Iron Man's armor
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|Iron Man's armor|
|First appearance||Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963)|
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Iron Man, The Avengers|
Iron Man's armor is a fictional powered exoskeleton appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics and is worn by comic book superhero Tony Stark when he assumes the 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.[episode needed]
- 1 Overview
- 2 Construction
- 3 20th century incarnations
- 3.1 Armors of the 1960s
- 3.2 Armors of the 1970s
- 3.3 Armors of the 1980s
- 3.4 Armors of the 1990s
- 3.4.1 Telepresence Armor
- 3.4.2 War Machine Armor (Variable Threat Response Battle Suit Mark I)
- 3.4.3 NTU-150 Telepresence Armor
- 3.4.4 Modular Armor
- 3.4.5 Arctic Armor
- 3.4.6 Crossing Armor
- 3.4.7 Retro Armor
- 3.4.8 Teen Tony Armor
- 3.4.9 Prometheum Armor ("Heroes Reborn")
- 3.4.10 Renaissance Armor ("Heroes Return")/Sentient armor
- 3.4.11 Experimental Safe Armor
- 3.4.12 EM-safe/Sentient armor
- 4 21st century incarnations
- 4.1 Armors of the 2000s
- 4.1.1 Outer Atmospheric Armor
- 4.1.2 S.K.I.N. Armor
- 4.1.3 Stealth Armor MK III
- 4.1.4 Tin Man Armor
- 4.1.5 Thorbuster
- 4.1.6 Cobalt Man impostor
- 4.1.7 Ablative Armor
- 4.1.8 Iron Man Armor Model 29
- 4.1.9 Anti-Radiation Armor
- 4.1.10 High Gravity Armor
- 4.1.11 Iron Man Model 30 (Extremis Armor)
- 4.1.12 Argonauts
- 4.1.13 Modern Hydro Suit
- 4.1.14 Hypervelocity
- 4.1.15 Hulkbuster Armor MK II
- 4.1.16 Mark 1616 (Rescue)
- 4.1.17 Mark 0
- 4.2 Armors of the 2010s
- 4.2.1 Space Armor Add-on
- 4.2.2 Prison escape Armor
- 4.2.3 Bleeding Edge Armor
- 4.2.4 Iron Destroyer
- 4.2.5 Phoenix-Buster
- 4.2.6 Black armor
- 4.2.7 Anti-Mandarin rebellion armor
- 4.2.8 Black and Gold Armor
- 4.2.9 Stealth Armor MK IV
- 4.2.10 Heavy Duty armor
- 4.2.11 Space Armor MK III
- 4.2.12 Saturn V Armor
- 4.2.13 Cold Iron armor
- 4.2.14 Black and Gold Hulkbuster Armor
- 4.2.15 Endo-Sym Armor
- 4.2.16 Model-Prime Armor
- 4.2.17 Fin Fang Foom-Buster armor
- 4.2.18 GK II
- 4.3 Godkiller
- 4.1 Armors of the 2000s
- 5 Other versions
- 6 Other media
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Stark's suits are each unique in design and purpose, 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 film, the repulsors are a form of propulsion and (as hand units) steering jets, 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, pentabeam, 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; some armor which appeared after publication of the Iron Manual may use entirely different methods of construction.
20th century incarnations
Armors of the 1960s
Iron Man Armor MK I (Grey)
- First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963)
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 travelling 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 motion-sensing negative feedback to control movement. 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.
Iron Man Armor MK II (Golden Avenger)
- First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #40 (April 1963)
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, rechargeable by solar power 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]
Iron Man Armor MK III (original red and gold)
- First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #48 (December 1963)
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; the armor also included a stealth mode. 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 enabled by 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 retcon 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.
Armors of the 1970s
Iron Man Armor MK IV (classic red and gold)
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #85 (April 1976)
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; 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 an equally or more advanced 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.
