Quote1 That's one of the hazards of being a lone-wolf type of adventurer! After a while, you begin to talk to yourself! Quote2
-- Iron Man

Appearing in "The Origin of the Mandarin!"

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  • Previous Empty Mandarin Next (Main story and flashback) (Origin revealed)

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Synopsis for "The Origin of the Mandarin!"

With Iron Man, his nemesis, tied to a wheel with titanium bonds, the Mandarin decides to tell him a story nobody has ever heard, his origin story.

The Mandarin takes Iron Man back to the day he was born. According to himself, the Mandarin's father was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan, but he married a high born Englishwoman, supposedly making the gods feel displeased when the Mandarin was born. An idol fell upon the Mandarin's father and killed him, and his mother died of a broken heart upon hearing the news. The orphaned child was given to his aunt, however, she hated him because he would inherit the wealth instead of her. When the Mandarin's aunt set out to abandon the child in another village, a chandelier fell next to her. She interpreted the accident as an omen, and thought she was bound to never leave his side. Because of this, she decided to teach him to hate the world the way she did.

Every bit of gold of the Mandarin's inheritance was spent teaching him science and the art of war, but the Chinese army took his home and land for tax evasion. Mandarin's aunt died the following day, leaving him completely alone. While he was now poor, the Mandarin walked proud of being a descendant of Khan.

One day when he was walking a path leading to the dreaded and forbidden Valley of Spirits, the Mandarin was lured by a powerful light to the ruins of a mysterious alien structure, a spaceship. While he explored every bit of the vessel, he discovered a machine that fed into his mind the logs of the ship's captain, an alien called Axonn-Karr of the planet Maklu-4. Axonn-Karr had explored the universe and met his end when he arrived to the Earth, as he was fatally wounded by humans, who were scared of his appearance.

Before leaving the ship, the Mandarin retrieved its power source, ten rings that contained unlimited energy. The Mandarin then established in a deserted castle in the middle of the Valley, where he spent years studying the alien science of Axonn-Karr and managed to harness the power of the ten rings, with each one having a different power he could command at will. Using the power of the rings, the Mandarin subjugated entire villages to his will.

After finishing his story, the Mandarin activates the wheel Iron Man was strapped to, which would spin faster and faster until its victim died. With the machine running, the Mandarin left to continue his plan of world domination. He planned to demonstrate a missile to the Chinese Army, and have it set to reach Formosa, hoping to trigger World War III and step in once the democracies and the communists had exhausted themselves fighting.

Once the villain left, Iron Man used a concealed diamond blade in the tip of his gauntlet to snap one of the titanium cords. He then connected it to the power-pack of his wrist and turned the wheel into a generator that would recharge his suit the faster it moved. After recharging his suit, Iron Man applied his own strength and caused the wheel to snap from its axle, crash into the wall and break. Once freed from the remains of the wheel, Iron Man used a solar scanner-beam to track down the Mandarin to a military base.

In the military base, the Mandarin attended the launch of the missile and proceeded to leave. Iron Man intercepted the weapon and changed its course, causing it to plummet and crash into its launching site, making the Chinese army believe that the Mandarin had betrayed them.

As the Mandarin was leaving to his castle in his ship, Iron Man threw a boulder into the vehicle's path, causing it to crash. After questioning what could've caused the boulder to move, Iron Man showed himself and confronted the Mandarin. The two enemies managed to counter each other's attack. Iron Man dodged the beam from Mandarin's flame ring, the Mandarin used an energy beam of his own to block Iron Man's, and then the Golden Avenger saw himself unaffected by poison gas thanks to his armor's filtering system. Iron Man proceeded to pick up the boulder, but before throwing it to the Mandarin, he was blinded with a flashing light. He still managed to throw it at the Mandarin, but the villain destroyed it with his disintegrator ray. The Mandarin then used a gas solidifier to trap Iron Man in the air surrounding him, but the fight was interrupted by the Chinese Army, who wanted the Mandarin's head. The villain proceeded to trap Iron Man in a beam of black light to distract him and escape to the safety of his castle. After freeing himself from the dark matter, the Chinese and the Mandarin had left the scene.

A few hours later, Iron Man managed to catch a ride back home aboard a USAF jet. Meanwhile, the Mandarin ponders in his base, and set outs to never rest until he destroys Iron Man.

Appearing in "Break-Out in Cell Block 10!"

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Synopsis for "Break-Out in Cell Block 10!"

Quote1 Take it easy with that gun, fella! If you stole it from the weapons room, it's government property! You're wasting the taxpayer's bullets! Quote2
--Captain America

Putting on a demonstration of his acrobatic abilities for the warden of a prison, Captain America soon finds out that it's all a trap and that the warden and his staff have actually been locked up in cell block 10 and the inmates have taken their place. Stealing Captain America's shield and locking him up with the warden, Captain America breaks out of his cell and fights off the prisoners who are trying to use it to open the magnetically sealed front gate of the prison.

Defeating the break-outs leader, Cap takes back his shield and the warden and his guards take back control of the prison. Later Captain America explains that the crooks were probably trying to use his shield to open the door because it once had magnetic devices built into it they figured might be able to open the door, but that these devices he had recently removed them from his shield. Asking what the code word to open the door was, he's told "Captain America."


  • This issue features the origin of the Mandarin. This origin is later retconned in Invincible Iron Man Annual #1. However, it is explained that the version of his origin present in this issue suffers a case of unreliable narrator, as the Mandarin is inventing the origin that suits his ego the best.
  • "Thumper" Morgan and Deacon will next appear in Captain America #260, a sequel to this issue's Cap story. Also in that issue, Cell Block 10 is determined to be on Ryker's Island.
  • The first page states that Marvel decided to write the origin of The Mandarin after receiving more than 500 requests for it.
  • This issue is reprinted in other comics and books, see references for more info.[1]
  • We learn in the Captain America story that at some point, Captain America threw away the magnetic equipment Iron Man put on his shield from Avengers #6.

See Also


  1. This story is reprinted in the following comics/TPB's:

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