In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a character that’s been causing quite a stir lately is the Iron Patriot. Appearing in ‘Iron Man 3’ next month, the star-spangled armor will be sported by Don Cheadle’s Colonel James Rhodes AKA War Machine. However, as much controversy as the armor is causing in the films, it definitely has a more sinister past in the comics. Originally worn by Norman Osborn during the ‘Dark Reign’ storyline after he ends the Skrull invasion and forms the Dark Avengers, many in the comic books view the armor as an infamous symbol of Osborn’s reign of terror over the Marvel Universe. But now it looks like Nick Spencer is bringing the character back to appear in his ‘Secret Avengers’ book. Could he be looking to redeem the name of the Iron Patriot? I’ll get to that in a minute.
But first, when we last left this extremely covert team of S.H.I.E.L.D. sponsored Avengers, Taskmaster had just joined the team and infiltrated A.I.M.’s brand new sovereign nation on Barbuda by becoming a cabinet member of their government of supervillains to get intel on what the organization plans to do with their newfound power.
Now, while the reformed villain and former Avengers Academy instructor is doing his duty, the rest of the team is on missions of their own. Mockingbird, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Agent Coulson are investigating a remote A.I.M. research facility known as the Gate. Elsewhere, Agent Nick Fury and Director Daisy Johnson are checking out the latest tech that their organization could be utilizing. It’s during that convention that Fury and Director Johnson discover the infamous armor.
When the Iron Patriot is reintroduced into the Marvel Universe, we’re told that it no longer needs a pilot, however, I really do get the feeling that someone will stepping into the armor before this arc is over. In my review of issue two, I mentioned that I’m interested in heroes like Winter Soldier and Hulk joining the team, but now I’m wondering just how much the Iron Patriot can be redeemed after being involved with so much in the past. The imagery that comes along with it could be too much to overcome unless the pilot is someone whose reputation exceeds the armor’s. I doubt that they’ll get someone like that to step in considering how the issue ended, but wither way, it’ll be interesting to see who gets to carry on the mantle of Iron Patriot.
A fun bit in this issue is when Hawkeye asks about the “big-head-little-legs” guy who used to run the Advanced Idea Mechanics. I too wonder where MODOK has been and agree that A.I.M. isn’t the same without him, but I’m sure Spencer is trying to establish the organization as more of a force to be reckoned with. So far, he’s off to a good start, but we haven’t seen too much to persuade us just yet.
Other than setting up for more Iron Patriot stuff in later issues and a few great gags involving Hawkeye and Mockingbird, this issue didn’t do too much for me. Overall, I haven’t really latched onto this series yet, but when Bucky and Banner pop up, I think that I’ll be more invested. I love me some Hawkeye and Coulson, but they’re not really doing much just yet. We’ll see what happens as the story develops more, but right now, this title is just meh for me.
SECRET AVENGERS #3
Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Luke Ross & Matthew Wilson
Cover by Tomm Coker & Daniel Freedman