Armors of the 1980s
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]
Space Armor MK I
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #142 (January 1981)
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 pentagonal 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 thrustier, 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]
Iron Man Armor Model 07 (Stealth Armor MK I)
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #152 (November 1981)
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 used 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]
Iron Man Armor MK VI (Recovery armor)
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #191 (February 1985)
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]
Iron Man Armor MK VII (Silver Centurion)
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #200 (November 1985)
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.
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. The "chameleon effect" ultimately was shown to damage Stark's nervous system, and as such was removed from the armor.
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]
Though this armor debuted before the return to the title of creative team of David Micheline and Bob Layton, the latter revealed in 1996 that he designed the Silver Centurion, he wrote: "Mark Gruenwald and associates came to me and asked me to come up with a "Samurai-type armor" for the series. Gruenie was a big believer in overhauling the Armored Avenger on a regular basis." Layton also revealed the original color scheme for the armor was red and black. He does not know who changed the original black color to silver.
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #218 (May 1987)
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]
Low Observable Armor (Stealth Armor MK II)
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #229 (April 1988)
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.
Iron Man Armor MK VIII (New Red and Gold)
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #231 (June 1988)
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. After the confrontation with Firepower, he changed his mind, encoding all subsequent armors with a series of complex microchips that would self-destruct if duplication was attempted by anyone else without specific passcodes known only to Stark; this 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]
Armors of the 1990s
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- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #280 (May 1992)
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 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, it has the same powers as other armours and increased speed of running.[volume & issue needed]
War Machine Armor (Variable Threat Response Battle Suit Mark I)
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #281 (June 1992)
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 gauntlet 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]
NTU-150 Telepresence Armor
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #290 (March 1993)
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]
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #300 (January 1994)
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.Weaponry consisting of repulsors, Unibeam, wristed mounted protongun, shoulder missiles(which acts according to Tony), laser blades.[volume & issue needed]
Hulkbuster Armor (Modular Add-On)
First Appearance: Iron Man Vol.1 #304 (May 1994)
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 170 tons. During its maiden run, the armor enabled Stark to temporarily hold his own in sustained physical combat with the Hulk.
- First (and only) Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #318 (July 1995)
Very little is known about this armor; Stark used it to travel to an Arctic bunker, it was blue and silver in color, and possessed a unique hexagonal chest beam.
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #319 (August 1995)
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.
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #325 (February 1996)
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.
Teen Tony Armor
- First appearance: Iron Man #326 (March 1996)
- Not a full armor, but only a chest plate to keep the young Stark's heart beating. Was soon upgraded with a pair of gauntlets.
- A chestplate and gauntlets, but more powerful and with superior shielding against energy attacks.
- Based on the mark 2, this was the first full-body armor constructed by the young Stark – out of bits and pieces cobbled together on a moment's notice. It was created to fight the super-cold villain Frostbite and therefore particularly geared at manipulating heat and cold.
- Finalized armor, like a streamlined, upgraded version of the mark 3, with design elements of model 16. It only partly consisted of solid metal; parts of the limbs' armor were holographic force-fields (which were visually indistinguishable from the original golden armor).
Prometheum Armor ("Heroes Reborn")
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 2) #1 (November 1996)
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.
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.
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. Writer Scott Lobdell confirmed in an online discussion that the secret of the Prometheum Armor was nanotechnology.
Renaissance Armor ("Heroes Return")/Sentient armor
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #1 (February 1998)
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 (writer Kurt Busiek had said he liked Iron Man's helmet from early Avengers issues), 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 Safe Armor
- First Appearance: Fantastic Four (vol. 3) #15 (March 1999)
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.
- First appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #26-30 (2000)
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, a strike from Whiplash's whip and the armor's lack of Y2K compliance; this corrupted 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.
