5701 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

The early Mandarin (Iron Man enemy) (Marvel Comics)

Mandarin

(Profile #1 - early)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Mandarin is one of the main Iron Man enemies, though he’s also clashed with the Avengers and the like. He’s particularly smart and versatile, with a potent arsenal.

This profile traces the Mandarin’s career from his beginnings in 1964 all the way through his seeming death in 1974 (Iron Man vol. 1 #70). It is a “chronconned” (chronological, retconned profile) researched in 2004.


Background

  • Real Name: The Mandarin’s name is reputedly unknown to anyone alive.
  • Other Aliases: “Gene Khan”, Zhang Tong, The Other
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed pre-revolutionary Chinese bourgeois father (deceased), unnamed noble English mother (deceased), unnamed aunt (deceased), Mei Ling (fiancée, deceased), Temugin (son), Genghis Khan (alleged ancestor, deceased)
  • Group Affiliation: Leader of an unnamed proto-Masters of Evil group, including the Enchantress, the Executioner, the Living Laser, Power Man I and the Swordsman I.
  • Base Of Operations: Palace of the Star Dragons, in the Valley of Spirits, somewhere in China (presumably Northern China)
  • Height: 6’2” Weight: 215 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue, of course Hair: Black


Orientalism

The Mandarin, at that point, falls into the “Orange Menace” territory — that is, a combination of Red Scare  and Yellow Peril  — and combines Fu Manchu-style racial caricature and anti-Communist propaganda.

However, there is a clear effort not to make them racist. This was the 1960s and comics had to toe the line, but Stan Lee was well-known for his stance against bigotry. They are definitely orientalist , though.

The stories are thus salvageable for a modern audience. The xenophobic aspects are present but are not important to the character or story, and can thus be retconned out without any problem.

The bulk of the damage is:

  1. simply having a Chinese villain names “The Mandarin”, which is pretty terrible if one isn’t already familiar with the character
  2. association with far more racist propaganda employing similar tropes
  3. the way Asian characters were often drawn in 1960s comics

Many of the racist caricature aspects of World War Two hadn’t really faded away yet. Some made a comeback as the US waged war against various Communist movements in Asia. The illustrations for this article include examples of such.


Powers and Abilities

The Mandarin is, according to the narration, “the most feared Oriental of all time !”. A master scientists and engineer, he builds super-science thingies that are roughly on par with the technology of Tony Stark. His castle is full of them.

This scion of the yellow peril is also a great master of the martial arts. Back then he was of course referred to as a master of karate, though it presumably was some Southern Chinese style. He is also a great swordsman, and his reflexes and senses are uncanny.

One of the reasons he’s so dangerous is that he acts and reacts faster than Iron Man, allowing him to keep his enemy on the defensive.

Early Mandarin on a white background

Strength

At this stage, the Mandarin also has superhuman strength. Although he’s never observed lifting anything (in DC Heroes terms, STR), he can cleave large block of solid stone or thick bars of steel with his bare hands (Martial Artist, Unfettered Fist Schtick).

He is repeatedly described as possessing strength rivalling that of Iron Man. He could also take superhuman blows without serious damage.

It is likely this strength was derived from some sort of superhuman treatment. I’d imagine he later stopped using it because of harmful side effects.

The Mandarin and Iron Man routinely expend impressive amounts of Hero Points  when fighting each other (the Mandarin routinely boosting the EV of his rings). It works, too — as can be seen, the Mandarin generally was evenly matched with Iron Man during this era, and more or less won their early encounters.


History

The Mandarin (real name unknown) was a wealthy Chinese youngster. He was presumably born during the last years of Sun Yat-Sen ’s life (who died in 1925) – or perhaps in the first years of the Guomintang’s reconquest of China from the warlords.

He seems to have grown up in the pacified northern regions during the Chinese Republic. His father was a Chinese notable, and his mother an English traveller who established herself in China.

When the Mandarin was but an infant, his father died, crushed by a toppled statue of a god. This was widely considered as a bad omen, a punishment for having fathered a kid with a foreigner. The Mandarin’s mother later died of a broken heart.

Thus was the child raised by his aunt, who hated him. The family was one of the richest in China, and the wealth would have been hers if not for the kid. She even strongly considered taking him from his crib and abandoning him in a random village, but a falling chandelier then nearly killed her.

Considering this a second omen, she resolved to protect the kid – but also to teach him her hatred of the world.

The Mandarin’s fate during Word War II and the Japanese invasion at Nanking and beyond is unrevealed. But during the 1930s he was reputedly a high government official, presumably during the last years of the civil war and before the Revolution.

It is also known that an aunt of his was a dedicated scientist. She taught the youngster about science – which fascinated him, and led him to become a genius-level amateur scientist. Even back then, the citizenry simply knew him as “the Mandarin” and regarded him with near-mystic awe.

The Mandarin uses his black light ring

Though he presumably had strong Guomintang connections, the Mandarin and his remaining family did not follow the ragged remains of the Nationalists to the island of Taiwan. After the 1949 revolution, the government seized all of the Mandarin’s assets, leading to the death of his aunts.

The Mandarin himself fled into the wilderness, to avoid deportation and/or death. Although he hated the Communists, his goal was power rather than revenge. He considered that a man of his birth was entitled to power.

The Valley of Spirits

Deep into the countryside (possibly in Tsinghai / Qinghai ), the Mandarin came across an area known as the Valley of Spirits. It was reputedly haunted and thus avoided by all. Having nothing to lose and casting aside peasant superstition, he was the first to walk there in centuries.

Braving the terrifying skeleton of a long-dead dragon guardian, he discovered a crashed otherworldy spaceship. The Mandarin studied the alien technology for years, focusing on a set of 10 ring-like artefacts he started wearing on his fingers. One day he emerged from his research, proclaiming himself the sovereign lord of the Valley.

The Mandarin declared a long-since abandoned castle to be his. He subjugated nearby villages, becoming their feudal lord. The genius then easily defeated the units of the PLA that were sent against him, and became one of the most feared men in China.

He turned the local populace into his servants, and immersed himself in scientific research. From time to time, the PLA sent officers and/or troops to deal with him in some manner or the other, but they never were able to have much of an effect on the Mandarin.

Yinsen and Stark

In the early 1960s, the Mandarin attempted to enlist the help of other brilliant scientific minds to study the ten alien rings. He had the famous professor Ho Yinsen captured by his man in Việt Nam, a Viet Cong senior officer called Wong Chu.

He also plotted so that American industrialist and engineering genius Tony Stark would come to Việt Nam to investigate troubles in his holdings there.

The plan worked. Wong Chu captured both Yinsen and Stark. However the two captive geniuses teamed up the produce the earliest Iron Man armour. Yinsen sacrificed his life to save Stark, who became Iron Man seconds later.

The Mandarin killed Wong Chu for his incompetence. But, for reasons unknown even to himself, he did not take the opportunity to destroy Iron Man. He watched from the shadows as Stark walked away from Wong Chu’s camp.

During this general time frame the Mandarin fathered a son, Temujin, whom he sequestered in a remote monastery. Temujin’s mother may have been young Mei Ling, who had been betrothed to the Mandarin as a child, before the Revolution.

