Mandarin (comics)

Mandarin (comics)
The Mandarin
The Mandarin.
Art by Robert De La Torre.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Tales of Suspense #50 (February 1964)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
Don Heck (artist)
In-story information
Team affiliations Mandarin's Minions
Masters of Evil
Notable aliases Gene Khan, Zhang Tong, Tem Borjigin
Abilities Scientific genius
Superhumanly skilled martial artist
Ten rings grant various powers.
Altered in-story information for adaptations to other media
Alter ego Arnold Brock - The Iron Man TV Series

The Mandarin is a fictional character, a Marvel Comics supervillain and the archenemy of Iron Man.[1][2][3]

In 2009, Mandarin was ranked as IGN's 81st Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[4]


Publication history

The Mandarin first appeared in Tales of Suspense #50 (February 1964), written by Stan Lee, who created the character, and illustrated by Don Heck, who initially designed the character.

Fictional character biography


The Mandarin's late father was one of the wealthiest men in pre-revolutionary mainland China (and a descendant of Genghis Khan), while his late mother was an English noblewoman. Their son was born in an unnamed village in mainland China before the Communist revolution. The boy's parents died soon after his birth, and he was raised by his (paternal) aunt, who was embittered against the world and raised him with much the same attitude. Every last bit of the family fortune was spent obsessively training the Mandarin in science and combat, with the result that he was completely broke upon reaching adulthood. Unable to pay the taxes on his ancestral home, the Mandarin was evicted by the government.[5]

Hoping to find a means of avenging himself upon the civilization that had taxed him and rendered him homeless, the Mandarin explored the forbidden "Valley of Spirits," where no one had dared to set foot for centuries.[5] There he found the skeleton and starship of Axonn-Karr, an intelligent dragon-like alien from the planet Maklu IV, who had come to Earth centuries ago and died. Over the following years, the Mandarin studied Makluan science until he mastered it. He also learned how to use the ten rings he found within the starship which were apparently its propulsion source, among other things. The Mandarin then became a conqueror and subjugated the villages around the Valley, and, through his advanced science, rapidly became a power that not even the Chinese Army could successfully challenge. He then embarked on a long series of attempts to achieve world domination. The Chinese, though fearing him, asked for his help, but he would not become subserviant to them.

The Mandarin sees technology as the surest means to achieve his goals. Over the years, he has frequently attempted to turn the weapons of various nations against them. Among the Mandarin's earliest schemes is the sabotage and theft of American missiles and spy planes built by Tony Stark. To restore public confidence in his workmanship, Stark donned his Iron Man armor and flew to China to investigate.[6] Iron Man soon became the Mandarin's principal obstacle against his plans for world domination.

The cover of Tales of Suspense #50, February 1964. Art by Jack Kirby. First appearance of the Mandarin.

On three occasions in their early confrontations, the Mandarin managed to take Iron Man (or his alter ego Tony Stark) captive, but the Mandarin failed to kill him. Similarly, Iron Man thwarted the Mandarin's various schemes, but was unable to bring him to justice. Some of the Mandarin's early technological achievements are the launching of a small orbiting satellite whose "death-ray" he aims at Stark Industries and the building (later retconned as "the reprogramming, the refitting, and the recharging") of Ultimo, a 30-foot (9.1 m) android possessing vast destructive powers. The Mandarin would employ Ultimo four times over the years, but it was always defeated by Iron Man.

The Mandarin's teleportation technology, derived from Makluan science, enables him to kidnap people at will or teleport himself out of threatening situations. He teleported the Swordsman to his castle just before the Avengers captured him, plotting to use him to destroy the Avengers and adding technology to his sword to aid him, though the Swordsman betrayed him and threw the bomb away. During his fifth encounter with Iron Man, the Mandarin teleported Harold "Happy" Hogan, a friend and confidant of Iron Man, to his castle in China half a world away. Hogan was wearing the Iron Man armor at the time to help protect his employer's secret identity, and the Mandarin mistook him for his true foe. In rescuing Hogan, Iron Man physically bested the Mandarin in personal combat for the first time. Iron Man redirected the missiles that the Mandarin had launched so that they hit the Mandarin's castle, destroying it. The Mandarin escaped by means of his teleportation machinery, and he materialized aboard his orbiting satellite. There, he constructed a gemlike device capable of broadcasting "hate-rays" toward Earth. The Mandarin, using his teleportation technology, assembled several of the former Masters of Evil to perform missions for him: the Living Laser who attacked Asia with Ultimo but was beaten by Thor and Hawkeye, the original Power Man and the Swordsman, who with an army of mercanaries attacked a South American country but were beaten by Goalith, the Wasp, and Iron Man, the Enchantress, and the Executioner, who led an army of Trolls in Africa, but were beaten by Hercules and the Scarlet Witch. The Avengers managed to thwart the Mandarin's scheme after getting to the satellite, despite being hit by his Hate-Rays that made them fight the person nearest to themselves. However the Wasp was nearest to the Mandarin and her attack on him shut off the rays. The Mandarin was sucked into space and the Avengers were able to destroy his satellite.