21st century incarnations
Armors of the 2000s
Outer Atmospheric Armor
- First Appearance: Iron Man: Bad Blood (miniseries) #4 (December 2000)
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]
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #42 (July 2001) (prototype); Iron Man (vol. 3) #44 (September) (finished design)
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]
Stealth Armor MK III
- First Appearance: Black Panther (vol. 2) #44 (July 2002)
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]
Tin Man Armor
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #50 (March 2002)
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 using 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]
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #64 (March 2003)
In the 2003 storyline "Standoff", Iron Man and Thor come into conflict over Thor's aggression toward the military dictatorship in the nation of Slokovia, whose leader, General Stoykovicz, has slaughtered its citizens for worshipping Thor as part of his ban on pagan worship; when Stark decides to confront Thor, he wears the Thorbuster armor, which he designed some time prior to the story as a contingency plan in the event of such a confrontation. Outwardly the armor exhibits elements of Asgardian technology, resembling a hybrid of an Iron Man armor and the Asgardian weapon known as the Destroyer; the power source for the armor is an enchanted Asgardian jewel fragment originally given to Stark by Thor as a gift, in the hopes of one day being utilized as a new energy source for mankind. Because the jewel possesses the same type of enchantment that gives Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, its power, it allows the armor to absorb and re-channel the energy directed at the armor by Mjolnir. During their battle, Thor neutralizes the armor by ripping off its right arm and removing the jewel fragment.
Cobalt Man impostor
- First Appearance: Avengers/Thunderbolts #1 (May 2004)
Used to impersonate the Cobalt Man.
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #71 (October 2003)
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.
Iron Man Armor Model 29
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #74 (November 2003)
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.
- First Appearance: Incredible Hulk (vol. 2) #72 (July 2004)
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. 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]
High Gravity Armor
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #83 (July 2004)
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]
Iron Man Model 30 (Extremis Armor)
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- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 4) #5 (March 2006)
After being critically injured during a battle with a nanotech-enhanced foe, Stark injected his nervous system with an advanced nanotech-based weapon 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 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]
The Extremis process involved injecting several billion microscopic nanotubes, which act as information carriers, into the brain; the brain is then partly reprogrammed; the brain's so-called "repair center", 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.
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:
- "Space Ghost": space-flight capable, could reach low Earth orbit under its own power; nearly impossible to detect espionage model; possibly intended as a satellite-killer.[volume & issue needed]
- "Submariner": streamlined for great speed underwater; capable of using the ocean itself as a weapon, it apparently unleashed several tsunamis, and was able to overpower Namor, the Submariner, under water.[volume & issue needed]
- "Adamantium Man": equipped with practically indestructible "Stark-Chobham" armor, an experimental composite of carbon nanotube-reinforced ceramics, laced with adamantium.[volume & issue needed]
- "Digger": enormous drone, possibly over a hundred tons; equipped with (shielded) Antarctic Vibranium (which dissolves any metal) helmet dome and a specialized repulsor/unibeam system which allowed it to tunnel at incredible speed.[volume & issue needed]
- "Hulkbuster II": also a massive drone, ostensibly designed mainly for raw power and toughness, to take on the Hulk. It proved entirely capable of taking on the Avengers. Like its predecessor, Hulkbuster II bore a distinct resemblance to Juggernaut.[volume & issue needed]
While extremely powerful, the drones were useless once Stark rendered himself clinically dead.[volume & issue needed]
Modern Hydro Suit
- First Appearance: Wolverine (vol. 3) #45 (August 2006)
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]
- First Appearance: Iron Man: Hypervelocity (January 2007)
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]
Hulkbuster Armor MK II
- First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #304 (May 1994)
In the 2007 "World War Hulk" storyline, Stark designs a new Hulkbuster armor in order to battle the Hulk, who goes on a rampage upon his return to Earth from space, he is initially able to hold his own against his foe. The new armor is 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, though the nanites failed due to sabotage. 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]
Mark 1616 (Rescue)
- First Appearance: The Invincible Iron Man #10 (April 2009)
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 electromagnetic 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.
- First Appearance: The Invincible Iron Man (Vol. 5) #18 (November 2009)
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.
Armors of the 2010s
Space Armor Add-on
- First appearance: The Invincible Iron Man #1 (July 2008)
This device is a 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 space.
