor and friend, James Rhodes. Every move was aimed to weaken Stark and to prepare the final move, which would have annihilated […]

  2. […] fought Iron Man several times and, during their many battles, the hero (who was at that time James Rhodes) saw something good in Donnie, and tried to convince him several times to reform, without much a […]

  3. […] him dead. In reality, Stark had had just the time to slip out of his armor and had been saved by James Rhodes, who took him away with his elicopter. Firepower’s armor didn’t have a single scratch […]

  4. […] soldier who was trying to come back home, the one who would have become his life-long friend: Jimmy Rhodes, a Marine pilot who was shot down with his elicopter. Together, they escaped Vietnam and came back […]

  5. […] new faces (or not exactly “faces”) showing up. One of these is the upgraded version of War Machine‘s armor, the Iron Patriot: US Army used the wave of patrioctism following Captain […]

  6. […] Wakanda and T’Challa, Ayo had to battle invading forces, the Sentinel Squad O*N*E*, led by War Machine, following an incident occured at the White House. The attack was repelled, but Iron […]

  7. […] him lose millions, then he sent his Chessmen to assault Tony’s best friend and confidante, James Rhodes, to leave him alone; last, knowing Stark’s weakness for women, he set up things so that the […]

  8. […] order not to help any American superhero…an order that Ursa Major disobeyed to as he aided War Machine, who had come to Russia just to help the Winter Guard. When the battle was over, however, Crimson […]

  9. […] A minion of the Mandarin now, Killmonger was under his control, and obeyed him in kidnapping Jim Rhodes to lure Iron Man in Wakanda…but his ambition of becoming the new king was far too strong, […]

  10. […] Force abducted Stark, Jim Rhodes, Ling McPherson and Bethany Cabe while dragging away the yacht, he was reached by Iron Man. In the […]

  11. […] outrun him for the position of next Secretary of Defense. All Burch cared for was profit, so when James Rhodes proceeded to dismantle some of Stark’s old suit, Burch blackmailed Force into repairing them […]

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