The Mandarin also took the girl later known as Madam Macabre as a student for a few years. Lastly, he discovered the dormant alien robot Ultimo within a volcano. Using Earth science, alien technology and Chinese magic, the Mandarin toiled for years to find ways to reactive Ultimo under his control.

Iron Man

Since he couldn’t access the full power of his rings at this point, the Mandarin researched various new weapons. He dreamt about the day where he would have enough of those to make himself master of the world.

He studied those who could resist him. The most dangerous of all was the American called Iron Man, bodyguard to industrialist Anthony Stark, whom he had unwittingly helped create.

The two men quickly clashed when the Pentagon sent Iron Man on a reconnaissance mission into Red China to learn more about the dreaded Mandarin. The powerful tyrant had the American walk through numerous gauntlets in his castle, then fought him man-to-man – quickly winning by using his paralysis ring.

Deactivating much of Iron Man’s armour, the Mandarin then confronted his great foe in unarmed combat. Stark stopped in the middle of the fight, which he was obviously losing, to use his wrist calculator.

The Mandarin was puzzled for a time, then delivered the coup de grâce – but Stark had been calculating the best parry to counter the Mandarin’s might, and broke his forearms.

The power of his transistorised armours being very low, Iron Man then had no choice but to leave to catch the spy plane of the US Air Force and leave China, leaving the situation a stalemate.

The Mandarin in his lab, and a servant

Second clash

Shellhead and the Mandarin clashed again soon after that, when American test ICBMs started disappearing in flight. Stark was certain that everything was right with the missiles, and determined that they were affected by outside forces.

Deciding that only the Mandarin could have built such a device, he entered the Valley as Stark, since he knew Iron Man would be instantly shot.

Stark tricked the guards to get close to the castle, then changed into Iron Man and went in. However, the Mandarin won by running Iron Man through a new gauntlet of strange weapons, exhausting the power in the armor and capturing him.

His power depleted, Iron Man bluffed and told the Mandarin that Stark was no doubt destroying the missile override technology as they fought. The Mandarin left Iron Man bound in magnetically-guided steel cables and went to check his device, as well as the stolen American missiles.

Stark used the delay to repower his armour with his internal generator, shatter the cables and shadow the Mandarin while continuing to recharge.

At that point a new American test missile was launched. Iron Man used the distraction to save the missile from the Mandarin’s missile-capturing beam, and wreck the emitter. Furious, the Mandarin unleashed his disintegration beam ring and took Iron Man through even more traps within his castle.

Despite those, Iron Man eventually managed to punch his foe, and used the few seconds he gained to run away and further wreck the missile-stealing ray. Stealing back the test missiles, he launched them, riding them back to the US.

Third clash

The Mandarin decided to avenge himself by building a killer satellite, which he used to destroy Stark’s house. The industrialist was reported dead, which had been confirmed by Iron Man (back then, Stark couldn’t leave his armor). As the Mandarin anticipated, Iron Man came to confront him over Stark’s reported death.

Stark was caught by a magnetic tractor beam, slammed to the ground, weakened by hypnotic lasers and taken down by the robot named Koto. The Mandarin then told of his origins to Stark, and left him to die by binding him on a rapidly-spinning wheel. He then moved on to the next part of his plan.

The Chinese government had previously asked the Mandarin to give them ICBMs out of loyalty toward the Chinese people. Although the Mandarin had always contemptuously refused, he pretended to change his mind, telling the Party that he would give them a test missile after all.

However, the missile had been rigged to hit Formosa (the future Taiwan), as the Mandarin hoped to trigger World War III and rule everything that remained.

The hands and rings of the Mandarin

Meanwhile, Iron Man had freed himself, and proceeded to intercept the missile and explosively return it to its point of origin. He then ambushed the Mandarin as he was returning to his castle. The Mandarin quickly gained the upper hand, however, using the power of various rings to batter his opponent and outmaneuver him.

A nearby Chinese commander, furious that the Mandarin had betrayed his country with a missile that ended up killing Chinese soldiers, then had his tank open fire on the Mandarin. This forced the genius to retreat with his jet ring before he could kill Iron Man.

Ultimo and other master weapons

In 1965, the Mandarin struck against the Avengers, to eliminate allies of Iron Man. At that point, the Swordsman was being hunted by the Avengers despite his good intentions. The Mandarin teleported him to his castle before he could be captured by Cap’s kooky quartet.

The Mandarin’s goal was to use the Swordsman as his Trojan horse against the Avengers. The Chinese’s arrogant manner provoked the Swordsman into attacking him, but the Mandarin easily neutralized him. The genius enhanced the Swordsman’s sword, using Makluan technology to turn it into a far more powerful and versatile weapon.

The Mandarin then used his matter recreater to project an illusion of Iron Man within the Avengers’ Mansion. He pretended that it was a genuine communication from the Golden Avenger that endorsed the Swordsman’s candidacy to the Avengers.

The Avengers more or less believed the hologram’s message. They accepted the Swordsman for a probationary period. The Swordsman quickly planted a very small bomb that was powerful enough to raze the mansion, despite being closely watched by the Avengers.

Eventually, the Mandarin grew impatient and decided to have the Swordsman detonate the bomb even though Iron Man wasn’t at the Mansion, reasoning that the death of his allies would leave him vulnerable.

However, the Swordsman decided not to detonate the bomb. He saw himself as a warrior and not a murderer, and was unwilling to harm the beautiful Scarlet Witch.

The Swordsman was caught meddling with the bomb by the Avengers. He had to use his sword’s new powers to flee and dispose of the bomb before the Mandarin realized he had been betrayed and detonated it.

Seething with anger, the Mandarin started working on a new project. Its completion made him so happy that he spared the lives of most of the PLA soldiers that attacked him, and that he used his teleportation technology to summon Tony Stark to him.

He had wanted to get Iron Man, but since he couldn’t locate him settled on Stark to be the helpless witness to the ravage of the Mandarin’s new master weapon – Ultimo !

The giant robot emerged from a volcano amidst an eruption. As the PLA renewed its latest attack on the Valley of Spirits, the Mandarin, his good mood gone, unleashed Ultimo against them. Stark tried to intervene, and the Mandarin blasted him away.

Stark survived thanks to the vest he was wearing under his shirt, and managed to recover his armour to confront Ultimo. Through clever maneuvering, Iron Man eventually lured Ultimo into pulverising the hard lava plug on top of a volcano, catching the fantastic juggernaut into a fierce pyroclastic explosion.

The Mandarin slashes at Iron Man with a sword

A short time later after the temporary loss of Ultimo, the Mandarin came back – again to strike at Iron Man ! At this point, Stark’s cardiac troubles had worsened so much that he had to ask “Happy” Hogan to wear the armour as Iron Man.

You know what ? I’m Happy

Hogan had barely had time to learn the basics of the armour when the Mandarin teleported him away. Hogan was mauled and captured by the Mandarin, then thrown into a cell to be interrogated.

Knowing that the Mandarin was behind this, Stark feverishly built a new generation of “Golden Avenger” class armour. The Iron Man Mod IV Mk I suit incorporated a much more powerful pacemaker, allowing him to ignore his current health issues.

