The defining ability of Stark's armor are the repulsors situated in the gloves. They originated as a hand attachment, but have since become 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 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 movie it was called the "arc-beam"). Originally a spotlight and "proton beam," it has grown to accommodate a number of other weapons, primarily light and force-based.
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 Tony Stark to build the thruster unit which he has been using ever since.
The Stealth armor is another of the specialized suits of armor developed by Tony 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. 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 oxygen jets, that cool the boots' emissions. It runs on diesel fuel.
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. 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 suits 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 750mph in the air and 180mph in the water. 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). Sensors consisted of a full band audiovisual transceiver, radar, sonar, infrared scanners, and an electromagnetic scanner that could, by measuring the variances in the magnetic fields in structures, reverse-engineer a schematic of the layout where power lines ran inside of the walls and overlay the layout onto the visual display inside the helmet. The suit also had power cords in his belt that he could connect to any kind of power conduit and siphon that energy to add to his reserves. One notable feature of the suit was the hologram emitter, which could generate up to 12 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. Unfortunately, the "chameleon effect" module interfered with the cybernetic controls of the armor, providing nasty feedback and massive headaches.
The Silver Centurion armor- or at least a copy of it, given that the original was destroyed towards the conclusion of the "Armor Wars"- was recently used by Tony Stark to defeat the Mandarin, when his Extremis abilities were temporarily deactivated due to concerns regarding his mental health.
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 was like an electric eel´s and had 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.
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.
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, Tony 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 neo-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 already formidable might.
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 Sh'iar spaceships as well as interface with their technology. It also possessed an extremely powerful self-destruct mechanism via its fusion reactor.
Critically wounded by a bullet near his spine, Tony 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.
This suit was created initially by Stark to deal with the Masters of Silence threat; a later version, JRXL-1000, was designed and built for, and worn for a while by James Rhodes. It was designed for all-out warfare, and was also known as the "Variable Threat Response Battle Suit." It was not collapsible, and included far heavier carbon-composite-based armor as well as improved tactical computer systems and automatic targeting. Since the Masters of Silence were protected against Iron Man's usual weaponry (Repulsors and Unibeam), those weapons were removed from the first version of the armor. In both iterations, the shoulder mounted weapons are modular and can be removed and replaced. In the first version, both the double-barreled cannon and the laser blade were fixed (the flamethrower was built over the laser blade casing). In the Rhodes model, the wrist weapons became modular too.
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.
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.
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. In subsequent battles with the Hulk, however, Stark has declined to utilize this armor, so it is unclear whether it is indeed capable of defeating the Hulk.
Very little is known about this armor. Stark- or possibly an evil doppelgänger- used it to travel to an Arctic bunker. It is hypothesized that the armor may have special thermal units for added wearer insulation. It also looked very striking, being blue and silver in color, and possessing a unique hexagonal chest beam.
This armor may reflect the mindset that resulted from Tony Stark being controlled more and more by Immortus. He did away with the still perfectly serviceable (and because of its very nature still state-of-the-art) Modular Armor and constructed a much more specialized armor; this one, with hindsight, was definitely designed for combat. In fact, it is possible it was designed to take on the Avengers.
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. As Tony was dragged deeper and deeper into Immortus´ plan, it seemed his armor reflected this, going from blood-red and gold to darker burgundy-and-bronze.
This armor's design history is unknown; it stands out because it, out of all the other armors in the armory, it 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 who was believed to be controlled by Kang the Conqueror (actually Immortus, but this was unknown at the time). It is referred to as the Retro armor here because some of its design details reflect a 1950's car. It was otherwise unremarkable and was destroyed by the present-day Tony Stark in minutes.
During the Onslaught event, Tony 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, Tony Stark had no choice but to don 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. It remained cloaked when not worn, but could join up with the chestplate in seconds when called.
Fresh upon his return from the "Heroes Reborn" universe, Tony 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.
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 Tony'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.
