Going Ghostal

. . . to skin a cat!!

Always prepared, if not a little paranoid as well, Tony Stark didn't trust the Black Panther--and hadn't for a long time. This caused him to make certain modifications to his already formidable Stealth Armor, Model XIII. The result: An entirely new armor, an incredible polymer-based battle suit that renders him a ghost, invisible and silent.

The Plastic Ghost Armor, Model XXVII, Mark I, made its stunning debut in Black Panther (Vol. ??) #44. Advanced composite ceramics, fused with a kevlar-like polymer are backed by optical fiber networks, that, working in synch with an array of poly-carbon head hologram generators cause the armor to be invisible to any form of detection, including night vision, infrared, and enhanced super-human senses. (In its first outing Stark specifically tuned his hologram generators to the Black Panther's unique night vision, to his exact infrared bandwidth.)

The entire outer surface of the armor is essenatially like a movie screen. Holographic-imagers project images of the surrounding area onto the armor's surface, creating the illusion of invisibility as Iron Man blends seemlessly into the background.

To further thwart detection systems the suit houses an active noise-reduction engine for silent stalking. And to achieve total silent running, the armor even stores the CO 2 produced by the wearer--releasing it through small vents only when circumstances are right.

Lined with experimental bio-organic, "smart" circuitry (technically a kind of bio-neural gel-pack circuitry), the armor's internal systems are almost as impressive as its "plastic" outer shell. (Which isn't far from the truth since there is no metal in the outer shell of the Model XXVII Armor. The polymer-ceramic design is therefore immune to Panther's anti-metal claws [which shredded Shellhead's normal armor].)

Because of the holographic equipment, the stunning circuitry (including adaptive-logic combat guidance processors), and the power systems to fire them, there is a very little room for weaponry in Model XXVII. Like his previous stealth suit, this armor contains a limited, three-shot repulsor charge. (Although when not using the holo-imagers to appear invisible, Iron Man can redirect energy from his power cells for extra repulsor blasts.) The lack of internal space also means that there is not room for an on-board oxygen supply either. Flight is achieved via upgraded stealth boot jets.

Despite the Plastic Ghost's innovative advances, two main design flaws were discovered on its maiden outing. The design flaws: (1) If the Reactive Plasma Discharge goes off (from contact with vibranium, see below) at the same time Iron Man vents carbon dioxide, the plasma discharge can enter the vents and rupture the compressed CO 2, igniting into flames and thereby exposing the armor; and (2) The suit's surface is like a movie screen. If the screen is dirty, the suit's invisibility powers are compromised. Specifically, the ceramic shell is porous. On top of that the suit' s polymer weaves are vulnerable to ammonia. With a simple ammonia-based cleaning solution (Dr. Clean), Black Panther was able to damage the glass-like finish on the armor's surface, leaving "spots" here and there. As a result, parts of the armor would no longer cloak properly.

Although Black Panther exploited two design flaws in his battle with Iron Man, it was ultimately Ultron who provided the Black Panther with a way to defeat this Plastic Man. Black Panther utilized an old Stark negator pack (which melted down Stark technology), modifiying it with code from Ultron. The negator pack attacked Tony's armor by transmitting a cryptograph made up of Ultronic self-destruct codes. These then affected Stark's Ultronic artificial heart, shutting it down.

Armaments: Repulsors; limited Chestbeam spotlight (with infrared); armor can emit high-level Electro-Magnetic Pulse.

Special feature on this suit: Built specifically to counter the Black Panther, the Model __ Armor packs a nasty little surprise: Reactive Plasma Discharge. The armor's primary layer was treated to react to vibranium. Upon coming in contact with vibranium, such as that in Panther's claws, the armor released a powerful plasma discharge powerful enough to bring even Thor to his knees.

This page is copyright 2005 by Tim Rassbach.

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

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