While the Mandarin was busy interrogating “Iron Man”, Stark entered the Valley of Spirits and stormed the castle once again.

While the Mandarin had made some of his rings more potent, the new Iron Man armour was considerably more powerful than the old. For instance was no longer vulnerable to the formidable unarmed blows of the fantastic Chinese menace.

This time, the fight was much more balanced between the two fighters, and Iron Man eventually beat the overconfident Mandarin in hand-to-hand combat – not forgetting, of course, to loudly proclaim the obvious superiority of good ol‘ American know-how and fighting spirit over treacherous Oriental malarkey !

Meanwhile, the Red Chinese had accepted to test one of the Mandarin’s ICBM, since the previous test ICBM had been destroyed by Iron Man. The Mandarin again rigged the ICBM he gave them to trigger World War III. This time the missile was hacked to hit an American base.

Iron Man, however, reprogrammed the missiles to hit the castle the flew away as a nuclear mushroom covered the Valley of Spirits.

Return from the ashes

Of course, the Mandarin survived, teleporting to another dimension before the explosion could overtake him, then back to Earth. He started having his castle and much of his technology rebuilt after cleaning up the Valley of Spirits of debris, radiation and fallout.

His next revenge plot hinged on an a machine inducing murderous hatred in all those who witnessed its prism. But this prism needed to be a diamond. The Mandarin thus needed to conquer the greatest diamond-producing nations to rule over Earth.

The Mandarin looking at Iron Man (splash page)

His daring plan being to attack 3 such nations on 3 continents (apparently Brazil, India and South Africa), he uncharacteristically recruited allies to lead this attack.

  • the attack by mercenaries on Brazil would be lead by Power Man (Josten) and the Swordsman (Duquesne)
  • the army of Asgardian trolls in India would be lead by the Executioner and the Enchantress
  • in South Africa the Living Laser would receive the backing of a recently recovered Ultimo

To counter this, a full roster of all available Avengers assembled.

  • In Brazil, the Mandarin’s forces were met by the Wasp, Goliath I and Iron Man
  • The trolls in India were met by the Scarlet Witch and Hercules
  • The Laser and Ultimo were met by Thor and Hawkeye

Meanwhile, Captain America and Quicksilver were monitoring the situation. As all Avengers vanquished their foes, Cap and Quicksilver triangulated the radio signals giving orders to the felons and, using a ballistic missile, flew to new hideout of the Mandarin… a space station !

Captain America counted on their foe’s supreme confidence and strong curiosity. It worked – the Mandarin allowed their craft to reach his station so he could personally confront them. The two Avengers managed to fight him for a while – long enough for their comrades to also board the station.

However, while the assembled Avengers looked unstoppable, the Mandarin unveiled his master hate-inducing machine, powered by a gigantic diamond.

All the Avengers fell under the power of the ray and started fighting the nearest person. All, including the winsome Wasp, who was charging, unnoticed due to her minuscule size. She hatefully sucker-blasted the nearby Mandarin, making him blast his own machine and freeing the Avengers.

The Mandarin next triggered powerful energy beams scouring the life-support-enabled rooms of the space station, but Quicksilver rushed the control device and knocked the beams out of alignment. This saved the Avengers and prompted the station’s gradual destruction from within under the unleashed force of the ricocheting beams.

One of the beams perforated the hull, sucking the Mandarin outside. The Avengers barely managed to plug the hole using the giant synthetic diamond. They then sabotaged the station and left as it exploded.

Green and purple

Of course, the Mandarin handily survived by using one of this rings or Gadgets. He then built a new stronghold in the Gobi desert that looked very much like his Valley of Spirits one.

Still looking for a good servant, he decided the Hulk would be ideal for the position and teleported the brute into his stronghold to test his capabilities. Being a reasonable person, though, he had himself represented by a robotic duplicate to run these tests.

The Hulk overcame every single test, destroying the robotic duplicate in the process. He even dispatched the Giant Green Mustachioed Android by hurling him into space. Now very angry, the Hulk refused to hear the Mandarin’s recruiting pitch and charged him, only to pass through an hologram and sink into a pit of quicksand.

The Unicorn discovers one of the Mandarin's labs

Mei Ling

After that incident, the Mandarin made his fiancée Mei Ling his accomplice.

Presumably inspired by having witnessed the Hulk in action, the Mandarin built a robotic version of the jade giant. This sophisticated, remarkably powerful android was used to kidnap Janice Cord. This strange move was solely to confirm the Mandarin’s intuition that Iron Man and Tony Stark were the same man.

Although the Hulk robot was ultimately destroyed, its mission succeeded. Now the Mandarin and Mei Ling knew Anthony Stark’s greatest secret.

The Mandarin immediately faked photos of Stark meeting with Soviet operatives, and had Mei Ling distribute them to the press. Stark could not defend himself, since all these fictional meetings had taken place while he was operating as Iron Man. The plan succeeded, and Iron Man even ended up being hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D..

The Mandarin then had Mei Ling contact the fugitive, to draw him to her traps-ladden exotic antiques shop. The traps eventually brought Iron Man down – but, using a LMD  and a mask, he fooled the Mandarin into concluding that he wasn’t Tony Stark.

The Mandarin, suspecting a trick, left to investigate “Stark”. He left Iron Man in Mei Ling’s care. The Golden Avenger escaped, and reached the Mandarin seconds before the rings-bearing genius would realize the deception.

The fight drew reporters in, and Iron Man was thus publicly seen battling the Mandarin. Realising that Stark could use this to counter the accusations of treason, the Mandarin retreated. He grabbed Stark’s love interest, Janice Cord, and rocketing away to be picked by an aircraft piloted by Mei Ling.

Iron Man managed to catch up and break into the aircraft, and the Mandarin grabbed Cord to threaten to kill her if his nemesis stayed aboard. Mei Ling, aghast at how her future husband treated a young, defenseless woman in love, interposed herself. She was killed by an accidental power blast from the Mandarin.

The Mandarin, furious, tried to kill Iron Man but was knocked into the aircraft’s computer by the Golden Avenger. Stark then bailed out with Cord seconds before the craft crashed and exploded.

The Mandarin and his castle's security system

Hulk and Cap

The renegade genius survived, of course. He observed the Sandman being narrowly defeated by the Hulk. The Mandarin convinced the sandy thug that they could together defeat the jade giant, and gain their revenge against the Hulk. Pairing up, the villains promptly captured the Hulk and Betty Ross.

The Mandarin subjected the Hulk to his inescapable Contra-Power Rays. But the monster spotted Ross, which made him angry and strong enough to break the hold of the beams. The Sandman and the Mandarin proved unable to hold the furious Hulk back.

Out of spite, the Mandarin betrayed the Sandman, kicking him into equipment which turned the Sandman into glass. He then fled as the U.S. Army came in and captured the Hulk.

In 1970, the Mandarin attempted to worsen the situation in Việt Nam and weaken both global superpowers. He captured Doctor Hoskins, a peacemaker and healer well-respected by both the US and the Viet Cong, who promptly accused each other of the deed and intensified hostilities.

