Characters Appearing: Ancestor, Century, Cybermancer II, Deluge, Foundry (Avatars), Iron Man, Lich, Mandarin, Mrs. Arbogast, Q'Wake, Recorder (Starstealth), Scarlet Witch, Sickle, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Su Yin, USAgent, War Machine
Iron Man #312
Issue(s): Iron Man #312
And it's not just Iron Man.
While fighting Mandarin, Iron Man says that he's never hated the Mandarin before today.
All his evil, murderous schemes? Meh. Trying to take away Tony Stark's tech? That summons up hatred.
Force Works are basically sidelined during the fight (even Century, who is tackled by his teammates before he can go after his staff). But Iron Man doesn't fare very well on his own against the super-charged Mandarin.
But then the Mandarin suddenly departs from the battle site. It seems he needs to hold Parallax to recharge his powers.
Iron Man apologizes for letting his personal grudge get the best of him. They then learn what little Century knows of the Mandarin's rings and his new orb, the Heart of Darkness (or thdalkfdsa;lkjf of calkjfadshja).
I thought the rings were designed by Fin Fang Foom's people as power sources for their UFOs. Maybe they were also "evil people" and the rings just fell into their hands? (The seeds of my complaint come from Byrne's run; he already started down this path in Iron Man #269-275).
Speaking of the Makluans:
But that's all that that will be spoken of them this entire crossover.
Tony Stark goes to Su Yin for help. Tony realizes he never really loved her. He asks her to use the work she did trying to cure his techno-organic parasite and weaponize it. So while the rest of the heroes fight the Avatars...
...Iron Man shows up and tells them it's time to surrender. The others realize it's a ruse and play along. Mandarin assumes it's a ruse, too, but doesn't guess that Iron Man's helmet is coated with the techno-organic weapon, and it infects him.
Apparently the "organic element" in the virus makes it immune to the Mandarin's anti-tech field. The Avatars all melt and the orb flies away when Mandarin tries to touch it.
So that's basically it.
In a wrap up scene, Su Yin declines a position with Stark and goes back to mainland China (it's her last appearance according to the MCP).
The guy who was the warlord that War Machine and Century were working with, Chu Lo Yan, somehow becomes a janitor at Stark even though he was a politician prior to these events.
At least that's how i interpreted the scene given that the man's name is Chu and we hadn't gotten closure on him since he parted ways with Force Works. But per Michael's comment below, Kurt Busiek apparently misinterpreted this scene and assumed it was the Mandarin.
And Iron Man and War Machine reaffirm their friendship (although... "mighty white of you"?).
And at the very end, "three days" later, we see Stark staring at a bottle of alcohol. But he's able to resist the temptation. (Closure on that is necessary since the Hands of Mandarin story continued more or less directly from the conclusion of the VOR/TEX plot.)
Overall, this was some decent if forgettable super-action. The execution of the Mandarin's new direction wasn't done well, and his Avatars certainly aren't very memorable. And the ending feels cheap, both because it's so focused on Iron Man (to the exclusion of the other heroes) and especially because it relies on a bit of continuity that had nothing to do with the rest of the crossover (and because it takes the Mandarin down so quickly and thoroughly). The teased connections between Century and the Mandarin's rings turn out to be a real disappointment. But as just a random adventure, it's a decent read with some substandard but non-Imageified art. There is one major caveat, though: the Marvel Comics Presents segments. They kill the pace of the story. Just as you're getting interested in the story, you hit one of those and have to go soak your brain in a bucket of ice for an hour to recover.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the sixth and final part of Hands of the Mandarin.
Crossover: Hands of the Mandarin
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Hands of the Mandarin TPB
There was a scene this issue where Tony argues that science is better than magic because it proves things instead of taking them on faith that struck me as a heavy handed argument for the superiority of science over religion.
Posted by: Michael | February 9, 2018 8:12 PM
The Mandarin's rings being revealed to have been created by someone other than the Makluans would explain why other than Fin Fang Foom's crew of conquest-minded renegades we've never seen any of them possessing technology like that.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 9, 2018 10:30 PM
@Michael, re: the janitor. Thanks for that. I guess even though i thought it was Chu Lo Yan and that seems to have been Kaminski's attention, if Busiek later had the Mandarin say it was him, that's what i have to go with. I've removed Chu Lo Yan's tag.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 10, 2018 1:07 PM
Do we see the Mandarin's George Tuska Chipmunk Teeth at any point?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2018 2:40 PM
I assume this comment was really meant for Marvel Comics Presents #169-170. That costume is there, but the teeth are restrained (taking into account the messy art).
Posted by: fnord12 | February 10, 2018 2:48 PM
Count me in as someone who thought the janitor was Mandarin under an alias. The Iron Man cartoon adapted this storyline and they had a similar scene. The janitor was absolutely the Mandarin in that episode, probably adding to the confusion for anyone who watched that show and was reading the comics.
Posted by: Bigvis497 | February 11, 2018 7:52 PM
Comments are now closed.
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