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Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1: Review

Nov 2007
Joe Casey, Eric Canete

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Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1 Review by (April 3, 2013)
Veronica Vogue actually appears in ToS#51. Anton Vanko was sent from Soviet Russia as Crimson Dynamo to attack Iron Man in ToS#46. But he defected and came to work for Stark. His laser test is a lead-in to ToS#52 retold in #3. Rick Stoner was SHIELD's 1st Director, before Nick Fury, as seen in the 1994 Fury 1-shot. He never actually appears in this series, he's just referred to several times. However his implied career here is quite different from that in Fury#1, as I will explain in #6. In ToS#50 Iron Man gets his orders from the Pentagon, not SHIELD which Marvel hadn't invented yet. Gen'l Ho Lee does lead the Chinese delegation to Mandarin, but their request is a much more general plea for military aid. Mandarin wonders why they sent someone designed for fighting on a covert mission. His point would be even more valid in ToS#50 where IM's approach is even less covert. There IM fights his way through some guards and is captured by a magnetic ray. Mandarin's servant Po in this series was/will be seen in IM(1998)#53 and some subsequent issues. This issue leaves off partway through ToS#50. I find Eric Canete's angular art quite ugly. His relatively small heads on long thick necks is strikingly obvious on Iron Man himself.

This series is like a very late follow-up to Iron Man: The Iron Age. Where that 2-issue series was based around Tales of Suspense #39-48, this mini-series covers #50-55 (poor #49 gets missed out) with a bit of Mandarin's origin from #62. Whereas the earlier series told a new story with passing references to the ToS issues, this one retells the ToS stories themselves but with extra material linking them into a whole. The partial origin is extracted from ToS#62, but it doesn't even specifically show the power source as Mandarin's rings. The only new thing it adds is the date 1954. The significance of that would be that it was in 1953 that Mao Zedong started removing the old landowners, which is what happened to Mandarin earlier in his origin in ToS#62. This series doesn't take up the idea from Iron Man #267-268, which will be picked up by the Iron Man Annual in 2010, that Mandarin was involved in Iron Man's origin. The phrase 'several decades later' immediately pushes Stark's meeting with Mandarin well beyond its original publication date of 1964. Indeed mention of President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan places this story between 2000 and its publication date in 2007.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We begin with a very abbreviated origin of the Mandarin, descendant of Genghis Khan, in China in 1954, from Tales of Suspense #62. He enters the Valley of the Spirits, discovers an ancient crashed spaceship with long-dead aliens, and a source of power.

Several decades later, Tony Stark's busy life continues apace. He wakes up next to supermodel Veronica Vogue, goes to Stark Industries where Anton Vanko is waiting for him, alongside executive secretary Pepper Potts and chauffeur Happy Hogan, sparring as usual. Vanko wants to run a laser demonstration, and he'll use his Crimson Dynamo armour if Iron Man isn't available. Pepper informs Tony that Rick Stoner of SHIELD wants to see Iron Man, alone.

Next day Iron Man visits SHIELD and is told they want him to investigate the existence of someone called the Mandarin.

Mandarin himself greets a Chinese military delegation headed by Gen'l Ho Lee. The People's Republic hopes to get Mandarin's support against Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian who is firmly opposed to joining Taiwan to the Communist rest of China. The Communist Chinese hope that Mandarin's former position in the pre-Communist Kuomintang party will incline him to support their alliance with the Taiwanese Pan-Blue Coalition, which includes the remains of the Kuomintang. They also hope he will 'forget' that the Communist party stripped him of his power and status when they took over (as seen in ToS#62).

Mandarin of course doesn't treat this request kindly.

A stealth bomber drops Iron Man near Mandarin's castle. He creeps in through a sewer, but Mandarin is waiting for him inside. Shellhead is totally outmatched by Mandarin's rings, and is easily captured. But Mandarin's servants can't remove his armour.

Iron Man wakes up in a cell surrounded by laser beams. Bur he short-circuits the security system and escapes his cell. Mandarin is pleased as he dons his battle robes. He relishes the challenge, confidant of winning. So the battle commences.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Eric Canete
Eric Canete
Dave Stewart
Eric Canete (Cover Penciler)
Eric Canete (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Comicraft.
Editor: Steve Wacker.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Pepper Potts
Pepper Potts

(Pepper Hogan)

Plus: Crimson Dynamo (Anton Vanko), Po.

> Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin: Book info and issue index

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