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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998


http://www.cbr.com/humans-who-defeated-the-hulk/


    Quote:
    the Mandarin was a really strange character when he debuted, because despite having ten powerful rings that he would wear on his fingers, it always seemed like he wanted to do stuff that had nothing to do with the rings. When he first fought Iron Man, he mostly used his martial arts skills.

    Likewise, when he fought the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #107 (by Gary Friedrich, Marie Severin, Herb Trimpe and Syd Shores), the Mandarin certainly used his rings on the Hulk, but for the most part, he just used robots and electronics to take the Hulk down. That’s what happened when he encased the Hulk in a gas chamber to knock him out.


What I find interesting is that the article treats something I consider a feature like it's a bug. Yes, for a long time the Mandarin was more about blending cunning scientific prep with superhuman martial arts abilities, and the rings were these moderately useful side-things. The gradual retconning of the rings into being his root-n-spine was a horrible idea. The rings should have remained these tertiary occasionally useful tools.






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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,901



Why?

The rings are astonishingly powerful.

Without the rings, what is he? A powerful martial artist.

With the knowledge of alien science - but he got the rings from the same source. Can you really have one without the other?



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MysteryMan


Member Since: Fri Apr 28, 2017
Posts: 936



    Quote:

    Why?



    Quote:
    The rings are astonishingly powerful.



    Quote:
    Without the rings, what is he? A powerful martial artist.



    Quote:
    With the knowledge of alien science - but he got the rings from the same source. Can you really have one without the other?


I personally like to see them simply move him up a category. i.e. straight on...head to head he is a super human beast, but there are others more powerful. The rings and his brilliance allow him to compete and raise his game to another level.

Using battle board analogy say...
Without rings he is a deadly user of tech and a Mata.
Add in rings he becomes Prime Meta...more flexibility + a few powerful attacks that are not replicable by most masters of science.


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998



    Quote:

    Why?


Because movie Loki and movie Killian are both vastly more entertaining that movie Victor Domashev.


    Quote:
    The rings are astonishingly powerful.

Not when Stan Lee was writing them, nor when Kurt Busiek was writing them, nor when the Knaufs were writing them.


    Quote:
    Without the rings, what is he? A powerful martial artist.

Devious, savage, exploitative, and interesting.


    Quote:
    With the knowledge of alien science - but he got the rings from the same source. Can you really have one without the other?

Speaking of his alien science; his more interesting schemes downplay that and have him do things like kidnapping scientists and enslaving them. He's presented as devious and exploitative rather than someone possessing cosmic science.

Despite all this, I don't want to get rid of the rings. I just think his most interesting stories are when they aren't particularly powerful. The Mandarin is at his best when he's basically a combination of movie Loki, the devious schemer and weak illusionist, and movie Aldrich Killian, the political schemer and exploiter/enslaver of scientists who becomes a karate-chopping savage when his schemes fall apart.



Movie Loki was cool because his illusions were juuuust powerful enough to compliment his devious scheming without rendering them superfluous. If he could have wrapped the world in a cosmic illusion, he would have been painfully lame. Movie Aldrich Killian was an entertaining blend of cunning, exploitative, and savage, and he had no one ability that rendered any part of that superfluous.

Victor Domashev was cosmically powerful. He would just slowly walk around acting vaguely regal and looking down his nose at people as he did everything with a casual wave of his cosmic hand. He was painfully lame. I don't want that fate for The Mandarin. Stan Lee's Mandarin was about as personally powerful as movie Loki and movie Aldrich Killian combined. That's plenty. That's interesting. Victor Domashev is boring.

The Mandarin is devious, savage, and exploitative.
If the rings are so powerful that the Mandarin doesn't need to be devious, then the rings are too powerful.
If the rings are so powerful that the Mandarin doesn't need to be savage, then the rings are too powerful.
If the rings are so powerful that the Mandarin doesn't need to be exploitative, then the rings are too powerful.







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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,802


It has been established since their very first appearance that they are very powerful ... since the gems contain unlimited energy ...



... still, they are not as powerful as items such as the Cosmic Cube.

IMO, Mandarin has an arsenal of 10 weapons at his disposal.

