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War Machine #8: Review

Jul 2009
Greg Pak, Leonardo Manco

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

War Machine #8 Review by (August 3, 2012)
There's still no Dark Reign on the cover, but 'Can the West Coast Avengers stop ...' instead. As usual there's no issue title, but Comic Book DB still lists it as part of the Homeland arc.

Back in the '80's the Avengers had a friendly split into 2 teams, the original Avengers in New York and a new West Coat Avengers in California. These 5 were the team in the initial 4-issue mini-series, except that James Rhodes was then the replacement Iron Man. Tony Stark was back in the armour for the ongoing series. Rhodey only became War Machine later. He did rejoin as WM in Avengers West Coast #94, but the lineup was somewhat different then.

Currently in Dark Reign, Mockingbird and Ronin are in the underground New Avengers. Since NAv#50 where Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers avoided a fight with their team and Free Comic Book Day 2009: Avengers where the 2 teams had to team up Ronin did some stuff without his ex-wife - with various NAv members in Mighty Av #21, Agents of Atlas v2 #4-5 and Wolverine v3 #73. Then the pair had their own adventures patching their relationship up in a tale in DR: New Nation and their own 4-issue NAv: Reunion.
Tigra is still in the Avengers Initiative, but not for long now Osborn has taken over in Av:I~23.
Wonder Man is a free agent. Since Secret Invasion he helped the returned Henry Pym in MAv#20 come to terms with what happened while he was a Skrull captive, and gave an interview about Osborn's takeover in a flashback in NAv#51.

San Revilla refers to the Brother in Arms adventure shared by War Machine, Hawkeye and US Agent in flip-book strips in Force Works #12, WM v1#15 and Iron Man #317.

Hawkeye remembers fighting Ultimo with Thor, but that was way back in the original Avengers Annual #1.

I don't believe we ever get to meet Reginald Gunderson (known to his friends as Reggie).

Surely Tony Stark only used the Stark Solutions company name for a short while after Heroes Reborn. Maybe cousin Morgan nicked the name.
Morgan Stark has been a thorn in Tony's side since Tales of Suspense #68.
Suzi Endo mentions that Morgan has been involved with Ultimo before. This was in Ultimo's (and Morgan's) last major outing in Iron Man (1998) #23-25, when Morgan was with Stark-Fujikawa and tried to use Ultimo as the power source for a large ship.

Roxxon is an oil company that has been behind various villainous schemes. They were introduced in Captain America #180, but have been shown to exist earlier, most notably in the Iron Man: Iron Age 2-shot. Their biggest storyline was probably the Serpent Crown saga which began in the aforementioned CA#180 in Apr 1975, slithered its way into the Avengers title and the Squadron Supreme's alternate reality, ending in Avengers Annual #6 in Dec 1976.

Transcore has absolutely nothing to do with a real company called TransCore.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

War Machine #8 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
War Machine is attacking a passenger jet, with members of his support staff Suzi Endo and Parnell Jacobs in a shuttle plane alongside. His old buddies from West Coast Avengers (Mockingbird, Ronin (Clint Barton, ex-Hawkeye), Tigra and Wonder Man) have arrived in a quinjet to stop him. Clint has faith that James Rhodes knows what he's doing, but the other 3 aren't so sure.

Wonder Man knocks War Machine off the plane while Tigra breaks into the shuttle and KO's Suzi and Parnell. War Machine uses his cyborg suit's special power to disassemble the shuttle and quinjet in mid-air (incorporating some tasty bits into his armour as a bonus). He leaves Wonder Man to save the falling bodies, and sets off after the jet. But Ronin hitches a ride with a line arrow.

Clint reminds Rhodey they fought side-by-side in San Revilla, and says he might help if Jim tells him what's going on. James explains, while Suzi does the same for Wonder Man and his passengers.

They describe how Reginald Gunderson, Assistant Director of the US Agency for Alien Quarantine and Technology decided to exploit the captured alien Ultimo robot for private gain, and distributed various parts to various companies for research. War Machine and gang have already dealt with an Ultimo virus in #1-5, and Ultimo's head last issue. Now they are seeking its neural net, memory banks and emotional core, each in a different place.

Inside the passenger plane the CEO of Stark Solutions drinks Ultimo's neural net. And the front of the plane explodes into liquid metal.

The assembled cast enter the plane through a hole. The liquid metal is eating the plane from the front backwards. They get the passengers to the back half of the plane, and War Machine and Wonder Man split the back off before the living metal can get to it. Rhodey uses his suit's abilities again to remove the jets from the wings and attach them to the half-fuselage, forming a mini-helicarrier.

The man they think is Tony Stark uses the metal he has absorbed to form a proto-Ultimo around him. And Suzi Endo detects him sending out messages to locate the other 2 parts of Ultimo's brain.

Last issue Bethany Cabe and Jake Oh donned other War Machine armour to go after these components. Beth as WM 2.0 has just blown up the memory banks in a Roxxon facility. Jake as WM 3.0 destroys the emotional core at Transcore Artificial Intelligence Solutions.

Rhodey tries to talk Tony Stark into abandoning his Ultimo, but discovers it's really Tony's cousin Morgan. He wanted Ultimo's computing power, but now Ultimo's programming to kill all living things has taken over. And Morgan claims to have thought of a way for Ultimo to wipe out life from the Earth.

War Machine strikes with Ultimo's own eye-blasts (he assimilated one of Ultimo's eyes last issue). Morgan appears to give in, saying that without Ultimo's emotional core he feels no compulsion to continue with his plan.

Rhodey tries to help Morgan extricate himself from Ultimo. But when they touch Morgan absorbs an emotional core from Jim. And his Ultimo self-destructs. The scattered liquid metal ignores people, but infects surrounding vegetation.

In Avengers Tower Norman Osborn and his assistant Victoria Hand are watching. And Norman suits up as Iron Patriot to go deal with the problem personally.


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> War Machine: Book info and issue index

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Leonardo Manco
Leonardo Manco
Jay David Ramos
Francesco Mattina (Cover Penciler)
Francesco Mattina (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Ronin
Ronin

(Clint Barton)

Plus: Bethany Cabe, Jake Oh, Morgan Stark, Norman Osborn, Parnell Jacobs, Suzi Endo, Ultimo, Victoria Hand, War Machine (James Rhodes).