Occupation: Would Be Conqueror
Identity: The Mandarin's real name is not known to anyone
Legal Status: Usually considered to be an enemy of the
state in the People's Republic of China. Wanted by legal authorities
in the rest of the world.
Former Aliases: Gene Kahn
Place of Birth: Unrevealed village in mainland China
before the Communist Revolution
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: Former ally of the Sandman, employer
of the Swordsman, Power Man, Living Laser, Enchantress, Executioner,
Base of Operations: The "Palace of the Star Dragon"
in the "Valley of Spirits," somewhere in the People's
Republic of China
First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #50
History: The Mandarin is the son of one of the wealthiest
men in pre-revolutionary mainland China (who claimed to
be a direct descendant of Genghis Khan), and an English
noblewoman. Both parents died soon after their son's birth,
and he was raised by his father's sister, who was embittered
against the world. He displayed scientific aptitude at
an early age and used his inheritance for education in
various sciences in China and abroad. As an adult he became
a high government official, or mandarin, and became renowned
throughout China for his administrative brilliance.
However, with the success of mainland China's Communist revolution,
the Mandarin was deprived of his position, his palace,
and his wealth. Hoping to find a means of restoring himself
to a position of power, the Mandarin explored the forbidding
"Valley of Spirits," where no one had dared
set foot for centuries. There he found the skeleton and
starship of Axonn-Karr, an intelligent dragon-like alien
from the planet Maklu-4, who had come to Earth centuries
ago and died. Over the following years the Mandarin studied
Makluan science until he had mastered it. He also learned
how to use the ten rings he found within the starship
which were apparently its propulsion source, among other
things. The Mandarin then subjugated the villages around
the Valley, and, through his science, rapidly became a
power that not even the Chinese Army could successfully
challenge. He then embarked on a long series of attempts
to achieve world domination.
The Mandarin saw technology as the surest means to achieve
his goals. Over the years, he would frequently attempt
to turn various nations' missiles and weapons against
them. Among the Mandarin's earliest schemes was the sabotage
and theft of American missiles and spy planes built by
Anthony Stark. To restore public confidence in his workmanship,
Stark donned his Iron Man
armor and flew to China to investigate. Iron Man soon
became the Mandarin's principal opponent in his plans
for world domination. On three occasions in their early
confrontations, the Mandarin managed to take Iron Man
(or his alter ego Tony Stark) captive, but failed to kill
him. Conversely, Iron Man thwarted the Mandarin's various
schemes, but was unable to bring him to justice. Other
of the Mandarin's early technological achievements was
the launching of a small orbiting satellite whose "death-ray"
he aimed at Stark Industries, and the building of Ultimo,
a 30-foot android possessing vast destructive powers.
The Mandarin would employ Ultimo four times without success.
The Mandarin's teleportation technology, derived from Makluan
science, enabled him to kidnap people at will or teleport
himself out of threatening situations. The Mandarin teleported
Harold "Happy" Hogan, a friend and confidant
of Iron Man, to his castle in China half a world away,
precipitating his fifth encounter with Iron Man. Hogan
had been wearing the Iron Man armor at the time to help
protect his employer's secret identity, and the Mandarin
mistook him for his true foe. Rescuing Hogan, Iron Man
physically bested the Mandarin for the first time in personal
combat and redirected the missiles that the Mandarin had
launched at the Mandarin's castle, destroying it. The
Mandarin escaped by means of his teleportational machinery,
and materialized aboard his orbiting satellite. There
he constructed a gemlike device capable of broadcasting
"hate-rays" toward Earth, and assembled several
superhuman allies to perform certain missions for him,
the Living Laser, the
original Power Man, the Swordsman, the Enchantress,
and the Executioner. The Avengers
managed to thwart the Mandarin's scheme and destroyed
The Mandarin then established a base in China's Gobi Desert
and turned his attentions to the Hulk
for a time, hoping to make the dull-witted brute an accomplice.
Two attempts at controlling the Hulk proved futile, however,
including one where the Mandarin allied himself with the
American criminal the Sandman.
The Hulk destroyed the Mandarin's desert base. When the
Mandarin next attacked Iron Man, he employed an android
in the Hulk's likeness rather than the real Hulk. The
Mandarin set up a makeshift base of operations in America,
and attempted to publicly discredit Anthony Stark. Holding
Iron Man captive for the fourth time, the Mandarin tried
to learn if Iron Man was actually Stark, but Stark fooled
him with a rubber mask over his own features. His plans
thwarted, the Mandarin tried to kill Stark's current girlfriend
Janice Cord but the Mandarin's betrothed Mei Ling saved
her at the cost of her own life.