The Mandarin then established a base in China's Gobi Desert and turned his attention to the Hulk for a time, hoping to make the dull-witted brute an accomplice. Two attempts at controlling the Hulk proved futile, however, including one where the Mandarin allied himself with the American criminal the Sandman. The Hulk destroyed the Mandarin's desert base. When the Mandarin next attacked Iron Man, he employed an android in the Hulk's likeness rather than the real Hulk. The Mandarin set up a makeshift base of operations in America, and attempted to discredit Anthony Stark publicly. Holding Iron Man captive for the fourth time, the Mandarin tried to learn if Iron Man was actually Stark, but Stark fooled him with a rubber mask over his own features. His plans thwarted, the Mandarin tried to kill Stark's current girlfriend, Janice Cord, but the Mandarin's betrothed Mei Ling saved her at the cost of her own life.

New bodies

Returning to China, the Mandarin sought a means to increase his rings' power and learned of the legendary Eye of Yin, a talisman of power created by an ancient group of Chinese sorcerers. The Mandarin manipulated the Royal Family of the Inhumans, who lived, at the time, in the nearby Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, into locating the idol for him. Yet before he could fully incorporate the Eye's power in his rings, Black Bolt, the ruler of the Inhumans, overpowered him, stripped him of his ten rings, and hid them. Unable to find the rings, the Mandarin journeyed back to the "Valley of Spirits" and the ruins of the Makluan starship wherein he first acquired the rings. There he found a headband containing technology which enabled him to recover the rings. The Mandarin used his newfound power to restore his castle to its original state. The Unicorn, another frequent opponent of Iron Man, sought the Mandarin's aid in curing him of a progressive disease. The Mandarin and the Unicorn traveled to America to attack their common enemy, Iron Man, but in the heat of battle the Mandarin found that the headband had somehow exchanged his consciousness with that of the Unicorn. The Mandarin was forced to flee, desperate to separate himself from the Unicorn's dying body.[7]

When the Mandarin arrived at his castle in China, he found that it had been taken over by the Yellow Claw, another professional criminal and warlord of Chinese origin. The Mandarin was forced to find another laboratory to try to restore his mind back to its rightful body, which he managed with the unwilling aid of the Japanese mutant Sunfire.[volume & issue needed] In battle with Iron Man again, the Mandarin's interim headquarters was destroyed. The Mandarin then launched an attack on the Yellow Claw in an attempt to regain his own castle, but was fatally injured when the Yellow Claw robot he had been battling exploded. As the Mandarin was dying, he used the headband's mind-transferring capacities to transfer his consciousness into his ten rings.[volume & issue needed] When the rings were confiscated by the Yellow Claw's power-hungry servant Loc Do, the Mandarin's consciousness entered his body, permanently driving out Loc Do's. Using his matter-rearranger ring, the Mandarin transformed Loc Do's body into a younger duplicate of his own original one.[8]

The Mandarin returned to his castle, discovering that it had again been destroyed. After rebuilding it, the Mandarin attempted to capture Iron Man with his teleportation devices, but once again caught someone else clad in his armor. This time it was Michael O'Brien, later to become a friend of Stark's and second to wear the Guardsman armor. Iron Man flew to O'Brien's rescue, clad in an old set of armor, saved O'Brien, thwarted the Mandarin's attempt to bomb the United States, and for a second time bested him in personal combat. Perhaps due to the effect of the Mandarin's mental domination ring on him, Iron Man did not take the Mandarin into custody, but allowed him to remain free.[9]

The Mandarin later schemed to turn the Great Vibranium Mound of Wakanda into Type II Vibranium, which destroys the molecular cohesion of metals. He also tried to destroy China's entire rice crop with radiation in an attempt to force a starving nation into war. In the second of these plots, the Mandarin encountered James Rhodes during Rhodes's custodianship of the Iron Man armor.[10]

