The War Machine Mark II was created by Tony Stark as a replacement for the original War Machine armor worn by his best friend, Col. James Rhodes. Stark had discovered that Rhodes's procurement of the War Machine helped serve as a buffer against the politicians and lawmakers who would see Stark's precious Iron Man suit technology turned over for military use, and opted to extend the idea of a loan to a new creation, properly designed and outfitted for military use.
Rhodes began taking on different missions for the Air Force, during 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; this was a trap which pitted War Machine against a nuclear-powered Hammer tank. Rhodes managed to escape, and left for New York in order to help Tony in a "situation". When he arrived, he found Tony and the Avengers eating in a shawarma restaurant in the aftermath of the battle.
Although Stark's hardware was left intact, the software did undergo some alterations, courtesy of Advanced Idea Mechanics, a relative newcomer in arms manufacture. The War Machine was repainted in red, blue, and silver, and re-branded as "Iron Patriot" as part of the government's response to the emergence of the Avengers, wanting to show that America had its own superhero as opposed to the independent nature of the Avengers.
Col. Rhodes continued to use the armor on 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, 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.
The Iron Patriot, with Rhodes still inside, was hauled before Aldrich Killian, 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 he was forced to exit its confines.
The Iron Patriot armor was next worn by Eric Savin, another Extremis soldier under Killian's command, who used it to infiltrate Air Force One, a U.S.A.F. passenger jet outfitted for presidential use. With the jet in transit, Savin overpowered the security team on board and captured President Ellis. He then forced Ellis into the Iron Patriot, which was subsequently used as a vehicle to transport Ellis back to Aldrich Killian.
Killian wanted to make a spectacular example of the president and Stark's armor, and strung them both up over an old Roxxon oil tanker that was rigged to explode, with cameras ready to capture the act. The plan was thwarted by the intervention of Tony Stark and Col. Rhodes, who acted in concert to overpower Killian and his men. Once Rhodes had freed the president, he released him from the suit and donned it himself, using it to fly them both to safety.
Some time after that, the armor was returned to its original paint scheme. During the fight against Ultron, S.H.I.E.L.D. deployed War Machine to fight against Ultron drones attacking the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. After Ultron was defeated, Rhodes joined the new Avengers when Tony took a leave of absence.
Abilities, Weapons, and Equipment
- Ballistic: The armor's weapon complement includes a ballistic cannon of Stark design mounted on the upper back, and a pair of smaller automatic fire weapons housed in the vambraces. The shoulder cannon is an independently targeted weapon guided by the suit's on board computer and can track targets to the rear of the suit's wearer.
- Repulsors: Conceptualized to provide flight stabilization to control the thruster boots, the War Machine gauntlet repulsors also provide moderate offensive capability with adjustable power output.
- Thrust: The armor's enhanced jet boots can propel War Machine through the air at supersonic speed.
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