Returning to China, the Mandarin sought a means to increase
his rings' power and learned of the legendary Eye of Yin,
a talisman of power created by an ancient group of Chinese
sorcerers. The Mandarin maneuvered the Royal Family of
the Inhumans (who at the time lived in the nearby Himalayan
Mountains of Tibet) into locating the idol for him. But
before he could fully incorporate the Eye's power in his
rings, Black Bolt overpowered
him, stripped him of his ten rings, and hid them. Unable
to find the rings, the Mandarin journeyed back to the
"Valley of Spirits" and the ruins of the Makluan
starship wherein he first acquired the rings. There he
found a headband containing technology which enabled him
to recover the rings. The Mandarin used his newfound power
to restore his castle to its original state. The Unicorn,
another frequent opponent of Iron Man, sought the Mandarin's
aid in curing him of a progressive disease. The Mandarin
and the Unicorn traveled to America to attack their common
enemy Iron Man, but in the heat of battle, the Mandarin
found that the headband had somehow exchanged his consciousness
with that of the Unicorn. The Mandarin was forced to flee,
desperate to rescue himself from the Unicorn's dying body.
When the Mandarin arrived at his castle in China, he found
that it had been taken over by the Yellow
Claw, another Oriental mastermind. The Mandarin was
forced to find another laboratory to try to restore his
brain back to its rightful body. With the unwilling aid
of the Japanese mutant Sunfire,
the Mandarin restored his mind to its rightful body. In
battle with Iron Man again, the Mandarin's interim headquarters
was destroyed. The Mandarin then launched an attack on
the Yellow Claw in an attempt to regain his own castle.
The Mandarin was fatally injured when the Yellow Claw
robot he had been battling exploded. As the Mandarin lay
dying, he used the headband's mind-transferring capacities
to transfer his consciousness into his ten rings. When
the rings were confiscated by the Yellow Claw's power-hungry
servant Loc Do, the Mandarin's consciousness entered Loc
Do's body, permanently driving out Loc Do's. Using his
matter-rearranger ring, the Mandarin transformed Loc Do's
body into a younger duplicate of his original one.
The Mandarin returned to his castle, discovering that it had
again been destroyed. After rebuilding it, the Mandarin
attempted to capture Iron Man by his teleportation devices,
but once again caught someone else clad in his armor.
This time it was Michael O'Brien, later to become a friend
of Stark's. Iron Man flew to O'Brien's rescue, clad in
an old set of armor, thwarted his attempt to bomb the
United States, saved him, and for a second time bested
the Mandarin in personal combat. Perhaps due to the effect
of the Mandarin's mental domination ring on him, Iron
Man did not take the Mandarin into custody, but permitted
him to remain free to launch further threats against the
The Mandarin later schemed to involve turning the Vibranium
mound in the African country of Wakanda into the isotope
that destroys the molecular cohesion of metals, and an
attempt to destroy China's entire rice crop in an attempt
to provoke war. In the second of these plots, the Mandarin
encountered James Rhodes, during his custodianship of
the Iron Man armor.
More Later, while Stark was trying to set up a branch of Stark
Enterprises in Hong Kong, Iron Man and the Mandarin came
into conflict. The Mandarin had taken the name of Zhang
Tong, and had become a financial leader in Hong Kong.
As Tong, he controlled a number of government officials
and industry leaders of Hong Kong.
The Mandarin thwarted all of Stark's attempts to set up a business
branch, even resorting to murder. The Mandarin now employed
a group of followers, called the Hand, to do his dirty
work. When on a mission, a Hand member was allowed to
take one of the Mandarin's rings and use its powers. If
the Hand member was captured, he would fanatically try
to kill himself. If the Hand member was killed or knocked
out, the ring would automatically teleport back to the
At one point, the mutant hero Psylocke
passed through the mystic portal known as the Siege Perilous.
The portal transformed Psylocke slightly and relocated
her to an Asian shore, where she immediately encountered
the Hand assassin Kwannon
and the two somehow merged their minds/personalities.
The Hand brought Psylocke to the Mandarin, who oversaw
Psylocke's transformation into the Hand's ultimate assassin.
Psylocke was eventually rescued by her X-Men
teammates Wolverine and
Jubliee, and Psylocke defeated
the Mandarin, causing events which led to Mandarin's exile
from the Hand.
Somehow, the Mandarin had discovered the Heart of Darkness,
an orb of apparently mystic energy, which he used to turn
back time in China. Iron Man, with his team Force Works
and ally War Machine, broke his power, but not before
the Mandarin discovered that Tony Stark was the man inside
the Iron Man armor. Iron Man infected Mandarin with a
techno-organic virus, and the orb, seeing him infected
with technology, rejected the Mandarin and imploded. Iron
Man believed him dead, but in reality the Mandarin was
transported and transformed by the last flare of the orb's
magic, turned into a janitor in the Hong Kong branch of
Eventually, Mandarin's memories returned to him and instead
of trying to crush technology, Mandarin believed that
the feudal system of yesterday had merely been transformed
into the capitalism of today. Mandarin set into motion
plans to create a giant flying fortress called the Dragon
of Heaven through which he could conquer Russia and eventually
the world. During this time, Iron Man reappeared after
being believed dead in a battle against the psychic menace
Onslaught. The Mandarin initiated a series of attacks
on Iron Man, cumulating in a battle in the Dragon of Heaven.
