The Hands Of The Mandarin
So after the stunningly good looking redesign and overhaul of Iron Man and his comic last month, this time around we see Stark veteran at this point Don Heck take back the reigns as chief artist, and the result is unsurprisingly more moody and harsher than Ditko's. The story too is a little more understated and serial, which too often has been the staple of this series, and not to great effect. This month we have the Mandarin—a oriental sorcerer of sorts that uses magic rings to do crazy things like cancel out sound waves, and lower drawbridges. Oh and, of course, he's a karate master.
What's most interesting about this one though, is that The Mandarin never really provokes anything from anyone, and instead it's Iron Man that seeks out to defeat the villain because everyone back home is a little worried about the whole drawbridge thing. And then he uses the great underestimated power of geometry to bring him down. Of course. But all in all, it's a fair effort, and a semi-decent read, but when the highlight of something like this is actually a silly side story involving back-up characters (Happy takes Pepper out to dinner), then it's telling that Iron Man needs himself a proper adversary at this stage in his development and though The Mandarin would go on to be one, this isn't his greatest moment by any means.
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