Encephalo Remote Armor a.k.a. Self-Motivating Armor, Model XV, Mark I

. . . a special suit controlled by revolutionarily new encephalo-circuits in his Model XIV helmet. In short, Model XV started life as nothing more than a modified version of the Model XIV Armor—an empty suit run by remote control. In the long run, what started as an experiment, would one day save Tony’s life.

When an attack from the Marrs Twins left him paralyzed, trapped in the Model XIV Armor, Tony had just one option: call the Remote Armor to him. He then used the Model XV to carry off the Model XIV (with him inside of it). Later, a still paralyzed Stark needed Jim Rhodes to dress him in the Model XV armor. The same encephalo-control circuitry that allowed him to control the suit from a distance functioned just as well with him in it. A prisoner in his own body, now a prisoner in his own armor, Stark couldn’t even feel his own body—but his mind was free. Although his controllers could move and control Tony’s flesh and bone, his limbs couldn’t fight the armor’s servo motors. Though trapped in the armor, Tony can move and fight. (In the end, this strain, this battle for control, would degrade Stark’s body. After defeating his puppet masters, Stark had to begin wearing a neural web suit to keep his highly damaged central nervous system functioning. It constantly modified his medical status. To keep up the illusion of normality, he wore a layer of fake skin over the suit.)

Due to the satellite up-link, Iron Man’s reaction times—combined with the suit’s servo motors—were slower than his central nervous system, but it was good enough—especially considering the alternative. Servo-mechanisms control the armor’s movements, while armor activators balance him out.

While the Oversize Red and Gold (Model XIV) Armor was the foundation for the Remote Armor, Stark refined the look a bit. Most notably, the Remote Armor has external power packs on the hips (with cryo-batteries as a final backup). The packs primary function appeared to be to turbo-charge the repulsors, as cables ran from the power packs to the gauntlets (like in the original Secret War). Another design tweak: the R/C Armor had square ear pieces, a configuration perhaps made necessary by the nature of telepresence.

Although still solar powered and continually recharged, this suit apparently expended energy faster then it absorbs it. So, in addition to the power packs, Tony added an emergency redoubler to assist with extra fast recharges when needed.

Along with other redundant systems, the Model XV has a backup for the overload system—it could channel about forty times more energy through the weapons array then the suit was built to take. (Of course, that’s not something Tony would do if he were actually wearing the suit.)

The armor featured a highly sophisticated cooling system, one capable of keeping Iron Man fighting even amidst Fin Fang Foom’s toasty blasts (which can melt rocks).

The armor also had the usual sensor array; a particle filtration system and a self-destruct circuit.

Acid could still melt the armor’s composite material, the outer skin had membranes.

Armaments: The usual array; plus turbo-charged repulsors; can also fire an unbreakable polyfiber rope with a hook. Magno-couplers, stored in the right armor, can float and control objects or people with its magnetic fields.

Special feature on this suit: The suit has a built-in image inducer, a holographic projector allowing him to look and sound like Stark if need be—even though he’s wearing the armor, helmet and all.

At the end of "The Dragon Seed Saga," Iron Man teamed up with the Mandarin, pumped his armor’s power through Mandy’s rings—unleashing an unimaginable blast. The blast was so powerful that it "bleached" the armor white, necessitating a replacement.

Model XV, Mark II

In #276, Stark built this replacement armor (with upgrades) as a last-ditch effort to avert the inevitable. Mark II was designed to support his life functions. Like so many times in the past, Tony Stark didn’t even have a chance to test it before taking it into action.

Tony tweaked the recipe of the armor’s composition, a hybrid alloy of molecularly aligned crystallized iron and titanium nitride. (This custom alloy made it very easy to trace his armor, locate it.) At the same time, he engineered a super computer upgrade. The computer can now do in six minutes what conventional PCs need six years to do.

Reverse-magnetism continued to be the backbone of the armor. Magnets on palms allowed IM to pull guns and other objects to him. Magnetic grapples on the boots held Iron Man to things (like jets, even at hundreds of m.p.h.).

Gauntlet improvements included an improved fire-extinguishing foam system and sleep gas from right glove. Upgrades were made to the scanner and tracker on the right gauntlet as well.

Stabilizers on the port side were also improved. Working in conjunction with auto-corrective gyros, they provided better stability and attitude control when under fire.

His ever-failing health a pressing concern, and knowing the end was near, Stark entrusted Jim Rhodes with the security override codes that would allow him to open the armor and get Tony out of the suit if need be.

Armaments: All the normal Model XV weapons, plus a shock-stun pellet hidden in the belt buckle.

Extra add-on accessory: Can strap on a suborbital craft to launch into space. The booster rocket can go 1,000 miles in just minutes.

Stark's frail body soon began giving out, and he became bed ridden. He had to rely on the remote armor interface to work the armor. Using headgear and a laptop, Tony established a real-time remote link—what Stark called telepresence. Telepresence produced a connection better than virtual reality, one that put Stark right in the middle of the action. Much better than his previous remote uplinks it was the next best thing to being there. The price to pay for this connection was that feedback could be fatal. One problem of the system was that under major fire, the link to the command processor could falter, during which motor control is lost—leaving the suit dead in the water. (The remote link had a self-destruct signal pulse to be used if needed.)

Model XV, Mark II, was absolutely thrashed by the Masters of Silence in issue #281.

This page is copyright 2006 by Tim Rassbach.

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

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