Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why the Mandarin?

Because of his mad bling, baby....
Of all of Iron Man's enemies, armoured or otherwise, none inspire the sheer insane fear that the Mandarin does.

Evicted out of mainland China when the Communists took his family's wealth, the Mandarin (his true name unknown, and a descendant of Ghenghis Khan) stumbled into a lost valley where he discovers the ruins of a spaceship piloted by a dragon with ten powerful rings because COMICS!

The important thing here, however, is that the Mandarin now had the means to avenge himself upon the Chinese government, and later, ALL governments.  His study of the alien rings led him to realize that technology would not just be a means to terrorize, but to rule as well.  See, that whole "Fu Manchu" mystic ancient evil shtick is misleading to most.  The Mandarin has it in for Tony Stark because Stark's armor is a symbol - of protection, of technology at its most beneficial.  So too has the Mandarin used his ten rings as a symbol - of technology barely understood, and therefore lethal.

The Ten Rings from Iron Man the Movie
When the first Iron Man movie came out, the Ten Rings carried out that symbolism, but was even more insidious, particularly to Iron Fans.  As the Ten Rings terror cell stole Tony's tech, they corrupted it into a perversion of power to subjugate their own.  The Ten Rings, as an unknown quantity, were scarier than any alien power jewelry could ever be.

Now here we are finally at IRON MAN 3 (opening 3 May 2013 in theatres everywhere), and the Mandarin brings it all to Tony Stark's front door.

Sir Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin

This is the showdown that Iron Fans have been waiting for:  The Mandarin finally faces off against ol' Shellhead.  And we at ThoughtBalloons couldn't be more thrilled at the prospect of seeing this fantastic villain finally grace the silver screen.  We will do our best to show you why he is an evil to be reckoned with.  And don't forget, you aspiring writers-to-be out there can play along too.  In fact, here's a handy dandy tip sheet to help you work out the rings, if you so desire:

And we'll see you all at the movies!


  1. Iron Man: Tulpa

    Page 1

    The four panels of this page are full width with bleed to the edges.
    The lines of text sit centred in the whitespace of the gutters.

    TEXT: Power, like a desolating pestilence,

    1. Ironman descends from the sky in front of the statue of liberty.
    People wave from inside the crown.
    A news helicopter can be seen in the background.

    TEXT: Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,

    2. He lands at the statue's foot, by the broken chain, and reaches to remove his helmet.

    TEXT: Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,

    3. Medium shot of Tony, helmet held limply by his side.
    His eyes glow blue-white and flicker with tiny strokes of lightning.
    The circle of the armour's central core, and the connecting iridescent lines of power throughout the suit, flare the same blue-white lightning.

    TEXT: Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame

    4. Wide. A huge explosion envelopes the statue. We can see the top of the statue, the torch, extruding from the blast at an angle - we know it is toppling.

    TEXT: A mechanized automaton.

    TEXT (right align, smaller): Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab (1813), Part III

    Reference for the statue’s foot (but not necessarily this angle):

    The other foot with a figure for scale:

  2. I'm a sucker for literary allusion in comics. Great use of Shelley and the characters.


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