Marvel has done everything in its power to keep details of Iron Man 3 under wraps. Now they’re just teasing you.

The studio will be giving out posters of this concept art at San Diego’s Comic-Con next week, and EW has the exclusive reveal. The thing we don’t have is a clear explanation from director and co-writer Shane Black or Marvel movie chief Kevin Feige about what exactly it is we’re seeing.

Here’s one theory …Everyone who has seen The Avengers knows that one of the tricked-out new features on Tony Stark’s Mark VII suit is that he can draw it toward his body remotely using two bracelets clamped around his wrists.

That would seem to be what we’re seeing in this image, painted by concept artist Ryan Meinerding, who helped design visuals for all the recent Marvel movies. Except … click on the image to enlarge and check out that exposed right hand.

Ryan Meinerding/Marvel[/caption]

No bracelet.

It’s well-known that Iron Man 3 is borrowing some plot points from the 2005-2006 comics series Extremis, by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov, in which a critically wounded Stark is injected with a serum that fuses his body to the armor.

In that story, Stark says he wants “to wire the armor directly into my brain,” and the nanotechnology serum allows microscopic machines to live within his body. They form a control sheath so he can drawn the armor to his body at will.

In this image, with both the boot and the glove clamped on — and a seeming look of surprise on the illustrated Robert Downey Jr.’s face — we may be seeing that feature in action for the first time.

Unfortunately, something is wrong. Not only are only fragments of the armor attached, but they appear to be shorting out — perhaps because they need the entire suit to function properly?

Another difficult question to answer is: Who are the unfriendlies with the machine guns?

In Extremis, Stark was doing battle with a domestic terrorist militia who had created their own “biological combat machine.” Whoever they are, they look to be confronting him in a home, judging by the archways in the background. Is this Stark’s beachfront place? It’s not unreasonable to assume that rogue states, terrorists and no-goodniks of all stripes might try to jack some of the hardware Stark keeps in his basement.

Or it could be our own government, tired of asking nice for Stark to share his fancy suit. The movie also features the red, white, and blue antihero Iron Patriot, so we could be seeing our own boys in this image, raiding a guy they consider to be harboring weapons of mass destruction.

These could also merely be the henchmen of The Mandarin, Iron Man’s longtime comic-book nemesis, rumored to be played by Ben Kingsley in the movie.

Specific answers, if they come at all, will be at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation July 14.

For now, let the analysis and guessing commence …

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Iron Man 3
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