At first glance, one might think Total Experience's power is to coat himself in a form of organic metal that is impervious to injury. This, however, is a critical misinterpretation of what actually occurs when he activates his ability. In the instant that Edward wills himself to transform, the mighty electrogenesis effect which originally empowered him subtly flares throughout every cell in his body. The result is not a coating of organic metal, but a full-scale conversion of every living cell in Edward's body into a form of techno-organic nanite.
These powerful nanites naturally arrange themselves in approximate configuration to his biological form, invariably adding mass and definition to his muscles and subtly changing the contours of his face. They also replace every single organ, bone, nerve, and muscle in his body for the duration of his transformation. This is why it is more accurate to state that Experience's ability is not to cover his body in metal, but to fully transform into a robotic being controlled by his consciousness. Thus, whenever he activates his power, he completely evolves his biology into a techno-organic form. This is why his superhuman strength is accompanied by enhanced senses, brainpower, and generally superior functioning.
When Experience reverts to human form, he undergoes the same process in reverse. The nanites which compose his body reconstruct organic cells around themselves and recede into a microverse, called forth only when he taps into the electrogenesis effect. They effectively shrink away, leaving behind the skin and flesh of an ordinary man. This reconstruction will not include injuries sustained by the Platinum Star in his transformed state; if he loses a tooth in his super-form, for instance, that tooth would be re-grown upon return to human form. However, the "memory blueprint" of the nanomachines will still include the lost tooth when he transforms again in the future. In short, injuries sustained by Experience are not carried over to his human form, though they will persist when he transforms again. The only way for them to heal in his transformed state is if he remains a metal man for the duration of the process.
The process of Edward's transformations was initially involuntary, because it was occurring at a subconscious level. His body sensed that it was in danger from the strain of receiving superpowers and automatically transformed into a nanite mass. As Ed testified in his first interview, he was initially completely unable to move, a consciousness trapped in a metal body. It was only through intense focus that his mind was able to interface with the nanomachines and command itself to function properly. The initial trauma of transforming into a metal being and back was overwhelming, and it took two weeks before Edward recovered.
However, the potential for involuntarily transforming remains, in the event that Edward endures unexpected trauma. He need not be consciously aware of a threat to his life in order to transform. Enduring a powerful enough trauma to endanger his life would cause his power to flare, immediately converting him into Total Experience. For example, if Edward were poisoned without his knowledge, he might transform the moment he went into cardiac arrest. Likewise, if he were to be shot or stabbed, the adrenal surge would trigger the conversion, though with possibly dangerous side effects.
There is, of course, the question of what fuels Total Experience in his nanomachine-converted state. Ordinary human bodies derive energy to move from caloric intake. Any feat requiring physical or mental expenditure invariably relies on consuming enough food to fuel the biological process. As a fully-transformed MUSCLE MACHINE, Experience obviously does not eat, nor does he need water or air. He also does not derive his energy from sunlight. His body, unlike that of a robot's, is not electrical. No signals travel through his nano-brain that could be described as electric in any sense, and he cannot amplify his strength by grabbing onto an exposed wire and siphoning energy out of it (as one bootleg comic book depicts).
No, Edward's feats of strength are fueled entirely by electrogenesis energy. These particles of creation empowered numerous beings throughout the 21st Century, imbuing them with abilities far beyond those of mortal men. In apparent violation of the laws of physics, these energies enabled their wielders to fly, project intense concussive and thermal force, survive indefinitely with no food or water, and more. In his converted state, Edward's nanite body acts like a receiver of these subtle energies, and can even mimic them. His metal cells radiate power, the same power they use to move, regenerate themselves, and ultimately perform feats of a superheroic nature.
In short, Total Experience does not need oxygen, food, or light because his converted body is imbued with these exotic energies. Though locked away behind layers of indestructible shielding, his nanite heart is a power core of potent make whose ultimate output rivals that of a nuclear reactor. The statuesque form he takes merely converts this energy into physical movement with impossibly broad potential. Were it not for his thick skin, he would read as extremely radioactive; however, the same energy which gives off this radioactivity loops itself into a nanite shield, counteracting the effects of this unrestrained power before they can ever even be measured. When Edward transforms, he transforms into a living reactor of exotic energies encased within a metallic body.
