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|Iron Man's armor|
The various armors of Iron Man. Art by Olivier Coipel.
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Iron Man, The Avengers|
|Iron Man's armor|
The various armors of Iron Man. Art by Olivier Coipel.
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Iron Man, The Avengers|
Iron Man's armor is a fictional powered exoskeleton worn by the fictional comic book character Tony Stark when he assumes the superhero identity of Iron Man. The first armor (which in the story, was created by Stark and Ho Yinsen), was designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, and first appeared, along with Tony Stark, in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963).
In the fictional multiverse appearance of Stark's armor has radically changed over the years, either as a result of modifications made by Stark or specialized armors created for specific situations. In real life, it changed as different artists took over the series and decided to change it to what they wanted.
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Though Stark's wide array of armors have many different abilities, they are alike both in design and in that they are made of incredibly strong fictional materials bolstered by a force field. Every suit has a self-contained environment, assorted onboard weapons systems, enhanced strength, flight, and various communications arrays and sensors (such as radar and radio). Furthermore, they typically have multiple power sources including a secondary solar energy collection function in the event that conventional recharging methods are unavailable. Earlier versions of the armor could also fold virtually flat, allowing Stark to store them in his bullet-proof briefcase.
The defining abilities of Stark's armor are the jets situated in the boots and the repulsors situated in the gauntlets. The repulsors originated as a hand attachment, but have since become the armor's most important standard armament. They have been referred to as being magnetic, a blast of charged particles, and as a force beam. In the 2008 movie, the repulsors are a form of propulsion and (as hand units) steering jet, though they can be used offensively. A later variation on this is the Pulse Bolts, bolts of concussive energy that actually gain energy the further they have to travel, up to a limit of roughly three football fields (about 329 meters).
Another defining trait is the chest-mounted "uni-beam", also known as the variobeam, and tri-beam (in the 2008 film, Stark commands J.A.R.V.I.S. to divert power to his "chest RT," or chest repulsor transmitter). Originally a spotlight and "proton beam," it has grown to accommodate a number of other weapons, primarily light and force-based.
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Contrary to its appearance, most of Stark's armors are not rigid metal suits, like a medieval knight's. His standard armor suit consists of approximately two million grain-of-sand-sized discrete units, which are shaped to have as large a surface as possible to optimize their effectiveness. The basis of the suit's structural integrity is the powerful force field which permeates the armor's "cells," as well as the whole configuration when active. Each of the "cells" is a tiny unit in its own right, contributing energy and computing power to the entire armor; this is also why the suit can remain functional even after having sustained considerable damage. The basic principle of the suit is holistic; each part contains the whole, as it were. When inactive, the entire suit can collapse on the microscopic level, the cells "folding" in on themselves to take up a smaller volume, like a three-dimensional accordion pleat.
While Stark designs every aspect of the armor, the complexity of the design requires that production be entirely automated. Each cell is constructed by using specialized bacteria — the bacteria consume minute amounts of specific metals, arrange themselves on pre-tagged areas on the "chip wafer", then die, leaving a very small amount of iron, or gold, or gallium-arsenide. This method allows great precision in determining the thickness of circuitry.
All the details of the armor's construction listed above are laid out in the Iron Manual. However, some armor which appeared after publication of the Iron Manual may well use entirely different methods of construction.
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Stark's grey armor was the first iron man armor he built and (in retrospect) a prototype for the later models. It was built around an iron chest plate designed to prevent the piece of shrapnel he received in Vietnam from traveling to his heart and killing him. The armor, made from ordinary iron, provided protection from physical attacks, small arms, fire, extreme temperatures, some forms of energy, and acid. Powered by flat linear armature DC motors (rechargeable via any electrical outlet), the exoskeleton boosted the strength of the wearer by about 10 times, and employed negative feedback for motion sensing. Air pressure jets allowed for extended jumps (but not true flight) and removable suction cups allowed the wearer to cling to walls and ceilings. Weaponry included a chest-mounted monobeam (proton beam generator; useful range was only a few yards), a miniature hacksaw that could be attached to the gauntlet's fingertip, and magnetic turbo-insulators that allowed Stark to magnetically deflect metal projectiles or bring metal objects to him. Sensors consisted of a short-wave radio. All of the armor's devices and functions were manually controlled by the wearer. Stark used it to escape terrorists in Vietnam who were holding him hostage. He constructed at least one updated, form-fitting (although still rigid) version upon his return to the United States.
In order to make this armor - which originally was gun-metal grey, like the original - less frightening to the general public, Stark created a gold-colored version with a wide array of improvements over the original. The new armor used the three dimensional, collapsible micro-structure now common in Stark's suits, so that it could be folded up and stored in his briefcase while inactive. The chest-plate was streamlined so that it could be worn under normal clothing without being noticeable. The suit had a semi-rigid interior with 3D knitted metallic exterior of a lightweight iron alloy, providing the same protection as his old suit did. This was also the first suit to be equipped with a force field generator. Power was still provided by flat linear armature DC motors, now rechargeable via solar recharger as well as electrical outlets, and motion sensing was still provided by negative feedback. The Mk II air pressure boot-jets provided limited flight; steering while flying was accomplished by bodily movement. Weaponry consisted of the chest-mounted Mk II Monobeam (usable as either a concussive force beam or a heat beam), a sledgehammer, hacksaws extending from the fingertips, hand drills, electromagnets allowing him to pull things to him and push them away, and an electrical field generator. Communications and sensor arrays consisted of a loudspeaker, short-wave two-way radio, radar, and a tape recorder. When one iteration of this particular armor was partially destroyed by the Melter, a super-villain who could dissolve iron and iron alloys with a special ray, Stark built an exact copy using aluminium instead of iron, which was unaffected by the Melter's ability to dissolve iron.[volume & issue needed]
Stark's trademark red and gold armor arose from a battle with a villain named Mr. Doll, who could control the gold armor through a replica figurine. To circumvent the villain's ability, Stark withdrew and constructed a new suit with a significantly different look and a lighter build- thus allowing him to devote less of his own strength to moving the armor and more to fighting Mr. Doll's influence, resulting in the streamlined red and gold suit.[volume & issue needed]
The red and gold armor was composed of an ultra-fine 3-D knit alloy and incorporated motors into the knitting to allow full mobility. While it ran on the same type of power, the power consumption was much more efficient. The boot jets were upgraded to chemically fueled thrusters, which provided a much faster flight speed. Weaponry consisted of the chest-mounted Mk II Monobeam (useful range was still only several yards), repulsor rays, a proton gun, and powerful electromagnets to pull metal objects to him or repel/push them away. Communications and sensors consisted of a short-wave radio. Other features included an image reproducer and collapsible roller skates. Most functions were controlled by miniature electronic switches mounted on the insides of various pieces of the armor such as the helmet and the gloves; by pressing various combinations of them, different systems were engaged. The switches in the helmet were enabled by the wearer's tongue; other functions were utilized with wrist-mounted controls.[volume & issue needed]
Beyond these features, Stark also occasionally experimented with cosmetic modifications such as adding a nose indentation on his faceplate, or rimming the face-plate with rivets.[volume & issue needed]
While the appearance of the armor changed only slightly, over the years its technology improved by leaps and bounds, resulting in vastly increased strength, speed, and firepower. Control of the armor was slowly shifted from motion feedback and internal buttons to cybernetic controls, which could sense and interpret the wearer's own brainwaves and respond accordingly. The pacemaker function of the chestplate was also eventually abandoned, as Stark's heart was repaired using artificial tissue.[volume & issue needed]
The 2007 miniseries Iron Man: Hypervelocity hinted that Stark based the new cosmetic improvement on a childhood fantasy, as the red and gold color scheme came from his elementary school's colors, and the whole "Iron Man" motif from the eponymous song by Black Sabbath.
