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By Thomas Wheeler

Tony Stark was a millionaire inventor of high-technology weapons and
devices on a trip to Southeast Asia, when a mine exploded, lodging
shrapnel near his heart. To survive, Stark created an armored chestplate
to regulate his heart, creating around it a powerful suit of armor. Thus
he became the Armored Avenger known as IRON MAN!

Over the years, as Stark's creativity expanded along with technology, the
armor became increasingly refined. Initially a clunky suit of grey, then
later gold armor, whose main capabilities apart from keeping Stark alive
were magnetic repulsion and limited flight, the suit of armor evolved
into a sleek, shining, red and gold technological wonder, filled with a
wide assortment of weapons and computerized devices that allowed Stark to
go into battle against a wide variety of foes and come out on top.

But sometimes, you need a little extra edge. And while that edge may not
be quite as sleek and fancy as the standard armor, sometimes the approach
you WANT to go for is the kick-down-the-door-and-start-taking-names approach.

That's where the armor that would come to be known as WAR MACHINE comes
in. Silver and gunmetal grey, still plenty of technology within, but
enough hardware and weaponry bristling on this suit that setting down on
just about any major battlefield on the planet is going to make both
sides take notice and wonder what the heck just landed -- and hope it's
on their side.

The War Machine armor would undergo several revisions, and eventually be
used primarily by Tony Stark's longtime friend and confidante Jim Rhodes.
Indeed, Rhodes is the man behind the mask on this action figure. But the
War Machine armor has never failed to look a whole lot more vicious and
gung-ho than the more high-tech-oriented Iron Man armor.

Tony Stark, along his history, stopped manufacturing munitions. That
didn't mean he wasn't a superb weapons designer, and both the Iron Man
and War Machine armors were proof of that, and certainly he wasn't above
making a suit that conveyed the image of overwhelming firepower.

Let's face it, folks, when you're walking around in a suit of high tech
armor that has a missile launcher on one shoulder and a multi-barrel
machine gun on the other -- you're not on a diplomatic mission.

The War Machine figure is excellent. It has 36 points of articulation,
although a few of those pertain to the weaponry. The aforementioned
missile launcher and machine gun both have moving parts. The missile
launcher can raise and lower a good bit, and the machine gun pivots, and
has a rotating barrel. That's not in any way to diminish the poseability
of the figure, which is as considerable as any Marvel Legends figure is
expected to be.

The figure is molded in a gleaming silver and a very, very dark grey,
almost black. The image works. This is a no-nonsense suit of armor whose
sole purpose is combat. The largely colorless image is frightening, which
I suspect was the intention, from a comic book standpoint. The only
traces of real color on the toy are the blue tips of the missiles, and
the blue center of the chestplate. And blue is a pretty subdued color in
its own right.

War Machine has an excellent metallic sheen across his entire armor, not
just the silver areas. The face mask is removable to reveal the very well
sculpted and painted, and very determined expression, of Jim Rhodes.

My only very minor gripe with this figure is that I sort of wish the
chest-and-back piece, a separately molded and assembled piece, had some
pegs to attach it better to the back of the figure. The front is well
secure, but the back sort of flops around a bit.

The War Machine figure is also the only figure in this particular
assortment to come with a large amount of accessories. Most of the
others, except for Professor X, don't have any at all. But War Machine
has an ammo belt, and numerous "fiery explosions" to make for a more
interesting display. These can be attached to pegs on the figure that
correspond to areas such as his hand repulsors and boot jets. War Machine
also comes with a transparent display base and pole to make him appear to
be flying. Unfortunately the peg-hole for this attachment is in a
location on the back of the figure that might go a long ways to
explaining his nasty attitude...!

As part of the GALACTUS Series, War Machine comes with the Right Leg
Segment of Galactus. The rest of the assortment includes Nightcrawler,
Dr. Strange, 1st Appearance Hulk, Bullseye, Professor X, and Deathlok.
From the standpoint of acquiring Galactus, I'm inclined to recommend the
entire series.

But even on his own, I definitely recommend WAR MACHINE! He's a very cool
figure, an important part of the Iron Man legacy, for those who have
enjoyed those characters, and is a superb addition to the Marvel Legends