Heart of Darkness

When Stark tried to set up a branch of Stark Enterprises in Hong Kong, Iron Man and the Mandarin once again came into conflict. The Mandarin had taken the name of Zhang Tong, and had become a financial leader in Hong Kong. As Tong, he controlled a number of government officials and industry leaders of Hong Kong. The Mandarin thwarted all of Stark's attempts to set up a business branch, even resorting to murder. The Mandarin now employed a group called the Hand to do his dirty work. When on a mission, a Hand member is allowed to take one of the Mandarin's rings and use its powers. As a precaution, if the Hand member were to be captured, he would fanatically try to kill himself. If the Hand member were to be killed or knocked out, the ring would automatically teleport back to the Mandarin. The Mandarin's agents kidnapped James Rhodes and several of Stark's other employees, forcing Iron Man into single combat in exchange for their lives. Iron Man defeated the Mandarin once again, and helped Stark's employees escape the Hand. Ironically, the Mandarin's minions were left without their weapons when their master was knocked unconscious, causing his rings to teleport back to him automatically and leaving them unarmed and unable to stop Stark's employees from fleeing.[volume & issue needed] At one point, during a period in which the then thought-dead X-Men had disbanded, the mutant heroine Psylocke passed through the mystic portal known as the Siege Perilous. The portal relocated her to an Asian shore, leaving her an amnesiac. The man known as Matsu'o Tsurayaba found her and believed he could save his brain-dead lover Kwannon by switching her mind with Psylocke.[volume & issue needed]

He made an arrangement with the Mandarin to help him with the switch, since his rings would be able to cause the mind-switch. Working with the woman known as Spiral, they were able to switch the minds of the two women. Mandarin then put Psylocke (now in Kwannon's body) through conditioning, causing her to believe herself to be Lady Mandarin, the Mandarin's assassin. During this time, the Mandarin teamed up with several other villains during the Acts of Vengeance. He also confronted the Avengers.[volume & issue needed]

After completing several assignments for him, Psylocke was eventually rescued by her X-Men teammate Wolverine and his then-sidekick, Jubilee. The three then defeated the Mandarin, causing events which led to the Mandarin's leaving the Hand.[volume & issue needed]

Some time later, the Mandarin discovered that one of his rings was an elaborate counterfeit. One of his underlings had betrayed him, surrendering the ring to Chen Hsu, an ancient wizard who lived in San Francisco. Hsu, elfin in appearance but puissant in power, gave up the ring to the Mandarin, who, however, collapsed as soon as he put it on. Chen Hsu tended to him, removing the veil of confusion from his mind; soon the Mandarin realized that his memories had been fragmented because of the theft of the ring, because the rings were still linked to his consciousness.[volume & issue needed]

Next Chen Hsu made the Mandarin a strange offer which involved the two of them traveling to the Valley of the Dragons. There, he used a magic herb to awaken Fin Fang Foom, an ancient and incredibly powerful dragon. Under the control of Hsu, the dragon obeyed the Mandarin, laying waste to an army sent by the Chinese government to stop him. Soon the Mandarin claimed a third of China's territory, and the authorities sent out a call for help to the only man who had consistently defeated him or had had any effectiveness in foiling his plans: Iron Man.[volume & issue needed]

When Iron Man confronted the Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom, it soon became clear that there were other plans in motion: eight other dragons appeared. It was revealed that, many thousands of years ago, a number of aliens from the planet Kakaranathara, planet number IV of the star Maklu, had traveled to Earth to look for the conflict which was unknown in their culture and which they craved. The ship had crashed, forcing them to stay on Earth for thousands of years. Then, the Mandarin had found the ship and had claimed their rings. Now, they demanded them back, but he refused them. Iron Man forcibly combined his power with the rings, and managed to destroy the Makluan dragons. The Mandarin survived in a comatose state, but his hands were vaporized in the blast.[volume & issue needed]

For months, he lay in a state between life and death, in the care of a peasant woman who did not even know who he was. Over time, his hands grew back, though they did so as reptilian claws, and the rings called to him again, to reclaim them.[volume & issue needed]

The Mandarin next discovered the Heart of Darkness, an orb of apparently mystic energy; the alien Century believed it was an ancient artifact which acted as a "lens" to attract and focus all manner of dark power.[11] The Mandarin used its power to turn back time in China, and literally transformed it into a feudal nation again, one in which electronic equipment could not operate.[12] Iron Man, with his team Force Works and ally War Machine defeated him, but not before the Mandarin discovered that Tony Stark was the man inside the Iron Man armor.[13]

Iron Man infected the Mandarin with a techno-organic virus, and the Heart, seeing him infected with technology, rejected the Mandarin and imploded. Iron Man believed him dead, though in reality the Mandarin had been transported and transformed, by the last flare of the orb's magic, into a janitor in the Hong Kong branch of Stark Enterprises.[14]

