The Mandarin was born in 1920 to one of the wealthiest families in China. His father was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan, and his mother was a British aristocrat. Both died shortly after he was born. The Mandarin was raised by his aunt, who was angry at the world, and raised him to possess the same attitude. Every bit of the wealth he had inherited was spent training him in science and combat, with the result that he was broke shortly after reaching adulthood. Unable to pay the taxes on his family estate, he and his aunt were evicted and rendered homeless. His aunt died almost immediately, while the Mandarin began to wander the earth. In an attempt to revenge himself upon the civilization that had taxed him and rendered him homeless, he traveled to the Valley of Spirits and found the remains of a Makluan starship. The Mandarin spent many years learning and mastering the Makluan technology and the ten power rings he found within the alien ship. The Mandarin then found the remains of Ultimo, a robot of alien origin, and decided to revive it. His next goal was to conquer the world and rule with "wisdom and harmony." He began by conquering the area around the Valley of Spirits. and was aided by loyal followers from when he was in power in China.
Searching for people to help him to understand the Makluan power rings, he sponsored a local warlord named Wong Chu. In turn, Wong Chu kidnapped industrialist and inventor Anthony Stark, and famed physicist Yin Sen, prompting the events that would lead Stark to becoming Iron Man. Iron Man would go on to defeat the Mandarin numerous times, including a time when he prevented the Mandarin from manipulating the Chinese government into launching a missile at the west that would have started a world war.
After finally reactivating Ultimo, Mandarin teleported Iron Man to his citadel so that he could finally defeat him. Iron Man hurled Ultimo back into the volcano from which he came and stopped Mandarin from once again attempting his missile attack. His next plan was to mentally control the Hulk who would destroy countless cities. This would cause nations to blame others for not controlling the beast. Nick Fury and SHIELD were able to stop him. Mandarin tried to control the Hulk again, but still failed even with the help of Sandman. He then teamed with Enchantress and Executioner to build a world wide hate-ray but was stopped by the Avengers.
Mandarin is a Marvel comic book character who first appears in Tales of Suspense #50.
Major Story Arcs
In an attempt to further empower his rings he traveled to Attilan to find the Eye of Yin but was intercepted by Black Bolt. Next, he secretly became one of Stark's employees and caused him incredible strife. When his identity was discovered, he battled Iron Man along with Unicorn, a Russian super-spy. Mandarin was forced to flee when his "magic" mistakenly switched his consciousness with that of Unicorn, who was terminally ill at the time. Unfortunately for the Mandarin, when he returned to his citadel he discovered that it had been taken over by Yellow Claw in his absence. Using an underwater base he was able to restore himself to his rightful body. With Ultimo, he attacked Yellow Claw to regain his fortress. Iron Man and Sunfire intervened and Mandarin was supposedly killed by Surrogate, Yellow Claw's robot, who then took the Makluan rings of power from him. Mandarin was able to survive because his newfound mastery of chi and ability to control his consciousness allowed him to transfer his intelligence into the rings themselves. He then transformed one of Yellow Claw's henchman into a younger version of himself and took over the mans body. With his younger body he would go one to launch more schemes designed to start a world war, or to steal vibranium from the nation of Wakanda, and even to destroy China's resources, forcing the country to invade others.
The Mandarin was thrown into a coma while experimenting with his rings when Chen Hsu, who is the captain of the Makluans in disguise, stole one of the rings and replaced it with a fake one. Mandarin's body recovered but because his consciousness is tied to the rings is memory was lost. Afterwards, he became a criminal overlord in Hong Kong and sought a business relationship with Tony Stark. Iron Man once again thwarted his plans. When he realized that Chen Hsu had stolen one of his rings, Mandarin confronted him about it and forced Chen Hsu to return the ring; thus restoring his memory. Chen Hsu then told Mandarin how to control the Makluan dragon Fin Fang Foom. With the dragon under his command, Mandarin easily conquered more than a third of China. Iron Man and War Machine came to stop him but ended up teaming up with him when Mandarin discovered that the Makluans wanted to take over Earth for themselves. Mandarin gave power to Iron Man through his rings. This resulted in the Mandarin's hands being burned off, but the Makluans were defeated.
