Iron Man / Tony Stark returns to Comic Con for 2012 with a special panel introducing Iron Man 3. The panel will assemble in the famous Hall H on Saturday, July 14 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. According to Walt Disney Studios Publicity, Marvel Producer Kevin Feige and “special guests” will “provide an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Panel attendees will get a limited-edition poster gift showing part of that “ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe:” artwork by concept artist Ryan Meinerding and depicting Iron Man / Tony Stark / Robert Downey, Jr., in what appears to be a half-him, half-Iron Man phase and surrounded by men with automatic weapons of some kind. What this indicates is really anyone’s best guess, and many have been flying around the Internet.
Entertainment Weekly calls it Stark’s “awkward moment” (a term I’m getting tired of seeing on blogs and microblogs) and speculates that its the new Mark VII suit working to attach itself to Stark, much as it did in The Avengers. They also refer to what is was the Extremis comic book series made between 2005 and 2006, and that formed much of the story for the first Iron Man movie in 2008.
The basic concept of the Extremis storyline has Tony Stark battling members of a domestic militia group who have managed to illegally obtain use of a new kind of “robotic microsurgery” that is a military nanotechnology serum created to rebuild the body of the person who’s the subject from scratch, and super-human capabilities can be pre-programmed into the process before it starts. This happens to one of the domestic militia group members called Mellen, and Stark, fighting for his life after a battle with Mellen, is forced to use it for himself.
According to Wikipedia and Iron Man Vol 4, #3, this is Extremis:
…Extremis is a super-soldier solution. It’s a bio-electronics package, fitted into a few billion graphite nanotubes and suspended in a carrier fluid. A magic bullet, like the original super-soldier serum—all fitted into a single injection. It hacks the body’s repair center—the part of the brain that keeps a complete blue print of the human body. When we’re injured, we refer to that area of the brain to heal properly. Extremis rewrites the repair center. In the first stage, the body essentially becomes an open wound. The normal human blueprint is being replaced with the Extremis blueprint, you see? The brain is being told the body is wrong. Extremis protocol dictates that the subject be placed on life support and intravenously fed nutrients at this point. For the next two or three days, the patient remains unconscious within a cocoon of scabs. (…) Extremis uses the nutrients and body mass to grow new organs. Better ones…”
The result is a new Iron Man – one basically fused into Stark’s body and in such a way that the internal control system that was in his helmet is now part of him and Stark can tap into any satellite network around the World. Stark also has a new suitcased-sized Iron Man suit that attaches itself to him when he thinks about it.
Later, Mandarin attempts to release Extremis as part of a crazy plan to “reshape” the human race. It’s possible Iron Man 3 is based on this story, but with some alterations; it’s widely noted that Stark goes to China to face Mandarin in Iron Man 3. We’ll learn more at Comic Con 2012.