Eventually, the Mandarin's memories returned to him. Instead of trying to crush technology, the Mandarin believed that the feudalism of yesterday had merely been transformed into the capitalism of today. This led the Mandarin to set into motion plans to create a giant flying fortress, called the Dragon of Heaven, through which he could conquer Russia and eventually the world.[15] During this time, Iron Man reappeared after being believed dead in a battle against the psychic menace Onslaught. The Mandarin initiated a series of attacks on Iron Man,[16] culminating in a battle with the Dragon of Heaven.[17] Eventually it was revealed that the Mandarin's primary purpose had not been to conquer Russia, but instead to test Iron Man himself, prove him worthy as a foe, and to justify the Mandarin's own thoughts on the feudal nature of capitalism. The Mandarin seemed to die as the Dragon of Heaven exploded, but Iron Man was less than convinced that his foe had truly met his end.[18]


Despite the uncertainty of his fate, it would be nearly ten years before the Mandarin returned to the pages of his foe's comic. In the interim, the Golden Avenger faced Temugin, the son of the Mandarin. Temugin had precious few memories of his father, and most of them involved his father taking him to the monastery where he was raised and trained by monks. Temugin was sensitive, spiritual, and unbelievably powerful because of his control of chi, the living force in all things.[volume & issue needed]

One day, Temugin received a package containing the severed hands of the Mandarin, bearing all the rings of power. Temugin knew that he was honor-bound to fulfill his father's wishes for him. He challenged Iron Man in order to avenge his father’s death, and he proved a deadly adversary even without the rings.[19]

After Tony Stark revealed a conspiracy for mass murder in his own ranks, Temugin appeared to have forgiven Iron Man for the death of his father and to have turned to more lofty pursuits, but events indicated that the evil power of the rings had corrupted his soul.[volume & issue needed]

Temugin had been named after his, and the Mandarin's, claimed ancestor Genghis Khan, whose birth name was Temujin (also spelled Temuchin, Temudjin, u also variates to ü).[volume & issue needed]

Temugin was later contacted by the double-crossing Spot, who promptly handed over a super-weapon that MODOK had been planning to steal. In this appearance, Temugin spoke of the Mandarin as "My Late Father," and bore the rings, one of which he used to imprison Spot in another dimension with nothing but money. In the following issue, the Puma tore off at least one of his hands, but despite this, he retained at least half of the rings - and possibly all, as Nightshade, who used the rings on his lost hand, was not seen with them at the end of the story.[20]

Nevertheless, he later lost the rings (or perhaps discarded them), and reappeared - with a cybernetic arm - as a member of the Atlas Foundation, having been selected as a secondary candidate for the position of its ruler by the ancient dragon Mr. Lao. In this capacity he was a constant irritant to Jimmy Woo, the head of Atlas.[volume & issue needed]


The Mandarin has been revived in a later arc of Iron Man. Apparently, he has been in a prison in central China for some time. In this story it has been revealed that he has lost his hands (most likely the hands that were sent to Temugin were, in fact, actually the Mandarin's). He has also been living with no food or water for years. His ability to survive so long without food or water is likely due to his mastery of chi. Despite being handless and starved, he was able to kill several men armed with guns via his mastery of the martial arts. His rings have been returned to him, and were reassimilated into his body by heating them and burning them into his spine.[21]

After attacking Iron Man, via S.H.I.E.L.D. - with dozens of unwitting proxies in the form of extremist splinter groups, equipped by him with hyper-advanced biological weapons - he eventually resurfaces as Tem Borjigin (yet another name of Genghis Khan), now once again sporting hands (although they are artificial).[volume & issue needed]

Government infiltration

The Mandarin infiltrates the U.S. government via his role as CEO of Prometheus, a corporation specializing in bio-engineered weaponry. He appears to be using Extremis creator and Tony Stark's former love interest Maya Hansen to produce an army of Extremis enhanced soldiers as well as financing and arming terrorists around the globe. The Mandarin also appears to plan unleashing the Extremis virus in aerosol form on the public, expecting the 97.5% fatality ratio to cause a mass catastrophe of deaths.[volume & issue needed] The Mandarin admits to Hansen that even he will die in the outbreak but she and those with the gene to survive will become free from disease and become effectively immortal. Though he has his Extremis disabled, Iron Man defeats the Mandarin while wearing the Silver Centurion armor by tearing five of the rings out of the Mandarin's spine, blasting him with those rings, his unibeam, and repulsors at the same time, and then freezing him as he is engulfed in deadly concentrated Extremis virus. Iron Man then prevents the Extremis-outbreak.[22]

However, when the Mandarin's apparently frozen body is autopsied, all that is found is a blackened husk... not unlike an Extremis chrysalis.[23]

Enter the Mandarin

The Mandarin appeared in Iron Man - Enter the Mandarin in 2007 which is an expanded and modified retelling from his earliest appearances in Tales of Suspense.

Mandarin: The Story of My Life

In Invincible Iron Man Annual #1 by Matt Fraction, a new updated origin of the Mandarin is offered. Here, the Mandarin kidnaps a young up and coming film producer to tell his life's story. He relates the same story he once told Iron Man in Tales of Suspense of his English noblewoman mother and his schooling at the finest boarding schools in the land.

