The answer by @Bevan to this question made me wonder: how exactly does the paralyzing device used by Obadiah work ?
I'll take the liberty of re-using his screenshot here.
As mentioned in the above question and answers, this is seen used in the first Iron Man movie. It obviously operates in a 'sonic' way, as Obadiah uses some kind of noise-cancelling ear plugs if you will, so he is not affected by it. But how can the device have such a big effect ? I can understand that sound can make you very uncomfortable, but weakening and disabling a person (for a prolonged time) entirely ... ?
The black, vein-like stuff that appears on Tony's face, I'll just take as extra dramatic effect for cinematic purposes.
Although I'm primarily familiar with the movies' canon, any other canon will do as well.