Tony Stark's armors are a variety of powered exoskeletons constructed and worn by Tony Stark when assuming his alter ego "Iron Man". Stark made a lot of radical changes through modification on them to create a better version or by addition of specialized armors on the current armor for specific situations.
Though all the armors have many different abilities and characteristics, they are all alike and share the same core design. The suits have tracking system, onboard weapons systems including lasers and a host of small missiles, flight-capability, various communication systems in the form of radar and radio, and a link to Stark's home computer system through JARVIS The core characteristics of all the Stark's armor are the jets situated in the boots, the repulsors situated in the gauntlets/palms and the arc reactor in the chest piece. The repulsors are a form of propulsion and steering(as hand unit) jet, though they can be used offensively. The chest RT (Repulsor Transmitter) can also channel beams of power through it, making it an effective offensive alternative. Though at first the suits were powered by the same arc reactor that supported Stark, later from Mark IV onwards, each suit was powered by its own power source.
Tony Stark built Mark I with the help of Yinsen while still in captivity in Afghanistan after the Ten Rings captured him. When his captors offer him his freedom in exchange for building the "Jericho" missile and asked him to create a list of essential supplies he would need to create it, Tony instead used the opportunity, with encouragement from Yinsen, to create an armored suit to escape. Tony first created the miniature arc reactor to act both as a pacemaker to the electromagnet that kept him alive as well as the power source for his armor of escape. Deceiving the leader of the Ten Rings that they were making the Jericho missile, Stark and Yinsen worked day and night on the model of the armor based on Stark's blueprints. Yinsen sacrificed himself in the ensuing escape attempt when he stalled the guards to buy Tony enough time to power up the suit. Using the suit, Tony battled his way through the tunnels, destroyed the terrorists' weapons stockpile, and escaped using the rocket booster, though his suit was destroyed upon crash-landing in the desert due to the quick depletion of his thruster power.
The scattered pieces of Mark I in the desert were later retrieved and collected by the Ten Rings along with the blueprints. The leader Raza called on Obadiah Stane, his secret collaborator, for the mass production of the suit thinking to rule the whole of Asia. But instead Stane paralysed Raza, ordered the whole of Ten Rings to be killed and took the drawings with him intending to make a suite of his own, the Iron Monger.
Stane stored the armor in sector sixteen of the Stark industries building. When Pepper Potts led Phil Coulson and his agents against Stane, the Mark I armor was destroyed by the rampaging Iron Monger. Tony later reassembled it and put it on display in his beach house garage.
The Mark I was later destroyed along with the Marks II-VII during the attack on Tony's beach house.
The Mark I was equipped with two wrist mounted flamethrowers that surved as Tony's primary ranged weapon during his escape. The armor also contained an anti-personel rocket in the left forearm. The arms and legs were servo powered, giving Stark the power to break through solid metal doors. The metal itself was an alloy of iron and magnesium. Due to its hasty construction the suit was nearly destroyed by gunfire before Stark could escape.
Tony began construction on the Mark II almost immediately after arriving home after being rescued. It was only used by Tony during a test flight. This test showed the suit's tendancy to ice over at high altitude when Tony flew it recklessly high. After barely avoiding a fatal crash, Tony built a replacement suit and shelved the Mark II.
Later the suit was confiscated by James Rhodes when Tony became drunk while wearing his Mark IV suit. After a fight that nearly tore Tony's house apart, Rhodey departed and took the suit to Edward's Air Force base where it was converted into the War Machine armor.
The Mark II was made from high-carbon steel. This construction resulted in a suit that was very strong, but impedingly heavy. Tony had not yet perfected the construction of his suits when he made his second generation of armor. The exterior was less streamlined than later versions, rivets covered the exterior and the suit was less flexible than later suits would be.
Tony created the Mark II with an emphasis on exploring flight potential, and thus the suit did not contain any conventional weapons Its only ranged weapons were the hand-mouted repulsor rays. These were intended to merely be flight stabilizers. Tony discovered their full potential when he tested one at high power and it created a powerfull concussive blast.
After discovering some of the Mark II's shortcomings Tony designed and built the Mark III out of an alloy that was lighter, and could reach higher altitudes. The Mark III first saw use in Gulmira when Tony used it to eliminate the terrorists oppressing local civilians. Immediatley after leaving Iron man was detected and attacked by the U.S. Air Force. Iron man eveaded a pair of F-22 Raptors, accidentally destroying one in the process after being flung into its wing. Iron Man rescued the pilot and the Air Force called off their jets.
Later Tony donned the suit to fight the Iron Monger. Stane had previously stolen Tony's minaturized arc reactor to power his own suit. Tony managed to reinsert the mark I chestpiece to power his armor, this ment that Iron Man had to start the fight with less than half of his maximum power level. Throughout the fight the armor endured high ammounts of punishment by Iron Monger. When Tony led Obediah into dangerously high altitudes one of the primary thrusters was disabled when Iron Monger seized it trying to capture Iron Man. After the Iron Monger armor was disabled by the same high altitude icing that affected the Mark II, the Mark III was almost completely depleated of power forcing Tony to make an emergency landing. However Stane survived the fall and attempted to crush Tony, nearly succeeding. After the fight the Mark III was so badly damaged that Tony was forced to create a Completely new suit.
The Mark III was made from an alloy of two percent gold and ninty-eight percent titanium. This made the suit lighter and gave it a charecteristic gold coloring. In order to make it less "ostentatious" Tony had Jarvis paint most of the suit red, resulting in the iconic color scheme that Tony would use for the rest of his suits.
In addition to the repulsor rays, the Mark III carried a range of conventional weapons, incuding anti-tank missiles and micro-missiles fired from pods in the shoulders. The micro-missiles were non-explosive and could be assigned targets via Tony's HUD. The Mark III was the first to display use of the unibeam. A powerfull repulsor blast from the chest of the armor.