For example, I think that the cold ring could be compared to Captain Cold's gun.

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/cold-gun/4055-56708/

It is a very powerful weapon (it is based on a cyclotron) but it doesn't make Captain Cold invincible.


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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,901



My headcanon is the rings were originally created in an attempt to imitate, or replicate, the power of the Infinity Gems to as great an extent as possible.

Ten small containers, each giving access to one tremendous power - each with their own AI to properly control it.



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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998


Matter Rearranger to fix things directly, cold for when the ship overheats, heat for when the ship gets too cold, electricity as an emergency backup if the power goes out, tornadoes to gather up poison gases or air-borne diseases, psionic illusions to entertain as a sort of psionic holodeck, that sort of thing.

It's kind of like the villains in Thundarr the Barbarian: they scavenge tech that was mostly fairly minor pre-cataclysm, but which is pretty powerful in their time.




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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,901



They were never depicted like that.





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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998


They weren't depicted as based on the infinity gems either.




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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,901



No - that's why it's headcanon.

However, we have no origin for the rings at all, so I have a little more play there, while we have seen the ring display tremendous levels of power many times.



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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998


The Byrne story, the Gillen story, aaand nothing else. Two instances of the rings looking powerful in fifty years.




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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,901



Two is enough.



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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,802



    Quote:

    My headcanon is the rings were originally created in an attempt to imitate, or replicate, the power of the Infinity Gems to as great an extent as possible.


I don't know if you noticed but Jim Starlin probably imagined the six Infinity Gems as three couples, actually :

- continuum (space + time)
- consciousness (soul + mind)
- conservation (power/energy + reality/matter)

I tried to imagine if it could be possible to apply a similar logic to the rings.

There are four rings which are, obviously, two yin/yang couples :
- White Light / Black Light
- Ice Blast / Fire Blast

I wonder if would be possible to do the same with the other six rings.
Matter / Mind would make sense.

... but Electro / Impact and Vortex / Disintegration, I don't know ...


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998


Illusions to cloud the mind, darkness to blind the eyes, tornadoes to make you dizzy, electricity to spaz out your nervous system, ice and matter rearangment to trap your feet, all fancier versions of the kind of tricks/traps/tools a good rogue would have in his belt to get you off-balance to set up a cheapshot. It's just that he cheapshots you with karate-chops instead of a dagger.

I basically think of The Mandarin as a Monk/Barbarian/Rogue hybrid. Like a Monk, he can channel chi to do immense damage with karate-chops. Like a Barbarian, he can rip into you with immense savagery. And like a Rogue, he is extremely good at using sneaky, devious tools to get you off-balance and set up a sucker-punch/cheapshot.




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MysteryMan


Member Since: Fri Apr 28, 2017
Posts: 936



    Quote:

    Two is enough.


I think in some of the early appearances the disintegrator ring looked very powerful. Though is was a bit OP really if it destroyed ANYTHING


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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,802


... thus, that's why I was thinking about tao & the fundamental forces of nature ...

Besides the obvious light & darkness and cold & heat, the electrical & impact rings could be an equivalent for the Vajra (thunderbolt).

The vortex ring also reminds me the yin-yang spiral.

Of course, it is also possible to say that the rings are the fundamental tools which allowed the ship to work.

For example, the vortex ring might be some kind of gyroscope.


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998



    Quote:
    ... thus, that's why I was thinking about tao & the fundamental forces of nature ...



    Quote:
    Besides the obvious light & darkness and cold & heat, the electrical & impact rings could be an equivalent for the Vajra (thunderbolt).



    Quote:
    The vortex ring also reminds me the yin-yang spiral.



    Quote:
    Of course, it is also possible to say that the rings are the fundamental tools which allowed the ship to work.



    Quote:
    For example, the vortex ring might be some kind of gyroscope.


A gyroscope, I can see it. Good idea. Or maybe something designed to keep the actual gyroscope spinning. Regardless, something that originally had a utilitarian, non-violent use until The Mandarin found them and reposed them as weapons. He's very imaginative in a monstrous sort of way, the sort of man who could find a ray that produces endless food to feed the hungry, and immediately thinks of zapping people and causing them to explode as hundreds of pounds of food suddenly appears inside their stomachs.





