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War Machine

Iron Man 2
by yo go re

Having finished reviewing all the Iron Man 3 toys of any consequence, we go back to what we were doing before: reviewing Iron Man 2 toys.

There was a time when James Rhodes was just a guy in a suit, battling bad guys and having a blast, just like his friend Tony Stark. But that time is long past. Now, Rhodey is nothing but War Machine. Most of his original body has been replaced with machines, and every ounce of metal in him is focused on one task - battling evil.

Yes, this is the fourth IM2 War Machine figure we've reviewed, the third comic-based one, and the second in the 4" scale. That means we've now officially reviewed more War Machine toys from that toyline than we've reviewed Iron Men! Still not as many as the Hammer Drones, though. Anyway, as to that bio: while testing fighter jets in Dubai, Rhodey was blown up by terrorists, losing large chunks of his body; Tony Stark rushed to the scene to rebuild him, Bionic Man style, but it unfortunately forced Rhodey to rely on the armor to keep him alive. Of course, none of this was actually shown in the comics until after the fact - he just showed up looking like Terminator and we were left to wonder what happened.

When we say he looked like the Terminator, that's not exaggeration: when he took his helmet off, he literally had a half-skeletal/robotic face under there. Since this toy is too small for a removable faceplate, it accomplishes the same effect by means of a second head. The one he's wearing in the package has the metal visage and one creepy red eye.

Below the neck, this is a pretty bog-standard War Machine suit. Technically it's supposed to be the same design as the Initiative armor, but the art in the book where this design comes from (War Machine: Weapon of SHIELD) shifted pretty quickly, and this toy is true to that book's look. Rather than the smooth arms and legs of the original Variable Threat Response Battle Suit, this one has segmented armor. The boots come up higher onto the thighs, just like Iron Man's did at the time, and there are rounded plates on the back of the hands. This really is just a black version of the Extremis armor, huh? Well, Tony designed it for him, and that's where his head was at the time. The lines of the suit are less curvy and more blocky, to imply strength.

In true War Machine fashion, the figure is covered with guns. All the weapons on this toy are taken directly from the opening sequence of War Machine #1: he has a Gatling gun on his left shoulder, a four-tube rocket launcher on his right shoulder, and machine guns on both forearms. The shoulder weapons are mounted on rails that allow them to slide up and down, and there's a pivot point on each so you can aim them. We don't get any kind of blast effects for the guns, but it's still a nice complement of destruction.

The Iron Man 2 toys all come with "Armor Cards," three 2x3 cards that display info about the armor. The back card is solid, while the other two are clear - overlay them, and you get a complete picture of the armor in question. The torso is on one card, the legs on another, and the head and arms on the third. Buy multiple toys, and you can "design" your own armors. There's a URL printed on the side, but it just redirects to Marvel's site. If there was ever a plan to have a game or something attached to the cards, it never came to be, leaving these forever just a display element. The cards fit into slots at the back of the included display base, which actually makes for a rather nice showcase for the figure.

War Machine, like Mandarin, was released at the tail end of the Iron Man 2 toyline, so he never showed up in stores. And so, also like Mandarin, I had to order him from Will's World of Wonder. Good price and good service, but it always feels like admitting a loss when you have to buy something online instead of in person.

-- 06/24/13

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