In the page of Marvel Comics, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes has been an Iron Man, a War Machine and now a somewhat conflicted mix of the two: Iron Patriot.
In recent months, the hero has taken on the red, white and blue armor developed by villain Norman Osborn (and popularized outside the comics in "Iron Man 3") and made it his own in the pages of "Secret Avengers." And this weekend at New York Comic Con, Marvel announced that newly minted "Secret Avengers" writer Ales Kot will team with Garry Brown for an ongoing "Iron Patriot" monthly.
Part of the rolling All-New Marvel NOW! wave of series launches, March-arriving comic will focus on Rhodes' life as a military man embroiled in a 21st Century conflict: domestic terrorism.
"James Rhodes is the human equivalent of Superman – the Man of Steel – in the Marvel universe," Kot told CBR News of his take on the character. "He wants to do good and good only. What he realizes in the beginning of our story is that he's got a deep need to adjust his life. What does James Rhodes want to stand for? What does he want Iron Patriot to stand for? You will know by the end of #1. James Rhodes makes a decision that changes everything for him."
Of course, with his armor coming at the hands of the Green Goblin and the idea of a patriotic product of the military warranting conflicting responses in the Marvel U and in the real world, Kot is aware that the thematic building blocks of this series must have some complex shading. "I look forward to exploring the effects of the modern American military complex on all of us as citizens and / or people who are affected by it. Exploring it through (and with) such an idealist -- but also a military man -- as James Rhodes brings insights from varied points of view."
In more practical terms, the big armor action a character like Iron Patriot provides will drive the tone and look of the new series. "'Iron Patriot' is an epic action sci-fi thriller about a man whose heart is even stronger than his suit. It's about that heart – and the suit, and the entire man within it – being challenged by multiple sinister forces at the same time. It's about America under siege, and it's about James Rhodes doing his best to stop it," the writer said.
"Garry Brown's slightly scratchy line, clear storytelling, and his ability to smoothly move from micro to macro moments is something I want to utilize as fully as possible," he added about his collaborator who formerly worked on series like "Incorruptible" at BOOM! and "The Massive" at Dark Horse. "We go from twelve panels to full page spreads, from complex transitions to hard-hitting simple ones, from burning oil rigs to suburban homes...I intend to use every tool in my arsenal that will work with the story, and I believe Garry sees it the same way."
As with all the All-New Marvel NOW! titles, "Iron Patriot" is front loading its big ideas in issue #1, and Kot opted to tease the puzzle pieces that will add up to the series introduction saying, "How do you defend a country from itself when you can't even defend yourself? The Nihilist attacks. Rhodey's secret becomes public knowledge. His decision sends ripples throughout the fabric of the American society. One of Rhodey's worst fears becomes true.
"Iron Patriot is in sky. And this is just the beginning."
Stay tuned to CBR News for more from New York Comic Con, and look for "Iron Patriot" in March of 2014.