James Rhodes, Iron Man’s best friend and right hand man, has had one of the more interesting histories in Marvel Comics. Rhodey went from supporting player in Iron Man to actually wearing the armor himself during major Marvel moments like Secret Wars and the formation of the West Coast Avengers.
Later, in the 1990’s Rhodey achieved his greatest claim to fame, donning the War Machine armor, and joining the ranks of Punisher, Ghost Rider, and Teenage Tony Stark as iconic 1990’s heroes. Since that time, James Rhodes has most commonly been tied to his War Machine persona, although his affiliations have ranged from everything to Avengers units to X-Men Sentinel peacekeepers (Decimation was a strange time). Likewise, during Marvel NOW!, War Machine reclaimed the Iron Patriot mantle that Norman Osborn had corrupted during Marvel’s Dark Reign.
Below you’ll find a complete guide to War Machine comics, from James Rhodes introduction in Iron Man through his role in Marvel’s second Civil War (and beyond!).
War Machine Comics Reading Order
Collects: Iron Man #120-128
James Rhodes gets his start in Iron Man issue #118, and then remains as a recurring character through the remainder of the demon in a bottle saga.
Collects: Iron Man (1968) 158-177 & Annual 5
Starting with Iron Man #170, Rhodey begins filling in for a relapsed Tony Stark as Iron Man!
Collects: Iron Man #178 To #195, Iron Man Annual #6 To #7
If you’re reading on Marvel Unlimited, I recommend halting at #192 here, as there is some overlap between this collection and the “Iron Monger” story below.
Collects: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1-12
One of the more fascinating continuity developments of the mid-80s is Rhodey getting pulled into Marvel’s Secret Wars as the hero’s Iron Man. Have to love that Marvel editorial kept Jim in the armor for the mega event rather than replacing him with the more familiar founding Avenger, Tony Stark.
Collects: West Coast Avengers (1984) #1-4, Iron Man Annual #7, And Avengers #250, Plus Material From Avengers #239, #243-244, & #246, And Avengers West Coast #100
Collects: Iron Man #193 To #200
Collects: Iron Man (1968) 215-232, Iron Man Annual 9
The 1990’s Welcome War Machine!
Collects: Iron Man #280-291
The War Machine armor makes its official debut!
Collects: X-Force (1991) #19-25
Oddly enough, one of War Machine’s earliest appearances comes in the pages of the VERY 90’s X-Factor.
Collects: #1 To #4
Collects: Avengers West Coast #93 To #102
War Machine returns to the West Coast Avengers in his new armor, including Infinity Crusade tie-ins in Avengers West Coast #96 to #97.
Collects: Iron #300
Collects: War Machine (1994) #1-7, Ashcan
Collects: War Machine (1994) #8-10, Iron Man (1968) #310-312, Force Works #6-7 And Material From Marvel Comics Presents (1988) #169-172
Collects: War Machine #11 To #20
Collects: Avengers 390-395, The Crossing , Timeslide; Iron Man (1968) 319-325; Force Works 16-22; War Machine 20-25; Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man
Collects: War Machine #24 To #25, Iron Man #330 To #331
War Machine in Marvel 2000’s
Collects: Iron Man (1998) #1 To #25
Rhodey is in and out of the relaunched Iron Man by Busiek and Chen as both a supporting character and in the War Machine armor.
Marvel MAX series written by Chuck Austen
Collects: The Crew #1 To #7
Written by Christopher Priest
Collects: Sentinel Squad O.N.E. #1 To #5
During the X-Men’s Decimation time period after House of M.
Collects: Avengers: The Initiative 1-19, Annual 1
Collects: Iron Man: Director Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #33-35 And Iron Man #144
The complete Secret Invasion reading order.
Collects: War Machine #1-5
Collects: War Machine #6-11
For the full Dark Reign reading order.
Collects: Secret Avengers (2010) 1-12
War Machine joins Steve Rogers, Black Widow, Valkyrie, Ant-Man, Moon Knight and more in undercover Avengers missions.
Collects: Iron Man 2.0 #1 To #6
Collects: Iron Man 2.0 7.1, 8-12
Collects: Secret Avengers 12.1, 13-15, Fear Itself: Black Widow 1
Collects: Secret Avengers 16-21
Collects: Invincible Iron Man 516-520
The full run by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca is worth a read, with various Rhodey appearances throughout. This sequence of issues is particularly relevant, as James Rhodes dons the Iron Man armor once more.
Collects: Invincible Iron Man 521-527
Iron Patriot and Secret Avenger
Collects: Iron Patriot 1-5
Collects: Secret Avengers 6-11
Collects: Captain Marvel 1-6
Rhodey and Carol Danvers begin a relationship.
Collects: Invincible Iron Man 6-11
Collects: Civil War II 0-8, Free Comic Book Day 2016 (Civil War II) 1
For the full event, see Comic Book Herald’s Civil War II reading order.
Collects: The Punisher 218-222