Supervillain Origins: The Mandarin

An egotistical, ambitious and intelligent super villain, the Mandarin first appeared as a legendary madman living in a secret castle lair deep within Communist China. Harboring an immense power granted by his ten power rings, he showcased an insatiable thirst for world domination. Conquering villages, his infamy eventually reaching the Pentagon, and Iron Man was tasked with carrying out a reconnaissance mission to uncover the new threat. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origins of The Mandarin.
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Supervillain Origins: The Mandarin


The awesome power he possesses is only matched by the evil in his heart. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be exploring the comic book origins of The Mandarin

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #50, which was expanded upon in issue #62.

An egotistical, ambitious and intelligent super villain, the Mandarin first appeared as a legendary madman living in a secret castle lair deep within Communist China.

Harboring an immense power granted by his ten power rings, he is the descendant of Genghis Khan, and harbors insatiable thirst for world domination.

Following his birth in the 1920s, a statue crushed his wealthy father, which caused his mother, an Englishwoman, to die of a broken heart.

Growing up, he spent his entire fortune on educating himself in science and combat, before the government expelled him from his family home for his inability to pay his taxes.

Taking a pilgrimage to a secret place called the Valley of the Spirits, he uncovered an alien space ship filled with countless secrets. Therein he discovered 10 ring-like gems that powered the ship, as well as the ships pilot who resembled a dragon.

Spending years repurposing the spaceship into a castle, he used the alien technology to learn alien knowledge. He took and wore the rings as his own, and each granted him a unique ability. Using this power and knowledge, he conquered several villages and recruited their inhabitants as servants.

In his very first comic appearance, he was shown to have grown powerful enough to be feared by the Chinese government, as they sent high-ranking military officers to his castle to enlist his services.

Showcasing an unfathomable power, The Mandarin furiously revealed that he alone would rule the world.

The Mandarin’s infamy eventually reached the Pentagon, and Iron Man was tasked with carrying out a reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines to gain Intel about the mysterious new threat.

With Iron Man arriving by military airdrop, the Mandarin watched on his monitors as his forces failed to destroy the armored invader.

Using a magnetic beam, the Mandarin pulled Iron man into a deadly booby-trap, which Iron Man only narrowly escaped.

Finally meeting face to face, the mysterious warlord unleashed the power of his ten rings and quickly immobilized his unsuspecting challenger.

Locking himself in an electrified chamber with Iron man, The Mandarin attempted to defeat the hero in hand-to-hand combat, using only his strength and his abilities as the greatest Karate master in the world.

He was ultimately defeated when the golden avenger blocked his strike at the perfect angle, using the Mandarin’s own strength against him.

After Iron Man’s escape, the duo continued to battle regularly as the Mandarin launched his many schemes for world domination and regularly eluded being brought to justice.

A popular super villain who has matched strength and wits with Tony Stark and his Iron Man persona for decades, The Mandarin has appeared in countless media and comics, albeit with altered origins and powers.

For example, in the 1994 Iron Man cartoon series, he was introduced as an archeologist who uncovered the alien gems, which warped his mind and body.

In 2008’s Iron Man film, he was indirectly referenced through the terrorist group “The Ten Rings”, before ultimately being portrayed by actor Ben Kingsley in the franchise’s third installment.

Are you a fan of the ring-powered tyrant? For more thrilling comic book origins, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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