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War Machine #13: Review

Apr 1995
Dan Abnett, Dave Chlystek

Story Name:

Natural born killers

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

War Machine #13 Review by (April 2, 2019)
The title of this issue is obviously borrowed from the film that came out late 1994.

This is the last anyone sees of Gunship, Quarry and Sanction. But Locomotive Breath will take the story down a left turn to pick up the Slorenian Civil War story from Force Works #4-5. There we already met the Slorene ruling council the Tabissara, along with supercharacters Black Brigade and Ember. But The Program is something new.

We won't see Rae LaCoste again until #19. And due to his hectic life Rhodey won't meet her until #24.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

War Machine #13 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
It's New Year's Eve in Philadelphia and War Machine is celebrating by fighting a trio of armoured foes:- Gunship, Locomotive Breath and Sanction. They are the Rush Club who get their kicks hunting people who they've paid to be their quarry. They give their victim armour too, and the current 1's armour is actually called Quarry. WM interrupted a battle in the city between Quarry and Gunship, and discovered that that the target is Owen Segar, a homeless army Vet James Rhodes used to know.

Now the Club just want to end the battle and retreat with the Quarry armour. But to do that they'll have to put War Machine down. Heavyweight Locomotive Breath smashes our hero with his armoured fists, doing a lot of damage to the man inside the suit. Agile Sanction leaps on him and tries to jam metal claws through his eye slits, but Rhodey blasts him off with his chest uni-beam. Then Loco is on him again. But WM's latest armour has a large backpack which holds a variety of weapons. He triggers a pulse cannon which emerges and fires over his shoulder at Loco, which Rhodes combines with repulsors and uni-beam. Locomotive Breath is thrown 60 feet.

But following Loco's orders the flying Gunship is about to kill Segar with his own shoulder cannons. He blasts the Quarry armour, and Loco orders a retreat. War Machine is still standing so Loco does a Hulk and slams his fists into the ground, burying Rhodey in rubble.

When he emerges the villains have gone. But he finds the Quarry suit is empty. A heat trace leads him to Owen Segar who got out before Gunship trashed it. So he takes him to St Vincent's Hospital and then Jim Rhodes visits his old army buddy in his sick bed. Rhodey says the staff believe Owen was just an innocent bystander, but he wants to know what was really going on.

Segar tells him how Carson Rowntree, a mutual old Marine acquaintance, offered him lots of money to be the next candidate for the Rush Club's hunt. They wanted him because his training would make him a quarry worth hunting. But Owen just wanted to steal the Quarry armour. He relied on their need for secrecy stopping them following him into the city. But Gunship wouldn't let him go, and the Club tried to kill him in the end. So now he gives Jim a way of contacting Rowntree in Baltimore.

Next day (New Year's Day) Rhodes meets Rowntree in a restaurant in Baltimore. He gets straight to the point and tells his old 'friend' to shut down the Rush Club or else. But Rowntree puts some clues together and tells him he knows he's War Machine. The prospect of the adrenaline rush of fighting a superhero again makes Carson challenge Jim to a battle outside Baltimore. And our hero agrees.

Rhodey came to Philadelphia last issue to spend the New Year with his parents. His lover Rae LaCoste was going to follow by plane the next day (today) to meet them. But James stormed out when he realised they objected to him dating a white woman. Now he rings up to see if she's arrived. His father tells Jim she arrived last night instead, and then she left. We see her crying on a hotel bed.

Carson's Rush Club partners aren't at all happy with his plan. Loco is concerned about the increased risk to their secrecy. Aaron doesn't want to attract the attention of the super-crowd. But Loco tells Carson he can take WM on alone as Gunship. After Rowntree has gone Aaron opines that War Machine will probably win the bout. However Loco reveals that he has a bigger plan. He shows his partner an e-mail from the Tabissara in Tblunka, Slorenia. They say that their Civil War means that they can no longer give him access to The Program.

Now we get an interlude building up a subplot that will lead to the next storyline. Last issue Sheva Joseph of Worldwatch went to Santiago, Chile to investigate stories of human rights violations. Now she meets Jorge Mantone at the office of The Eternal Flame, a left-wing magazine which he runs practically single-handed. He is sceptical that she isn't just someone who'll listen to what he says but do nothing about it. He tells her about a no-go zone that the government have set up in the past year, and she asks him to get her in there. But their conversation is being recorded in sound and vision by long-range instruments.

War Machine and Gunship meet in an abandoned redevelopment project outside of town. Rowntree thinks he's here alone but Aaron is watching in his Sanction suit. The armoured warriors spar on the ground then take it to the air. Carson is enjoying himself up until the point Rhodey crushes part of his armour (again) and blasts him out of the sky. This is the moment for Sanction to act. He unlimbers his crossbow and fires an EMP arrow which fries WM's systems. And Loco in the Locomotive Breath armour stands over him.


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Dave Chlystek
Tim Dzon
Ariane Lenshoek
Kev Hopgood (Cover Penciler)
Bob Wiacek (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Mark Gruenwald.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.


Gunship, Locomotive Breath, Quarry, Rae LaCoste, Sanction, Sheva Joseph, War Machine (James Rhodes).