However, the director begins to learn that much of what the Mandarin says is contradictory and false with photos from this time staged (It's hinted that the Mandarin had used one of his own rings to make himself believe this tapestry of half truths) and discovers a different tale of the Mandarin's origins: The Mandarin was the son of a opium den prostitute who went on to become a powerful underworld figure before discovering the Ten Rings of Power in an alien craft, the pilot of which he brutally slew to obtain them, the Mandarin slaughtered the Red Chinese army officials for daring to cross him while financing his operations with drug and gun smuggling, aided by the mercenary Raza. In this retelling, he is also said to have been at the camp in which Tony Stark constructed his Iron Man armor, though Stark is unaware of this fact.

Angered at the Mandarin holding his wife hostage, the director shoots the movie as he wishes not as the Mandarin dictates. The Mandarin denounces this telling of his past as lies and angrily destroys the cinema in which it was being shown, before having the director killed.

Later he is regretful about murdering the director, noting that he really did love his films.[24]

It is unknown if this new origin is the truth or not as a major theme of the issue is that the with the Mandarin's life it is impossible to tell the truth from the myth that the man has created around himself and at least some of what the Mandarin claims must be true as he possesses the ten alien rings and well honed martial arts skills that he describes acquiring.[volume & issue needed]

Stark Resilient

At the conclusion of the Stark Resilient storyline, it is revealed that the Mandarin is the father of Sasha Hammer, as she introduces her boyfriend Ezekiel Stane to her parents. Mandarin tells Stane some of the various names he's known as, then simply instructs Stane to refer to him as "Master".[25]

Powers and abilities

The Mandarin is a superb athlete with tremendous skill in the various martial arts. Through repeated practice, he has toughened all the striking surfaces of his body, especially his hands, which are covered with thick calluses. He can even split Iron Man's magnetic-beam reinforced alloy armor with repeated blows. So great is the Mandarin's martial arts ability, that he can even survive years without food and water, apparently sustaining himself purely via his mastery of chi. The precise degree of The Mandarin's martial art powers has been the subject of multiple implied retcons by Marvel Comics. Initially, Mandarin was portrayed as being such a superhumanly skilled martial artist that he could destroy Iron Man's armor with his bare hands.[26] Later portrayals focused on his use of the rings, and implicitly retconned the Mandarin's skill to being great but no longer superhuman.[volume & issue needed] The most recent continuity has restored Mandarin's martial arts ability to its original superhuman level.[volume & issue needed]

The Mandarin is one of Marvel Earth's greatest scientific geniuses, and highly skilled in various sciences. Not only has he made himself into an expert authority on alien Makluuan science, but he has also built upon this knowledge by making further discoveries based upon it.

The principal personal weapons of the Mandarin are the ten rings which he wears on the fingers of each hand. The rings' operations cannot be explained by contemporary Earth science, but it is known that they served as near-limitless power sources for the warp-drive engines of the Makluan starship of Axonn-Karr. The Mandarin learned how to convert the rings to his personal uses and to make them respond to his mental commands. The fingers on which he wears each ring, and the known functions for which he uses each ring, are given below.

Digit Left Hand Right Hand
Little finger
Ice Blast
The ring emits waves of cold which can be used to stun an opponent. The ring usually causes the air in the path of its blast to turn to ice, and can lower an object's temperature to nearly absolute zero.
Black Light
The ring can create an area of absolute blackness that seems to absorb all light used within it. Although "black light" is a term used to refer to ultraviolet radiation, the darkness created by the ring is probably a form of the "darkforce" used by Cloak, Darkstar, and the Shroud.
Ring Finger
The ring magnifies the wearer's own psionic energy, allowing him to place one or more people under his mental control and to transmit orders to them mentally. Most frequently used to create illusions.
Disintegration Beam
The ring emits a beam of energy that destroys all bonds between the atoms and molecules of the object it strikes. This ring needs twenty minutes to recharge after use.
Middle Finger
The ring emits electricity in amounts at intensities mentally determined by the wearer. The maximum current attainable is not known.
Vortex Beam
The ring causes the air to move about at high speed in a vortex. The vortex can be used as an offensive weapon, as a means of levitating objects, or as a means of propelling the ring's wearer through the air.
Index Finger
Flame Blast
The ring emits infrared radiation, or heat, at intensities mentally determined by the wearer. Usually the heat produces flame through incandescing the molecules in the air in the path of the blast. The heat beam can be used to trigger chemical explosions. The maximum amount of heat it can generate is not known.
Impact Beam
This ring can project various forms of energy, most frequently that of fast neutrons with great concussive force. The ring has also been used to project intense sonic vibrations and to create magnetic waves to attract or repel objects. The ring may be capable of emitting other forms of energy as well, and has been used to send Iron Man slamming through a mountain.
White Light
This ring can emit various forms of energy along the electromagnetic spectrum. Has been used to create gravity powerful enough to make Iron Man bury himself by trying to walk forward.
Matter Rearranger
This ring can rearrange the atoms and molecules of a substance, or speed up or slow down their movement, so as to produce various effects. The ring has been used to condense water vapor in the air to liquid water, to solidify gasses, to create lethal poison gas from the air, to turn a group of men to stone, to turn a man into a beetle, to turn a mountain into a rock-monster, and to make a stone hand large enough to engulf Iron Man's body erupt from the floor. The ring cannot transmute elements or rearrange the atoms and molecules of Iron Man's magnetic-beam reinforced armor.

