Writer: Cristos Gage
Penciller: Steve Kurth
Inker: Drew Geraci
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Sana Amanat
Released in January 2013, this 2 part story sets up the scene between Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3. Tony has stripped the Hammer tech weapons off of the War Machine suit and has given it to Rhodey to wear. As Stark is pre-occupied with the construction of Stark Tower, he needs Rhodey to be Iron Man. Rhodey battles the Ten Rings across the Middle East and returns to Bagram Airfield where he studies one of the flags he picked up in North Sudan. Rhodey tracks the Ten Rings to Hong Kong where they have hostages. After defeating the Ten Rings terrorists and rescuing the hostages, Rhodey gets a call from Stark, who needs him in New York in 5 minutes, sadly, Rhodey's half a world away and couldn't make it. Rhodey is ambushed by Hammer made nuclear tanks, he realises he can't destroy them as they'd set off a Nuke in the middle of Hong Kong, he can only contain them. One of the tanks shoots him down with a sidewinder missile. He comes crashing down and one of the tanks is about to run him over.
Rhodey wakes up and begins his new attack. As the Ten Rings are attacking him from all sides, he needs to find a way to take them down without cracking the shielding on the tank. He requests back up from the US Air Force, however, they're busy dealing with a situation in New York. He takes out the terrorists with a Miniaturized Stark Sonic Cannon. Just when Rhodey has the advantage in the fight, the Ten Rings start the timer on the nuclear tank. Rhodey is forced to take it and dump it in the ocean. After scanning the wreckage of the tank, he finds there was Black Market Stark Tech in it as well as Hammer. Upon returning to New York, he finds he's too late for the battle and finds a Chitauri Leviathan buried in a building. He joins the Avengers for the Shwarma. Back in Malibu, Star reveals his plan to build an Iron Legion, as he's realised that Iron Man and War Machine are not enough. The issue ends with the Mandarin noting that they may have lost a battle and they don't have the War Machine armour, but they have scanned it and they know it's weaknesses, so they have enough information to wipe Iron Man off the face of the earth.
Iron Man 3 Prelude has been released as single issues, a graphic novel and even online via the Marvel App.