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War Machine #6: Review

Sep 1994
Scott Benson, Gabriel Hardman

Story Name:

Instant karma's gonna get you

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

War Machine #6 Review by (January 22, 2019)
Scott Benson and Len Kaminski still share the scripting.

Deathtoll presumably *is* dead because he's never seen again.

Leviticus is shown to have different-coloured eyes, 1 of them possibly cyborg. But all of this is irrelevant because we never see or hear from him or his organisation again either despite their threats.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

War Machine #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
James Rhodes and Sheva Joseph are boarding a private plane for the South American country Corteña to investigate a mass grave for Worldwatch. Rhodey is targeted by assassin Deathtoll who has been hired by shadowy businessman Leviticus to stop the investigation. He has also hired him to kill War Machine, as a general nuisance to his plans, unaware that WM and JR are the same person.

Sheva's SHIELD training means she spots the glint of the rifle barrel and knocks Jim aside. Airport Security close in on the gunman who deliberately steps out and threatens to shoot them so they all shoot to kill him. Jim and Sheva come to look at the body and Rhodey is shocked to recognise it, but pretends he's never seen him before. When they've gone the counter on Deathtoll's wrist drops from 11 lives to 10. He gets up alive and on fire (as seen last issue) and kills 2 guys left to guard him. His wrist count goes up to 12.

On the plane Sheva is pilot and ex-army pilot Rhodes takes the co-pilot seat beside her. They hear that someone shot the 2 guards and took the body away. Sheva saw War Machine without his helmet on in #4 so she knows he's Jim. And she also knows he's hiding something. Rhodey tells her that the guy tried to kill War Machine at the UN (last issue) and he killed him then. But now he's somehow back and may have survived another 'death'. He also confides that after killing Eda Arul (#4) and this guy he's worried that killing's becoming too easy for him (despite having nightmares about it). Ex-SHIELD Major Joseph tells him you sometimes have to get your hands dirty to do what you believe is right.

Jim phones Rebecca Bergier at Worldwatch to update them on what's happened. Ranald Jeffries asks her about media coverage of the shooting and she goes on a rant about media 'jackals'. Jeffries rightly suspects something personal. She admits it but says she'll make sure it doesn't affect Worldwatch. (Last issue a tabloid TV show contacted her about something.)

Deathtoll has also hired a plane to follow our lot to Corteña. En route he remembers his origin for us. He was born the son of a pig farmer who beat him because he didn't like the pigs being slaughtered. When he grew up he shot daddy and left the farm to become a mercenary. He was on a job with 2 companions putting down a murderous sect of Kali-worshippers for the Indian Government which all went wrong. However he killed all the Thuggees at the expense of taking his own side down with them. Kali was impressed and offered him a deal - kill for *her* and each death will give him a life (ie the ability to cheat death). So now we see what the counter on his wrist is - his current surplus of lives.

Rhodes and co get to Corteña where the Government is strenuously denying the existence of a mass gravesite of people 'disappeared' by the previous Government. State Secretary Antonio Ville-Boas offers to arrange an inspection tour of the guarded site which he claims is a toxic waste dump, but Rhodey thinks they're stalling. Indeed Ville-Boas contacts Leviticus because he's worried about the effect on the tourist trade. Leviticus has his own reasons, and from dialogue last issue it seems he may have been involved in creating the graves in the 1st place. But he assures Antonio that Rhodes will be dealt with.

But Jim goes to the site as War Machine, knocks out the guards and detects the buried bodies by ultrasound scan - and even uncovers some of them with repulsor blasts. He's discovered there by Deathtoll who's just as happy to find 1 of his targets there as the other. They fight but this time the assassin is better prepared. He uses special ammo to temporarily blind and deafen his opponent, but WM lashes out and kills him again. His recovering vision sees Deathtoll aflame and coming back to life. Then the bad guy shoots our guy with an adamantium-jacketed shell which pierces the armour and does some body damage.

Deathtoll is about to finish the job with a point-blank shot to the facemask when the fallen hero fires his repulsors into the ground. A chasm opens up and the villain falls in amongst the bodies, and the hole caves in and buries him. He tries to claw his way out but runs out of oxygen and dies. And comes back to life and dies again. And so on until his life counter runs out before he can make it back to the surface.

War Machine has recorded video of the mass grave. He makes it back to the hotel and Worldwatch release the evidence to the media which causes the Corteñan Government to allow a UN investigation. We see Leviticus as head of an organisation which is worried about the threat to their anonymity. So they intend to put an end to Worldwatch and War Machine.

On the flight back with his flesh wound taped up Jim tells Sheva he's still worried about becoming a killer. She asks him if there's any other superhero he can talk to. And he thinks of Hawkeye.


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> War Machine: Book info and issue index

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Gabriel Hardman
Pam Eklund
Ariane Lenshoek
Mark Bright (Cover Penciler)
Pam Eklund (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.


Deathtoll, Ranald Jeffries, Rebecca Bergier, Sheva Joseph, War Machine (James Rhodes).