Through magic, Mandarin grew new reptilian hands and then stumbled across the "Heart of Darkness," which sent him through a psychological conquest over all of his past failures. He then reverted China back to medieval times. Iron Man invaded his castle and infected him with a techno-organic virus which caused his heart to lose its bond with magic.
The Mandarin Returns
The Mandarin had been residing in a Chinese prison for some time. He has also been living without food or water for years, proving he still possesses his mastery of chi. And even despite his condition he was still able to kill several armed guards with his extraordinary martial arts prowess. His rings have also been returned to him. How he regained them from his son Temugin has not yet been revealed. (Temugin had used the rings while his father was thought dead). With his power rings returns to him he has assimilated them into his body by burning them directly into his spine.
After attacking Iron Man and SHIELD with dozens of extremist splinter groups under his manipulation, and equipped by him with hyper-advanced biological weapons, Mandarin eventually resurfaces as Tem Borjigin (an alias of Genghis Khan). The Mandarin has also infiltrated the U.S. government through his role as CEO of Prometheus Gentech, 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 general public, which would kill most of the world's population except for a select few (roughly 3% of the human population) who have the genetic potential to withstand the Extremis effect. The Mandarin admits to Hansen that even he will die in the outbreak but that she and those with the genetic aptitude to survive will become free from disease, and effectively immortal. In this way, the Mandarin believes he will rid the world of its evils, allowing civilization to begin renewed.
Long Way Down and The Future
In the The Long Way Down story arc, it is revealed the Mandarin has gained mental control over Tony Stark during Stark Disassembled arc. How the Mandarin gained control is unrevealed, but it was stated that he is "in Stark's head", and had been observing and influencing his actions since Stark's return. Among these actions was implanting the design ideas for the Titanomechs seen in an alternate future in Invincible Iron Man #500).
In the The Future story arc, the Mandarin kidnaps Stark, and brings him to Mandarin City to develop ten Titanomechs, which Mandarin plans to use as host bodies for each of his ten rings. Mandarin reveals that the rings are actually the souls of ten alien beings. Tony forms an alliance with others that Mandarin has imprisoned, including Ezekiel Stane, Whirlwind, Blizzard, and Living Laser. In a rebellion against Mandarin, Stark manages to alert his staff at Stark Resilient, and manages to destroy the Titanomechs. During the battle the Mandarin is killed by Stane.
Powers and Abilities
The Mandarin is a scientific genius. The Mandarin possess extraordinary martial arts prowess, especially with regards to channeling chi into physical power. By channeling his chi, he is capable of sustaining himself for years without food or water, amping his strength enough to engage in hand to hand combat with Iron Man, and can even amp his martial arts strikes sufficiently to damage Iron Man's armor.
The Mandarin wears ten rings of alien origin with a variety of different powers (the rings and their powers are listed below). The Mandarin has recently burned his power rings into his body along his spine.
- Little Finger "Ice Blast" Ring - capable of emitting waves of energy cold enough to stun an opponent or lower a person or items temperature to nearly absolute zero.
- Ring Finger "Mento-Intensifier" Ring - allows Mandarin to mentally dominate one or more people. This person or persons is under his control and he is able to communicate with them mentally.
- Middle Finger "Electro-Blast" Ring - shoots high voltage electrical blasts, the intensity of which is determined by The Mandarin.
- Index Finger "Flame Blast" Ring - releases heat and/or infrared radiation, the intensity of which is determined by The Mandarin.
- Thumb "White Light" Ring - releases any energy which is found along the electromagnetic spectrum
- Little Finger "Black Light" Ring - creates an area of darkness that absorbs all available light within the area.
- Ring Finger "Disintegration Beam" Ring - releases a beam of energy that destroys the molecules of any object that it comes in contact with.
- Middle Finger "Vortex Beam" Ring - releases supercharged air in the form of a vortex. This vortex can levitate persons or items, or propel the Mandarin through the air.
- Index Finger "Impact Beam" Ring - releases destructive energy on the level of 350 pounds of dynamite.
- Thumb "Matter Rearranger" Ring - Able to rearrange, speed up, or slow down the molecules and atoms of an object. Also able to teleport people or objects to and from the wearer (can even transport people or items to other dimensions).
