Throughout his history, the Mandarin has risen to become not only Iron Man’s true nemesis but a force to be reckoned with across the Marvel universe. He’s been a criminal mastermind, an evil businessman, a powerful martial artist… many talents that have all been, at many points in time, focused solely on destroying the Armored Avenger. So much so that, decades after his creation by writer Stan Lee and artist Don Heck in 1964, he was retconned into having played a part in Tony Stark’s origin story, tying the two enemies together for good.
The Mandarin is especially known for his superpowered rings (giving their name to the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, in which the Mandarin will be the main antagonist), each one granting a different power from freezing rays to mind control or electricity. He obtained the Ten Rings from a crashed ship belonging to an alien dragon species. Through various retcons and flashbacks, a lot more has been revealed about the rings throughout the years (from their ability to link with the Mandarin’s mind to the possibility that they might hold ancient souls). With the rings and the advanced science he stole from the alien ship, the Mandarin plots to conquer China and the entire world, which has put him at war with the Chinese army, Iron Man, other Marvel heroes, and even villains. [Read more…] about The Mandarin Reading Order!