Captain America was sent in by the State Department to retrieve Hoskins. He soon stumbled on Vietnamese soldiers serving the Mandarin. Letting himself be captured, he was taken into the mountain stronghold of the Mandarin. There he acrobatically escaped and located Hoskins, with whom he fled.

The Eye of Yin

Hoping to enhance his rings, the Mandarin searched for the mystic Eye of Yin, created centuries ago by Makluan-trained sorcerers. He allied with an ancient Chinese scholar who conducted the research for him, and located the artefact in Tibet.

The Mandarin sent an armed digging party. But the site was very close to the Great Refuge of the Inhumans, and the Royal Family easily routed his soldiers. Furious, the Mandarin seemingly went there personally. He confronted the Inhuman Royal Family, and took out most of them, before being taken down by Black Bolt.

It was, however, a ruse. “The Mandarin” was but a robotic double. As intended the clash had awakened the curiosity of the Royal Family, who investigated the timeless, buried temple the Mandarin was trying to reach. The Mandarin hoped that they would face the defences there in his stead.

They did so, and the Mandarin summoned the now-unprotected Eye of Yin to him. He commanded it to dissolve itself and imbue his rings with fantastic power. He banished the sinologist to another dimension, then defeated the Royal Family again as they came for him.

Black Bolt, however, managed to hypnotize the Mandarin as he was busy ranting about his all-powerful rings. The Inhumans captured the Mandarin, took his rings away and left the deadly jewellery in the temple, which was soon engulfed in molten lava.

The Mandarin blasts with his rings

The Mandarin eventually escaped the hypnotic trance, but nearly fell into a depression over being separated from his rings. However he forced himself to study the books accumulated by the banished scholar, to learn more about the Eye of Yin.

He discovered that the ancient, proto-Chinese civilization behind the Eye also had had an encounter with a Makluan vessel. Donning his old silk robe, he pilgrimaged to their lands (presumably in Tibet). There he discovered more intact Makluan skeletons, just like in the Valley of Spirits – and another crashed Makluan ship !

This ship, which he studied for weeks, was different. Although it wasn’t controlled or powered by ring-like artefacts, its interface was a headband that the Mandarin learned to wear and control.

Using the link between all Makluan tech, he contacted his rings and had them free themselves from their tomb. However, this burned out the extra power from the Eye of Yin.

The Unicorn

A short time after this feat, the desperate Unicorn, dying from radiation exposure, came to the Mandarin for a cure. While the Mandarin never really intended to cure the Unicorn, he discovered that he could use the alien headband to take control of the sick man’s body as his mind slipped away into a vegetative state.

Delighted at the discovery, he declared the practically mindless Unicorn to be his “eleventh ring”.

In the identity of union leader Gene Kahn, the Mandarin stirred unrest among Starks employees, by accusing Stark of being in league with Communists. Many of Stark’s fellow Americans, including the patriotic workers at Stark Industries, were all too eager to believe this.

When exposed, the Mandarin fought Iron Man alongside the Unicorn, and they defeated the Golden Avenger. Stark narrowly escaped, and survived the encounter thanks to an unexpected remission of his cardiac condition.

Recovering, Stark ruined Kahn’s union propaganda through some charismatic public speaking and communication. He then tracked down the Mandarin and the zombified Unicorn to confront them anew.

The fight was definitely not in the Golden Avenger’s favor. However, careless use of the headband inadvertently switched the Mandarins consciousness with that of the terminally ill Unicorn. Trapped into the Unicorn’s ravaged body, the Mandarin hurriedly grabbed his actual body and fled to find a way to fix his situation.

The Mandarin rebuilding Ultimo for the first time

The Yellow Claw strikes !

At that time, the extradimensional Black Lama had launched the so-called “super-villains war”. He promised the power to control his mystical golden globe to the criminal who could defeat other competitors. The nefarious mastermind, the Yellow Claw, quickly emerged as the most terrifying of the contestants.

As part of the competition, he seized control of the Palace of Star Dragons. Thus, when the Mandarin, still in the Unicorn’s body and carrying his original, comatose body, came back, he ran into the Claw’s forces. The Mandarin had to flee to a secondary base, an undersea dome.

Working feverishly, the Mandarin in the body of the Unicorn designed a cure to switch their minds back. However, he discovered that the power source of his secondary base could not provide the necessary energy.

Using special sensors, he found a possible source of energy to perform the operation — the mighty Japanese mutant Sunfire, who was then operating in Việt Nam.

Expending the last of his delta energy reserves, the Mandarin teleported Sunfire to him and made him his prisoner. Sunfire, however, had been fighting Iron Man at that time, and the Golden Avenger soon came in hot pursuit.

A lucky torpedo hit drove Iron Man away by cracking the Plexiglas shields over his eye and mouth. This was an important fashion victory for the Mandarin, since the new mask Iron Man designed to recover from the incident had… a nose. Which was terrible.

While Stark was tinkering with aesthetic disaster, the Mandarin taunted Sunfire, who discharged tremendous amounts of energy trying to escape. The nuclear energy of the Japanese was such that it eventually triggered the mind switch — restoring the Mandarin to his body and leaving the vegetative Unicorn behind.

Captain America and Quicksilver confront the Mandarin

The Mandarin and Iron Man fought in the wrecked undersea base. Iron Man freed the trapped Sunfire, but was eventually defeated and knocked unconscious. A powerful karate blow to the chest then triggered Iron Man’s propulsive systems and sent him flying through the atmosphere.

The Mandarin assumed Iron Man would eventually die in outer space and turned his attentions over to retaking the Valley of Spirits from the Yellow Claw.

In his anger, the Mandarin stormed the Valley of Spirits by himself. He had a hidden objective, though, and when he reached one of the volcanos he blew it open, revealing… Ultimo !

The Mandarin and the invincible behemoth then strode toward the Palace of the Star Dragons, knowing that even the formidable arsenal there could not hope to stop the alien giant robot. Sunfire, eager for revenge against the Mandarin, tried to attack Ultimo, but to no avail.

As the two struggled in the Valley, the Mandarin used a secret underground entrance to his castle. He scattered giant automatons and monstrous mutations left there as guards by the Yellow Claw.

The Mandarin was now riding on pure, righteous anger. When he broke into his own castle, he shattered the cannon the Yellow Claw was using against him. He then struck a mighty blow in the head of the Claw — which proved to be a robotic double. The robot exploded, finally bringing the exhausted Mandarin down.

As the Yellow Claw taunted him from a nearby video screen, the fatally wounded Mandarin staggered off, refusing to die. But even his powerful will ran out, and he eventually collapsed.

The Yellow Claw then ordered Loc Do, one of his servants, to dispose of the corpse. But the wily man palmed the rings of the Mandarin before doing so, hoping to use them to become as mighty as the Mandarin had been.

Can it be… the END OF THE MANDARIN ?


Description

The first known costume for the Mandarin was somewhat weird-looking, in retrospect. Also, for reasons unknown to this writer, he was sometimes depicted as having Vulcan-like pointed ears. Perhaps that was the side-effect from his superhuman strength treatment ?


Personality

The Mandarin is at this stage an arrogant, power-mad genius out to conquer the world and prove his superiority. He’s overconfident and generically evil, though he’s not a casual killer.