Armor structure was improved with 3D knitting. In addition, a force-field helped keep the armor rigid. The armor used solar power and integrated micro-circuitry. A thermocouple was used to handle extreme temperature and convert it to usable power, but it could be overloaded. Repulsors were standard weaponry. The variobeam/uni-beam was capable of various effects. A tractor beam could be used to pull or throw objects. The most recent version of the armor was able to use pulse bolts. Gyro-stabilizers were used in the boot jets. Power pods were capable of various functions such as boosting other systems or being set to detonate. ECM jamming was used to evade detection. A hologram emitter created multiple images to make the armor harder to target. In addition to the sonic emitter, a voice distorter helped protect Stark's identity and could also be used to duplicate sounds. The armor could travel underground. Freon could be emitted and a built-in fire extinguisher handled internal and external fire. Finger lasers and a "sabresaw" were available for cutting through objects. Life support was improved; the pacemaker was no longer needed after successful heart surgery. A slave circuit was added to control older suits after the incident with Weasel Willis. However, this was a weakness when Midas attempted to gain control of the armors. Sensors were upgraded with a full-band transceiver, infrared, and a 'life detector' that was keyed to several important personnel.[volume & issue needed]
Although he has since developed more advanced armors, Stark has returned to this armor when situations have forced him to discard his latest armors due to serious damage and he lacks the time, resources or inclination to create a replacement immediately. Examples of this include when he was forced to destroy his sentient armor and feared designing a more advanced suit in case he repeated the accident that gave his previous armor sentience, when Stark fled Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. during the "World's Most Wanted" storyline, and Stark and the Avengers confronted Osborn during his invasion of Asgard during the "Siege" storyline.
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During this period, Stark came to realize there were several situations where his regular model armor, while functional in most environments or situations when necessary, could not perform optimally. In response, Stark began to develop numerous specialized suits for special missions.[volume & issue needed]
While based on the same design principles, this suit's matrix was formed non-collapsible to increase its protection from the rigors of deep space; also, its specialized nature made collapsibility unnecessary. Power was provided by a Mk IV micro-nuclear supply pack, supplemented by solar power converters. Systems were controlled via a cybernetic interface, though it proved to be overly sensitive; when Stark first used the armor he had difficulty triggering the appropriate command to activate the feature he wanted. The suit was designed for extended time outside of the atmosphere, up to two days in orbit (food and catheterization capable). The life support, boot jets and altitude maneuvering were powered by an on-board supply of liquid oxygen. Weaponry consisted of palm-mounted third-generation Repulsors (electron beams which require laser ionized path of air to travel through the atmosphere; the beam is moderated using a pulsing beam and early form of adaptive optics; objects are jolted away from the beam path by the combination of ionized air and the accelerated neutron beam) and a chest-mounted Unibeam (a variable intensity light source usable as a spotlight or a laser; the pentagon shape of the emitter allowed for more accurate laser pulsing while in an atmosphere), and epaulet-mounted concussion-burst cannons. Sensors consisted of radar, sonar, infrared scanners, and radio. Additional features included ECM against radar and sonar, and the fully articulated hands could be fired out on retractable cables for use as long-range grapples. The most obvious feature on this special armor was its ability to attain escape velocity without aid of an external thruster, unique to this Iron Man version; however, the nuclear jets which allowed this made the suit bulky, heavy and awkward in Earth's gravity. The dangers inherent in an atomic-energy based propulsion system of such immense power seem to have driven Stark to build the thruster unit which he has been using ever since.[volume & issue needed]
The Stealth armor is another of the specialized suits of armor developed by Stark for specific missions, similar to the Space Armor; indeed, its creation was inspired due to him being tracked by radar during his use of the Space Armor. The Stealth Armor was designed using current "stealth" technology to allow Iron Man to foil detection devices and slip unknown in and out of restricted areas. This sleek, jet black suit (composed of impact resistant carbon-composites overlaid on top of layered "flex-metal" which can condense itself like a 3-dimensional accordion pleat) was a polarized metal mesh armor that uses every bit of space for detection and evasion components, and therefore was originally designed with no weapons. A bubble-shaped "backpack" was also incorporated into the armor to expand the space available for the stealth systems. Most of this armor used solar power to charge the batteries and run most of the integrated circuitry, though the pods on the sides were batteries that could maintain the suit's functions for a short time. It was able to recharge itself from electrical sources, a thermocouple to siphon power from extreme heat or cold, and solar power. The suit utilized force field technology to render Iron Man electronically invisible- a layer of low density plasma would be held in place by a focused magnetic field, and the tripole waveform reflected radar, along with a wave modifier that bent the radar around it. To quash any detectable infrared signature, the armor's boot-jet exhaust was "washed" by bursts of super-cooled air. The micro-turbines on his jet boots possess assisted air liquification devices; rings of liquid nitrogen.[volume & issue needed]
After climbing back out of the gutter where he had landed after Obadiah Stane's psychological attack had devastated him, Stark started to construct a very basic armor out of spare parts he asked as payment from the companies he advised. More symbolic than anything, this armor had a strong resemblance to the very first, gray armor. While far more advanced than most earlier armors, it was inferior to the regular model James Rhodes was using at the time. It was eventually and unceremoniously destroyed by one of Stane's mechanical pawns. Nevertheless, it served to channel Stark's emotional distress into creative paths and paved the way for the armor that came next.[volume & issue needed]
Stark began creating the Silver Centurion armor as a method of working out ideas and experimenting. The S-circuit, which uses its energy more efficiently, is an example of the breakthrough developed by Stark, using the armor as a model. With the destruction of Circuits Maximus by Obadiah Stane, Stark donned the newest set of armor to battle the foe that stripped him of his business, his friends, and almost his life. The battle with Stane was the first field test of this armor, and resulted in the defeat of Stane and the destruction of Stane International.[volume & issue needed]
The suit had a rigid interior and a 3-D knitted metallic exterior, providing protection from physical attacks as well as acid, heat, cold, most forms of energy, radiation, and electricity. A 3-D knitting pattern on a submolecular construction level gave the armor itself more strength, while allowing for the most comfortable suit interior. By expanding the field that keeps the armor rigid, the armor could encase itself in a protective force field that was effective against most forms of attack; Stark could also use this field to polarize the armor to either attract or repulse other items via magnetic polarity.[volume & issue needed]
Most of this armor used solar power to charge the batteries and run most of the integrated circuitry, though the pods on the sides were batteries that could maintain the suit's functions for a short time. It was also able to recharge itself from electrical sources, a thermocouple to siphon power from extreme heat or cold. Flight was accomplished via Mk IV boot-jets (which incorporated high-speed duo-source turbines), supplemented by a booster pack that enabled the armor to attain speeds up to 750 mph (1,210 km/h) in the air and 180 mph (290 km/h) in the water.[volume & issue needed]
Weaponry consisted of a chest-mounted Mk III Unibeam (search light, heat beams, tractor beam, laser beam, and ultraviolet light beam), palm-mounted Mk III Repulsors (laser-guided particle beam emitters), pulse bolts (slow-moving high energy plasma discharge "torpedoes" that build in intensity as they travel through the atmosphere, picking up static and ambient energy and thus doing more damage the farther they travel), and a sonic emitter (generating high-frequency sound waves).[volume & issue needed]
Sensors consisted of a full band audiovisual transceiver simultaneous images of the armor. It could also be used to generate a "chameleon field" around itself; the computer in the armor would analyze its surroundings and generate a hologram to make it blend in with the surroundings making it effectively invisible visually and to cameras. However, the "chameleon effect" module interfered with the cybernetic controls of the armor, generating feedback and resulting in massive headaches for Stark.[volume & issue needed]
The Silver Centurion armor- or a copy of it, given that the original was destroyed towards the conclusion of the "Armor Wars", was used by Stark to defeat the Mandarin, when his Extremis abilities were temporarily deactivated due to concerns regarding his mental health.[volume & issue needed]
This unit was designed for salvage missions at the bottom of the deepest oceans—while Stark's conventional suits function underwater, they were noisy, inefficient, and they leaked. The exact composition is unknown; it is assumed to be composed of the same layered "flex-metal" micro-scale suit tiles fabricated by genetically engineered metal-affinity bacteria which assemble themselves in specific orderly arrays and then expire, leaving behind various metallic deposits which form all the metal shapes and micro-electronic circuits. A new aligned-crystal production process allowed the construction of a large, semi-spherical headpiece, as transparent as glass. This unit possessed several ocean-specific weapons, such as the electric field of an electric eel, a camouflage 'ink cloud' and small 'manta ray' torpedoes. It also comprised an inner "Escape Suit" that could be jettisoned from the main suit in case of emergency (this inner suit possessed a Unibeam, 2 torpedoes, and the holding bay). Functions were controlled by cybernetic interface.[volume & issue needed]
This armor was nearly identical to the Mk I Stealth Armor, with two additional features. The first was a camouflage effect, similar to the chameleon effect generated by the Silver Centurion armor. This suit's camouflage effect was entirely manually controlled, providing the wearer with invisibility to visual or camera detection, but only against backgrounds that are mostly of one color. The second addition were palm-mounted Mk IV Repulsors, though they only had enough energy to fire three shots at full power. The stealth systems were far more streamlined, allowing for the elimination of the "backpack" on the first model.