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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,802



    Quote:

    A gyroscope, I can see it. Good idea. Or maybe something designed to keep the actual gyroscope spinning.


Thanks \:\-\)

Just like the Ice Blast reminds me Captain Cold and the Fire Blast reminds me Heatwave, the Vortex reminds me the Top who, in the Silver Age, was obsessed by the properties of gyroscopes.

Another idea that could work would be to combine the energy blasts & the martial art into Mandarin's own style of attack.

The idea has already been used in the Dragon Ball series, in classic HK 1990s movies such as Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Storm Riders & Storm Warriors and, more recently, in the Last Airbender & Korra cartoons.

(... and, also, there is Iron Fist, of course)

Mandarin could be the only one to channel the energy of the rings into his own body and release it through martial moves.


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998



    Quote:

      Quote:

      A gyroscope, I can see it. Good idea. Or maybe something designed to keep the actual gyroscope spinning.



    Quote:
    Thanks \:\-\)



    Quote:
    Just like the Ice Blast reminds me Captain Cold and the Fire Blast reminds me Heatwave, the Vortex reminds me the Top who, in the Silver Age, was obsessed by the properties of gyroscopes.



    Quote:
    Another idea that could work would be to combine the energy blasts & the martial art into Mandarin's own style of attack.



    Quote:
    The idea has already been used in the Dragon Ball series, in classic HK 1990s movies such as Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Storm Riders & Storm Warriors and, more recently, in the Last Airbender & Korra cartoons.



    Quote:
    (... and, also, there is Iron Fist, of course)



    Quote:
    Mandarin could be the only one to channel the energy of the rings into his own body and release it through martial moves.


No, I prefer to keep what the rings do and what he does with his personal abilities separate. Any time something outside the rings has been folded into the rings, it has diminished him. For example, he used to have teleportation tech he invented. Then teleportation got folded into the rings, and he de facto became dumbed down, because it was never again even mentioned that he had that sort of tech. Make his superhuman karate-chops a function of the rings, and he is forever diminished. And no, I don't think his superhuman karate-chop ability would survive if it was established that the rings could even partially enhance them. The flanderizing nature of writing would cause it to quickly be forgotten that it was ever even partially a separate power. The rings would simply eat that complexity. I hate it when the rings eat his complexity and layers of ability.






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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,802



    Quote:
    Make his superhuman karate-chops a function of the rings, and he is forever diminished.


In my mind, I pictured it at been the other way around, the rings being part of the Mandarin's martial art.

(another comparison would be with Gun Fu movies, except with the rings instead of guns)



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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998


I prefer the rings to not be a part of his martial art, but rather something to get the other guy off balance when his martial arts are being dodged.

Not, "I enhance my karate-chop with psionic energy to hit even harder!" but rather, "you keep dodging my karate-chop, so I'll create psionic illusions so you don't know what to dodge, then I'll suckerpunch/cheapshot you while you're confused!"

I like that much better, because it keeps the full power of the karate-chop as purely and utterly an expression of Mandarin's savage spirituality, and keeps the rings purely a separate equivalent to throwing dirt in the other guy's eyes.




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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,802



    Quote:

    I prefer the rings to not be a part of his martial art, but rather something to get the other guy off balance when his martial arts are being dodged.

    Not, "I enhance my karate-chop with psionic energy to hit even harder!" but rather, "you keep dodging my karate-chop, so I'll create psionic illusions so you don't know what to dodge, then I'll suckerpunch/cheapshot you while you're confused!"

    I like that much better, because it keeps the full power of the karate-chop as purely and utterly an expression of Mandarin's savage spirituality, and keeps the rings purely a separate equivalent to throwing dirt in the other guy's eyes.


I like too much the rings to have them only be secondary weapons. (^_^')
... but, like you, I still prefer the Mandarin to be the master of the rings and not the other way around. That's why I was trying to find an equilibrium between the two.
IMO, the Mandarin should be the only one who can use the rings. No one else should be able to use them.


Anyway, the most precious artefact which Mandarin found in the ship was the mental-impulse log. It is a fact that, post-Stan Lee, has been forgotten by most writers.