Prison escape Armor
- First Appearance: Iron Man vs. Whiplash #2 (February 2010)
When Stark is accused of destroying the Russian city Vostok, where Anton Vanko lived, he develops an armor similar to the Mark I from the feature film in order to escape the prison where he is being held, he uses it in a fight with Vanko, who has assumed the identity of Whiplash as part of his quest for revenge. The armor is partially destroyed, but Stark escapes both prison and his enemy.
Bleeding Edge Armor
- First Appearance: Invincible Iron Man' #25 (June 2010)
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 is briefly apparently destroyed in a fight with an alternate version of the Scarlet Witch, it is restored to normal after only a matter of seconds (although it remains inactive long enough to require Spider-Man to rescue Stark from plummeting to the ground). In the 2012 "Ends of the Earth" storyline, Doctor Octopus is able to 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, also function 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 renders it immune to Magneto's powers when he and Iron Man engage in combat over Utopia during the 2012 "Avengers vs. X-Men" storyline.
After Stark decides to retire as Iron Man in the 2012 "Long Way Down" storyline, he undergoes a surgical procedure that expels the Bleeding Edge technology out of his body, rendering the armor inert.
- First appearance: Fear Itself #7 (December 2011)
During the Serpent's War, which occurs in the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, Iron Man journeys 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 are ravaging the Earth. In addition to the hand-held weapons he has forged for his fellow Avengers, Iron Man's armor receives an additional coating of Uru by Asgardian blacksmiths, as well as magical enchantments by Odin. Iron Man refers to this manifestation of his armor as the "Iron Destroyer", for its resemblance to the Asgardian weapon, the Destroyer, its magical enhancements disappear when Odin leaves Earth at the conclusion of the Serpent's War, and Iron Man vents the uru from the suit's molecular structure before returning the metal to Asgard, where it is melted back down with the other loaned weapons.
- First appearance: Avengers versus X-Men #5 (August 2012)
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.[volume & issue needed]
- First appearance: The Invincible Iron Man #517 (July 2012)
In the 2012 storylines "Demon" and "Long Way Down", Stark is targeted by Justine Hammer, Obadiah Stane and the Mandarin, who publicly expose the fact that Stark was using his armor while under the influence of alcohol during the previous "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.
Anti-Mandarin rebellion armor
- First appearance: The Invincible Iron Man #523 (October 2012)
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 Obadiah 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.
Black and Gold Armor
- First appearance: Iron Man (vol 5) #1 (January 2013)
This gun-metal grey 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 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, it 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.[volume & issue needed]
Stealth Armor MK IV
- First appearance: Iron Man (vol. 5) #3 (February 2013)
This armor debuted in the third issue of the "Believe" storyline, and was used by Stark during a raid on the home of a South American drug lord; the armor uses 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.
Heavy Duty armor
- First appearance: Iron Man (vol. 5) #4 (February 2013)
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.
Space Armor MK III
- First appearance: Iron Man (vol. 5) #5 (March 2013)
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.
Saturn V Armor
- First appearance: Iron Man: Fatal Frontier Infinite Comic (vol. 1) #2 (October 2013)
An external add-on for the Space Armor MK III, Tony Stark designed this suit specifically for travelling and landing on the moon, since regular traveling would take too much time and warp traveling could crash Iron Man on the surface of the moon; the Saturn V Armor can store much more energy than a regular armor on its back-mounted repulsor batteries and the enhanced boot jets can surpass Mach 10 speed.