During the Armor Wars, Iron Man found himself facing the government-sanctioned armored assassin Firepower. Against this walking, flying armored arsenal, even the Silver Centurion armor did not stand a chance, and it was destroyed. Reluctant to enter the fray again, but forced into action, Stark designed a new suit, even more powerful and versatile than its predecessor, designed specifically to negate Firepower's original advantages, such as a means of disrupting Firepower's targeting systems, a gauntlet-generated energy shield, and more powerful boosters for increased speed. It made short work of Firepower, and Stark was so horrified of the destructive potential of the armor should it fall into the wrong hands, he resolved to destroy it. Fortunately, he changed his mind. The modern classic armor resembled the classic armor which had endured for many years, with some minor cosmetic changes. Its appearance changed somewhat, mainly becoming more bulky, ostensibly to increase thruster power (its massive boot-jets earning it the some-time nickname "coffeepot armor"). It was also the first armor to incorporate a beta-particle generator, radically reducing Iron Man's external power needs and boosting his offensive power.[volume & issue needed]
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A new space armor design intended to function for weeks on end without maintenance, recharging or restocking of resources. It was able to evade the sophisticated sensors on Kree and Shi'ar spaceships as well as interface with their technology. It also possessed an extremely powerful self-destruct mechanism via its fusion reactor.[volume & issue needed]
Critically wounded by a bullet near his spine, Stark was paralyzed from the waist down. After some soul-searching, he designed an armor which would enable him to walk. While his paralysis was ended by the implantation of an organic microchip, this proved only the start of his problems, as the biochip was revealed to be a parasitic life form, designed to consume his own nervous system and replace it with one that could be controlled from the outside. He now needed the support armor even more to protect himself from the people who controlled his body, since his armor cybernetically responded to his own brain. The cybernetic interface and battle computer were integrated with the Telepresence Neural Net, a more subtle armor he used to simulate his degenerating nervous system. While it was still worn as a suit of armor, the functions and muscle control were carried out by the suit, not by the wearer.[volume & issue needed]
Officially known as the Variable Threat Response Battle Suit, this armor was created initially by Stark to deal with the Masters of Silence threat by using a "respond in kind" philosophy and strategy. It was designed for all-out warfare and was Stark's experiment with laser guided munitions and ballistic weaponry. Since the Masters of Silence were protected against Iron Man's usual weaponry of repulsors and unibeam, those weapons were removed from the Mark I model. The armor included several response devices such as a shoulder mounted electric minigun, shoulder mounted missile box launcher, and wrist mounted gaunlet cannons with additional weaponry such as a laser blade and flamethrower. It was not collapsible, and included far heavier carbon-composite-based armor as well as improved tactical computer systems and automatic targeting. A later version, Mark II Model JRXL-1000, was designed and built for James Rhodes, which became a full-fledged superhero identity for him as War Machine. In Mark I model, both the double-barreled cannon and the plasma blade were fixed with the flamethrower built over the plasma blade casing. In Rhodes' Mark II model, the wrist weapons became modular and the armor also included repulsor and unibeam technology. In both iterations, the shoulder mounted weapons are modular and can be removed and replaced. All further incarnations of the armor were used by Rhodes.[volume & issue needed]
Though similar in design to both the Neo-Classic armor and its remote-controlled counterpart, the NTU-150 incorporated the new SE Telepresence technology, enabling the unit to be operated under full Virtual Control. This unit was not a wearable suit of armor; rather, it was a fully articulated device controlled by the mental impulses of the user via a remote headset apparatus. The remote headset transmitted commands to the active unit in much the same way as the human brain transmits commands to the central nervous system (in this case, it is via a subspace radio connection, lessening reaction time to almost zero). Similarly, the visual, aural, and (to a lesser degree) tactile information collected by the NTU-150 could be interpreted by the user's brain in the same way as normal sensory data. The primary difference is that the sensory data collected by the NTU-150 includes a full range of electromagnetic spectra and computer-processed data normally unavailable to humans, while the active devices contained in the unit includes not only analogues to the human body, but weaponry, data collection and processing hardware as well, all under autonomic and voluntary nervous system control. In contrast to traditional robotic devices, the NTU-150 contains no mechanical framework to mimic the action of the human body; the unit's outer shell is articulated by a multiprocessor-controlled structural integrity field which allows for a much greater range of movement.[volume & issue needed]
This unit is a drastic departure from all of the previous armors. Instead of a single cohesive unit, each piece of the armor is a stand alone subsystem that can be interchanged at will. As such, while the overall unit is still referred to as the Mark 11, the actual configuration at any given time will vary. The shell was composed of layered "flex-metal" which could condense itself like a 3-dimensional accordion pleat. Micro-scale suit tiles were fabricated by genetically engineered metal-affinity bacteria, which assembled themselves in specific orderly arrays and then expired, leaving behind various metallic deposits which form all the metal shapes and micro-electronic circuits.[volume & issue needed]
The Hulkbuster armor is a heavy-duty exo-frame (an add-on to the Mk. XI Modular Armor) designed for maximum strength amplification at the cost of reduced versatility and mobility. As its name suggests, it was specifically designed for hand-to-hand combat with the rampaging Hulk. The armor was rated with a lift (press) capacity of 175 tons. During its maiden run, the armor enabled Stark to hold his own in sustained physical combat with the Hulk.[volume & issue needed]
With this armor, Stark did away with the Modular Armor and constructed a version designed specifically for combat. Its appearance was simpler, sporting rivets as its only decoration. Bulky gauntlets housed more powerful repulsors on top of the wrist instead of in the palm of the hand.[volume & issue needed]
This armor's design history is unknown; it stands out because it, out of all the other armors in the armory, was picked by "Teen Tony," a Tony Stark who had been plucked out of an alternate time stream many years in the past to help fight his present-day self.[volume & issue needed]
MARK 1 (Iron Man #326):
MARK 2 (Iron Man #327):
MARK 3 (Iron Man #328):
MARK 4 (Iron Man #329):
During the Onslaught event, Stark was one of the heroes who sacrificed himself to defeat the menace, and consequently was shunted into a newly created pocket universe by reality-altering mutant Franklin Richards.[volume & issue needed]
In the new universe, every person had a new, but complete history- including a childhood, youth and adulthood- and no memory of their original universe. So Iron Man had to be reborn- and he was, this time not as a result of a booby trap in the Far East, but a direct encounter with the newly born Incredible Hulk. His chest pierced by shrapnel from a crashed helicopter, Stark had no choice but to do an experimental exoskeleton (Project: Prometheus Rising) which had cost the life of one of his closest friends before. He had to keep wearing the chest plate constantly to keep his shredded heart beating thereafter.[volume & issue needed]
The paradigm of this armor was quite different from the one Iron Man had worn for years in the baseline universe, but the arrangement of weapons, and, oddly enough, the color scheme, remained similar. Its sensors seemed somewhat more advanced. It remained cloaked when not worn, but could join up with the chestplate in seconds when called.[volume & issue needed]
Fresh upon his return from the "Heroes Reborn" universe, Stark constructed this armor which served as a new beginning, combining cutting-edge technology with classic lines. The armor possessed energy-absorption strips, as well as a "horned" faceplate, reminiscent of the first red-and-gold armor, and a pentagonal chest beam. Its most useful feature was a completely self-contained life support system, allowing Stark to completely cut himself off from the outside world while relying on food pills and the armor's own internal atmosphere if he was in a hostile environment, a feature that came in particularly useful when he was abducted by the Brood to participate in a contest against other heroes, the armor's internal life support allowing Stark to escape infection by the mood-altering nanites the Brood were using to keep the heroes too aggressive to consider their situation in depth long enough to develop a means of curing his allies.
Stark had to eventually abandon this armor when it was discovered it, and to some degree all armors before it, negatively affected his health. The intensity of the armor's force fields and various electronics was likened to "Not just living near power lines, but actually inside them".
Stark temporarily returned to a variation of the "Heroes Return" armor in the aftermath of the "Secret Invasion" storyline in Iron Man (vol. 5) #10 (April 2009).
Experimental armor incorporating safe power systems, necessary when it became apparent the constant exposure to the powerful energy fields inside the Iron Man armor were harming Stark's health. Iron Man transported to the moon to help the Fantastic Four; however a malfunction caused a brief battle between Iron Man and the FF. Despite its rough, unfinished state, it still played a vital role in defeating Ronan, the Kree Supreme Accuser.
