On Christopher Priest’s website he has pages dedicating to explaining the premise and characters of his short-lived Marvel Comic book, THE CREW, both its origin and its demise. One of the characters in the team book was the IRON MAN character, War Machine, aka James Rhodes. Priest also reprinted an e-mail sent to his editor Tom Brevoort regarding the concept of the weapon of that character, especially as full-on regular Iron Man armor is outside the themes of the comic book. For ease of (my) access this is that e-mail.

WAR MACHINE HOLO ARMOR Mk I
To:  Tom Brevoort
From:  Priest
Subject:  Rhodey’s New Armor


This is a version of the Iron Man armor that is composed
entirely of hard light. In its inactive state, the armor exists
entyirely inside a SINGLE gauntlet— an articulated metal
gauntlet in classic Iron Man design. Rhodey will often wear this
single gauntlet on missions, and will activate the Holo Armor
from a stud in the metal glove.
When
activated, there’s this light show (a la Havoc of the X-Men),
and the suit forms some extrapolation of the Iron Man suit
completely out of force fields and energy photons.

When first introduced, the Holo Armor does not work well at all.
Mid-way thru the first arc, Danny “Junta” Vincent will give
Rhodey a tiny quantum singularity: a little gravity well no
bigger than a thimble. A human trapped in a gravity well, Danny
is slightly out of phase with our plane of existence. The
quantum singularity will stabilize the force fields employed by
the Holo Armor (holograms are created by force fields and
light). Thus, ONLY Rhodey’s Holo Armor will function properly.
The quantum singularity cannot be reproduced (at least not by
anybody short of Dr. Doom, Ultron, Annihilus or other characters
we’re not supposed to mention).

The down side of this armor is it is extremely energy hungry, a
gas guzzler if you will. It is not for casual walking around
use, like the Stark armor. Rhodey will always wait until the
VERY last and most desperate moment to fire it up, and there’d
be this, literal, ticking clock— an extrapolation of the old
Gene Colan days— where the Holo Suit would be functional only
for a set amount of time, say 1 hour or less.

Firing repulsors, flying, or creating tractor beams DRASTICALLY
shortens the life of the suit.

Once the suit’s power is gone, it changes back into a glove
(Cinderella’s slipper), and it takes X-Hours to recharge (solar
cells or similar).

I’d like to lose the shoulder mounted gatling gun and rocket
launcher and such. I never liked them, they were just dumb to
me.

In design the suit should remind us of Iron Man armor. Sleek,
translucent, streamlined. War Machine is no longer the
over-blown juggernaut but is now a much more stealthy character.