- The Mandarin briefly wore a force-field generator, but this is not part of his standard gear.
- Height: 6'2"
- Weight: 215 lbs
- Eyes: Bluish-Blackish
- Hair: Black
The Mandarin will made his debut on the upcoming mini series Demon in the Armor.
In Other Media
The Mandarin was Iron Man's archenemy in the Iron Man animated series which aired in the 1990's. In the show, the Mandarin (initially voiced by Ed Gilbert, and in the second season by Robert Ito) differs considerably from his comic book origin.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures
In Iron Man: Armored adventures, the Mandarin is the young Iron Man's main enemy. However, the Mandarin in this TV adaptation also has a powerful suit of armor with powers that may even be beyond that of Tony's. For example, the Mandarin's armor gives Khan the ability to teleport. The suit is powered by the Makluan rings which are described as ancient forms of technology instead of magic like in the comics.
The Invincible Iron Man
The Mandarin is the main villain in the Direct-To-DVD animated movie The Invincible Iron Man, released in 2007. In the film, the Mandarin (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) is an ancient ruler of a Chinese dynasty who is resurrected and appears at the film's climax.
Iron Man 3
Ben Kingsley played the villain in Iron Man 3. At first he's a terrorist leader of the Ten Rings who was probably involved in Stark's kidnapping in the first movie. The Mandarin insults and mocks American culture Example: by having a tattoo on the back of his neck showing Captain America's shield but with the anarchy symbol in the middle (unfortunately this scene is only available in the first trailer as it was deleted in the film) and revealing that Chinese lucky biscuit are actually American. He witnesses executions and sends televised video messages which are seen by the whole US. In one of them he threatens the country by saying that if the president doesn't call him he'll shoot Roxxon's accountant. The worried president phones him but Mandarin presumably shoots him anyway. Iron Patriot lost a lot of time hunting him in the East but actually he was operating in Miami. When Stark and Rhodes find him, it is revealed that the publicly known "Mandarin" is really just a fictional character portrayed by a junkie British alcoholic stage actor called Trevor Slattery. Trevor was given girls, drugs, drinks and money for his portrayal of the Mandarin on television. He told the two everything and was trailed where he was treated like a celebrity. His rings aren't magical or alien but normal ones and he isn't Chinese to avoid Fu Manchu stereotype but is full of symbols from Eastern traditions. Trevor is surrounded by dragon statues and some are similar to Fin Fang Foom and Makulans. In China more his name is spelled "man darren" to avoid complications.
Trevor's character "The Mandarin" was meant to give America a target while the strings were being pulled by Aldrich Killian, who proclaims to be the true Mandarin. It is likely he said this figuratively due to Killian being the mastermind behind the movie's events. While he did not use or have the Ten Rings of Power, two physically evident similarities that Killian did have with the Mandarin of the comics was that he expressed dragon-like themes (such as his dragon tattoos and fire breath) and appeared to have a good deal of martial arts skill, taking on Iron Man with his bare hands. The similarities ultimately end there, however, as Killian's motivations and mannerisms are very different than comic portrayals of the Mandarin. In combat, Killian used the powers given to him by Extremis, which seemed to give him the most advanced capabilities of the formula. This included super strength, super speed, super agility/reflexes, an extreme regenerative capability, and heat-related powers that could fry even an Iron Man suit. He also had the advanced ability to channel the heat of the Extremis virus (through fire breath). He seemed to also be much more durable than the other Extremis soldiers and could even survive being contained in an exploding Iron Man suit.
All Hail the King
In the Marvel One Shot All Hail the King, a now incarcerated Trevor Slattery is being interviewed by filmmaker Jack Norriss for a documentary. During their final session Norriss reveals himself as a member of the real Ten Rings organization which is led by the true Mandarin. He kidnaps Slattery, telling him that the Mandarin is displeased by Slattery's use of his name and wants to meet him personally.
Captain America and the Avengers (Sega Genesis, Super NES)
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.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
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 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 Mandarin was defeated, the heroes found that they had been tricked by Loki. Mandarin has special dialogue with Iron Man (in his simulation disk), and Blade (upon Mandarin's defeat).