This page is copyright 2009 by Tim Rassbach.

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

Created by Dr. Maya Hansen, the Extremis Enhancile is, in short, a super-soldier solution, a bio-electronics package fitted into a few billion graphic nanotubes and suspended in a carrier fluid. Injected into a biological organism, like say you’re friendly neighborhood billionaire inventor with a penchant for tin-plated underwear, Extremis acts as a biological compiler, or, really re-compiler.  Essentially, it hacks the body’s repair center, that part of the brain that keeps a complete blueprint of the human body and directs all healing and growth.  Extremis rewrites that that blueprint, harnessing the repair center to remake the organism.

After Extremis is injected, the subject begins violently coughing and vomiting, and then is turned almost literally inside-out, wrapped in a biological goo, a cocoon--the mass of which is the sum of their parts.  Typically, a subject would lie in this oozy chrysalis for two to three days as Extremis breaks down the old body and builds a new one.  The body is remade as new, better organs are created.

So What Is Extremis?

Back to Extremis Armor, part 1

Back to Extremis Armor, part 2

Back to Tony Stark’s health bio

Stark’s dose of Extremis was a hybrid, reconfigured and customized for his unique desires as Iron Man. As such, not only did he create an Extremis to make him Iron Man inside and out, he also took some short cuts: he removed some of the safeties Maya had built into the code.  As a result, his transformation was much more radical and violent--yet he spent just about a day in his scabrous cocoon before waking up a new man.  Literally.

It should also be noted that Extremis was later found to be 97.5 percent fatal to humans by the Mandarin; Stark was one of the few with the obscure genetic trait that allowed him to survive it.

Why would Stark engage in such risky behavior? 

Facing off against Mallen, an already Extremis-enhanced terrorist, in his pre-Extremis armor didn’t turn out so well.  Mallen was too fast, too strong.  Iron Man got his butt kicked--his armor smashed and punctured.  Stark sustained critical injuries and almost died as a result.  He took a reconfigured does of Extremis to save his life but also to take him to the next level.  He knew that this radical procedure would allow him to become the suit, to grow the connections that wired the armor to his brain.  Extremis was a high tech steroid that took Iron Man to the next level.