Friendship with Stark
James "Rhodey" Rhodes is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force. He attended a ceremony to present Tony Stark with an award for his work, but Stark was not in attendance. Tony's right-hand man Obadiah Stane accepted the award on Tony's behalf and Rhodes later found Tony partying in a casino.
Tony disappeared after a Stark Industries missile demonstration in the Middle East when the military convoy he was traveling in was attacked by terrorists. Mounting a search, Rhodes tried to find his friend, although their reunion did not come until weeks later, after Tony escaped, when Rhodes found the injured Stark trudging through the desert.
Tony came to visit Rhodes after announcing his plans to cease arms manufacture and asked Rhodes for help with a new private project. Rhodes disagreed with Tony's approach; he believed Stark was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his capture and needed time to recover.
The "Iron Man"
When Iron Man left a confrontation in the Middle East, two F-22 jet fighters spotted him and word of the sighting was quickly passed to Col. Rhodes. When asked about the status of any new developments, Rhodes contacted Tony, who denied any knowledge of the incident. Iron Man tried to outrun the jets but they were too much for him. Tony called Rhodes and revealed that he was responsible for the "unidentified craft."
Rhodes was furious about Tony sending in unauthorized equipment, and horrified when Tony explained that the "equipment" was actually himself. Iron Man was hit by one fighter jet, sending him flying into the wing of the second jet. The pilot ejected, but the parachute failed to open. Iron Man, still under fire, managed to fly in and successfully deploy the parachute in time to save the pilot's life. Tony convinced Rhodes to pass off what happened with the jets as a "training exercise."
Rhodes arrived at Stark's mansion just after an altercation had transpired there between Tony and Obadiah Stane. He watched Tony suit up, awestruck at the Iron Man armor, saying that it was the "coolest" thing he had ever seen. As Tony flew away, Rhodes looked at the prototype armor Tony had built earlier, then shook his head and mumbled, "Next time, baby."
Days later, Rhodes held a press conference about the incident with the two armored people, the same conference where Tony Stark revealed himself as Iron Man.
Six months later, Rhodes came under pressure from the United States government to convince Tony Stark to relinquish ownership of the Iron Man armor while remaining loyal to Stark despite his frustration. When an intoxicated Stark in the Iron Man armor proceeded to endanger the lives of all the guests at his birthday party, Rhodes was forced to don the Iron Man Mark II armor to intervene. After the intervention turned into a fight that wrecked Stark's home, Rhodes left with the Mark II armor.
After the confiscated Mark II armor was upgraded to become the heavily armed War Machine armor at Edwards Air Force Base, it was taken for a demonstration at the Stark Expo with Rhodes as its pilot. However his armor fell under the control of Ivan Vanko and Rhodes was forced to watch helplessly from within the suit while it attacked Stark. The War Machine software was rebooted by Natasha Romanoff enabling Rhodes to regain control over the armor. Rhodes then teamed with Stark to fight against Justin Hammer's unmanned drones and then Vanko himself.
A new version of the War Machine armor was created by Tony Stark in order to restore the original War Machine armor to its Iron Man MK II form, taking away any trace of Hammer technology, which Stark felt was an insult to his creation. Stark stated that he gave Rhodes the armor only because he trusted him and that the world needed another Iron Man at any time Stark wasn't available.
Rhodes began doing different missions for the Air Force in which he found terrorists, purporting to be members of the Ten Rings, with Hammer-tech. He managed to defeat and rescue hostages from a small group of those terrorists in Hong Kong, but resulted in a trap which caused War Machine to face a nuclear-powered Hammer tank. Rhodes managed to escape from the trap and left for New York in order to help Tony in a "situation".
Colonel Rhodes continued to use the War Machine armor, now re-branded as Iron Patriot, in a number of missions for the United States government. One of his primary objectives was to investigate a series of terrorist bombings that had plagued the world for some time, but without even residual bomb fragments to track, he found himself flying around the globe chasing one false lead after another. During one of his attempts to apprehend the phantom bomber in the Middle East he blasted into a small textile factory room, inadvertently freeing a number of enslaved women working there. One of them proved to be an Extremis-enhanced soldier however, and she disabled the suit's systems with a surprise attack before Rhodes could react.
Whilst still inside the Iron Patriot, Col. Rhodes was taken to Miami and hauled before Aldrich Killian, the head of A.I.M. and mastermind behind the Extremis soldiers. Killian wanted the Iron Patriot for his own goals and began torturing Rhodes until Rhodes was forced to exit the suit's confines. Initially intent on fighting his captors, he quickly gave up the fight when he witnessed the extent of Killian's Extremis power.
Rhodes was able to escape and overpower a guard, confiscating the man's pistol in the process. It was after this escape that Stark contacted him about the Iron Patriot, and Rhodes informed him of Killian's theft of the suit. Together they confronted Trevor Slattery about Killian's plans and learned enough to understand that the United States president was Killian's next target.
The pair set off on a boat to confront Killian at the coast where he had set up the next part of his plan on a salvaged Roxxon oil tanker. Stark spent part of the trip trying to rescue President Ellis remotely, but had to resort to tracing him to the oil tanker instead. There they found Ellis strung up, inside the Iron Patriot, to be incinerated in a very public execution, and with neither Stark nor Rhodes suited up they were left with the prospect of facing Killian's men armed only with their wits and a pair of 9mm pistols.