Over the years through mental discipline achieved through meditation and long practice in use of the rings, the Mandarin has established a strong psionic link with his ten power rings, which was made many times stronger during the period in which his mind/spirit actually inhabited them[volume & issue needed]. One result is that no one who wears the rings other than the Mandarin himself can command them without his permission. The Mandarin can now command the rings even when they are separated from him by vast distances. He can mentally monitor events taking place near a ring that has been separated from him. Continued exposure to the alien rings made his hands green and scaly. He can voluntarily give temporary control over a ring to his servants, however. If the servant dies or falls unconscious, the rings teleport back to the Mandarin. Conversely, if the Mandarin himself is knocked out, all the rings automatically return to him. On one occasion[volume & issue needed], this left the Mandarin's servants powerless to stop some of Tony Stark's employees, that the Mandarin had kidnapped, from escaping.

The Mandarin also briefly used a force field generator[volume & issue needed], but this is not part of his standard weaponry[citation needed].

He has also used a head band enabling him to transfer his mind into his rings or into another's body, and a teleportation device hidden on his person, both examples of Makluuan technology.

The Mandarin is a brilliant and brutal tactician and a gifted strategist. He also abides by a very strict code of honor. When he attempted to stop Stark Enterprises from establishing itself in Hong Kong, the Mandarin challenged Iron Man to a duel, stating that if he won, he would take control of Stark Enterprises' Hong Kong operations, and that he would cease hindering Stark's activities if he lost. When Iron Man defeated him in fair combat, he lived up to his end of the agreement. On another occasion, he killed one of his minions for attempting to drug him during a practice session, angry that one of his students would use such dishonorable tactics.

Other versions


In the Spider-Ham universe, there is a version of the Mandarin who is a Ring-tailed lemur named Mandaringtail.[27]

Ultimate Marvel

The Mandarin appears in Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates issue 2, in a flashback with Tony Stark in an earlier Armor prototype attacking Mandarin, who is holding Rhodes captive. [28]