Furthermore, his consciousness appears to be immanent within these energies. Ed's memories, desires, and mental state are not written into a "computer program" that is embedded within the nanite brain when he transforms; rather, they are converted into the same exotic energies which power him and connected to the outside world through the nanite body's perceptive apparatus. At the moment of transformation, his physical body does not contain his (for lack of a better term) soul, but rather, serves as a host for a kind of energy ghost. His consciousness is thus preserved through every transformation.
Currently, Ed has only a limited ability to tap into these exotic energies. He uses them unconsciously to sustain his movements, lift great weights, and endure fantastic attacks. He has never physically expended enough energy to result in breaking down the outer layers of shielding which compose his metal body. However, these powerful energies do result in subtle electric interactions with his environment, producing his signature magnetic charge, which he has used for creative purposes in the past.
When transformed, Total Experience's body is completely made up of individuated nanites which come together like the cells of a body to form one coherent whole. However, unlike a human body, his converted metal form is thoroughly optimized for maximum movement. Experience does not tire unless forced to expend huge amounts of energy (such as from enduring massive blunt force trauma, temperature extremes, etc.) and his every movement is guided by absolute clarity of thought. Human muscles are imprecise; his enhanced tissues, on the other hand, work like machines. He can execute any action with the exactness of a machine while retaining the adaptability of a human soul. For example, with a simple pencil and paper, he can perfectly sketch anything he sees, because there is a 1:1 relationship between what he envisions happening in his mind and what his body can carry out.
This precision, naturally, extends to combat as well. Though he lacks formal training in any martial arts discipline, Total Experience can keep up with experts in combat on account of his highly precise and adaptive style. There is little chance that he can lose his balance or footing while executing a maneuver because his mechanical body naturally functions at a higher level of dexterity than would be possible for a normal human. His lack of a conventional nervous system and strengthened equilibrium render him resilient against nerve-punches and dizzying attacks (such as kidney strikes) which would debilitate an ordinary fighter, enabling him to counter-punch with extreme force. Finally, he is fast and precise enough to engage foes who blitz, a common tactic of superhumanly-powerful metas and alien beings alike.
Experience's accuracy of motion enables him to perform great feats of strength and coordination, such as leaping enormous distances, spotting and intercepting a meteor moments after it entered the atmosphere, propelling a quarter into a bank robber's hand without harming a hostage, or vaulting over traffic at super-speed without breaking stride.
Likewise, the human body will often twitch unconsciously, or naturally wobble. No person can truly hold themselves as still as a statue, because their biology forbids it. Total Experience, on the other hand, can operate with what could only be termed absolute stability. He can hold himself still without wavering as casually as one might close their eyes. The result is that he can actually perform extraordinarily precise work with his hands, such as twisting a screw into a machine like a drill using only his fingertips. He can adjust his body language, control his expressions, and move with surprising grace despite his large size.
Naturally, Total Experience's nanites will better identify and fight back against external invaders to his body than would a human body. Given that he retains "imitation organs" made of nanomachines, he can still ingest food and breathe air; it stands to reason that his body would still be susceptible to disease. However, his body is far more effective at resisting viral agents and poisons on account of the fact that individual nanites can actually be deployed to hunt down and destroy these intruders on a molecular level. These "total antibodies" work only within his closed anatomical system, but are highly effective at targeting any diseases he might contract in the line of duty.
Total Experience profoundly outperforms any conventional organism when it comes to his sensory suite. For starters, his eyes are extremely precise, more akin to high-powered cameras with variable lenses which can take in a host of information at any given time and over a wide range of distances. Though they seem on the surface to be largely featureless silver orbs, they can subtly alter their structure to enhance the micro-lenses which take in light, giving him both a variety of telescopic and microscopic vision. These eyes can also track the motion of insanely fast targets with ease, and coupled with his high reaction times and extremely precise control of his body, T.E. can perform feats which appear to the layman like superspeed, even if he does not, strictly speaking, possess this power.
