Iron Man Extremis

A big influence on Iron Man 3, the Extremis story revitalised the Irom Man character for the comic book audience.

Facing inner conflict and a technology that is weaponising terrorists, Tony Stark must reconcile his relationship with the Iron Man suit.

Iron Man Extremis Part 1
Iron Man Extremis Part 1 – Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 1

Iron Man Vol. 4 #1-6

Original publication date: 2005-2006

Story: Warren Ellis

Artwork: Adi Granov


Iron Man Extremis is a six-part comic book published in 2005 and 2006 by Marvel. The story forms part of the fourth volume of the Iron Man series. Extremis was written by Warren Ellis, with the illustrations being drawn by Adi Granov.

The world is faced with horrifying new threats that could destroy humanity if Iron Man is unable to defeat Extremis.

Who or what is Extremis? Who is in control of Extremis? Furthermore, what will happen to the world if Iron Man is unable to defeat such a powerful enemy?


Iron Man Extremis - Collects Iron Man Vol. 4 1-6Iron Man Extremis - Collects (2005)
Iron Man Extremis – Collects Iron Man Vol. 4 1-6Iron Man Extremis – Collects (2005)


Extremis vs Iron Man

The problem for Iron Man begins with a terrorist stealing some of the Extremis serum, turning him into a formidable opponent.

Extremis is a potent nanotechnology that is the catalyst for Iron Man to boost his armour to the next level.

Iron Man Extremis Part 2 - Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 2
Iron Man Extremis Part 2 – Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 2

Extremis is a story that brought Iron Man into the 21st century thanks to the storytelling skills of renowned writer Ellis and the drawing prowess of Granov.

In this story, the threat posed by Extremis makes Tony Stark review his life in depth and how far he must become integrated into his technology.

He must decide what he needs to do and confront his faults while working out how Iron Man will be able to defeat Extremis.

Defeating a serum that turns whoever takes it a super soldier means that Stark ends up having to do some serious soul searching.

The Iron Man suit is just too slow to keep up, and Stark knows he is trouble. He could call in some of the other Avengers to help, but he decides to carry on the fight by himself.

Iron Man Extremis Armor

It is in this story that Tony Stark develops the Iron Man Model 30 (XXX) Extremis armour. The armour uses the Extremis nanotechnology that is connected to Tony Starks brain.

Iron Man Extremis Part 3 - Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 3
Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 2

For Iron Man, the Extremis formula is the worst weapon a terrorist could possess, as it turns them into a virtually unstoppable fighting machine.

Not only does the person become strong, powerful, and extremely quick they also heal really quickly.

By developing the Extremis formula into part of the Iron Man suit, Tony Stark significantly increases Iron Man’s Strength, Durability and Speed.

What is Extremis About?

Extremis is about how advances in technology can put the world in danger, just as much as it can allow humanity to progress.

Iron Man is Tony Stark using his technical knowledge and his money to protect the world. Yet the point of the story is that technology will continue to advance although it can be threatening to security and peace.

Iron Man Extremis Part 5
Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 5

The story of Extremis is partly reflected in Iron Man 3 with the formulae’s creators also in the film. Aldrich Killian is the scientist plotting to sell Extremis as a terrorist weapon and Maya Hansen is an ex-lover of Tony Stark.

This Iron Man story shows how skilled Ellie is as an author. The plot is well paced and the dialogue between the characters is full of wit and intelligence.

The book is certainly a page turner and it is no surprise that it had an influence on the third film. It is a roller coaster of a read, you will not wait to reach the end.

The difficulty that Stark has in taking on Extremis is shown partly to be his fault mentally, yet the bulk of the fault for the failure is with the Iron Man suit.

The big question Tony struggles with is what is the potential of the Iron Man suit and has its abilities been used to its highest purpose.

Ellis writes in flashback scenes of Stark in Afghanistan, and how he made the Iron Man suit to escape from his kidnappers.

The point of the flashback is to highlight the points later on when Stark reinvents himself and goes through a rebirth just to gain the ability to defeat Extremis.

Does the Extremis story have any influence on the Iron Man 3 film?

Without a doubt, this story had a notable influence on the Iron Man 3 film. Extremis is the main threat just as in the book, though the character Mallen that takes the serum in the comic book does not appear in the movie.

Iron Man Extremis Part 4 - Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 4
Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 4

The movie and the comic book show Extremis as an internal power while the armour of Tony Stark is external power.

Right wing protagonist Mallen from the comic book is replaced by the Mandarin and his Ten Rings organisation in the movie.

The way the story is told and how Stark behaves throughout it shows it is not your run of the mill comic strip book. The plot of the book is essentially well written and provides a solid enough foundation for the third Iron Man movie.

The Rebirth of Iron Man

One of the most important aspects of Extremis is that it meant that Stark had to reinvent himself and to change Iron Man in order to stand up to and defeat the new threat.

Iron Man Extremis Part 6 - Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 6
Iron Man Vol 4 Issue 6

The serum changed the nature of fighting and made it difficult for Stark to get away from the danger. the concept of futurism is strong throughout the narrative.

Iron Man had to be reborn as the struggle with Extremis would have proved to be the last one it would have failed to stop it. Technology is changing all of the time, and not being afraid to use it should be the best way to move forward.

The idea of combining man and machine is a theme that develops in the story. It offers a revised mission statement for Tony Stark and Iron Man.

The Extremis story is considered a classic amongst fans because of the questions it contends with about technology and the role it has to play in the essence of Iron Man.

Iron Man Extremis - Collects Iron Man Vol. 4 1-6Iron Man Extremis - Collects (2005)
Iron Man Extremis – Collects Iron Man Vol. 4 1-6Iron Man Extremis – Collects (2005)


Read the Complete List of Best Iron Man Stories.

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