One of his earliest goals was to destroy all rival military powers so he could reign supreme. He generally seemed to desire nothing more than the world acknowledging his genius, and his vast skills and power of personality.

The Mandarin and the Swordsman

The Mandarin, while overconfident, does not have misplaced pride. He has no problem with running from an enemy… to lead him through a variety of deadly traps and counter-attacks. Gauntlets of traps, robots, weapons and the like is a staple of the early Mandarin.

On the other hand, he often prefers to use his martial skills or weapons he build over his rings, perhaps because he feels humbled by being unable to determine all of the rings’ secrets. He typically uses his rings strategically at key points of a fight, rather than blast every Phase.

The Mandarin is so haughty and overconfident that he prefers to operate alone and avoid alliances. He also tends to consider any setback as a defeat, and absolutely hates being touched by anybody not worthy of it – i.e., anybody.

As demonstrated by the quotes, he’s a master of the Great Marvel Villain Dialogue (and monologue, too), with his tirades usually being written by Stan “the Man” Lee himself. Being a scientist, he’s usually interested in investigating mysteries, phenomena and new foes.

The Mandarin sometimes displays an incredibly spiteful streak, often leading him to dispose of his allies — seemingly just because he can. He also has a soft spot for revenge, a certain amount of cruelty, and occasional contempt for any Occidental.


Quotes

“I pity you, Iron Man !! For though you do not even suspect my existence, you head the list of those the Mandarin has vowed to destroy ! And the Mandarin never fails !”

“I’ve toyed with you long enough, Iron Man ! Now the Mandarin shall strike !”

“Others tremble before me, but you merely mock me !! Others are paralyzed with fear in my presence, but you defy me !! What manner of being are you ? Before I destroy you completely, I make you an offer ! Agree to become my ally — serve me — and together we can rule the world ! For your power is second only to mine !”

“There is nothing that can save you from my miniature attack rockets !”

“It is almost a bore to continue my vigil ! For, the outcome of this most satisfying battle is truly a foregone conclusion ! Yet, I shall view Iron Man’s final defeat a moment longer — to savor in full this most delicious triumph ! In fact, as a final act of mercy, I shall intensify Ultimo’s heat rays to their most extreme power ! Thus, in my infinite benevolence, I end the battle quickly for my doomed victim ! Henceforth, never shall any say of the Mandarin that he is totally merciless !”

“You dared lay an hand on my sublime person ! For that… you’ll die a thousand deaths !”

“In truth, it matters nothing that you attack me in my lair, fools ! Even the defeat of my bumbling lackeys does not mean my final defeat — but only a brief reprieve for Earth ! And now, behold that which will soon give me mastery over the world !”

Mandarin: “They could not suspect what lies beneath it was far more than the lifeless jade statue it appears to be ! They could little dream that… THERE LIVES A GREEN GOLIATH !”
Mei Ling: “He-he… it… *moves* ! Comes to life at the very sound of your voice…!”
Mandarin: “Yes, Mei Ling ! All the surging strength, all the rampant rage of the incredible Hulk is mine to command, to use as I will ! And soon… soon… use him I shall !”

“Face my living statues, Iron Man, and cringe…! Cringe before warriors of marble with but one ruthless purpose… one burning, all-consuming mission… *to destroy !*”

“Stop, you fool ! Flight is impossible ! No man can hope to outrun the fantastic force I wield with but the flick of a finger !”

“Maudlin metal miscreant ! Goals you call insane, I call inevitable ! As inevitable as the destruction that shall down you from my devastating rings !”

“By the shrine of my ancestors… Captain America has escaped ! But the Mandarin’s wrath shall follow… no matter where he flees !”

“My rings shall meet your challenge.”

“Yellow Claw ! If you seek to intimidate me, as the wolfpack does to the isolated sheep… THIS is how the Mandarin DEFIES you ! With my electro-blast ring… with a sonic blast… with a disintegrator beam !” (destroys three monstrous guardians in one blast each)


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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The Mandarin

Dex: 06 Str: 06 Bod: 07 Motivation: Power Lust
Int: 12 Wil: 09 Min: 09 Occupation: Scientist
Inf: 08 Aur: 07 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: 017
Init: 030 HP: 090

Skills:
Accuracy (Rings): 08, Acrobatics (Dodging): 04, Charisma (Intimidation, Interrogation): 07, Martial artist (AV, OV, RV): 07, Martial Artist (EV): 11, Military science (Field command): 08, Gadgetry: 13, Scientist: 14, Thief (Security systems): 11, Vehicles (Land, air): 05, Weaponry (Exotic): 06, Weaponry (Melee): 07

Advantages:
Genius, Iron nerves, Language (Mandarin Chinese, various historical Chineses including very early forms, and likely some other modern Chinese languages), Lightning Reflexes, Scholar (Biochemistry, Robotics, Business, Chinese classics), Mystique (Throughout China), Schtick (Robot Double Gambit, Unfettered Fist). For a few months, he had his fiancée Mei Ling as his Confidant.

Connections:
Po, Yu and Li Fong (Low, his faithful servants)

Drawbacks:
SIA toward Demonstrating his superiority/toying with his opponents/being overconfident, MIA toward Power

Equipment:

  • FORCE FIELD GENERATOR [BODY 05, Force field: 03, Limitation : Force Field is Self Only, cannot attack through Force field – though it can be switched on and off with an automatic action, and will be on within 5 “Initiative points”. Thus, in a given Phase where the Mandarin starts with Initiative rank 35, he can switch off the field at rank 35, attack (Dice Action), and switch the field back on to have it back on by Initiative rank 30.] This field wasn’t present in his earliest appearance. It appears roughly when he first activates Ultimo, and is pretty much never seen after that.
  • RINGS (see next section)
  • Multi-Dimensional teleportation device [BODY 02, Spirit travel: 03, Limitation : Spirit Travel is a Minor Marginal power. This device is mostly a way to escape total destruction, such as an atomic blast]. This is hidden in the Mandarin’s belt.
  • For a short while, he wore the Makluan Headband [BODY 12, Control: 05, Power reserve (Any Power from any of his rings): 02, Teleportation: 08, Limitation: Control only works on minds in a vegetative state, Teleportation only to summon to him a target previously infused with Makluan energy] from the second Makluan ship.

Mystic China

The Mandarin was retconned has having dabbled in mysticism even during his early years. This aspect of the character, however, was not apparent in the comics actually published during those days — except *possibly* for the Mandarin knowing about the Eye of Yin.

If you wish to integrate this retcon, the Mandarin acquires the full Occultist skill at 06 APs, a Low Connection with the Chinese Mystic Community, as well as some unspecified Rituals.

To conserve the story, though, it is important that all of his rituals have extensive casting time and components, thus explaining why he never used them in the period stories. His science, martial arts and so on are simply more reliable and efficient at this stage.

If you accept the retcon, though, it is very likely that the Mandarin had several enchantments, wards and artefacts in the 4-5 APs range protecting him and/or his castle against purely magical attacks and intrusions. These simply never came up in period stories.


