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War Machine #20: Review

Nov 1995
Dan Abnett, Fred Haynes

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Story Name:

A Little Muscle

Review & Comments

3 stars

War Machine #20 Review by (April 18, 2012)
This is part of the Crossing crossover between Avengers, Force Works, Iron Man and War Machine. Iron Man only appears in flashbacks. This is the first issue of War Machine officially in the crossover. I included the previous 2 issues where Skye arranged for Rhodey to aquire the Warwear armour, because Skye and the Warwear are parts of the Crossing scheme. This issue continues directly from Force Works #17. Hawkeye was with Rhodey in #18-19 when he got the Warwear armour. He left to go to the Avengers reunion in Avengers: The Crossing. This was about a week ago, and Rhodey and Skye have presumably spent most of the week driving back from Canada. (That's a long time for Skye to be evasive about things. Maybe they got back quicker, and we can imagine a gap between their return and the rest of the story.) Hawkeye presumably flew. The drug subplot is never followed up. Continued in Iron Man #322.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

War Machine #20 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from FORCE WORKS #17.

James Rhodes and Skye have driven from Canada to L.A. after the adventure in the last 2 issues where Rhodey obtained his new armour, the Eidolon Warwear. Skye has explained that the armour is alien, and that it chose Rhodey to wear it. But she won't explain who or what she herself is, or why he and the armour are important.

Their journey is interrupted in Santa Monica by Wolfgang, a man whose body has been super-enhanced by an unknown drug. While War Machine deals with him in the Warwear, Skye slips away.

The next day Rhodey returns to work at Worldwatch. He asks them to investigate the drug.

Sheva Joseph is off sick, and asks Jim to come to see her that night. But he doesn't make it, and instead she gets help from Kirby Martell, a SHIELD expert on time-travel. She is worried about the effects of her time trip in #15-17. She experienced a timeslip to 1970 last issue.

Rhodes doesn't come to see her because U.S.Agent drags him off to help Hawkeye. When we last saw U.S.Agent in Force Works #17 he was about to phone Rhodey. But he comes to see him instead, saying he can't trust the phone. Agent comes to Rhodey for help because they teamed up with Hawkeye in the 'Brothers in Arms' backup stories in Force Works #12, War Machine #15 and Iron Man #317. Although they actually spent most of the time fighting on 3 different sides of the conflict.

He explains how Hawkeye has been accused by Iron Man (in Force Works #17) of murdering Marilla and Rita DeMara (in Avengers: The Crossing). And how Iron Man and his new protege Cybermancer tricked Agent into leading them to Hawkeye. Scarlet Witch threw Iron Man off the team after they brought Hawkeye in unconscious.

We have known since Avengers: The Crossing that Iron Man actually killed Marilla and Rita, but he did it in a blackout under the control of someone else. In Iron Man #321 he cleaned up a security tape of Marilla's murder, and presumably saw himself as the killer, but then had another blackout. In Force Works #17 he presented a version of the tape and other forensic evidence that pointed to Hawkeye.

Agent takes Rhodey to Force Works HQ, where Cybermancer is guarding Hawkeye while the rest of the team are off on a mission investigating the disappearance of Vietnam.

Rhodey doesn't believe Hawkeye is a killer, so the evidence must be false. He tries to contact Iron Man, winding up eventually talking to Black Widow at the Avengers temporary home in Jan Van Dyne's house. Jim can't get at the forensic evidence against Hawkeye in Stark Enterprises. But U.S.Agent gives him the video evidence, which Rhodey takes to his tech guy Archie Park. The video appears genuine. Archie claims only 3 people could have doctored it so undetectably:- himself, Reed Richards and Tony Stark.

Cybermancer tries to stop U.S.Agent from taking Hawkeye's comatose body, until War Machine knocks her out with the Warwear. Agent and War Machine take a Force Works jet and escape with the recovering Hawkeye, while Rhodey explains about his new armour.

The Crossing continues in IRON MAN #322.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Fred Haynes
Johnny Green
Ericka Moran
Fred Haynes (Cover Penciler)
Fred Haynes (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Nel Yomtov.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)

(Clint Barton)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Archie Park, Cybermancer, Erica Sondheim, Kirby Martell, Ranald Jeffries, Rebecca Bergier, Sheva Joseph, Skye.

> War Machine: Book info and issue index

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