The lenses over his eyes will dilate in low-light environments and constrict themselves if overloaded, enabling him to operate in both dark places and look at bright objects without being harmed. This process is roughly instantaneous and unconsciously carried out. A flashbang, for instance, might stun him and interrupt his vision, though he would not experience lasting harm or even lingering effects after his eyes had adjusted themselves.
Likewise, his aural senses are extremely keen. His ears can pick up sound from extremely far away and naturally filter out specific noises. Experience has trained himself to filter out ordinary sounds in favor of distinct sounds which indicate danger, such as the noise from firearms, explosions, or sonic booms from breaking the sound barrier (possibly indicative of metahuman activity). He does not possess the same equilibrium as an organic human and so cannot be discombobulated by sonic interference nor can his ears be "blown out" by shockwaves.
Experience's sense of touch is linked to his highly advanced nervous network, itself made up of nanomachines. The signals they send throughout his body are intended, first and foremost, to inform him of changes in his environment and allow him to successfully navigate it. This means that he can still experience pain, as pain is an important warning of danger. However, his body can endure significant amounts of pain without simply shutting off from the trauma, given his enhanced internal structure. He processes pain in a wholly different way, one which interferes less with his capacity to act. His nervous system is similar to a human's but has the capacity to shut down parts of it when under extreme trauma, numbing him to pain at the expense of some loss of coordination.
Experience's reflexes and mental speed dwarf that of an ordinary man. He can react to extremely quick events within his field of view with no issue, and his memory is sharp enough to record whatever he notices perfectly. When he transforms into his metal form, he possesses perfect automatic recall of anything he perceives or has perceived in the past while transformed. This perfect recall and higher mental acuity is lost when he changes back into a human, though he will of course still remember anything that happens to him in both forms. While transformed, he possesses the precision of sight and mental clarity to perceive bullets traveling through the air, and can even react quickly enough to dodge or intercept them - something most people don't expect from someone they simply evaluate as a metal bruiser.
Total Experience retains the senses of both smell and taste while transformed, though they can be selectively sharpened or deadened as the situation calls for.
The most basic application of Total Experience's ability to transform into an exotic energy reactor surrounded by a muscle-machine shell is to lift, press, and strike objects with unthinkable force. He has the capacity to channel the energies inside of him to move his nanomachine frame with immense power, boasting a self-reinforcing armored body which can run alongside trains, support the weight of entire buildings on its back, or punch through sheer walls without harming itself in the slightest.
Experience's body in its transformed state can withstand gargantuan pressure without collapsing, apply extreme force through punches or kicks, and leap massive distances with one bound. He is immune to conventional firearms, and even wounding him would reveal equally-durable internals that would begin a process of self-repair provided he had enough energy. In the event that he were so brutalized that he could not recover in his transformed state, it's theorized that he would fall into a coma of sorts to allow for the accelerated healing process to begin. The extent of what he would be able to restore is unknown, especially unaided.
In a close-range fight, Experience is a terror, especially if he isn't holding back. Nearly all of the time, he does not move as quickly or powerfully as he could, as the collateral damage doing so would cause would be outrageous.
Experience's nanomechanical body is, under standard circumstances, non-magnetic. However, as a result of the exotic energies coursing through his system, he can selectively put off very strong magnetic fields of variable intensity. There have been, in the past, very bizarre interactions between T.E. and electromagnetic artifacts in his surrounding environment. His body can pick up on transmitted signals like an antenna, feeling them move through the air, and, at will, conduct electricity into himself like a lightning rod.
Experience can, through force of will, powerfully magnetize himself. Any metal objects of lesser mass than he are instantly attracted to his form, a skill he has used to disarm gunmen on more than one occasion. He can also magnetize bullets, drawing them into himself rather than other targets. In the event that he magnetizes himself and there is a metal object of greater mass nearby, he will be attracted to it. He once used this ability to stick to the roof of a speeding train. Another time, he used a magnetic field to spin himself at extreme velocities by alternating between repulsive and attractive forces.
These magnetic fields can be individually squeezed around his hands to produce a number of effects. He has employed electromagnetic forces around his finger to launch metal coins at targets like a railgun, the concussive strength of each projectile being determined by the amount of force he uses.