In other media


The Mandarin on the 1994 animated series.
  • In the Iron Man series, the Mandarin is Arnold Brock, an archaeologist who falls into an ancient catacomb containing an alien starship (which belongs to this series' incarnation of Fin Fang Foom, with whom the Mandarin forged an uneasy alliance) while fleeing from desert bandits. In this catacomb, he finds a large gem that is the ship's power source with ten gems beneath it. Unfortunately, the bandits slay everyone else, including his fiancée Ilona. All the raiders leave behind are his fiancée's rings with the jewels plucked from them. The Mandarin uses these as the settings for the ten gems which he made into his rings. The Mandarin of this continuity was altered by the power of the ship's power source when he touched it; he developed pointy ears, claw-like fingernails, and enhanced musculature. His skin turned emerald-green, and he became very smart. The cartoon version of the Mandarin was served in his villainy by Justin Hammer as well as by several supervillains like Blizzard, Blacklash, Dreadknight, Hypnotia, Grey Gargoyle, Whirlwind, Living Laser, and MODOK, but following the cartoon's adaptation of the "Dragon Seed" storyline, the Mandarin's servants were captured and his rings scattered across the world. Eventually recovering all of his rings, appearing in a brief epilogue at the end of most episodes to do so, the Mandarin renewed his hostilities against Iron Man in an adaptation of "The Hands of the Mandarin." Prior to finding his last two rings, The Mandarin claims his 8th ring from MODOK in the episode "Empowered." "Empowered" was the clip show of the season, the purpose being that the Mandarin wanted to learn of Iron Man's recent activities. In the final episode of the series, Iron Man manages to reflect the power of Mandarin's rings, destroying them, and ultimately leaving the Mandarin amnesiac and helpless before a band of desert bandits. The cartoon's versions of the rings were much more ambiguous, with no particular power associated with any ring - most frequently, they were used to project force blasts, alter reality, and transmute objects. The eleventh episode of season two, "Hulkbuster" would reveal the specific abilities of two of the rings. One allows for creating windows through time and space, while the other allows for traveling through the windows. They were both used by The Leader in an attempt to travel back to the time that the Gamma Bomb that transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk detonated.
The Mandarin in Iron Man: Armored Adventures
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, the Mandarin (voiced by Vincent Tong) is fully armored, with a helmet that hides his identity. In this series, his rings are called the Makluan Rings, while the name “Mandarin” is a title used by any of several characters able to wield the power of the rings. The rings enable the wearer to materialize the signature armor of the Mandarin, control natural forces (such as gravity, water, lightning, wind, and fire), levitate, and teleport. The Mandarin is also head of a criminal organization called the Tong. The original Mandarin, a man named Khan, hid the ten rings throughout the globe hundreds of years ago. He put at least four of the rings in hidden temples and designed tests to guard them to ensure that only the “worthy” possess “activated” rings. Primarily, the position of Mandarin is held by Khan’s descendant Temugin (or, “Gene Khan”); Gene’s stepfather, Shin Zhang, whom the Tong support, also claims to be the “true Mandarin”, occupying the role until Gene imprisons him. Interestingly, however, it is in fact Tony Stark, as Iron Man, who passes two of the four tests, while Gene only passes the third and fourth tests. It is suggested that Khan wanted someone in his own family to wield the rings and become his successor; this idea is supported by the fact that Gene's late mother had possession of one of the rings, and that the rings appear to only work for members of Khan's family. In the episode "Tales of Suspense" Pt. 1, Zhang returns from his imprisonment and reclaims the rings from Gene. He then orchestrates Tony and Pepper's capture, takes the fourth ring from Tony and learns from their recently gathered information that the 5th Ring is in Peru. He then goes there taking Gene, Pepper and Tony with him. Zhang ends up retreating when the Test of Sacrifice begun with the awakening of Fin Fang Foom, inadvertently leaving the Makluan Rings behind. In the episode "Tales of Suspense" Pt. 2, Pepper tries to pass the test by throwing the Rings into Fin Fang Foom only to have him swallow the rings. Rhodey in his War Machine suit then learns Tony and Pepper's location from Zhang and comes to save them. It was then that Gene learned Tony was Iron Man. Gene eventually passed the test by allowing Fin Fang Foom to swallow him when he saved Pepper. Inside the dragon, Gene found the four rings as well as the fifth. Upon coming out of the dragon, (which he stopped by obtaining the fifth ring) he revealed to the others he was the true Mandarin (whom up until that time they thought was Zhang) and fought Tony. It was during the battle that Tony learned that Mandarin was behind the explosion that destroyed his father's plane and that he had abducted Howard Stark for information on the Makluan Rings before he made the explosion. Gene manages to get away. Some minutes later, after Tony and his friends have left the temple of the 5th Ring, Gene reflected on the times he had with Tony, Rhodes, and Pepper and says that even though his mother said having the Makluan Rings was his destiny, they did not make him stronger; until the 5 Makluan Rings reveal to him that there are five more rings hidden somewhere on Earth, meaning that there were ten Makluan Rings in all. He then declares that their power will be his. In season two, Gene hunts the remaining rings with the kidnapped Howard Stark. In the episodes "Invincible Iron Man: Disassembled" and "Invincible Iron Man: Reborn," Gene and Howard Stark find the 6th Makluan Temple where Melter is the 6th Ring's guardian. Gene as Mandarin managed to complete the test and gained the sixth Makluan Ring. In the episode "The Might of Doom", Gene and Howard Stark end up at the 7th Makluan Temple where Sunturion is the 7th Ring's guardian. In the episode "Enter: Iron Monger", it is shown that Gene defeated Sunturion and now currently has seven Makluan Rings.


The Mandarin (using his descendant Li Mei as his vessel) in The Invincible Iron Man.
  • The Mandarin is the main antagonist in the 2007 direct-to-DVD animated movie The Invincible Iron Man, in which Fred Tatasciore provided his voice. This version of the Mandarin was an ancient ruler of a Chinese dynasty whose minions were attempting to resurrect him by collecting five magical rings. According to prophecy, however, the Mandarin will be opposed by the "Iron Knight" upon his resurrection, although the prophecy only states that the two will fight without revealing who will win. Despite being the main driving force behind the plot, he appears only briefly at the film's climax and only as a spiritual projection, which is later destroyed when his descendant Li Mei (voiced by Gwendoline Yeo) removes the rings and thus breaks the connection.
  • The Mandarin is referenced in the 2008 live action Iron Man movie via the name of the terrorist group called "The Ten Rings", who holds Tony Stark captive in the beginning of the film. Raza, the leader of the Ten Rings, has a single red ring that he rubs with his other hand. He also makes a reference to Genghis Khan when speaking to Stark and Yinsen. Director Jon Favreau revealed that their version of the Mandarin in the live action Iron Man movie series "allows us to incorporate the whole pantheon of villains".[29]
  • After the successful release of Iron Man 2, Favreau stated that he hoped to include the Mandarin himself in an Iron Man 3 project.[30] However Iron Man 3 director, Shane Black called the character a "racist caricature".[31]

