So James Rhodes has cemented his place in the Marvel cinematic universe. So let’s armour up and take a trip down memory lane.
I guess the first thing I’m going to have to do when starting this trip is to highlight the general continuity of Iron Man. Unlike the Marvel films the Iron Man origin story took place during the Vietnam war. However his origins were revised (or the shorthand is retcon, when some past aspect of continuity is revised and re-told) so that the setting for Tony’s origins were during the Gulf War.
Subsequent stories also took place in Vietnam during the war. This created a whole range of villains who are just too racist to be seen in modern comics. This was a usual trope of Iron man as he would be seen to be doing battle with villains related to whatever big conflict the US were involved in at the time.
Now that shorthand is explained let’s begin.
James Rhodes was the victim of racial abuse from his peers whilst he was growing up, he would eventually overcome this and join the Air force as a chopper pilot. During an operation in Vietnam his chopper began to experience difficulties and was forced to land in enemy territory.
At the same time Tony Stark garbed in his first Iron man suit was escaping from his Vietnamese captives. Together the two repaired the chopper and escaped. At the time Stark maintained the cover that Iron man was his body guard for a lengthy period of time.
Eventually Rhodes left the Air force and would come and would for Stark as his personal pilot. Down the line Stark was forced to take a leave from being Iron man because of alcoholism and losing his company to rival Obadiah Stane. Rhodes took over and briefly became The Golden Avenger.
Roughly at the same time Stark had sobered up Rhode’s Iron man armour was causing Rhodey to behave violently.
After a clash in the armours Rhodey returned the Iron Man mantle. Rhodey’s potential was clear to Stark, so he gave Rhodes his own armour, one out of Starks huge collection of suits, the War Machine.
The suit was a more weapon orientated version then the Iron man armour.
Rhodes would go on to replace Stark on occasion but carved out his legacy as a hero.