Thanks to the log, Mandarin was able to tinker with the rings and turned them into weapons.



In a way, when Mandarin started, he was like a Reverse Peter Parker (an orphan raised by an evil aunt) who acquired the knowledge of a dead alien Reed Richards (a scientific adventurer & astronaut).

(NB : Axonn-Karr was less lucky than the alien who appeared in Avengers #4
http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/starhammerdbari.htm#Medusa )

On a different note, I tried to see if I could match each ring with a Flash Rogue.

More or less, I did it :

- Ice Blast : Captain Cold
- Fire Blast : Heatwave
- Vortex : the Top
- Mento-intensifier : Golden Age Thinker, Grodd, Fiddler, Pied Piper
- Matter Rearranger : Mister Element, Silver Age Grodd, the Top in 1976
- Black Light : the Shade
- Electricity : Weather Wizard, Kilg%re
- Impact : Captain Boomerang, Manfred Mota
- Disintegration : The Eradicator
- White Light : Rainbow Raider

Also, Mandarin's tech could be compared to Abra Kadabra's and Mirror Master's.



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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,998



    Quote:

      Quote:

      I prefer the rings to not be a part of his martial art, but rather something to get the other guy off balance when his martial arts are being dodged.



      Quote:
      Not, "I enhance my karate-chop with psionic energy to hit even harder!" but rather, "you keep dodging my karate-chop, so I'll create psionic illusions so you don't know what to dodge, then I'll suckerpunch/cheapshot you while you're confused!"



      Quote:
      I like that much better, because it keeps the full power of the karate-chop as purely and utterly an expression of Mandarin's savage spirituality, and keeps the rings purely a separate equivalent to throwing dirt in the other guy's eyes.



    Quote:

    IMO, the Mandarin should be the only one who can use the rings. No one else should be able to use them.


I do not think that the Mandarin should be the only one able to use the rings. Anyone should be able to use the rings. Just as anyone could use Joker's acid-shooting lapel-flower. That flower is just one more weapon in the arsenal of a brilliant master of chemistry, engineering, stealth, and psychological manipulation. Joker isn't diminished in the slightest if other people can use his lapel-flower to shoot acid at people. It is not his root-n-spine, and should never become such.

Also, I thought it was cool when Nightshade used the rings. I'd have hated it if that had proven impossible.

I do think that his looting the ship should be remembered, though mainly in the context of creating a Christopher Columbus vibe. I would play up the Christopher Columbus angle heavily, giving the Mandarin actions that parallel the things Columbus did heavily. For example, I would have him force the locals to carve off pieces of the ship and bring them to his castle, and have him karate-chop off the hands of the locals if they did not do this fast enough and make them wear their hands around their necks, just as Columbus chopped off Taino hands and made them wear their own hands around their necks if they did not mine gold fast enough.








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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,802



    Quote:
    I do not think that the Mandarin should be the only one able to use the rings. Anyone should be able to use the rings. Just as anyone could use Joker's acid-shooting lapel-flower. That flower is just one more weapon in the arsenal of a brilliant master of chemistry, engineering, stealth, and psychological manipulation. Joker isn't diminished in the slightest if other people can use his lapel-flower to shoot acid at people. It is not his root-n-spine, and should never become such.


Perhaps, at least, Mandarin could have protected himself from the rings when he tinkered with them ? .... a built-in safety mechanism preventing that somebody else uses the rings against him or or uses the rings without his consent ... perhaps, thanks to the Mento-Intensifier being permanently linked to Mandarin's mind ?
It would have been in continuity since at least the 1973-1977 story about the Mandarin using the headband to download his consciousness into his rings.
(http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/iron_man_57-58.shtml
http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/iron_man_68-71.shtml
http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/iron_man_98.shtml )

Joker is immune to his own "venom" and, when Mandarin created a sword for the Swordsman ... the weapon couldn't be used against the Mandarin.

The dialog between Mandarin & Swordsman suggests that Mandarin has such a knowledge of Makluan tech that he was able to build a "Makluan tech-based sword" which was inspired by the rings' abilities.

Bonus :

Mandarin & Gun Fu


(by Mike Deodato Jr and Rain Beredo)


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