They resolved to rescue the president, but it wasn't long before their presence was detected and they found themselves facing a force of Extremis-enhanced soldiers. Fortunately Stark's backup plan of having a number of semi-autonomous Iron Man suits in reserve came to fruition, and Stark promptly took to the skies to fight the soldiers while Rhodes made his way to the president. He managed to free Ellis by turning one of the Iron Patriot's gauntlet repulsors onto a restraint. Once they were clear he donned the Iron Patriot himself and flew the president clear of the battle.
After many months, Rhodes responded to an invitation to attend a party at Stark Tower, where Tony and his team of Avengers were in a celebratory mood after a successful campaign. He stayed late after most of the guests had departed and partook in tests of strength to try and move Thor's hammer Mjolnir, but even working together with Tony, and both enhancing their lifting power with their gauntlets, he failed to budge the hammer. The game was interrupted by the appearance of one of Stark's Iron Legion robots, which then proceeded to attack. The robot, which later came to be known as Ultron, had further reinforcement by other robots of Stark's Iron Legion, and in the ensuing battle Rhodes was thrown unceremoniously through a window and out of the fight.
He had a chance to get his own back when he was called into action once again as War Machine when the Avengers were staging a final assault on Ultron's robot forces in Sokovia. Rhodes flew with Stark against the robot legion, destroying a number of their force in an aerial battle above Sokovia. He earned much respect for himself that day and was invited to fill the ranks of a new line up of Avengers in the wake for several members departing to fulfill their personal agendas.
Some months later, after a mission resulted in the accidental destruction of a Wakandan relief mission, Secretary Thaddeus Ross decided to introduce the Sokovia Accords, a U.N. legislation that would bring all superhumans under the authority of the government or face prison. Rhodes was one of the Avengers to favour the Accords, seeing them as a natural result of everything that Earth had been through over the last few years.
When the Accords became law, Rhodes was forced to arrest Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson when they attempted to recover the Winter Solider on their own after he was accused of bombing a U.N. meeting on the Accords. After the three escaped, Rhodes joined Stark's branch of Avengers to capture Rogers and his allies. During the subsequent battle at Leipzig/Halle Airport, despite the best efforts of Rogers' new ally Ant-Man, Rhodes was almost able to catch Rogers and Barnes as they stole the quinjet, only to be accidentally shot down by the Vision when the android was attempting to knock out the pursing Sam Wilson. The resulting injuries from the crash seriously damaged Rhodes' spine, with the implication that he would never walk again. However, Stark was able to develop cybernetics that would hopefully help Rhodes regain the use of his legs, with Rhodes assuring Stark that he went into action fully aware of the risks and confident that he had made the right decision.
James Rhodes has no powers of his own but has access to various capabilities built into his War Machine Armor, a high-tech suit of armor that grants him the following abilities:
- Superhuman Strength: The first War Machine armor enhanced its wearer's strength to an unknown degree. The strength level appeared to be comparable to that of its immediate Iron Man armor successor, Stark's Mark III Iron Man armor, which itself was capable of lifting a car.
- Durability: His armor is very durable, capable of withstanding tremendous amounts of punishment. It can withstand high caliber bullets with ease. He can also withstand rockets, torpedoes, and such, although he does take damage.
- Flight: His armor can fly and travel at supersonic speeds.
Skilled pilot, navigator, combatant and in handling of firearms.
Enhanced by armor
Following the battle of Leipzig/Halle Airport, Rhodes is paralysed from the waist down, requiring technological aid to walk even to a limited degree.
The War Machine armor possesses a wide array of weapons including wrist machine guns, a rocket launcher, shoulder-mounted minigun, miniature heat seeking missiles.
Like the Iron Man's armor, Rhodes's suit is equipped with powerful repulsor beams that are fired from the palms of the gauntlets.
- Rhodey is portrayed by Terrence Howard in Iron Man, and by Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War. Howard and Cheadle both reprised their roles as Rhodey for the video game adaptations of the first two movies, while Ty Jones provided his voice in Iron Man 3: The Official Game.
- When seen in the film wearing his service dress uniform in Iron Man, Rhodes's decorations can be visually recognized as including the Senior Pilot Badge, Acquisition & Financial Manager Badge, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Outstanding Unit Award with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Overseas Ribbon Long Tour, Longevity Service Award Ribbon with three bronze oak leaf clusters, Air Force Training Ribbon, and Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait).
- Early storyboards Iron Man 2 showed that it was planned for War Machine to kill Justin Hammer when his suit was in control of Ivan Vanko.
- Despite being renamed Iron Patriot and Rhodes defending it to Stark, he actually preferred War Machine, which is a running gag throughout Iron Man 3. Rhodes' A.I.M. account is Warmachine68, with his password being WARMACHINEROX (himself saying "War Machine rocks... with an x... all caps").
- 28 Appearances of James Rhodes (Earth-199999)
- 4 Minor Appearances of James Rhodes (Earth-199999)
- Media James Rhodes (Earth-199999) was Mentioned in
- 38 Images featuring James Rhodes (Earth-199999)
- 2 Quotations by or about James Rhodes (Earth-199999)
- Character Gallery: James Rhodes (Earth-199999)
- James Rhodes on The Wiki
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