- "President Ellis, you continue to resist my attempts to educate you, sir. And now, you’ve missed me again. You know who I am, you don't know where I am, and you’ll never see me coming."
- ―Trevor Slattery to Matthew Ellis
Aldrich Killian's War was a series of attacks executed by Aldrich Killian in his plan to gain control of the United States of America. Using Maya Hansen's research on the Extremis virus, Killian turned dozens of amputees and other disabled people into loyal super soldiers.
When several of Killian's failed experiments resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, he decided to masquerade them as terrorist attacks and hired actor Trevor Slattery to take responsibility by posing as the Mandarin, the leader of the Ten Rings.
Killian's final goal was to assassinate the President of the United States and replace him with his pawn, Vice President Rodriguez. This would allow him to create a system of supply and demand for his Extremis Soldiers, all while controlling both sides of the "War on Terror", as well as the federal government. However, Killian was stopped by Iron Man and Iron Patriot in the Battle on the Norco.
A.I.M. provided an Extremis user named Jack Taggart more dosage of the Extremis virus, thus causing the destruction of the Chinese Theatre with Taggart accidentally exploding from an Extremis malfunction. During this incident, Tony Stark's personal assistant and friend for years, Happy Hogan, was greatly injured.
After the explosion, Stark visited Happy at the Los Angeles Mercy Hospital. When leaving, Stark was followed by multiple reporters asking why he has not killed the Mandarin yet. To this, he threatened the Mandarin on live television, giving him his address.
Maya Hansen, Tony Stark's old lover, confronted him at his home, seemingly warning him about the effects of his recent public warning. Pepper Potts appeared and told Stark that it was time for them to leave until they are attacked by several helicopters, lead by Eric Savin. Stark signaled his armor onto Pepper, protecting her. Once Pepper had gotten Hansen to safety, Stark summoned the armor back to himself, fending off the several helicopters surrounding him. After being out-gunned, Stark was pulled into the ocean while his home demolished over him, with him barely escaping.
Stark in Tennessee
Tony Stark found himself in rural Rose Hill, Tennessee after J.A.R.V.I.S. followed his initial flight plan to find the Mandarin. Lacking the power to return to California, Stark allowed the world to believe he was dead. He sent a private call, hoping for Pepper Potts to hear. Apologizing for putting her in harm's way, Stark stated that he cannot return home yet until he found and stopped the Mandarin.
Search for the Real Mandarin
Infiltrating Aldrich Killian's Mansion, Tony Stark discovered that the Mandarin is not really a terrorist, rather a British actor employed by Aldrich Killian to act as a threat to America, covering up Killian's test-subjects/Extremis program. Stark was however knocked unconscious by Eric Savin who took him to Killian. Being held in captivity, he was pressed by Killian to work for him, causing Hansen to have a change of heart regarding Killian's plans. Tony Stark witnessed Killian murder Maya Hansen and discovered that he had captured Pepper Potts and was infecting her with Extremis. Summoning his Mark XLII all the way from Harley Keener's house, Stark escaped captivity and defeated several guards.
Tony Stark reunited with James Rhodes who revealed that Eric Savin had taken control of the Iron Patriot armor, intending to launch an attack on President Matthew Ellis aboard Air Force One. Remotely controlling his armor, Stark sent it aboard the plane and killed Savin by blasting a hole through his chest. The armor then exited the plane and saved the surviving passengers and crew but was unable to rescue Ellis from Killian who already exited him from the plane in the Iron Patriot armor.
Tony Stark and James Rhodes traced Aldrich Killian to the decommissioned oil-tanker, the Norco, where he intended to kill President Matthew Ellis on live television. Sneaking in, they were attacked by several Extremis soldiers. Over-powered, Stark summoned the Iron Legion to their aid (controlled by J.A.R.V.I.S.) except the Mark XLII, which was running late after trying to save the President in Air Force One.
Stark found Pepper Potts under wreckage when Killian unexpectedly attacked him and began burning through his suit, forcing him to eject from it before he summoned another. Coming to Pepper's aid once again, Stark was unable to reach her and watched in horror as she fell into a pit of fire to a certain death. Enraged, Stark engaged in a fight with Killian.
As Killian proved his Extremis abilities could cut through the armor with ease, Stark again exited his suit to avoid defeat. Standing over a platform, Stark, now armorless, awaited the Mark XLII but is defeated when it simply crashed into a wall. As Killian began to boast of himself, Stark summoned the Mark XLII onto Killian, trapping him. He then ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to let it self-destruct while he escaped.
Jumping into another suit, Tony Stark escaped the explosion and crashed to the ground. Suddenly, Killian emerged from the flames, still intent on Stark's death, revealing himself to be the true Mandarin. Just before he could make an attack, Pepper struck him to the ground, still alive due to the Extremis. Using a repulsor she took from a stray Iron Man suit, she was able to finish Killian off.