Daily Archives: January 7, 2009

Guts in the Machine

War Machine #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Colors: Jay David Ramos
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy
Cover artists: Leonardo Manco (regular edition) & Mike Deodato (variant)
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99 US

While one could argue that a darker tone in Greg Pak stories isn’t a new thing (see The Incredible Hulk, World War Hulk), with War Machine, he explores much grittier terrain than he has in the past. Sure, Pak writes a bloody barbarian story in Skaar, Son of Hulk, but what makes War Machine harsher in tone is the fact that it’s much more grounded in reality, even though it stars an armor-clad cyborg. While this new title clearly has its roots in the Marvel Universe, it reads like an independent title with super-hero trappings, yet something that’s still limited by a larger brand. Pak’s premise portrays the title character as something of a Punisher type with a focus on war crimes rather than street-level corruption. Given Pak’s track record and stories that led up to this new ongoing series, I expect we’ll see more depth in James Rhodes’s character in forthcoming issues. I hope so, as there wasn’t much to be found in this inaugural issue. I know I sound overly negative about this first issue, and I don’t mean to be. Pak and artist Leonardo Manco offer up an intense, kinetic opening chapter, but their creative child’s initial steps are awkward ones at times.

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