Ten rings of death

The Mandarin’s ten alien artefacts, worn as rings, were apparently the power source of the Makluan ship – or the interfaces to control it, as two flashbacks seem contradictory.

During one story, the alien Century indicated that those rings where well-known through space and were destined to fall into evil hands – and it was implied that the rings and Century’s battle staff were connected. This does not contradict any previous statement, but what it means is unclear.

All Makluan rings can be used to remotely control all of the Mandarin’s Makluan-derived technology, such as the devices in his castle.

The power levels and exact abilities of the rings have evolved with time, presumably as he unlocked and refined their power — or because writers just made up powers without bothering to be consistent. During the era covered by this writeup, his rings performed as follow. As usual none of the Powers has AV – the Mandarin has to use his Accuracy Skill.

  • Left hand :
    • Little finger : POISON GAS RING [BODY 12, Fog: 04, Poison touch: 08, Note: Fog and Poison touch can be Combined, with Poison Touch being effective throughout the Fog. Note that the effects can be Bashing or Killing]. Occasionally, the Mandarin will fill a specially prepared grenade with this gas. Being thus compressed makes the gas even more potent (Poison touch goes up to 10).
    • Ring finger: PARALYSIS BEAM RING [BODY 12, Paralysis: 10] which then evolved into a FORCE FIELD RING [BODY 12, Paralysis: 11, Note : Paralysis now manifests itself as an “electronic force field” engulfing the target and crushing them into immobility]. By the time he sought the Eye of Yin, the ring had further evolved into a NEUTRON RING [BODY 12, Force field: 06, Paralysis: 11, Note: The “electronic force field” can now also be used to protect the Mandarin.]
    • Middle finger : ULTRA-HIGH FREQUENCY RING [BODY 12, Sonic beam: 09, Bonus : receives a -1CS Bonus to OV/RV when Blocking a Sonic Beam or Vibe attack]
    • Index finger : FLAMETHROWER RING [BODY 12, Flame project: 09] ; after exposure to the Eye of Yin it became a FLAME BURST RING [BODY 12, Flame project: 11, Bonus: If the Mandarin rolls a double while attacking with this ring, the Flame project attack becomes Continuing (like the Disintegration power as the flame suddenly acts like napalm.)]
    • Thumb : GAS SOLIDIFICATION RING [BODY 12, Ice production: 12, Limitations : Only to create constructs, barriers and “ice” traps. The solidified gasses are actually closer to cement in colour and composition] which then evolved to a SUB-FREEZING RING [BODY 12, Ice production: 13, Limitations : Only to create constructs, barriers and ice traps]

 

  • Right hand :
    • Little finger : DISINTEGRATION BEAM RING [BODY 12, Heat vision: 10] which then evolved to become a DISINTEGRATION BEAM RING [BODY 12, Disintegration: 14, Limitations: the ring takes 8 APs of time to rebuild a charge after each use (-3) ; Disintegration does not affect living tissue (-1)]. While the new version is far less flexible than the old one, it is also noticeably more powerful – a reasonable trade-off given the sheer number of attack powers available to the Mandarin.
    • Ring finger : BLACK LIGHT RING [BODY 12, Darkness: 08, Note : This “black light” has nothing to do with anything in the UV range of the spectrum, and has been theorized to be Darkforce]. At one point, it is revealed that the Mandarin uses special contact lenses to see within his Darkness.
    • Middle finger : LIGHTNING RING [BODY 12, Lightning: 10 , Bonus : receives a -1CS Bonus to OV/RV when Blocking a Lightning attack]. By the time he sought the Eye of Yin, the ring had evolved into a MAGNAFORCE RING [STR 08 BODY 12, Lightning: 11, Stretching: 03, Bonus : receives a -1CS Bonus to OV/RV when Blocking a Lightning attack. The STR and Stretching represent the “magnaforce”, which he uses to throw people around with great force. It seems to be a combination of magnetism and telekinesis.]
    • Index finger : IMPACT BEAM RING [BODY 12, Mental blast: 09, Flash: 08] which then evolved to become an IMPACT BEAM RING [BODY 12, Mental blast: 11, Flash: 08, Jumping: 08]. The Jumping is performed by blasting the ground, propelling the Mandarin upward like a rocket.
    • Thumb : JET RING [BODY 12, Air-walking: 06, Running: 07, Note : Air-walking is achieved through the levitation of a nearby flat surface whose weight doesn’t exceed the APs of Air-Walking, but can only be used that way ; Running can only be used along with Air-Walking]. By the time he sought the Eye of Yin, the ring had evolved into a VORTEX RING [BODY 12, Air control: 06, Air-walking:06, Running: 07, Note: Running can only be used along with Air-walking]

The illustration below is from after the era covered by this writeup (and the text thus reflects further evolutions), but the appearance of the rings seem unchanged.

The Mandarin's ten rings


King of his castle

Adventures involving the early Mandarin are likely to also involve his palace.

The castle of the Mandarin

Here are the observed facts about the castle in comics :

  • The entire valley is monitored by automated video cameras – consider that they have an INT of 06 when it comes to spotting unusual things and intruders and emitting an alert. The cameras within the castle are even more extensive, but apparently do not cover all the rooms, and have to be directly monitored by the Mandarin.
  • At the touch of a button, the Mandarin can make thousands of boulder in the Valley hurtle in the air… then come crashing down. This attack has an AV of 02 and an EV of 09, and is sufficient to rout armies. This feat might be done via the “magnaforce” also used by one of his rings.

Chinese soldiers flee from the Mandarin's castle

  • At least one road leads to the valley, by going through a mountain tunnel ; this tunnel can be blocked by huge metallic bars [BODY 18].
  • The valley is patrolled by ordinary soldiers with ordinary Chinese weapons of that time (ie, bolt-action rifles or papashah submachineguns). It is quite possible that those men were PLA soldiers who were forced to switch allegiances. A standard patrol is five men strong. Other locals man some of the guard stations – they are basically dressed and equipped as Chinese bandits, and are both less disciplined and greedier than the uniformed guys. None of these servants is allowed near the castle.

Chinese bandits serving the Mandarin rob Tony Stark

Chinese soldiers working for the Mandarin, racist art

  • The moat can only be crossed by a medieval-style drawbridge. Some of the huge tiles on the floor in the corridor beyond can be magnetically levitated and remote-controlled, making them an efficient transport for visitors ; a single tile can support a half- dozen men.

Chinese officers discover the Mandarin's castle

  • At least one cupola in the castle hosts a giant magnet/tractor beam [BODY 05, Attraction/repulsion: 14, Note : on ferrous objects, can use its APs of Attraction/repulsion as AV (AV is otherwise 04)]. The beam can drop people it catches into a tall chamber with closing granite walls.
    The walls have BODY 18, and are propelled by motors with a STR of 16. There’s a fairly obvious air vent on the ceiling, with a BODY of 04 and large enough for a man to fit through, but it is 3 APs above the ground.