The finished version of the previous armor, it possessed all or most of the power and functions of the 'renaissance' armor, but without the negative effects it had on the wearer's health. The added bulk of isolation and radiation baffling did mean it was too massive to be folded up and stored inside a suitcase, like previous armors, but it could transform into a more compact, flight-capable module, which could store itself in, for instance, the trunk of a car.
This armor eventually achieved sentience due to Stark downloading Jocasta into the armor- thus corrupting the usual failsafes Stark had installed to prevent such an occurrence happening as Jocasta unintentionally infected the armor with the 'Ultron Imperative', a system that would cause Ultron's creations to rebuild him if he was ever destroyed-, lightning strikes sustained during a fight with Whiplash providing the necessary 'nudge' to push the armor into full sentience based on Stark's own mind. Although the armor's new tactical abilities made it far more efficient than previous armors, able to evade attacks based on past experience with opponents, its lack of human morality caused it to kill Whiplash in its 'test drive', subsequently becoming increasingly obsessed with merging with Stark so that they would become Iron Man on a permanent basis (on a more practical note, it also suffered from a power supply problem as it ran down its batteries at a far more rapid rate due to the energy required to sustain its sentience). Although it attempted to kill Stark in a final confrontation on a deserted island, when Stark suffered a heart attack, it reverted to its default programming, sacrificing its own central power source to help sustain Stark's heart. It was later salvaged by the 'Sons of Yinsen'- a cult who followed Ho Yinsen- to use as a host for Yinsen's brain, only for Ultron to take control of the armor before it was destroyed for good.[volume & issue needed]
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A completely new space armor design. It requires a booster rig for takeoff, and has therefore been trimmed down to reduce weight. While it offers less protection than previous models, it is also stealthier and far more maneuverable in space, using anaerobic jets for propulsion. It contains a special compression gel to protect the wearer from G-forces, and automatically seals any leaks. To accommodate re-entry, the unit possesses a massive, expanding solar sail.[volume & issue needed]
This armor's main difference from its predecessors is its sheer size; the torso and shoulders in particular are massive. Its development, starting from scratch, resulted mainly from Stark's fear that an innate factor had resulted in his previous armor developing sentience. Its appearance also differed markedly from the Sentient Armor, perhaps to make it seem as different as possible: it possessed a circular chest beam, a greatly altered overall configuration (including many "industrial-style" details such as external tubing, earning this suit the ignoble nickname "udder armor") and a restyled helmet.[volume & issue needed]
The armor is powered by a Beta Particle Generator and solar power converters and controlled by a Cybernetic Interface and Battle Computer to enhance reactions when in combat. It can absorb directed energy attacks as well as massive non-directional energy discharges (like explosions). It also possesses a new force field.[volume & issue needed]
The golden sections of Iron Man consisted of S.K.I.N (Synth-Kinetic Interface Nano-fluid), a liquid alloy that can be manipulated to conform to any desired shape. It is lightweight but has immense structural integrity, being harder than titanium and approaching low-grade adamantium. S.K.I.N. can be contracted to fit into a small container or stretched/shaped into another form. The alloy's wondrous properties were developed by Askew Technologies, and the exact elements incorporated into the S.K.I.N. remain unknown. Stark had set up the S.K.I.N. of his armor to be stored in a small container. On his command, the S.K.I.N. spilled out and assumed its default armor configuration.[volume & issue needed]
The larger size of the armor accommodated storage of several new systems, including an improved sonic array, upgraded chameleon field, energy blade, missiles and even a number of grapefruit-sized, spherical drone units which could hover and fly autonomously, and serve as scouts or remote-controlled weapons.[volume & issue needed]
Unfortunately, this design had to be abandoned after Ultron proved how easily he could make S.K.I.N. (or a human being it was bonded to) jump through hoops.[volume & issue needed]
Similar to Stark's earlier Armor, the Mark III Stealth unit was also specifically designed to combat the Black Panther's anti-metal vibranium claws – it is composed entirely of advanced composite ceramics and experimental bio-neural gel-pack circuitry, fused with a kevlar-like polymer and backed by optical fiber networks; all of which comes down to an armor which was invisible to electronic detection systems as well as the naked eye, even the Black Panther's. Although the development of Stark's new cloaking technology for the Mark 25 "S.K.I.N." armor probably rendered the Mark III unit's stealth technology obsolete, the Stealth armor is nevertheless an effective weapon against opponents such as the Black Panther and Magneto because of its plastic/ceramic design.[volume & issue needed]
After the S.K.I.N. fiasco, Stark once again more or less redesigned the armor from scratch. Improved scanning included GPS and a particle mist that could be used to 'mark' targets. The armor, which went through various evolutions, had originally a generally segmented, almost insect-like appearance; later, it became heavier, more industrial, and the ultimate form of this armor (through trimmed down) made Stark sigh, "It's difficult to believe I used to be able to fit this inside a briefcase".[volume & issue needed]
Repulsors were improved with a 'crowd control' setting. The armor could also release a (tentatively called) "deflector pulse", a shaped force field blasting outward from various points on the suit. Armor could also release a devastating "blockbuster" blast utilizing uni-beam and repulsors in concert, but more potent than either.[volume & issue needed]
When commanded, the armor could also adopt a hovering, non-humanoid, autonomous combat mode, equipped with energy and projectile weapons.[volume & issue needed]
The Thor-Buster armor was designed by Stark as a precaution against Thor, in case his good deeds went bad. The power source for the armor was a mystical Asgardian crystal, originally part of a new type of power generator that Thor left Stark to possibly use as a new energy source for mankind. Outwardly, it resembled the Asgardian Destroyer. It was destroyed by Thor, its power source undone.[volume & issue needed]
Used to impersonate the Cobalt Man.
This prototype armor possessed armor made up out of three-inch (76 mm), honeycomb-shaped tiles, piled several layers thick. Each tile was made of high-impact polymer. When one of the tiles was damaged, it popped off and the next one below it snapped into place. Furthermore, the suit used repulsor-tech force fields to position new tiles, produced in a "polymer kiln" on its back. It could also create a "storm cloud" of thousands of orbiting tiles around itself to act as "chaff". This armor was originally designed to be used in space, where micrometeoroids provided an impact-rich environment, but was ultimately used to defend against a parasitical alien life form which infected organisms and altered them to suit its needs. For optimal efficacy, the tiles were "loaded" with specialized nanobots which would turn the alien's biology against itself.[volume & issue needed]
Stark began using this armor during the time that he served as the United States Secretary of Defense. Standard weaponry including repulsors, uni-beam and sonics. Concussion blasts were used against the Hand. Zero-point energy was used against Michael Pointer (aka The Collective). Via voice command, the armor could adopt an autonomous, robotic Battle Mode. If separated by magnetism, it could reform and return to Stark. Defensively, a repulsor shield could be extended to protect the armor and allies. Security was enhanced by upgrades to anti-tampering devices.[volume & issue needed]
The armor is designed to attract radiation into the armor where it is converted into usable power. This greatly enhances its strength. Through absorbing ambient radiation the armor is able to decontaminate irradiated areas. It also possesses repulsors and a unibeam.[volume & issue needed]
Banner's addition was "RG-27," a special compound that neutralizes gamma radiation. Since it is most effective in liquid or gas form, a series of tubes were built into the armor for irrigation. This enables the armor not only to withstand radiation, but also allows it to decontaminate areas. To expose a government conspiracy, the two faked a quarrel over some of their designs. Stark unveiled a finished version of the suit to battle the Hulk. However, Stark seemed to be acting strangely while wearing the suit. A problem with the irrigation system was discovered. The Hulk was able to help Stark shut it down before gamma poisoning set in.[volume & issue needed]
Designed to withstand high gravity environments; it was bulky, being able to survive long-term exposure to at least 50 G; the wearer had blood artificially forced to body parts which would otherwise suffer from the extreme gravity. Unfortunately, the wearer is still susceptible to nitrogen narcosis and the bends.[volume & issue needed]
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2011)|
After being critically injured during a battle with a nanotech-enhanced foe, Stark injected his nervous system with a modified techno-organic virus to save his own life. This fused Stark's armor to his body, allowing him to store the inner layers of the Iron Man armor in the hollows of his bones as well as control it through direct brain impulses. The Extremis enhancement has turned Stark into a cyborg, whereby the usage of his existing lockchip (a personal area networking implement implanted in his forearm) is directly integrated into his nervous system.[volume & issue needed]
His new armor is no longer a bulky unit which houses its own AI "response server" and miscellaneous interfaces for neural control. Instead, it is more lightweight (constructed of a pliable crystalline material with a molecular structure that can collimate into super-hard planes upon the application of an electrical field) and less complex (as it interfaces directly to Stark's brain via the Extremis-modified cybernetic connections), and has much faster response time since it effectively functions like Stark's second skin.[volume & issue needed]
He is also able to remotely connect to external communications systems such as satellites, cellular phones, and computers through the PAN interconnect (that is now thought-controlled). Because the armor's operating system is now directly connected to Stark's nervous system, its response time has been significantly improved.[volume & issue needed]
Another major departure from the previous armors is expansion of repulsor technology. The "repulsor flight system" provides lift (something like anti-gravity) and positive flight control (pitch, roll and yaw), while the usual rocket boots provide the armor with thrust. The same repulsor technology allows the individual pieces of the armor to levitate and assemble themselves, by modulating what Stark referred to as "vectored Repulsor fields".[volume & issue needed]
Furthermore, the Extremis process has endowed Stark with a 'healing factor' and possibly even enhanced physical abilities, as he was confident enough to challenge Logan/Wolverine to a fight (and even challenging to see who's capable of recovering faster from the other's attack). It was later stated that the Extremis enhancement speeds up a person's repair process and hence the body's cells died and regenerated at a faster rate. This effectively made Stark immune to cancer and gave him his 'healing factor'.[volume & issue needed]
In the Iron Man: The Inevitable storyline, it was shown that it's not only Stark's body and the interfacing undersheath that has self-healing properties. Even the Iron Man armor has the ability to self-heal and self-repair, presumably through the use of nanotechnology. The armor is also able to store power throughout its structure, indicating that instead of having main batteries mounted around the waist as in the older Iron Man armors, the Extremis armor incorporates distributed and decentralized energy storage.[volume & issue needed]
Note: Although Extremis for reasons of simplicity is referred to as "a virus", it is not. The Extremis process involved injecting several billion microscopic nanotubes, which act as information carriers, into the brain. The brain is then partly reprogrammed; the so-called "repair center," that part of the brain which maintains an "integrity map" of the body, is told that the body is wrong. The physical reaction is that the entire body regrows itself, remaking itself per the Extremis instructions. Extremis itself, the original information package, is not involved; neither are "nanobots."
