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Who’S Iron Man’S Arch Nemesis

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The Invincible Iron Man is nearing his 60-year anniversary, and during his time in the four-color world of Marvel Comics, he’s fought fascists, world-destroyers, aliens, and more. But just who is the tin-head’s primary arch-nemesis?

Of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe immediately dipped into the source material and showcased some of Iron Man’s principle baddies: Iron Monger (aka Obadiah Stane, his father’s old business associate) in the first Iron Man filmIn Iron Man 2, he faced off against Whiplash (a combo of the lace-wielding Whiplash of the comics and Crimson Dynamo) and rival weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer. Terrorist scientists group A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) were the villain du jour in Iron Man 3. After Tony Stark’s (aka Iron Man) fate was sealed in Avengers: Endgame, cinematic incarnations of his rogue’s gallery may now have been left in limbo, leaving audiences wonder just who exactly was the Joker to his Batman.

Related: MCU Theory: Shang-Chi Will Become The New Mandarin

The first Iron Man hinted at a terrorist group called the Ten Rings (a thread that is finally being weaved into the upcoming, fittingly titled, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings). In the comics, the ten rings are worn by superhuman, battle-hardened villain and scientist the Mandarin, a foe whom Iron Man encountered in the third film… or so audiences thought. Both Ben Kingsley’s and later Guy Pearce’s portrayal of the classic Iron Man heavy turned out to be a ruse, with hints that the “real Mandarin” was waiting in the shadows. Any die-hard Iron Man fan will tell you: The Mandarin is arguably Tony Stark’s greatest foe.

who's iron man's arch nemesis

Created by Stan Lee and artist Don Heck, and appearing for the first time in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #50, the Mandarin was raised an orphan after his rich parents passed, the family’s remaining fortune being utilized to train him in science and warfare. After coming across a Makluan alien space ship (a race that evolved from a reptilian species), the Mandarin studied and mastered the powerful ten rings he found within it, soon using them to exercise his maniacal tendencies to conquer China and the rest of the world.

The ten rings the Mandarin found are fueled by Makluan technology with each individual ring granting its bearer extraordinary powers. SPIN slows down time; SPECTRAL enhances a ghost-like appearance; ZERO allows its user to beam nothingness from outer space; NIGHTBRINGER welcomes darkness instantly; LIGHTNING emits electrical expulsions; LIAR builds illusions and dreams one cannot escape; INCANDECEANSE calls upon a star, using fire to scorch its surroundings; DIAMONIC makes one compulsive and obsessed; INFLUENCE alters body; and finally the REMAKER ring, which alters relationships sub atomically and can make people turn into stone, amongst other things. Unfortunately, the Mandarin has applied each one of those rings throughout his encounters with Tony Stark, throughout their decades of battles. He represents everything that Stark defies: the use of lethal weapons with malicious intent.

With Tony Stark out of the way, it will be fascinating to see just how the Mandarin is finally incorporated into the MCU. And as far as the comics, the Mandarin has recently perished, but death hasn’t stopped him before, as he always seems to return with a new set of nefarious plans for not just Iron Man to combat, but Earth’s Mightiest Avengers as well.

Next: What are Marvel's Ten Rings? Comic Origins and Powers Explained

Justice League Teases Iconic New Members Following Original Team's Death


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