Mandarin's primary purpose was not conquering Russia,
but to test Iron Man and prove him worthy as a foe and
to justify Mandarin's own thoughts on capitalism. Mandarin
staged his own death as Iron Man escaped.
Height: 6 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 215 lbs.
Strength Level: The Mandarin possesses the normal human
strength of a man of his physical age, height, and build
who engages in intensive regular exercise.
Known Superhuman Powers: None
Abilities: The Mandarin is one of the world's greatest
scientific geniuses. Not only has he made himself into
an authority on Makluan science, but he has also built
upon this knowledge by making further discoveries based
upon it. Although the Mandarin has no natural superhuman
powers of his own, he is a superb athlete with tremendous
skill in the various Oriental martial arts. Through repeated
practice he has toughened all the striking surfaces of
his body, especially his hands, which are covered with
thick callus. Without artificial aids he can split wood,
cinderblock, or even mild steel with a blow of his hand.
When he surrounds himself with a thin but intense protective
force field, he can even split Iron Man's magnetic-beam
reenforced alloy armor with repeated blows of his hand.
Weapons: The principal personal weapons of the Mandarin
are the ten rings which he wears on his fingers. The rings'
operations cannot be explained by contemporary Earth science,
but it is known that they served as near-limitless energy
sources for the warpdrive engines of the starship of Axonn-Karr,
a dragon-like alien of the Makluan race. The Mandarin
learned how to convert the rings to his personal uses,
and to make them respond to his mental commands. The fingers
on which he wears each ring, and the known functions for
which he uses each ring, are given below.
Mandarin's Rings and Their Abilities
LITTLE FINGER: "Ice Blast"
- The ring emits waves of cold which can be used
to stun an opponent. The ring usually causes the
air in the path of its blast to turn to ice, and
can lower an object's temperature to nearly absolute
RING FINGER: "Mento-Intensifier" - The
ring magnifies the wearer's own psionic energy,
allowing him to place one or more people under his
mental control and to transmit orders to them mentally.
This ring can affect only one person at a time and
only at a distance of ten feet.
MIDDLE FINGER: "Electro-Blast" - The
ring emits electricity in amounts and intensities
mentally determined by the wearer. The maximum voltage
attainable is not known.
INDEX FINGER: "Flame Blast" - The ring
emits infrared radiation, or heat, at intensities
mentally determined by the wearer. Usually the heat
produces flame through incandescing the molecules
in the air in the path of the blast. The heat beam
can be used to trigger chemical explosions. The
maximum amount of heat it can generate is not known.
THUMB: "White Light" - This ring can
emit various forms of energy along the electromagnetic
LITTLE FINGER: "Black Light" - The ring
can create an area of absolute blackness that seems
to absorb all light used within it. Although "black
light" is a term used to refer to ultraviolet
radiation, the darkness created by the ring is probably
a form of the "darkforce" used by Cloak,
Darkstar, and the Shroud.
RING FINGER: "Disintegration Beam" -
The ring emits a beam of energy that destroys all
Ponds between the atoms and molecules of the object
it strikes. This ring needs twenty minutes to recharge
MIDDLE FINGER: "Vortex Beam" - The ring
causes the air to move about at high speed in a
vortex. The vortex can be used as an offensive weapon,
as a means of levitating objects, or as a means
of propelling the ring's wearer through the air.
INDEX FINGER: "Impact Beam" - This ring
can project various forms of energy, most frequently
that of fast neutrons with the concussive force
of 350 pounds of TNT. The ring has also been used
to project intense sonic vibrations and to create
magnetic waves to attract or repel objects. The
ring may be capable of emitting other forms of energy
THUMB: "Matter Rearranger" - This ring
can rearrange the atoms and molecules of a substance,
or speed up or slow down their movement, so as to
produce various effects. The ring has been used
to condense water vapor in the air to liquid water,
to solidify gasses, and to create lethal poison
gas from the air. The ring cannot transmute elements,
nor can it rearrange the atoms and molecules of
Iron Man's magnetic-beam reinforced armor.
Over the years the Mandarin has established a strong psionic
link with his rings, which was made many times stronger
during the period in which his mind / spirit actually
inhabited them. One result is that no one who wears the
rings other than the Mandarin himself can command them.
The Mandarin can now command the rings even when they
are separated from him by vast distances, and mentally
monitor events taking place around a ring that has been
separated from him.