Video games

  • The Mandarin appeared as the third and last boss in stage 3 'Challenge from the Bottom of the Sea' in Data East's 1991 arcade game, (later ported to the Sega Genesis and Super NES) Captain America and the Avengers, controlling the Red Skull's undersea base, against which is Namor, the Sub-Mariner, who guides the heroes.
  • The Mandarin appears as one of the supervillains in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by James Sie. The Mandarin joins Doctor Doom's Masters of Evil, but is rejected after he attempts to steal control of the group from Doom. In Atlantis, Loki shapeshifted into the Mandarin to get the Heroes to venture to his castle, where they had to fight through his warriors, Dragon Man, Ultimo, Grey Gargoyle, and his new Ultimo Mark 2. Afterwards they had to confront him at his palace in the Valley of Spirits. After the Mandarin was defeated, the heroes found that they had been tricked by Loki. The Mandarin has special dialogue with Iron Man (in his simulation disk), and Blade (upon the Mandarin's defeat).
  • The Mandarin appears as a core part of the Iron Man-themed table in Marvel Pinball, with table-specific modes based around several of his ring's powers — Mandarin Flame Blast, Mandarin Vortex Storm, Mandarin Impact Beam, and Mandarin Electro-Blast — and a mode where he teams up with Whiplash, who also features heavily in the table design.


  • The Mandarin is the 94th figurine in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
  • A figure of the Mandarin and a variant chase were released in wave 2 of Toy Biz's 6" Marvel Legends Face-Off line. The regular version was in a green outfit and was packaged with Iron Man, whereas the variant was in a red outfit and was packaged with War Machine.
  • The Mandarin was released in wave 1 of Toy Biz's 1994 Iron Man line, based on his appearance from the 1994 animated series.
  • The Mandarin was released in Hasbro's 3.75" Iron Man: Armored Adventures figure line based on the animated series of the same name.
  • The Mandarin, under the name "Zhang Tong," was released in The Danger of Dreadknight 4-pack from the Marvel Super Hero Squad line, packaged with 2 figures of Iron Man and one of Dreadknight.
  • A figure of the Mandarin was released in wave 36 of the Marvel Minimates line.
  • A figure of the Mandarin was released in wave 5 of Hasbro's 3.75" Iron Man 2 movie tie-in line.


  1. ^ Terrence Howard on the Future of War Machine
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Mandarin is number 81 IGN. Retrieved 10-05-09.
  5. ^ a b Tales of Suspense #62, vol 1
  6. ^ Tales of Suspense #50
  7. ^ Iron Man vol. 1 #68–69
  8. ^ Iron Man #100 vol 1
  9. ^ Iron Man 100
  10. ^ Iron Man 181
  11. ^ Kaminski, Len (w), Morgam, Tom (p), Wiacek, Bob (i). "Hands of The Mandarin" Iron Man 312 (January 1995), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
  12. ^ "Hands of The Mandarin" War Machine 10 (January 1995), Marvel Comics
  13. ^ "Hands of The Mandarin" Iron Man 312 (January 1995), Marvel Comics
  14. ^ "Hands of The Mandarin" Iron Man 312 (January 1995), Marvel Comics
  15. ^ Iron Man v3, 2-9 (April–October 1998), Marvel Comics
  16. ^ Iron Man v3, 1-8 (March–August 1998), Marvel Comics
  17. ^ Iron Man v3, 9 (October 1998), Marvel Comics
  18. ^ Iron Man v3, 10 (November 1998), Marvel Comics
  19. ^ Iron Man #55
  20. ^ 'MODOK's 11' #3
  21. ^ Iron Man #17
  22. ^ Iron Man #28
  23. ^ Iron Man #28
  24. ^ Invincible Iron Man Annual #1
  25. ^ The Invincible Iron Man #33
  26. ^ Tales of Suspense #54
  27. ^ Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #16
  28. ^ Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #2
  29. ^ "Live chat with Jon Favreau today at 11am Pacific Time". Los Angeles Times. 2008-10-01. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  30. ^ Jon Favreau on 'Iron Man's' Next Villain: 'You Have To Do the Mandarin,' Yahoo News, 9 May 2010
  31. ^ Campbell, Josie (2011-10-30). "LBCC: “Iron Man 3” Director Shane Black Panel". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 

External links

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