This page is copyright 2005, 2009 by Tim Rassbach.

Iron Man and all associated characters are the property of Marvel Comics.

All About the Ablative Armor

Cool, huh? . . . Very cool indeed.

The Ablative Space Armor took advantage of the standard array of on-board Stark computer systems. While running the complex armor, the computer also monitored the wearer's vitals. It could detect a loss of consciousness and activate emergency navigations systems, including an autopilot.

While stocked with the wide array of Iron Man imaging and detection equipment, the armor had a refined magnetic imaging beam. A brain scan in palm supplemented the bio sensors, as did a thermal scan.

After disposing of his alien ooze-infected armor (Model XXVI), Stark debuted a new creation: the Ablative Space Armor, Model XXIX, Mark I, in Iron Man (Vol. III) #71.

A prototype, originally designed for space exploration in high-impact environments, like asteroid fields, comet tails, and particle storms, Model XXIX was a revolutionary re-thinking of Stark's protective armor. A new spin on heavy-duty invincibility, it's ablative, meaning that it's meant to be degraded as it's struck. Not only was the armor self-repairing, it received its strength from the fact that it falls apart on contact, the force from any blow was radiated off the armor as small tiles--made of a special high-impact polymer--chipped off. (The armor has a force field, but powerful impacts could chip it--hence the design.) The tiles were stacked in a honeycombed matrix on the surface, stacked and weaved to create a break-away but resilient outer shell. When one tile was damaged, it popped off, and the next one below it snapped into place.

The tiles were created in a polymer-kiln, situated on the back of the armor. The kiln cooked up new tiles as needed, releasing them from one of four ports. The newly released tiles were then grabbed by the force field and shot into place as needed. While less robust than the previous armor (Model XXVI), this model was more appropriate to Stark's current mission (the Model XXVI having just been destroyed and taken over by the alien armor-absorbing nanoplasm/goo). When attacked by outside forces (or more goo), Iron Man could eject the bad tiles and keep going unimpeded. (Stark was able to reprogram the kiln on the fly to create different tiles. By modifying them to react fatally with the alien nanoplasm when absorbed, he was able to make tiles that could take over the nanoplasm, transforming it into nano-machines under his control--ones that could prey upon the alien goo.)

Stylistically, the Ablative suit was a real departure from the clean, machined lines of the Model XXVI. In fact, it had an almost funky look. Pod-like, almost as though Stark looked to the whale for inspiration, the suit was composed of sweeping, soft edges, with elliptical curves that made the armor puffy and alien-looking. Notice the sweeping arm-casts for gauntlets, the mighty cod piece, and the leg warmer-like boots. It's surface was hard, yet looked a lot like drooping lava. (The helmet section featured a mask that flipped up.)

The Ablative Armor utilized current generation inner/outer atmospheric boot jets for flight on Earth or in outer space. It could also project a bio-containment field, useful for bringing samples back from foreign planets or dealing with Earth-bound biohazards.

Armaments: Repulsors; chestbeam.

Special feature on this suit: Besides reparing and strengthening the armor, the tile-forming polymer kiln could also generate an orbiting wall of tiles, allowing Iron Man to project a wall of chaff to knock out incoming attacks or projectiles.