Initially conceived as the latest iteration of Tony Stark's 'Iron Man' armour, the 'Variable Threat Response Battle Suit' was used by Stark himself until it was passed on to his best friend and successor, Jim 'Rhodey' Rhodes. After filling in for Stark as 'Iron Man', Rhodey went on to forge his own superhero career as the West Coast Avenger, 'War Machine'. Over the years, Rhodes has both retired and then re-activated the role of 'War Machine'. Sometimes this has placed a strain on his relationship with Stark and the two have come to blows although they have always managed to patch up their differences. During one such period where the armour was lost, a second, villainous 'War Machine' surfaced who had ties to Rhodes' mercenary past and used an updated version of the suit which contained none of Stark's technology.