Ok, here we go...
Extremis, in and of itself, is not antithical to Iron Man's person. Many of the powers it grants Tony Stark are things he could already do with less explanation. The only thing it really did for him was the healing factor, and lets face it, every super hero on Marvel Earth has that these days. (Whether or not they should is a completely different topic).
Extremis is like the armor: neither inherently good or bad, in that I will agree. But the problem is that when Tony got it, he became more than human and started acted as such. The once supremely outgoing and personable man was replaced with a strict, detached businessman who was more interested in the bottom line, and using his powers for multitasking more so than anything else. I don’t agree that it is just an explanation for stuff he could do before. He couldn’t have five meetings at once or read his email directly with his brain. He still had to do things like every normal human.
Throughout the years, Tony has augmented or saved himself through artifical means several times, from his first pacemaker-armor to his artificial nervous system, the concept is not new to Iron Man. The fact that he can now put on his Armor with a thought is a bit jarring at first, but not outside the progression of technology that Tony's been working on since '63. I propose that it only seems odd because as of late, authors have been slowing down and depowering Iron Man from his origional abilities. Back in the 60s, IM repeatedly stated that it took him 'mere seconds' to go from suitcase to fully armored, which is hardly more believable than the current telekinesis.
He’s been augmented, but nothing that really made him super human so to speak. Yes he had a pacemaker and artificial heart, but were they ever as good as the heart he was born with before the shrapnel? I don’t think so, especially when he had to keep recharging his heart. And the artificial nervous system didn’t allow him any more benefits than it did draw backs really. He went in and fixed the coding, but that’s what happened when he had neural feedback/ was attacked mentally. So while it did not physically get damaged, it did not physically repair on it’s own either. I would count those as different augmentations because those were meant solely to keep him alive and really added no enhanced strengths. Extremis makes him more than the average guy on the street.
The cyberpathy, while odd, was done occasionally back in volume one, it just used to require his armor be on at the time. It seems massively confusing to me as well, as a Computer Science major, I can firmly say "Computers don't work like that." As long as he keeps primarily to computers or other devices with wireless connections of some form I'm fine with it, but when he starts hacking into CCTV... that's when I get edgy. But hey, it's a superhero comic, let him do superheroic things.
The cyberpathy was different though. Telepresence makes you feel like you’re there, its not totally the same. And the saga with Vor/tex he downloaded his mind into cyberspace, it wasn’t quite the same as being connected to it like the internet. He wasn’t in his body at the time, which is how Vor/tex took over. And I don’t mind the exaggerated computer abilities in comics. They’re about fantasy, I say go with it.
While I will give that the Extremis story arc had many problems, the powerset is not responsible for many of them. My first problem with the arc is that it's slow paced and the art kind of sucks. Keep in mind I picked it up as a trade a year after it was origionally done, I really feel sorry for those of you who had to wait (I'm told) a year and a half for it to come out one issue at a time. There are many panels (and even pages) without accompanying text, no witty banter, no thought boxes (they don't use balloons anymore, but boxes are used on occasion) explaining what he's doing, just pictures that are kind of eh showing things. There's a part in the middle where Mallen goes on a killing spree for two and a half pages, and then it shows two panels of Tony finding out about it... while it could have been done in just those two panels. The introductions of Sal and Maya are a bit sketchy, apparently they're both people from his college days that he never mentioned before... meanwhile Rhodey, Happy, and Pepper are no where to be seen. Eh.
It wasn’t the arc itself that made me mad, it’s the powers that have been given t him. I wont disagree it was ridiculous how long it took, but it’s the whole idea of the arc in reinventing a character that didn’t need reinvented, just some writers that weren’t too lazy to read some back issues.
While I disagree with Warren Ellis's storyline and pacing and Garanov's art (am I seriously the only person that doesn't like it?), I am glad that the Knauf's are trying to do something with it. Their aforementioned lack of computer knowledge is excusable, as long as they keep the storyline interesting. Using the side-effects of Extremis as an excuse for Tony's increasing jackassery is good, and explains some of the more 'evil' things he's done during Civil War (I'm looking at you, 42). The Knauf's are doing a very good job of showing Tony's increasing sense of dispair and anxiety about everything. I fully expect them to get rid of Extremis eventually, but they'll do it in a well planned and in-continuity way. (If you want my theory, I'll start a new thread). They said in an article that "Execute Program" was a teaching experience, and it appears they have learned very well. Everything since has been pure gold.
It is nice to see the Knaufs running with it, and I agree about the storyline. It’s more about balance and story than it is knowledge. I go refer back to Kaminski who knew technology but also knew not to be over bearing with it and keep it in layman’s terms.
But what bugs me is when you said “using the side-effects of Extremis as an excuse for Tony’s increasing jackassery” That’s the problem I have with it. Tony isn’t a jackass. He never was until extremis. That is why I am saying extremis is derailing his character because all of a sudden he’s acting completely different. If Cap gets resurrected (or should I say when?), what if he was given another super soldier serum to make his recovery full, but it turned him into an aggressive, murdering anti-hero a la the Punisher? Would that still be considered Captain America? What if when the Hulk returns instead going “Hulk smash!” he said “let’s talk?” It’s completely out of place for the characters, and it’s not the characteristics that allowed them to grow popular.
And no, I am not big on Granov’s art either. His work on covers are much better than his page by page art in my opinion.
So in the end, Extremis did not kill Iron Man. Warren Ellis did a good job kicking him in the ribs and putting him in critical condition, but Danny and Charlie Knauf are doing their best to get him out of the hospital. And despite the recent faceplate incident, Ed Brubaker is helping too.
I am going to continue to say that yes, it did. I understand your arguments, but I think there are fundamental differences between them and extremis.