The Mandarin traps Iron Man with a magnetic attractor

  • The Mandarin’s control room can be defended with a then-experimental paralysis cannon [BODY 03, Paralysis: 09, R#03 – AV must be provided by an operator with the Weaponry (Exotic) Subskill]. Although the walls are not thick granite as with most walls in the castle, they can be electrified [BODY 06, Force shield: 04, Lightning (No Range): 12] to prevent escape through them.
  • One of the corridors has one SPHERE on each facing wall, and the Mandarin can trigger a powerful electrical arc between them (BODY 04, Lightning (No Range): 10]. A variant on this, near an entrance, creates arcs in front and in back of the intruder, trapping him in an electrical cage.

Security beams seize Iron Man in the Mandarin's castle

  • At least one of the weapon racks has a heavy Chinese two-handed scimitar on it, with the following stats [BODY 12, EV 05 (12 w/Martial Artist]
  • The entrance to one of the basements is protected by a POD shooting a volley of Miniature Attack Rockets [BODY 05, AV 06, Projectile weapon: 10 (Area of effect 1 AP)], and by magnetically-guided steel CABLES in the walls [BODY 08, Snare: 08, Note : on ferrous objects, can use its APs of Attraction/repulsion as its AV (AV is otherwise a 04)].

The Mandarin's miniature attack rockets

Iron Man blinded and entangled by the Mandarin's defence systems

  • Several hidden trap doors on one of the floors are connected to smooth steel tubing, dropping their victims into a pool of acid. The TUBES are [BODY 07, Friction control: 02] and the ACID POOL has [BODY 08, Acid (No Range): 10]. The tubes snake through the various basements of the castle. In the Gobi Desert stronghold, the acid pool was replaced by vicious quicksand which promptly sucked even the Hulk under.
  • Likewise, various parts of the castle have sliding steel doors to cut off pursuit and trap enemies ; these doors have a BODY of 12. They also have a STR of 12, both to slide down and to close in to crush their victim between them. Note that the stone and cement only have a BODY of 09, though – but there’s a lot of both.
  • At least one console in the basements has a huge steel SPRING in the ceiling above it, capped with a thick steel plate, which can be triggered to smash anything using the console against the ground [BODY 10, STR 10]. Any target that survives is likely to be punched through the floor, and end up in another basement where a clever system of mirrors allows the Mandarin to appear in the middle of the room, where he actually isn’t… and looking about ten meters tall !
    The giant mirror has a BODY of 05 ; the man-sized shards of thick glass that will likely result if it is broken have the equivalent of Claws: 06, with an AV of 06.
  • Another nearby system is a hidden hologram projector that will create numerous illusionary clones of the Mandarin [BODY 03, Illusion: 08, Limitation : Only illusionary doubles of the subject, with a number of doubles equal to the APs of Illusion. Alternatively, the projector can focus on projecting a single double – the advantage being that, unlike the multiple doubles, the Mandarin does not have to stand in the same room as the illusory duplicates.]

The Mandarin stalls Iron Man with hologram doubles

  • Near the castle, covering one side of the valley, is a FLASH LASER ARRAY. This cunning technology induces a state of light hypnosis in the subject [BODY 04, Broadcast Empath: 08, Limitations : Only to broadcast a state of confusion, gullibility and anxiety – see Broadcast Empath v1.1 rules in the New Rules File for how to model the lowering of psychic defenses, Notes : any HP spending under the influence of the array must be accompanied by a number of HPs equal to the RAPs gained by the ARRAY just to compensate the effects of the ARRAY – the victim is aware of this as soon as he wishes to spend HPs, and can relent.]
  • A giant robot named Koto is also available. Koto is dressed in brown Asian garb looking like a cross between a monk and a ninja ; to someone under the influence of the flash laser array he will appear to be fully alive – giving the robot the equivalent of Charisma (Intimidation): 06. The robot has a proportionally-sized shortsword tucked into its belt, but it seems to only be a prop.
Dex: 06 Str: 14 Bod: 08
Int: 02 Wil: 01
Init: 008 HP: 005

Powers:
Growth: 04, Skin armour: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:
Growth is Always On and already factored in

Skills:
Gadgetry (Itself): 03 (Koto can disassemble himself, put himself into storage, and reassemble himself if ordered to)

Kono the giant robot ninja captures Iron Man for the Mandarin

  • The Mandarin uses truck-sized, sleek jet HOVERCRAFTS to move in the vicinity of the Valley [STR 05 BODY 07, Air-walking: 02, Running: 07, R#02] ; he also lent one to the Swordsman and Power Man when they attacked Brasilia.
  • DELTA ENERGY-POWERED MOLECULAR TRANSJECTOR [BODY 05, Remote sensing: 32, Teleportation: 17, Limitations : Teleportation takes a lot of delta energy, and as I always say delta energy takes forever to accumulate – charging up takes 19 APs of time plus the weight, in AP, of the subject to be teleported]. The Mandarin gradually added delta energy coils, so he would have ampler stores of delta energy and teleport stuff more often.
  • MAGNETIC SPHERES [BODY 08, Magnetic control: 08] – those spheres can rise from below the floor in the throne room to have the Mandarin’s opponents’s metallic weapons fly to the Mandarin.
  • MATTER RECREATER [BODY 06, Illusion: 05, Range: 24, Limitation: Illusion has No Range and uses the listed Range instead]
  • The castle had “videoceivers” transmitting the feed from a SPY SATELLITE [BODY 04, Radio communication (encrypted, video): 20, Telescopic vision: 18] so the Mandarin could watch thing happening continents away. The satellite could observe a given scene for a few hours before moving too far away.
  • When teleporting in the Hulk, the Mandarin had a pair of ray guns irradiating the Hulk, apparently to contain him (it didn’t work). Possible stats are AV 08, Glue (Area of effect 1 AP): 12.

The Mandarin teleports the Hulk into his fortress

  • Another measure that failed against the Hulk was the timeless Giant Spiked Hydraulically Powered Armoured Cylinder That Crushes Everything as it is rapidly lowered from its ceiling hiding place. It didn’t work either – likely stats are AV 05 STR 15 BODY (Hardened) 12.

The Hulk blocks one of the Mandarin's traps

  • Some floors in the castle are huge rapidly-opening trapdoors with large frictionless tubing. The fall seems to be about twenty meters (six stories or so), and the noise effect implies a vacuum suction effect (maybe Air Control: 05).

