The following incorporates main spoilers for Iron Man #23, accessible now from Marvel Comics.
Tony Stark has lengthy been one of the lauded heroes within the Marvel Universe, a minimum of by these wanting up at him from the world beneath. For those that have really come to know Iron Man as he’s beneath the armor, nonetheless, issues are hardly as gilded on the within. While Tony himself has lastly come to phrases with being his personal worst enemy and launched into a mission to show his legacy round, the individuals he left behind alongside the best way aren’t keen to assist him. In truth, certainly one of Iron Man’s oldest allies could have simply ended War Machine’s life proper in entrance of him, and all out of a devastatingly comprehensible sense of spite.
Ever since he uncovered the risk posed by the underworld market for high-tech arms often known as Source Control, Tony has made taking them down his one and solely aim. Knowing that he could not convey their operation to a halt by pressure, Tony has as a substitute opted to purchase up each weapon Source Control has to supply, together with the Mandarin’s Ten Rings. After taking off to Macau alongside James Rhodes, aka War Machine, within the pages of Iron Man #23 (by Christopher Cantwell, Angel Unzueta, Frank D’Armata, and VC’s Joe Carmagna), Tony is betrayed not simply by Source Control, however by certainly one of his outdated allies within the worst method attainable. Clayton Wilson — the ability armored vigilante often known as Force — makes his introduction by punching straight by War Machine’s chest, seemingly taking his life simply to spite Tony personally.
While Clayton has been round since 1973’s Sub-Mariner #68 (by Steve Gerber and Don Heck), he was all however forgotten fully till he just lately reappeared to assist to Tony’s newest campaign. Unfortunately, Source Control has had its hooks in Clayton earlier than he and Tony received again in contact. Not solely did Source Control supply him more cash than he might ever spend, but it surely additionally satisfied Clayton that Tony was solely utilizing him. Worse nonetheless, the whole lot Tony has performed up to now could as nicely have proved them proper, though he was by no means precisely coy about that element.
From the start of their newest endeavor, Tony and Rhodes have been all the time clear about what function Clayton was taking part in within the plan. He could not have appreciated being bait, however that is not indicative of any malice on anybody else’s half. If something, the transparency Tony provided him was far better than any he had beforehand operated with, particularly not throughout Clayton’s heyday preventing alongside Iron Man over three many years in the past. Clayton is not essentially unsuitable when he says that almost all of Tony’s pals have ended up worse for his or her efforts, however by being the one to apparently take Rhodes’ life, he has turn into the largest a part of the precise drawback he claims to have spurned him.
The Tony Stark that Clayton as soon as knew, could have been a righteous piece of labor in each method conceivable, however that is not the Tony who he’s coping with at this time. If he have been, shopping for out Source Control by no means would have been an possibility, and there could be a real worry that Rhodes would really be gone for good. Thankfully, the Iron Man Tony has grown into is a far smarter, extra forward-thinking hero. As such, it ought to solely be a matter of time earlier than the tables flip, assuming Tony was ready for a betrayal.
So lengthy as Tony and War Machine had a backup plan laid out, the 2 needs to be completely high quality, even when they do find yourself going dwelling with just a few extra damaged bones than they’d earlier than they left. Clayton, however, goes to be in for a impolite awakening as soon as he realizes that Source Control has even much less regard for his well-being than Iron Man. That is except he actually has killed War Machine, wherein case Iron Man would be the absolute finish of him in ways in which Clayton cannot even fathom.