Sunday, May 31, 2009

Adam's Adventures: War Machine #6 (Marvel Comics) Review by Adam P.

Can the fight against injustice be taken too far?

Life is full of injustice, but it's usually accompanied with powerlessness on our behalf to do anything about it. But what if you could do something about it? What if you became permanently fused with War Machine armor? That's the premise of this book. It is also what makes War Machine unique, serving as a meditation on how far we should go to correct injustices, almost to the point where lines between good and evil themselves become blurred.

War Machine #6 begins a new story arc by answering the question: what could a superhero do about those situations? In the middle of this issue there's a simple panel with a soldier pointing a gun at a hysterical child. It's a profoundly disturbing image. It elicits anger, sadness, horror and empathy. But that's one side of the coin: atrocities committed. There's also those who wield power but choose not to use it in the service of good, thus the twin sins of commission and omission. Jim Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine is battling both evils.

War Machine obviously bears more resemblance to a vigilante like the Punisher than to your typical costumed super-hero. The origins of Rhodey's unshakeable sense of injustice are explored thru flashbacks supplied by his grandmother. Decked out in his Sunday best, young Jimmy beats some bullies senseless on his way to church and gets sent to juvie for six months despite his grandmother’s plea to the officer.

One of War Machine's high points is its five-member pit crew, who do a great job of outsmarting the Navajo native superhero American Eagle. I didn't even see their scheme coming. They're likeable and enjoyably imperfect. I'm also in love with Francesco Mattina's covers. I feel he spoils the readers every single issue in what I think are really the best covers of the whole Marvel stable any given month. Coincidentally, to me this cover almost seems to be inspired by the Terminator, with the red glow missing from one of War Machine's eye sockets.

Overall a great read. This book makes you think, while maintaining the expected excitement and thrills of the super hero genre. The book also uses my preferred form of comic book art: striking the ideal balance between beautiful craft and realism. When I read a comic book I want to be transported to another reality, but I still want to be able to suspend my disbelief enough to think that hey, this could have been our world.


Adam P.

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