After the entire Stark 'dataspine', the central data processing center which governed all, or at least the pertinent portion of Stark technology, was infected with a hyper-advanced, Skrull-developed computer virus during the "Secret Invasion" storyline, Stark lost the ability to use Extremis' interface functions and consequently the armor was rendered obsolete. For the 2008 "World's Most Wanted" storyline, Stark used older armors, such as the Heroes Return and Classic Red and Gold versions.[volume & issue needed]
Sometime after the Extremis transformation, during an attack by the new Super-Adaptoid, Stark realized he could command several armors at once. Building on this, and realizing the world was becoming an increasingly dangerous place, he decided to construct a "team" of Iron Men—hyper-advanced drones that would be under his direct mental command, just as his own armored body. Unfortunately, the "Argonauts" were abused and destroyed before they ever could serve for good.[volume & issue needed] They included:
While extremely powerful, the drones were useless once Stark rendered himself clinically dead.[volume & issue needed]
During the "Civil War" arc of Wolverine solo series, Wolverine borrows Stark's armor to pursue Namor, who is undersea in New Pangea. A new hydro suit is used by Wolverine which reflects the style of the Extremis generation Iron Man suit.[volume & issue needed]
This new iteration of the armor possesses enhanced repulsors, housed not in gloves but in high-strength manipulator waldoes (giving the armor somewhat longer arms than usual); multiple-mode bootjets that can operate both with and without oxygen intake; improved structural integrity for the armor; an improved "chameleon mode" and a "supercavitation spike", projecting upward from the back, which apparently creates a sort of "bubble" so that the armor can travel underwater at near-supersonic speeds. A massive amount of electrical energy is stored in a spinning, superconductive capacitor ring on the back.[volume & issue needed]
The most radical feature of this armor must be that its vastly increased computing power allows it to make a "back-up" of Stark's own mind, so that in the event of critical injury of the wearer, the armor can act as him, with all his knowledge, insight and experience. The effect is so complete that the armor, thus activated, referred to itself as "Tony 2.0."[volume & issue needed]
After several hours of existence, the armor managed to develop a program that enabled it to function at "hypervelocity" - effectively thinking and moving at a much, much faster timeframe than everyone else.[volume & issue needed]
Note that this story is set before "Extremis", though it was published afterwards.[volume & issue needed]
In the World War Hulk event, Stark designed a new Hulkbuster armor, in order to battle the Hulk upon his return from space. He does so in World War Hulk #1, and initially was able to hold his own against his foe. The new armor was built as a large exoskeletal shell which fits around his normal armor and is equipped with rocket-boosted gauntlets, capable of punching the Hulk back several miles. It is also equipped with adamantium-tipped injector needles, which Stark used in an attempt to suppress the Hulk's power with S.P.I.N. Tech nanites, but the nanites failed due to sabotage (see Avengers: The Initiative #4). With the damage done by the Hulk and the entire Stark Tower collapsing on the already damaged armor, it was unable to continue functioning. It briefly re-emerged as a host body for the demon Zom, who attempted to use it to access S.H.I.E.L.D. technology and destroy New York City by shifting it into the Negative Zone; Zom was defeated by the efforts of the self-styled "Renegades" (Amadeus Cho, Hercules, Angel, and Namora), and the armor was used by Amadeus Cho as a temporary support to shore up structural damage caused in the battle.[volume & issue needed]
In the 2008-09 "Dark Reign" storyline, Norman Osborn blames Stark and Maria Hill for the Skrull invasion in the prior "Secret Invasion" storyline. Stark and Hill become fugitives, but before Stark flees, he leaves a suit of armor for his right-hand woman and best friend, Pepper Potts. The suit, which is designated Mark 1616, but named Rescue by Potts, represents a hybrid of repulsor technology and portable electromagnetic superfield generators that give the suit flight, speed, strength, and magnetic field manipulation. Its electromagentic forcefields are powerful to enable Rescue to stop a falling jet airliner without physical contact with it, and can also be used as an offensive weapon with other armored opponents. The suit's physical strength enables it to hold up a stilt mansion felled by an earthquake, and to rip the lower leg of the Black armor. The armor also features an artificial intelligence named J.A.R.V.I.S. that acts as a guide for Potts. During the 2012 storyline "The Future", Potts and Carson Wyche come to suspect that J.A.R.V.I.S. has been compromised, and when they attempt to troubleshoot the Rescue helmet, J.A.R.V.I.S. takes control of the Rescue armor, and takes Potts and Wyche hostage. J.A.R.V.I.S. is disabled by James Rhodes with a source-focused electromagnetic pulse from the Black armor, and subsequently destroyed by Potts.
The Iron Man Mark 0 is the original armor Stark built in Afghanistan, which was improved upon his return to the United States with an onboard operating system, lenses, heating and cooling systems and rudimentary repulsor weapons. Stark used it to escape from Norman Osborn during the "World's Most Wanted" storyline, which ran concurrently with the company crossover "Dark Reign". Stark resorted to donning the Mark 0 after the brain damage he had inflicted upon himself in the course of erasing the Superhuman Registration Act database from his brain made it impossible for him to use any of his more complicated armors. The mentally incapacitated Stark and the Mark 0 armor were easily defeated by Osborn, who engaged Stark while wearing the Iron Patriot armor.
This device is an rocket booster-like apparatus which is capable of recycling food and waste materials of the wearer, and can sustain the wearer for a few weeks, it can be equipped to different armors such as the Iron Man Armor Model 29 or Model 30 to allow it to be used for unusual missions, principally, in the space.
When Stark was accused of destroying the Russian city Vostok, where Anton Vanko lived, he developed an armor similar to the Mark I from the feature film in order to escape the prison where he was being held. He ended up using it in a fight with Vanko, now as Whiplash, who wanted revenge. The armor was partially destroyed, but Stark could escape both prison and his enemy.
In Invincible Iron Man #25 (2010), Stark creates a new armor in the aftermath of the "Stark: Disassembled" storyline. Created by writer Matt Fraction and artist Ryan Meinerding, this new armor is sleeker in appearance, and is featured in the 2010 crossover storyline, the "Heroic Age".