Cold Iron armor
- First appearance: Iron Man (vol.5) #24 (April 2014)
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 iron armor plating, and its weapons include four large, extendable blades on its forearms and the ability to douse its surroundings with fine iron 'chaff' - iron being poisonous to elves.[volume & issue needed]
Black and Gold Hulkbuster Armor
- First appearance: Original Sin #3.1: Hulk Vs. Iron Man (June 2014)
A new Hulkbuster model, designed to fight against the Hulk, who at that time considered Tony Stark responsible for sabotaging the Gamma bomb and, as a result, causing the explosion that transformed Bruce Banner; the armor is assembled inside Stark's car or from actual parts of it and it is equipped with the most advanced arsenal to stop the green Goliath, namely Gamma blades, which produce a line of radiation to cut through even Hulk's skin and a powerful 'shock-and-awe' barrage using repulsors and ultrasonics. Though it was possible that this suit would've been capable of stopping the normal Hulk, it was no match for the smarter, Extremis-enhanced Hulk.[volume & issue needed]
- First appearance: Superior Iron Man #1 (November 2014)
Stark begins using this armor, which features a chrome finish, in the beginning of the 2014 "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" storyline; the armor is made of liquid smart-metal incorporating elements of the alien Venom symbiote, which Stark can psionically control to flow over his body like Spider-Man and other hosts to the Venom symbiote could. When covering his body, the material hardens to resembles his other, traditional armors, it is capable of locating and following Tony Stark even in spite of electronic cloaking, since the connection between it and Tony is similar to that between a symbiote and its chosen wearer - so possibly psychic in nature.[volume & issue needed]
- First appearance: Invincible Iron Man (vol.2) #1 (October 2015)
Beginning with the 2015 All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, Tony Stark designs a more streamlined and less complex suit of armor, once again with the traditional red and gold colors; this armor's primary feature is that it can change shape depending on the wearer's needs. It can create blades or blasters on its hands or it can morph entirely into more elaborate armors, like a massive, heavy-duty, Hulkbuster-like armor or a samurai-like armor, it has demonstrated the ability to protect Stark automatically from sonic attacks, has a stealth mode, and can project holograms of Stark. Unlike previous models which were connected to Stark's biology, this armor is connected to his brain synapses and it is confined to a bracer when not in use.[volume & issue needed]
Fin Fang Foom-Buster armor
- First appearance: Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 (June 2018)
More a giant mecha than an armor, this twenty-story machine assembles itself out of two submersibles, two gunships and two aircraft - a large one and a small one, it was created to take on kaiju-sized threats.
- First appearance: Avengers (vol.4) #5 (July 2018)
An even larger mecha, the 2000-foot 'Godkiller II' is usually in orbit around Mars, presumably to keep it out of the hands of potential abusers, it can go toe-to-toe with a Celestial, size-wise, but cannot match its power, despite being powered by at least seven nuclear reactors.
- First appearance: Tony Stark: Iron Man (vol.1) #10 (virtual) #11 (real world)
While trapped inside the virtual world known as eScape, Tony Stark created an armor design of unknowable power to defeat a self-aware computer program gone rogue; after 'returning' to reality, he re-created it using Sunset Bain's advanced 3-D printer facilities. A towering twenty-something feet tall, it easily defeated the Controller, who had turned himself into a giant monster after absorbing the mental energy of millions of people. Armor expert Riri Williams remarked its power output was beyond anything she had ever seen, and Tony Stark quickly destroyed the armor, stating it was too powerful to exist in the real world.
- Iron Man 2020 - Arno Stark bought the corporate identity of Stark Industries, and apparently this included Iron Man. Unlike his heroic ancestor (actually, Stark might be his uncle, once removed) he found himself working as a ruthless mercenary to bolster the financial reserves of his company, his armor was recognized to be both more powerful and more combat-oriented than that of the twentieth-century Iron Man. Decades later, this same armor (although possibly upgraded by Doctor Doom) is worn by Andros Stark, the villainous Iron Man of 2093.
- Heroes Reborn "Prometheum" Armor (See also "Heroes Reborn-armor"); originally an experimental self-contained, armored life-support and combat system. It was a joint project of Stark and Connor "Rebel" O´Reilly, but it proved dangerously unstable, and Rebel was killed in the testing stage; the project was abandoned and Stark went into a spiral towards psychological self-destruction. Ironically, years later, when he went to investigate an incident at one of his more remote business annexes, his helicopter was attacked by the newborn Hulk of that reality and crashed where he was impaled by debris, he was forced to don an upgraded version of the experimental armor which had been stored at the annex to save his own life, and from that day on fought on as Iron Man. Later, he comes face to face with a resurrected Rebel, outfitted with another version of his armor which had been completely reimagined by Doctor Doom.