Major inventions of the Mandarin at this point

  • The Mandarin spent months designing a killer satellite – which could destroy anyone the Mandarin knew the location of ! This doughnut-shaped SATELLITE has the following stats : [BODY 05, AV 05, Bomb: 12, Range: 17, Telescopic vision: 16, Limitations : Bomb has neither AV nor Range and uses the listed AV and Range] and projects a “laser” beam (which, oddly enough, takes at least 20 seconds to reach Earth surface) at predetermined coordinates. Being in LEO it moves pretty fast, and it takes several hours for it to circle back to a location for another shot.
  • For the Swordsman’s trick sword, see the Swordsman writeup. One little-known fact, though, is that if the special functions of the sword were ever used against the Mandarin, they would instead affect the wielder.
  • For Ultimo – see the Ultimo writeup.
  • The Mandarin has stolen or built a variety of ICBMs throughout the years [DEX 03 BODY 10, Flight: 13, R#02, Grenade Drawback] – complete with nuclear warhead [BODY 04, Bomb: 32, Flash: 15, EMP: 20, Grenade Drawback, R#03, Bonus: Flash and EMP have an Explosive Radius and are both Combined with Bomb]
  • While the Palace of the Star Dragons was being rebuilt, the Mandarin operated from a SPACE STATION [STR 12 BODY 12 (Hardened Defenses), Energy blast: 12, Radar Sense: 20, Sealed Systems: 20, Military science (Camouflage): 07, Note : the Energy blasts can attack both inside and outside of the space station, with an AV of 06 ; Military science (Camouflage) is used to reduce the station’s signature so it can pass for a small satellite for most sensors. The station was of course lavishly furnished in an Imperial Chinese style, much like the Mandarin’s palace.]
  • When threatening Brasilia, the Mandarin used a gigantic remote- controlled flying scimitar that hovered like a town-sized sword of Damocles. This uniquely-shaped drone was loaded with explosives, was the size of a Boeing 747, and had the following stats [STR 08 BODY 11, Bomb: 14, Flight: 08, Note : Bomb is a self-destruction device and can only be activated by crashing the drone.]

The Mandarin's mega flying sword threatens a city

  • During his fight against the whole, extended Avengers roster, the Mandarin’s master weapon was a giant synthetic diamond powering his HATE MACHINE [BODY 07, Broadcast Empath (Diminishing, Area of effect 5 APs): 15, Limitation : B.E. limited to a “you hate the nearest person and want to kill him now” emotion]. All master villains need a hate machine, at least in the Marvel Universe.
  • When confronting Hulk, the Mandarin elected to be careful and was replaced by a robotic double, remote-controlled through very short-range radio:
Dex: 05 Str: 05 Bod: 05

Skills:
Accuracy (Rings): 08

Drawbacks:
Must be operated within a 50m radius or lag will make it noticeably desynchronized

Equipment:
RINGS [BODY 08 – those rings are connected to the Mandarin’s own and function similarly. However, for some reason, the ring that should be at that point the sub-freezing ring still operated as the older gas solidification ring]

  • When confronting the Inhumans, the Mandarin used even more sophisticated “robotic testers”, which were basically perfect doubles of him, could channel the full power of his latest rings and could be remote-controlled from thousands of kilometers away in real time. Those allow him to use his Robotic Double Gambit Schtick.
  • When testing the Hulk, the Mandarin unleashed a Giant Green Mustachioed Android – see the GGMA’s entry at writeups.org.
  • He had several helicopters, too – stashed in caches in the US to facilitate his operations there. Those are normal helos from the late 1960s. One of those, a dual-rotors affair, had the following stats: [STR 07 BODY (Hardened defenses) 09, Flight: 07, Radar sense: 14] and was equipped with a winch ending with a giant pincer [STR 06 BODY 08, 6 APs long line] as well as knockout gas bomb [BODY 03, Knockout gas: 17 (area effect 3 APs), Grenade Drawback]
  • In a base hidden in a cave in the US, the Mandarin installed CONTRA-POWER RAYS [BODY 04, Paralysis: 20] designed to hold even the Hulk — since they were powered by the energy used to struggle against them.

The Mandarin’s little shop of horrors

During the operation in which he learned Tony Stark and Iron Man were the same man, the Mandarin operated from a boutique of Oriental antiques run by his fiancée Mei Ling. The shop was, of course, full of high tech dangers.

  • The Mandarin had his android version of the Hulk (a perfect likeness for the real Hulk, whom the Mandarin had recently battled) shipped there to activate the first phase of his plan. The immobile android passed as a jade statue and was clad in traditional Chinese armour to pass customs ; once in the shop, the Mandarin activated it and took the armour off.
    This version was slightly more articulate, but also more cunning and more brutal than the actual Hulk. While it spoke like the Hulk it could, for instance, read or prepare booby traps. This robot was eventually destroyed by falling into the core of the main power plant of a steel plant, but is a good example of a high-end special purpose Mandarin-built robot.

Hulk android
“No ! Hulk wants much more than that… Hulk wants to destroy you… completely !”

Dex: 07 Str: 17 Bod: 15
Int: 04 Wil: 03 Min: //
Inf: 04 Aur: // Spi: //
Init: 019 HPs: 000

Powers:
Enhanced initiative: 04, Jumping: 11, Self-Link (Gadgetry): 17, Skin armor: 02

Skills:
Military science (Demolition): 03

The Mandarin's Hulk robot, and Mei Ling

  • Other powerful androids were a pair of 7 feet tall, marble Buddha statues. The solid stone was somehow animated, turning the statues into invincible sumotori-like warriors.

Marble sumotori (x2)

Dex: 06 Str: 14 Bod: 04

Powers:
Joined: 03, Self-Link (Animate object): 14, Skin armor: 07

The Mandarin's marble warriors fight Iron Man

  • The various rooms were separated by heavy steel vault doors [BODY 12] – presumably, the walls had the same BODY.
  • The main room had special projectors in the ceilings : NEUTRALIZER RAYS [BODY 02, Paralysis: 16, Limitation: Paralysis only on Earth technology, such as the Iron Man armour]
  • A special reserve of three futuristic robotic soldiers and a teleporter was hidden somewhere – those robots would teleport to the Mandarin when he emitted a coded pulse from one of his rings. Those robots were destroyed in but a few pannels — but then, both protagonists were burning huge amounts of HPs during the whole story.

Robot reserve (x3)

Dex: 05 Str: 05 Bod: 04

Powers:
Self-Link (Gadgetry): 05, Skin armor: 05

Skills:
Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Equipment:
Energy carbine [BODY 04, Energy blast: 09, R#03], Rings detection module [BODY 02, Detect (Mandarin’s rings):12]

The Mandarin and his robot reserve

  • An AIRCRAFT [STR 08 BODY 10, Flight: 10, Radar sense; 12, Invisibility (toward radar): 06, Detect (Mandarin’s rings):12, R#02] was also available for Mei Ling to fly ; she used it to try to rescue the Mandarin while he was pursued by Stark.

The Mandarin’s Pacific base

This undersea secondary base was where the Mandarin retreated after the Yellow Claw captured the Palace of Star Dragons. It looked like a steel dome on the ocean’s floor, 200 meters or so below the surface. This base was situated in the Pacific, not far from Northern Việt Nam.
In case of emergency (such as catastrophic hull integrity loss), a massive hydraulic lift could raise it to the surface before it was too late.

The base, which had a BODY of 09, could act as a 12 APs Lab ; it had equipment to keep bodies in suspended animation ([BODY 06, Suspension: 08)], and special energy detectors ([BODY 03, Detect (High energies): 14]). Its arsenal was mostly based on a small number of high-performance torpedoes [BODY 02, EV 15 (Area of effect 1 AP), AV 04, Swimming: 07, R#02, Grenade Drawback, Limitations: Swimming can only be sustained for five Phases (-2)]

Sunfire was teleported here using the standard delta energy technology, and held in a special cell whose walls had the following stats: [BODY 12, Energy absorption: 08].

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Mostly Iron Man comics (Marvel Universe)

Helper(s): Kal El ; Gareth Lewis, Frank Murdock. Several paragraphs in the History section are from Marvel.com .

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