When asked if the Bleeding Edge is an upgrade to Extremis, Stark comments, "Nah - this is what comes next." As such the new armor is a part of Stark's now-posthuman biology - it is stored inside Stark's body in its entirety, "manifesting" itself when mentally commanded.
The neurokinetic user-controlled morphologic nanoparticle bundles that form the suit reside in Stark's body, and form a fibrous wetweb of iron and platinum, that can be commanded to form any type of structure upon Stark's skin, such as large boxing gloves, or weapons, including large guns extending from his arms or a lightsaber-like energy sword with which Iron Man was actually able to harm one of the Worthy during the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline. The nano-machines can even mimic the appearance of clothes, and then dissociate to transform into the Iron Man armor whenever Stark wishes. The suit adds less than twenty-five pounds to Stark's body mass, and can stop a howitzer shell.
The armor and Stark's own transhuman body are powered by the high-yield arc reactor mounted in his chest. The high output of the arc reactor has greatly augmented Stark's intelligence and provided him superhuman-level multitasking and learning capabilities. Unlike earlier armors, this new armor does not appear to rely on motors and servos for motion. Instead, the nano-machines create a secondary artificial musculature over Stark's body, upon which additional rigid structures are assembled. This also enables the armor to self-repair and be almost invulnerable, as the armor is capable of transforming and healing itself as long as the power output from the arc reactor is not interrupted or terminated; when the armor was briefly apparently destroyed in a fight with an alternate version of the Scarlet Witch who was one of Apocalypse's Horsemen, it was restored to normal after only a matter of seconds (although it was still out of action long enough for Stark to need rescuing by Spider-Man to stop himself hitting the ground as he fell). Doctor Octopus can also disable the armor using technology derived from the armor of Iron Man 2020.
The suit's repulsors, which are located around the knuckles, chest, back and legs of the armor, as well as in the traditional palms, now function also as cameras, or "eyeballs", which afford Stark a 360-degree panoramic view around himself. Temporarily replacing the suit's primary composite - iron/platinum - with carbon nanotubes rendered it unaffectable by Magneto's powers when he and Iron Man engaged in combat over Utopia.
After Stark decides to retire as Iron Man, he undergoes a surgical procedure that expels the Bleeding Edge technology out of his body, rendering the armor inert.
During the Serpent's War, which occurred in the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, Iron Man journeyed to the realm of Asgard, the home of his fellow Avenger Thor, in order to procure weapons to fight Odin's brother, The Serpent, and his generals, the Worthy, who were ravaging the Earth. In addition to the hand-held weapons he had forged for his fellow Avengers, Iron Man's armor received an additional coating of Uru by Asgardian blacksmiths, as well as magical enchantments by Odin. Iron Man referred to this manifestation of his armor as the "Iron Destroyer", for its resemblance to the Asgardian weapon, the Destroyer. Its magical enhancements disappeared when Odin left Earth at the conclusion of the Serpent's War, and Iron Man vented the uru from the suit's molecular structure before returning the metal to Asgard, where it was melted back down with the other loaned weapons.
When the dreaded cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force is revealed to be returning to Earth, the Avengers and the X-Men fight over the fate of Hope Summers, who is expected to become its host. The Avengers believe it will destroy Earth, while the X-Men believe that it would restore the balance of life on the planet by restoring the mutant species. Stark and Henry Pym developed a massive armor to disable or destroy the Phoenix Force, but it results in the Phoenix Force splitting into five parts, each seeking out one of the X-Men.
In the 2012 storylines "Demon" and "Long Way Down", Stark is targeted by Justine Hammer, Ezekiel Stane and the Mandarin, who publicly expose the fact that Stark was using his armor while under the influence of alcohol during the "Fear Itself" storyline, and manipulate the government into forcing Stark to wear a monitoring device on his arc reactor that gives them the ability to shut down his access to the Iron Man armor. To get the device removed, Stark capitulates to venting the Extremis material from his body, quitting Iron Man entirely, and secretly arranges to fake James Rhodes' death, in order for Rhodes to become the new Iron Man. Rhodes' new armor is a black suit whose only visible features are glowing panels and metallic gray gauntlets and boots. This suit possesses a cloaking device that turns it invisible, and can handle underwater pressures exceeding the tolerance limits of the villain Firepower. It can also project freezing cold in a manner similar to the X-Man Iceman, and can release a multitude of ball bearing-sized explosives from compartments mounted on its shoulders that can be directed at an enemy. Pepper Potts' Rescue armor is strong enough to rip the armor covering the lower leg of the Black armor's occupant, though the Black armor can emit a source-focused electromagnetic pulse that can disable the Rescue armor. The Black armor is later confiscated by Stark, leaving Rhodes without a suit.
In the final issue of the "Long Way Down" storyline, Mandarin reveals that he has control of Stark's mind, and in the continuing storyline, "The Future", has enslaved Stark, forcing him to build the apocalyptic weapons known as Titanomech in Mandarian City outside of Mongolia, alongside other enslaved enemies of Iron Man, in particular Ezekiel Stane. Stark and Stane cooperate in order to escape Mandarin, during which Stark builds another suit. This suit is red and gold like Stark's previous suits, but incorporates a number of metallic grey outer surfaces, particularly on the upper body of the suit.
After his return from a journey into outer space, Stark started creating new technologies, one of them being this gun-metal grey armor, which Stark indicates is a testbed for new suits, and is composed by "smart-metals [that] align to a subdermal ghost of a skeleton." This suit can be stored in a fluid "putty" form in a briefcase, and which Stark can mentally command to cover his body. It is more versatile in this sense, but less effective than rigid armors with their dedicated systems.
This armor debuted in the first part of the 2012 "Believe" storyline, which launched the fifth volume of the Iron Man series as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. This version of the armor has a circular chestplate over the arc reactor, and like the Bleeding Edge armor, secondary repulsors are featured all over the armor, though larger in diameter. They are located on either side of the main arc reactor, on the shoulders, on each hip, on each wrist, and on top of each hand. Weapons include a wrist-mounted gun that can fire armor-piercing tasers. It can be rapidly adapted to new combat situations by means of a mobile, container-sized armory and robotic adaptation system, swapping out systems as the situation demands.
This armor debuted in the third issue of the "Believe" storyline, and was utilized by Stark during a raid on the home of a South American drug lord. The armor utilizes light-bending and holographic technologies to appear invisible, as well as alter its own appearance in order to impersonate others. Its systems being dedicated to infiltration and espionage mean that its conventional shields and weapons are far less powerful (Repulsor output at 10% normal, for instance), but it does possess the ability to administer a powerful sleeping gas.
Described as starting "Where War Machine leaves off", the Heavy Duty armor is a large, bulky suit that focuses on firepower. In addition to standard repulsor weaponry, the armor possesses a large rotary cannon that is built into the left arm, and a gun turret positioned over the right shoulder. The suit also sports a personal force field, as well as an automated combat AI and plating that according to Stark, is tough enough to withstand blows from a Hulk.
Making its first appearance at the end of the "Believe" arc, the Space Armor MK III was designed by Stark to enable him to travel into outer space. The suit sports back-mounted rocket thrusters and a redesigned helmet, which looks different from the faceplates featured on the previous armors, though the thrusters were gone by the second issue in which it appeared. The new armor - which caused Veritina, a member of the extraterrestrial race the Voldi, to refer to Stark as "Space Knight" - also contains an A.I. named P.E.P.P.E.R., which is modeled after Pepper Potts. The armor has advanced propulsion options, being capable of inter-atmosphere travel at Mach 10, or warp speed travel for outer space which translates to about one trillion times the speed of light.
Travelling to the mystical realm of Svartalfheim to confront its king, Malekith, who had taken possession of four of the rings of the Mandarin, Iron Man first attempts to use stealth and guile. But when this fails, and he is hunted and wounded, he resorts to having this armor teleported in. It is heavy with armor plating, and its weapons include four large, extendable blades on its forearms.
In the 2007 direct-to-DVD film The Invincible Iron Man, Stark with James Rhodes' help creates a grey and bulky suit of armor (similar to the original Iron Man armor that Stark and Yinsen created in the comics) in order to escape from caves. After returning to Stark Industries in America, Stark reveals to Rhodey that he had previously used his company's resources to create several multi-use armors (including the Hulkbuster armor, the War Machine armor, and Ultimate Iron Man's armor) that he had been keeping in storage until the time was right to reveal them to the public. Stark first uses his Underwater suit to fight off the Elementals, destroying one while sustaining minor damage to the suit. Stark subsequently uses a red-and-yellow suit (resembling Iron Man's standard armor) to destroy two Elementals in a volcano, although there was severe damage to his suit. When he returns to China, Stark returns to using his grey suit to fight the last Elemental, an army of Terracotta soldiers, a giant dragon, and even the Mandarin.