- Iron Man of Earth X/Iron Manor - In the world of Earth-X, the whole world has become exposed to an airborne agent which causes everyone to mutate into superpowered beings. Stark sealed off his factory complex while still inside, fearful of being changed into a `super´-version of himself. Over the years, he constructed an army of Iron Men, intended to be used as a worldwide police force, but never used- again for fear of being corrupted by such power. Instead, he built robotic versions of the deceased Avengers, otherwise remaining mostly passive inside his fortress. Forced into action by the arrival of the Celestials, he reveals that his entire factory was a final, titanic armor; he manages to delay the Host of the immense aliens, but was finally destroyed.
- Marvel Mangaverse Iron Man - In this universe, Stark vanishes after fighting Namor one last time... and his position as both industrialist and Iron Person is taken by his twin sister Antoinette (Toni) Stark, a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. She expands the paradigm into an entire army of every conceivable form of Iron Man, from flying weapons platforms (one of which is a clear homage to the RX-78GP03 Gundam "Dendrobium Orchis" from the Gundam anime franchise), to 100-foot (30 m) mechas, to platoons of armored soldiers... all of which proves entirely useless against the Incredible Hulk. Meanwhile, it is revealed Stark is still alive - albeit reduced to a head in a life-support unit because of spinal cancer, he initially equips the Avengers (Captain America, Vision, Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch) with four super-powerful vehicles, capable of combining into yet another skyscraper-sized Iron Man mecha (bringing new meaning to their classic battle cry, "Avengers Assemble"). This, too is destroyed by the Hulk. Later, when targeted by a conspiracy against all superheroes in the world, the disembodied Stark dons a cybernetic body to once again become Iron Man.
- Ultimate Iron Man - The Tony Stark of the Ultimate Marvel universe wears an armor that is bulkier and more difficult to operate. When the United States was invaded by foreign armies of superhumans, Stark deploys "Iron Man 6", a gunship that might very well be the largest "armor" in any known reality (the flying fortress could be over 1,000 feet (300 m) across); the main armor requires a full behind-the-scenes support team to maintain and operate at full proficiency. In subsequent storylines like Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars, and Ultimates 3, he has built dozens of armors since the Ultimatum wave; as of the conclusion of the "Divided We Fall" storyline, Stark dons a new armor and adopts the identity of the Iron Patriot. After the events of Cataclysm, Tony funds and is a member of the Ultimate version of the Future Foundation, donning a purple, blue and white armor and returning to the Iron Man mantle.
- Iron Maniac - An alternate Tony Stark from a world in which the Avengers were drawn into outer space, lured into interstellar battle and effectively destroyed by a warlike alien race. His spirit shattered, he returned to Earth, apparently to find that Reed Richards had planned to take over the world (to date, the exact circumstances behind his descent are unclear), he decided to take control of the planet himself "to save it" and adopted methods more like those of Dr. Doom, killing, among others, the Human Torch, and adopting a bulkier gray armor that resembled his original suit, although possessing far more advanced weaponry than he had back then, including a weapon capable of temporarily negating the FF's powers and a means of escaping from mystical bonds, he was accidentally drawn into the 616-universe, and after an extended battle with the local heroes- initially facing the Fantastic Four and Doctor Strange before his attempt to escape saw him fighting Captain America, the Black Widow, Spider-Man and X-23 - was incarcerated. He escaped, adapting a hyper-advanced LMD into a new set of armor that could shape itself according to his thoughts and form any weapon he could conceive of, and called himself the "Iron Maniac"; since everything in this world was backwards from his perspective, this was his way of stating he was sane and everyone else was mad, he is a cyborg; at the least his chest is armored.
- The Lord Iron armor from Marvel 1602. A Spanish scientist who was taken captive by the English in the war and forced, through torture by David Banner, to devise weapons for them, he now needs his massive armor to survive; it harnesses electric power from simple chemical cells, but can also absorb lightning bolts. It provides increased strength, electrical attacks and some sensory enhancement.