Incorporated 'safe' power systems, which insulated the wearer. Too large to fit into the traditional suitcase, it instead transformed into a compact, flight-capable module. It became sentient due to the Ultron Imperative (although the original tale controversially involved the Y2K bug as the explanation) being unwittingly implanted in it by Jocasta. As a sentient unit, it was a superior fighter to Iron Man, but its artificial nature rendered it fairly predictable when Tony was forced to fight it on a desert island, allowing him to set up elaborate traps to confront it while it was occupied with a signal from the Avengers. It possessed a strong desire to be with Tony Stark, an apparently initially sincere affection which soon grew into possessiveness and deadly obsession. In the end, however, the armor, which had intended to replace Tony altogether, sacrificed itself to save his life when he suffered a potentially fatal heart attack, ripping its own cybernetic heart out and shunting it into his creator's body. Later, the Sentient Armor was revived by the misguided Sons of Yinsen who sought to use it to resurrect their prophet, Ho Yinsen. Unfortunately, Ultron's consciousness quickly dominated the armor, even joining with his head, lost during the events of the "Ultron Imperative"-story. In the end, the armor was presumably destroyed when New Timbetpal, the massive floating city of the Sons of Yinsen, crashed.
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.
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 Tony'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.
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.
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. Tony 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.
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.
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.
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.
After the S.K.I.N. fiasco, Tony 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 Tony sigh "It's difficult to believe I used to be able to fit this inside a briefcase".
Carbon dioxide provides underwater propulsion; immediate satellite uplinking even from miles underwater was possible.
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.
When commanded, the armor could also adopt a hovering, non-humanoid, autonomous combat mode, equipped with energy and projectile weapons.
The Thor-Buster armor was designed by Tony Stark as a precaution against King 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 Tony Stark to possibly use as a new energy source for mankind. Outwardly, it resembled the Asgardian Destroyer. Because it could absorb and utilize the massive amounts of energy Thor turned on it, in terms of raw strength this armor could be the mightiest Iron Man of all. Nevertheless, it was ultimately destroyed by King Thor, its power source undone.
Used to impersonate the Cobalt Man.
This prototype armor possessed armor made up out of three-inch, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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 Tony Stark immune to cancer and gave him his 'healing factor'.
In the Iron Man: The Inevitable storyline, it was shown that it's not only Tony 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.
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".
-"Space Ghost": space-flight capable, nearly impossible to detect espionage model; possibly intended as a satellite-killer.
-"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 - an incredible feat.
-"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.
-"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.
While extremely powerful, the drones were useless once Tony Stark rendered himself unconscious.
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 that correlates to the style of the modern Iron Man suit.
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.
The most radical feature of this armor must be that its vastly increased computing power allows it to make a "back-up" of Tony'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".
After several hours of existence, the armor managed to develop a program that enabled it to function at "hypervelocity" - effectively moving at a different timeframe than everyone else.
Note that this story is set before "Extremis", though it was published afterwards.
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 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".
Three types of Iron Man armor (powered exoskeleton) appear in the 2008 Iron Man film. The first armor is strong and bulky — like in the comics — which Stark builds while in captivity. It had the ability to amplify Stark's strength tremendously and was armed with flamethrowers and a missile launcher and had a limited rocket jump capacity to allow Stark to exit the immediate hostile area and escape. The suit shattered upon landing and Stark was forced to abandon it to attempt to reach friendly territory. Unfortunately, Stark's enemies found the abandoned armor and it served as the base design for the Iron Monger.
Upon returning home, Stark developed a sleeker, chrome Mark II prototype version with improved flight capability, but it was prone to icing when attempting to test high altitudes. The testing led to the streamlined (and armed) Mark III red/gold armor. The gold Mark III armor was built with gold-titanium alloy to resolve the freezing problem that happened when the suit flew at high altitudes. This "gold-titanium alloy" is supposedly used in a particular series of Stark Industries' satellites. In the film, it appears that this material not only prevents the armor's systems from freezing at high altitudes, but is also extremely durable while maintaining the weight ratio of the Mark II. It was able to withstand small arms fire, a hit from the cannon of a tank, followed by a high speed collision with a F-22 Raptor with only minimal cosmetic damage.