Iron Man director Jon Favreau wanted the film to be believable by showing the eventual construction of the Mark III suit in its three stages. Stan Winston and his company were hired to build metal and rubber versions of the armors. Favreau's main concern with the effects was whether the transition between the computer-generated and practical costumes would be too obvious. Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was hired to create the bulk of the visual effects with additional work being completed by The Orphanage and The Embassy.
The Mark I design was intended to look like it was built from spare parts: particularly, the back is less armored than the front, as Stark would use his resources to make a forward attack. It also foreshadows the design of Obadiah Stane's Iron Monger armor. A single 90-pound (41 kg) version was built and was designed to only have its top half worn at times. The Embassy created a digital version of the Mark I. Stan Winston Studios built a 10-foot (3.0 m), 800-pound (360 kg) animatronic version of the Iron Monger suit. The animatronic required five operators for the arm, and was built on a gimbal to simulate walking. A scale model was used for the shots of it being built.
The Mark II resembles an airplane prototype, with visible flaps. Iron Man comic book artist Adi Granov designed the Mark III with illustrator Phil Saunders. Granov's designs were the primary inspiration for the film's design, which were streamlined by Saunders, making it stealthier and less cartoonish in its proportions. Sometimes, Downey would only wear the helmet, sleeves and chest of the costume over a motion capture suit. For shots of the Mark III flying, it was animated to look realistic by taking off slowly, and landing quickly.
Saunders created concept art for the War Machine armor and said that it was originally intended to be used in the film but was "cut from the script about halfway through pre-production." Saunders said that the War Machine armor "was going to be called the Mark IV armor and would have had weaponized swap-out parts that would be worn over the original Mark III armor," and that it "would have been worn by Tony Stark in the final battle sequence."
For Iron Man 2, Industrial Light & Magic again did the bulk of the effects, as it did on the first film. ILM's visual effects supervisor on the film, Ben Snow, said their work on the film was "harder" than their work on the first, stating that director Jon Favreau asked more of them this time around. Snow described the process of digitally creating the suits:
On the first Iron Man, we tried to use the Legacy [Studios, Stan Winston's effects company] and Stan Winston suits as much as we could. For the second one, Jon [Favreau] was confident we could create the CG suits, and the action dictated using them. So, Legacy created what we called the "football suits" from the torso up with a chest plate and helmet. We’d usually put in some arm pieces, but not the whole arm. In the house fight sequence, where Robert Downey Jr. staggers around tipsy, we used some of the practical suit and extended it digitally. Same thing in the Randy's Donuts scene. But in the rest of the film, we used the CG suit entirely. And Double Negative did an all-digital suit [the Mark V] for the Monaco chase.
Because of how form-fitting the Mark V suitcase suit was required to be, the production team researched some of the classic comics armors, since they were seen as essentially variations on muscle suits. One specific aspect of an earlier armor was the color scheme from the Silver Centurion armor. The Mark VI armor was designed by Granov and Saunders to be sleeker than the Mark III, while retaining many of the Mark III qualities.
In The Avengers, Saunders stated that "director Joss Whedon was looking for something that had the 'cool' factor of the suitcase suit (from Iron Man 2), while still being a fully armored, heavy duty suit that could take on an army in the final battle." To that end, Saunders borrowed ideas that had been proposed in Iron Man 2 as well as some ideas that had been abandoned in Iron Man and merged them together in a modular suit that has big ammo packets on the arms and a backpack. In addition, the chest piece of the Mark VII was changed from the triangle shape of the Mark VI, back to the circular shape of the Mark III.
For Iron Man 3, Chris Townsend served as visual effects supervisor. The film featured over 2,000 visual effects shots and was worked on by 17 studios: Weta Digital, Digital Domain, Scanline VFX, Trixter, Framestore, Luma Pictures, Fuel VFX, Cantina Creative, Cinesite, The Embassy Visual Effects, Lola, Capital T, Prologue and Rise FX. Digital Domain, Scanline VFX and Trixter each worked on separate shots featuring the Mark XLII armor, working with different digital models. The studios shared some of their files to ensure consistency between the shots. For the Mark XLII and Iron Patriot armors, Legacy Effects constructed partial suits that were worn on set. Townsend explained that "Invariably we'd shoot a soft-suit with Robert [Downey Jr.] then we’d also put tracking markers on his trousers. He would also wear lifts in his shoes or be up in a box so he'd be the correct height – Iron Man is 6'5". Digital Domain had a small team embedded at Marvel, where Marvel's art department created flat concept art including front and back views. Digital Domain's team then created full 3D versions of 14 suits from those illustrations and later turned those assets over to Marvel and Weta Digital for use in their shots. One of the challenges of realizing the suits in 3D was in re-working the designs to ensure the suits had the correct physical aspects to allow them to show realistic movement.
|Mark I||Iron Man||Created by Tony Stark and Yinsen, the suit left the back and knees vulnerable. It had flamethrowers and a missile launcher, and was capable of one short burst of flight before it crashed. This armor is destroyed during the attack on Stark's house in Iron Man 3.|
|Mark II||This armor improves flight capabilities, adds a heads-up-display and repulsors, and has a built in arc reactor. However, the suit experiences icing problems when flown at too high an altitude. The suit needs a special construction/removal apparatus to get in and out of the armor. This armor is destroyed during the attack on Stark's house in Iron Man 3.|
|Mark III||The Mark III fixes the freezing problem by changing the suit to a gold-titanium alloy. It also adds wrist-mounted missiles, hip-mounted flare launchers and shoulder-mounted machine guns. This is the first armor to feature the classic red and gold color scheme. This armor is destroyed during the attack on Stark's house in Iron Man 3.|
|Mark IV||Iron Man 2||Not much is known about the Mark IV as it is briefly seen when Stark enters the Stark Expo 2010. However, it does have a manually removable helmet. This armor is destroyed during the attack on Stark's house in Iron Man 3.|
|Mark V||The Mark V is a travel, portable suit, also known as the "suitcase suit", that assembles around Stark's body. Not much else is known about the armor, such as if it has flight capabilities. The armor takes on a red and silver color scheme, similar to the Silver Centurion armor from the comics. This armor is destroyed during the attack on Stark's house in Iron Man 3.|
|Mark VI||This armor changes the arc reactor hole to a trianglular shape instead of the traditional circular one. The armor also upgrades its artillery to include a grenade launcher on one arm, a missile launcher in a shoulder and metal-slicing super lasers on both. The color scheme is once again the classic red and gold. This armor is destroyed during the attack on Stark's house in Iron Man 3.|
|Mark VII||The Avengers||The suit is able to assemble around Stark via bracelets worn by him, and brings back the circular arc reactor hole. The suit is not designed for deep space travel. This armor is destroyed during the attack on Stark's house in Iron Man 3.|
|Mark XLII||Iron Man 3||This prehensile suit is able to be summoned remotely by controlling each individual piece of the armor, through state-of-the-art chips in Stark's body, and features an inverse color scheme to the other main armors, with gold as the predominant color. This armor is destroyed at the end of Iron Man 3.|
These armors were created before the beginning of Iron Man 3 by Stark to help in different types of situations he might encounter. They are first referenced to as the "Iron Legion" in the Iron Man 3 Prelude #2 comic.
