Every great hero needs a great friend. Tony Stark is no different. James “Rhodes is no different than any other friend of a hero in need. James Rhodes was introduced into the Iron Man story line as a combat pilot shot down by Viet-Cong rocket fire which stranded him behind enemy lines.
During his troubles he runs into Stark in his prototype Iron Man suit and the two band together to defeat the Viet-Cong soldiers who ambushed them as well as find the rocket base which grounded Rhodes in the first place. They hi-jacked a helicopter from the base and flew it back towards the American defense perimeter. Stark personally thanks Rhodes in a hospital in Saigon and offers him a job working at Stark International. The rest,as they say, is history. That would be easy to say had it not been for several other incidents that would make Rhodes a major character in the plots of Iron Man.
James Rhodes has been Iron Man before. During a time where Stark had slipped into alcoholism due to Obadiah Stane causing Stark International to financially unstable. Rhodes took up the mantle for a time while his friend was fighting his personal demons. This gained him a spot on the West Coast Avengers and involved him in the Beyonder’s Secret Wars. The pivotal time that Rhodes became Iron Man was when Tony had developed the War Machine armor to combat the Masters of Silence, a group who had been tricked into fighting Iron Man by Justin Hammer. Due to the fact that the Masters where not affected by the uni-beam blast or repulsor blast Stark designs a variable response armor. An armor geared for all out warfare. After Stark “died” he left Rhodes in charge of Stark Enterprises and left him the variable response armor. Eventually Rhodes finds out that Stark never actually died and leaves Starl Enterprises. Despite the fractured relationship from Rhodes finding out Stark lied about his death, Stark helps Rhodes fight off an army of Battle droids that had been programmed to kill Rhodes. Afterwards, Stark claims that the Armor had always been designed for Rhodes. Rhodes keeps the armor and dubs in the War Machine.
This would be one of several rifts in the relationship of Stark and Rhodes but they would always be loyal towards one another. Even going so far as Rhodes sacrificing his own alien acquired Eidolon Warwear in order to save Starks legacy after Stark Sacrificed his self to stop the evil Immortus. Stark even builds Rhodes a new body after he was gravely injured in combat, causing Rhodes to lose his arms and legs. During that period he placed cybernetics into Rhodes body in order to keep him alive.
James Rhodes makes the Dark Matter pick for several reasons. He always does the right thing even if it is at the expense of himself. He honors his friends no matter if they are alive or dead and will not let their memory tarnish. Even when not armored he is still a man who is willing to fight.Even with the whole forces of the world against him, including a Norman Osborn lead S.H.E.I.L.D. he still will not give up until his mission is done. James Rhodes is a character that has gone from being the side kick to being a main character in his own right and should be noted as a main African American character that should be remembered by comic readers because of how his character is designed and portrayed in positive lights.
–War Child Offline