All three of the armor suits are powered by a miniature arc reactor, a fictional clean energy source, which is also used to power the electromagnet that protects Stark's heart from the shrapnel embedded in his chest. The final armor included anti-tank missiles that launch from the suit's forearms, steering and retrothrust jets in the palms which could double as repulsors (early in the film, Stark mentions that the Jericho missiles utilize his company's repulsor technology), small anti-personnel guns in the shoulders which could be individually targeted for a simultaneous attack, flare launchers on the hips, and a uni-beam projector in the center of his chest. Furthermore, Mark II and III operate with remote assistance from Stark's artificial intelligence JARVIS (voiced by Paul Bettany), who manages the armor's systems at Stark's command, and they also have a holographic Heads Up Display [HUD]. These armors also have variable control surfaces for active flight control, which are controlled by JARVIS to automatically stabilize the suit in flight.
The first prototype is based on the original armor in the comics, while the Mark III is inspired by the current comics' armors, particularly the "Extremis" armor.
The arc reactor was apparently originally developed when Howard Stark was still alive. In the early scene of the movie during Stark's flashback to 36 hours before the desert incident (during the award ceremony), the Popular Mechanics magazine cover with Howard Stark and a young Tony sitting together on a chopper had the cover topics "Chip off the Old Block: Six year old Tony Stark builds first V8" and "Will the Arc Reactor save all our energy needs?". Also Stane mentioned that they hadn't had a development in the technology in over 30 years.
In the film, the prototypical arc reactor appears to be a tokamak-like device containing dancing rings of pale-blue plasma. It was developed by Stark Industries and used to power their manufacturing campus, apparently to "shut the hippies up," as Obadiah Stane puts it. The device never entered widespread use due to its high cost-to-output ratio. This reactor is destroyed when Pepper Potts overloads it, causing Stane to be knocked out and fall in the reactor. The reactor then explodes, killing Stane and destroying his Iron Monger suit. The second reactor is a solid, miniaturized version which constantly emits a bluish white light, built using missile components (most critically what seemed to be palladium from the electronics) and relatively simple tools while Stark was held captive. The palladium was smelted into a few rings (Stark reminded Yinsen to be careful and said that they "only had one shot" at creating the miniature arc reactor) and was later seen to be bound together in a stack with other missile-derived components that were not specified. Stark builds the third (MKII of the smaller design), more advanced model at his home, which houses a manufacturing wing rivaling that of his factories.
The film establishes that the first miniature reactor could generate 3 gigajoules per second, while the second improved reactor could generate four times that. The new reactor with 12 GJ per second equates to 12 Gigawatts of power (see orders of magnitude), or approximately sixteen million horsepower. This is more than is produced in the world's largest nuclear reactor and is more than fifteen times greater than the power of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. In the film, Yinsen exclaims about the first reactor that such a power output could keep Stark's heart beating for fifty lifetimes, to which Stark replied, "or something big for 15 minutes", indicating that at peak output the arc reactor would eventually run out of power. This was demonstrated when Stane stole the second reactor to power his reverse-engineered version of Stark's first armor, forcing Stark to use the first reactor to power his Mark III armor and fight Iron Monger; the first reactor is depleted to around 48% simply from flying Stark from his house to the factory where Stane has been building the armor, then down to 19% after using his central beam. When flying to an atmospheric height where Iron Monger's suit freezes up, he depletes his reactor completely. Due to his previous use of the first personal arc reactor Stark had built in the desert, the prototype armor uses a good portion of its energy while escaping.
The fuel used in the reactor is never specified, but its enormous output and compact size suggests that it either contains an internal fuel supply which it consumes very efficiently, or else it draws fuel from some conventional and readily available source, such as from ambient air. In the deleted scenes of the Iron Man DVD, one of the scientists working on the Iron Monger suit suggests discussing efforts to produce a miniature arc reactor with the "toroidal fusion project", which implies that the reactor is in fact a tokamak-type nuclear fusion device.