|Mark VIII||Iron Man 3|||
|Mark XV||The stealth suit, known as "Sneaky". It is virtually invisible to enemy early-warning systems. A chrome colored coating on the armor can darken or lighten to match the environment.|
|Mark XVI||The black stealth suit, known as "Nightclub". Similar to the Mark XV armor. However, it does not have all of the weapons and is designed for stealth missions.|
|Mark XVII||The artillery level RT suit, known as "Heartbreaker". It has an oversized chest RT, which can fire powerful blasts and can fire narrow or wide beams. It can also generate a repulsor shield for protection.|
|Mark XVIII||The stealth artillery level RT suit, known as "Casanova".|
|Mark XIX||The high velocity prototype suit, known as "Tiger".|
|Mark XX||The long distance suit, known as "Python".|
|Mark XXI||The high altitude suit, known as "Midas".|
|Mark XXII||The War Machine 2.0 prototype, known as "Hot Rod".|
|Mark XXIII||The extreme heat suit, known as "Shades".|
|Mark XXIV||The heavy combat suit, known as "Tank".|
|Mark XXV||The heavy construction suit, known as "Striker". It was designed to help with construction. Its powerful jackhammer-like arms can pulverize concrete and can withstand high temperatures and electrical surges. This suit is also known as "Thumper".|
|Mark XXVI||The heavy construction suit upgrade, known as "Gamma".|
|Mark XXVII||The cameleon suit, known as "Disco".|
|Mark XXVIII||The radiation zone suit, known as "Jack".|
|Mark XXIX||The nimble construction suit, known as "Fiddler".|
|Mark XXX||The "Silver Centurion" suit upgrade, known as "Blue Steel".|
|Mark XXXI||The high velocity centurion suit, known as "Piston".|
|Mark XXXII||The enhanced RT suit, known as "Romeo".|
|Mark XXXIII||The enhanced energy suit, known as "Silver Centurion". The suit has a slight protective force field, which allows it to attract or repulse objects using magnetic polarity. The suit is capable of firing pulse cannons that build in intensity the further they travel.|
|Mark XXXIV||The disaster rescue prototype suit, known as "Southpaw".|
|Mark XXXV||The disaster rescue suit, known as "Red Snapper". It was designed to survive in dangerous places and has extendable arms and claws making it ideal for disaster rescue.|
|Mark XXXVI||The riot control suit, known as "Peacemaker".|
|Mark XXXVII||The deep sea suit, known as "Hammerhead". It was designed to be able to travel to the deepest parts of the ocean where it can withstand extreme pressure, and has high-power work lights to allow visibility in murky waters.|
|Mark XXXVIII||The heavy lifting suit, known as "Igor". The suit was not designed for battle, but for heavy lifting and carrying heavy objects.|
|Mark XXXIX||The sub-orbital suit, known as “Gemini". It was designed for otherworldly journey and has an integrated, removable booster pack and zero-gravity maneuvering thrusters. This suit is known as "Starboost" in the official Iron Man 3 game.|
|Mark XL||The hyper velocity suit, known as "Shotgun". It was designed for hypersonic speed and can travel in excess of Mach 5.|
|Mark XLI||The skeleton suit, known as "Bones". It is a black and gold, lighter version of a full Iron Man suit, with a focus on speed and maneuverability.|
|Iron Monger||Iron Man||Suit created by Obadiah Stane, based on the designs Stark used to create the Mark I armor.|
|War Machine Mark I||Iron Man 2||Originally the Iron Man Mark II armor, this suit is confiscated by James Rhodes on behalf of the US Government and enhanced by Justin Hammer. Hammer adds a minigun on the right shoulder and a grenade launcher on the left. The armor still retains repulsors in the chest and hands. In the Iron Man 3 prequel comic, Stark reclaims the Mark II armor from Rhodes and removes all the modifications done to it by Hammer.|
|War Machine Mark II / Iron Patriot||Iron Man 3||The second War Machine armor, given to James Rhodes by Stark, has a rectangular-shaped chestplate protecting the arc reactor assembly. In Iron Man 3, Rhodes was asked by the president to take on the moniker, "Iron Patriot", and add a red, white, and blue color scheme to be used as the government's "American hero" symbol in response to the events in The Avengers.|
|This list (which may have dates, numbers, etc.) may be better in a sortable table format. (April 2013)|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2013)|
As noted above, Iron Man's modular armor was his standard suit for his appearance in the 1990s Iron Man animated series, but with a slightly modified face plate to give it the traditional mouth-slit. The suit was redesigned in the second season of the show, most significantly by restoring the "mouthless" appearance of the armor. (The season 1 armor appeared in a flashback early on)
The trademark of a changing armor remained a constant in the animated series, with the first season featuring the hydro-armor and deep space armor, straight from the comics. The second season, however, was when the variant armors became a focal point of the series; the new modifications Stark made to his suit allowed it to shape-shift into different forms with specialized capabilities that could be called upon for the assorted situations he found himself in. The hydro-armor and space armors were incorporated into this mechanism, and more armors from the comics such as the stealth armor and Hulkbuster armor were introduced. The series also introduced an array of original situational armor designs, including:
The toyline also featured two armors which did not appear in the series; an entirely silver Arctic armor and the Silver Centurion suit, dubbed Hologram armor.
Several types of Iron Man armors were also featured in the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Shell Games". The armors that were featured were the Mark I Armor, Stealth Armor, Hulkbuster Armor, Arctic Armor, War Machine Armor, and the Silver Centurion Armor.
In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, a teenage Stark initially creates the first armor completely on his own. It is similar to the movie version of the Mark III armor, with a less complex design and more red. Once Obadiah Stane's scientists said the armor is "more advanced than anything we're currently working on" and that "it's years, if not decades ahead of current technology" (Tony even mentioned in the same episode that he may have "outgeniused himself" when he made the armor). In addition to the traditional abilities the armor gives (superhuman strength and durability, flight, repulsors, and the uni-beam), it is able to generate an force field around it, uses magnetic manipulation, and has other various functions, including a remote command system to enable Rhodes to control it from a separate computer terminal if Stark cannot ("Secrets and lies"), a security system to prevent people from opening it when Stark is unconscious ("Seeing Red") and a secondary wheeled transportation system that enables him to "skate" when the flight system is damaged ("Masquerade"). It can even adapt to fit any size ("Don't Worry, Be Happy"). In "Ancient History 101", Stark even creates a pack that allows him to don the armor when and where he needs to, combined with anti-gravity devices so as to reduce the suit's weight (possibly based on how the comic version always carried his armor in his briefcase).
The armor briefly gained intelligence in Episode 14 of Season 1 "Man and Iron Man". Problems arose due to its desire to protect Stark above all (including almost killing Whiplash, as it did in the comics) - by constantly keeping him inside itself. However, like in the comics, the armor sacrificed itself in order to save Stark during a cardiac arrest.
The first variation of the armor appears in "Cold War", when he created enhanced Thermal Gauntlets for his armor and used them to help him fight Blizzard. After the fight, he talks about creating Arctic and Space Armor.
New armors then appear in various episodes:
In the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes series, in which Iron Man is the co-leader of the Avengers, his standard armors are based on the ones in the film series. In "The Kang Dynasty", he even made special suits for the Avengers for use in the space battle against Kang, excluding the Hulk (who only needed a breathing mask) and Black Panther (who was still in Wakanda).[episode needed]
His current armored suits give him the standard superhuman strength and durability, flight, repulsors, and the unibeam projector. They also have energy shields, an electromagnetic pulse generator, arm-mounted cannons and projectile launchers, various tools like a drill or detachable hip tasers, and can absorb and release energy.
Additional armors from the comics that were shown in the series are:
The Iron Man anime series features an Iron Man armor similar to the movie's Mark III armor, except that in the anime the armor is only shown to be equipped with the repulsors, unibeam, and mini-rockets. Plus, instead of J.A.R.V.I.S. as the suit's AI; It has a female-voiced computer named "Computer" that sounds similar to the AI in the suit(s) of Iron Man Armored Adventures.[episode needed]
The plot of the series involves Stark traveling to Japan to build an ARC station and also to test a new armor: Iron Man Dio. Stark intends to mass-produce Dio and then retire as Iron Man. The Dio chest power core resembles the one on the Extremis Armor, but the armor is colored blue and silver rather than red and gold. Dio's head is also slightly redesigned from the typical Iron Man armor with curved features on its faceplate. The Dio armor is stolen in the first episode of the series, and Stark is forced to fight the Dio armor repeatedly over the series. Stark asserts the Dio Armor is a knock-off of the real Iron Man armor, but Dio is demonstrated as being equal to or surpassing Stark's standard armor in terms of performance.[episode needed] Maybe it's because the armor's performance depends on how good the pilot is.
The SDF later create a suit of armor called "Ramon Zero", used by Captain Nagato Sakurai. It resembles a samurai's armor. The Japanese armor appears to have a red pentagon-shaped ARC reactor, is armed with powerful swords, and also uses repulsors and missiles in combat.[episode needed]
Yinsen, revealed to still be alive and piloting the Dio Armor, builds an army of autonomous drones called Iron Man Sigma. These drones resemble the Dio Armor, except the Sigma armor is colored army camouflage.[episode needed]
In the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man the episode "The Iron Octopus" reveals several prior suits developed by Stark:
In the animated series, Avengers Assemble, Iron Man battles alongside the other Avengers. Iron Man reveals that he has made numerous numbers of armors in the episode "The Avengers Protocol Part 2":