Quote1.png 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! Quote2.png
--Mandarin


Appearing in "The Hands of the Mandarin!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Tales of Suspense #50.

Featured Characters:

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Antagonists:

  • Mandarin (First appearance)
  • The Mandarin's soldiers

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Synopsis for "The Hands of the Mandarin!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Tales of Suspense #50.

The hugely egotistical and secretive Mandarin is at his lair somewhere deep in Red China when his servant informs him that four officers from the Red Chinese Army have come to discuss something with him. He allows the officers to enter the castle and asks why they have come. They desire that the Mandarin join forces with the Red Chinese government so they can menace the world together. They also want the Mandarin to share the secrets of his power rings. This outrages the Mandarin, who refuses and sends them on their way.

Back in the United States, Iron Man is requested by the Pentagon to go on a reconnaissance mission into Red China to learn what he can about the mysterious Mandarin. Iron Man agrees and returns to his office at Stark Industries to prepare for the trip. He has to cancel his appearance at an evening dinner for Stark Industries employees, in order to go on this mission. When he tells Bill, the individual responsible for coordinating the dinner gala, Bill wonders out loud if it's because Stark is too busy to hang around with "the little people." Happy takes offense to this comment and socks Bill in the jaw. Stark steps in between the two and stops Happy, warning him never to do such a thing again, and that, as their boss, Stark employees are free to say whatever they want to him. Afterwards, Pepper heckles them for not noticing her sexy new makeover.

Later, Iron Man drops from a military airplane somewhere over Red China. Iron Man free falls most of the way to the ground, then uses his jet boots to land safely. He is spotted by the Mandarin’s lookouts, but they assume he has perished in the fall because they didn’t see a parachute open. Safely on the ground, Iron Man wanders up the hill towards the Mandarin's castle, eventually encountering and defeating a group of the Mandarin’s security forces. He then takes to the air and flies upward and into the castle, where he encounters and avoids several traps triggered by the Mandarin, who is secretly watching him via a monitoring system.

The Mandarin attempts to subdue Iron Man using with a paralysis ray, which is deflected by Iron Man's chest beam. The Mandarin then unleashes the wondrous powers of his ten rings. First he employs a blast of high-frequency sound waves, which Iron Man counters with sound waves of his own. The Mandarin follows up with a paralyzer ray that manages to completely immobilize Iron Man.

Meanwhile, back at Stark Industries, Pepper decides that she desperately needs to take a date to the employees dinner, so she reluctantly calls Happy, who assumes it is a sign that Pepper really likes him.

Back in China, Iron Man finally shakes off the effects of the Mandarin's paralysis ray. The Mandarin electrifies the walls of the chamber to prevent Iron Man from escaping and moves in to engage him in hand-to-hand combat. Iron Man devises a plan requiring him to make some quick calculations on his armor's built in slide-rule, then assumes the appropriate position to ensure that when the Mandarin strikes him, it would be at the right angle to cause him immense pain. Iron Man takes the opportunity to escape, as the Mandarin lies writhing in agony on floor. He takes to the sky just in time to intercept the military jet that is scheduled to pick him up to take his newfound intelligence back to the Pentagon.

Anthony Stark returns to New York in time to attend his employee dinner party, where he meets up with Happy and Pepper.

Appearing in "The Uncanny Unicorn"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Tales of Suspense #56.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

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Other Characters:

Locations:

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Synopsis for "The Uncanny Unicorn"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Tales of Suspense #56.

Lamenting about the state of his life, Iron Man trashes his lab in a fit of rage. He decides to stop being Iron Man and to spend what's left of his life focused on his millonaire playboy lifestyle. Tony starts arranging a date when the Avengers call Stark Industries looking for Iron Man to deal with a new threat that they were too busy to handle. However, Stark simply tells them that Iron Man was sent away for "a long vacation."

This threat was a new villain named the Unicorn, who attacked Stark Industries a moment after the Avengers had called. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is out on a date with a girl named Pamela. The Unicorn starts wreaking havoc on the plant, and in light of both Iron Man's and Stark's absence, Happy Hogan tries to fight off the villain. The villain proves to be a strong opponent, and beats Happy up. Pepper tries to call for help, but the Unicorn had ripped out the phone cables. Once he knocks out Happy, the Unicorn hears Pepper's scream, and kidnaps her, hoping that will lure Iron Man to him.

After the villain escapes, Happy is hospitalized. Tony Stark is notified of the events and leaves for the hospital, but Happy can't have visitors. Meanwhile, the Unicorn has taken Pepper to a private estate on the shore of Long Island, and tells her his origin.

The Unicorn had trained for years behind the Iron Courtain, mastering a costume with a power horn that had been built by the original Crimson Dynamo before his defection. The horn allows the Unicorn to repel objects with ease, project energy rays, and even shield himself from harm's way.

Back in Stark Industries, Tony Stark is scolding himself for having been so selfish. He suits up with his Iron Man armor and uses a black light add-on to track down the Unicorn's energy signature to his hideout. He crashes through the house's wall and confronts the Unicorn. Before the villain can activate his power horn, Iron Man dive-kicks him. But as soon as he recovers, the Unicorn strikes back with his bolt-ray. Using his own ray, Iron Man knocks out the Unicorn and flees with Pepper.

Iron Man doesn't suspect that the Unicorn has his own jet-assisted flight, and the criminal follows him to Stark Industries. Once the villain gets to the factory, he places a time-bomb with enough charge to blow up the entire plant. The Unicorn subsequently calls out Iron Man, and informs him of the bomb that will explode in fifteen minutes. The only way for Iron Man to prevent that would be to surrender himself, and let the Unicorn take him to the Soviet Union. Iron Man tries to find the bomb using his suit's sensors, but there's too much background noise to track it down. Tony decides that he can't jeopardize the lives of Pepper and the other employees, and surrenders with only sixty seconds left. The Unicorn recovers the explosive and disarms it.

Minutes later, they take off in the Unicorn's plane. When the Unicorn gloats that he has defeated Iron Man by making him keep a promise that he can't break, the Golden Avenger reminds him that his promise only involved surrendering and letting the Unicorn take him on a plane bound for his homeland. Whatever happened after that was not arranged. Iron Man starts tearing up the plane, causing it to plummet to the ground. Iron Man catches a glance of the three Soviet agents that jump from the plane, and wonders if the Unicorn had taken off and disguised himself as one of his assistants. The villain had instead escaped using his flight ability.

The next day, after the Soviet agents have been imprisoned, Tony arrives at Stark Industries and Pepper informs him that Happy is off the critical list. They visit him, and Pepper is particularly attentive toward Happy. Tony wonders whether she has grown fond of Happy, or if she's trying to make him jealous. Tony ultimately concludes that Pepper is better off with Happy, considering that he himself can't lead a normal life.

Solicit Synopsis

Reprinting Material from Tales of Suspense (1959) #50, #56

See Also

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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