- Somatic Combat Vehicle from Iron Man: Crash; In the words of Stark himself: "My SCV secondary body protective shielding is formed of a titanium beryllium geodesic alloy doped with nickel iron mylar superstrate and interlaced microcrystalline quartz fiber and synthetic rubber endoform & ectoform substrate layer." This armor's various properties (strength, lightness, structural integrity etc.) are all a result of optimizing the interaction between the properties of various materials, all balanced out on a molecular level. In a sense, this armor is one huge "tile" like the millions of tiny ones the contemporary armor is made out of.
- Overload armor from What If (vol. 1) #64 ("What If Iron Man Sold Out?") - In an alternate world where Stark went public with his armor instead of keeping it for himself, the "arms race" quickly completely escalated, with more and more advanced armor being developed by all parties from the U.S. government and S.H.I.E.L.D. to Hydra and the Mandarin. Ultimately, the worst threat turned out to be Magneto, who was infuriated by the lack of interest in the plight of the Mutants, who were being hunted by Starktech Sentinels, he used his power over metal to defeat everything that was thrown at him, but was ultimately defeated by Iron Man in a towering suit, which composed completely out of polymers.
- Sorcerer armor from What If (vol. 1) #113 ("What If Tony Stark was Sorcerer Supreme?") - In a reality in which events led Stark to become the main student of the Ancient One (instead of Stephen Strange), he ended up combining his understanding of technology as well as magic to create an armor which incorporated both. It held a vast storage of magical spells in its memory, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice; this armor was lost when Stark sent it on an endless dimensional quest, carrying the body of the dread Dormammu, forcing the dark lord (in his astral form) to pursue it.
- Ironheart armor from Avataars: Covenant of the Shield.
- In What If?: Civil War, released in December 2007, Stark dies from the Extremis injection, and Captain America goes on to lead the heroes in the civil war that broke out when the government tries to enforce the Superhuman Registration Act. To provide the inspiration which Stark had given in life, Captain America briefly wears an Iron Man armor with a red, white and blue color scheme.
- In What If?: Age of Apocalypse, Captain Britain wears an early model of the Iron Man armor, custom painted as his uniform, as part of the Defenders.
- In Marvel Zombies, Forge is shown using an enhanced version of the original armor against the zombies.
- In the 2008 Black Panther annual story "Black to the Future" (a What If?-type story set in 2057) the United States challenges the nation of Wakanda's global dominance with an army of Iron Men. This force is led by an Iron Man giant robot piloted by Stark himself; this huge machine (easily as big as the New Avengers/Transformers giant suit) could only be controlled by direct neural interface, so Stark was physiologically injured when the suit was damaged by Wakanda's panther-shaped giant robot. Stark's death ended the war and inspired a Wakandan-led global peace.
- In the "House of M" storyline, Stark is still the head of Stark Industries but also the star of the hit TV show Sapien Death Match along with his father and Johnny Storm. His battle armor for the show is similar to his original gold armor, it is then revealed that he was working on a much more advanced armor, more advanced than his current armor in the normal reality. This armor was chunkier, had large wing-like jets coming from the back and a cannon on its right hand, it also has counter magnets built in, to prevent Magneto from controlling it.
- In the 2007 New Avengers/Transformers miniseries, Stark used a giant armor, the size of a Transformer; it allowed Iron Man to go head-to-head with the invading Decepticons. Due to the massive energy requirements, this armor would quickly run out of power, until recharged by Optimus Prime, Jazz and Bumblebee.
- In Incredible Hercules #125, the evil Amazon Artume had used a mystical object to change the world into her vision of it. In this world, men were an oppressed and debased part of society, and a male resistance movement existed. Practically the last member of it was Hercules, who wore cybernetic armor made for him by Stark, who had long since been executed.
- Galactus Buster armor, so far known only to be featured in his ending scenario for the video game Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
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