|Powers and Abilities||Bands of the Underworld|
Command Over the Demon Elementals
Untold Magical Powers
Deities of Death
|Family and Friends||Li Mei (Granddaughter/Vessel)|
Li Mei's Father (Grandson)
Mandarin was the first ruler of China. His desire to live forever led him to terrible brutality and savagery. A deal with powerful dark forces allowed him to live on through prophecy so that he could eventually return.
Dynasty of the Mandarin
Around the year 1000 BC, Mandarin ruled China as emperor during what would be called the Mandarin Dynasty. As the ruler of the first dynasty of China, he ruled through violence and evil. At some unknown point he had children. Mandarin began to fear death, knowing that his reign would end. He wanted to preserve his empire so he had his people build a temple to him that was not completed until he was close to death. The people then carved a Terracotta Army to protect the temple.
Unsure of whether that would be enough, Mandarin decided to forge a covenant with the Deities of Death Dormammu, Death, Pluto, Hela, and Mephisto. However, the pact carried a high price, Mandarin had to sacrifice every life within his empire.
To help Mandarin collect the souls, the deities gave him five Demon Elementals: a Dragon Spirit, Earth Spirit, Ice Spirit, Fire Spirit, and Wind Spirit. In the following year Mandarin and the Elementals stripped the land of all living things. His temple soon became filled with the bodies of the dead. When the last drop of innocent blood was spilled, the pact was sealed. The Elementals then became statues around one of Mandarin, waiting for a day when they would be needed.
For the souls, the deities gave Mandarin five jeweled rings, the Bands of the Underworld, that would grant him eternal life and all the power of the underworld. The bands were conduits to the afterlife. What he did not know was that the gifts would not be his until he passed through the very gates of death. Eventually Mandarin died and upon his last breath the land poured over his city, the center of his empire.
Somehow he was placed in a large coffin in the bottom of his temple. Large dragon statues where placed on it in the hopes that it would prevent it from ever being opened.
Monks found the rings and took them to four distant locations, hoping that they would never be found. They sacrificed their lives so that the rings would be hidden in what would become England, Switzerland, South America, and the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. These monks were the first of a group called the Jade Dragons, a group that made it their mission to never let Mandarin rise again.
The city and his temple remained buried for three thousand years. Despite being known as the lost age, the Mandarin Dynasty continued to loom over the Chinese people throughout the ages and scared them even in modern days. Mandarin became little more than a prophecy. It stated that one day the temple would rise and the Elementals would wake. They would gather the bands of the underworld and resurrect their master. According to the prophecy, the only one that could defeat Mandarin was the Iron Knight.
But no one believed in the prophecy. However, his prophecy began to gather strength from those who did not believe, and when it faded from all memory it became its most powerful. Only the Jade Dragons knew the truth and for centuries kept the prophecy at bay. The Jade Dragons watched over the valley where his temple lay hidden. The group kept a large mural depicting the battle between the Iron Knight and Mandarin and the Dragon Spirit so they could be reminded of what would come.
However, Mandarin and the dark spirits watched over them from beyond the grave.
Somehow, Ho Yen also learned of the Mandarin prophecy and of the Demon Elementals. He also knew the locations of each of the rings. However, he did not seem to be a member of the Jade Dragons since they captured, tortured, and eventually killed him.
The Mandarin's descendants continued on trying to fulfill the prophecy. Each hoped that they would be the Mandarin's vessel. They made it their entire's life purpose to fulfill the prophecy. At some point they found one of the rings and passed it on through the generations. Mandarin's last male descendant fathered only one child, a woman he named Li Mei. Li Mei was a major disappointment for the father, who wanted to be the vessel for Mandarin. Some time after her father's death she joined the Jade Dragons. She did not wish to fulfill the prophecy, but she felt she had no other purpose in life.
The Temple Rises Again
Near the end of the three thousand years, Tony Stark and James Rhodes of Stark Enterprises found where the temple laid buried and decided to raise it. They hired many local people, though some were superstitious about the prophecy. The Jade Dragons attacked the excavation several times but Stark and Rhodes continued on. They wanted to raise the temple above the flood line before monsoon season began.
As the prophecy began to take shape Mandarin began to speak to people. One day a man was cleaning off a statue of the Mandarin. As he went for more tools Mandarin began speaking to him. The man stared back into the statue's eyes, then sprayed them and wiped them off. Mandarin then made the eyes glow causing the man to back up, fall off the scaffolding, and run away.
Eventually Rhodes and the workers prepared the temple to rise. Using a complex system involving liquid steel and sonic guns the temple was raised out of the rains' danger zone. Soon the Jade Dragons attacked and killed all the workers except for Rhodes who they captured. They continued to watch over the city.
The day that Stark came to rescued he was captured by the Jade Dragons. That night fog rolled in over the city. Soon the eyes of the dragon symbol began to glow. The fog rolled up to the Mandarin and Elementals statues. They made a creaking noise before the ground exploded upwards and swirled around the statue.
One statue burst into flames, another became surrounded by an eerie wind, one was surrounded by dirt, and the last froze. A Jade Dragon watching over the city removed his mask to witness the strange events. Then the Demon Elementals burst out of their statues. Earth had its large hammer, Ice its spear, Fire its two swords, and Wind its two fans.
They dropped off their pedestals and gathered on the image of the dragon. Wind brought up its two fans and began twirling them around. A large storm was called forth and the four elementals were carried off. The Dragon Spirit woke to kill the spying Jade Dragon, who had already warned Wong, the group's leader, off their awakening.
One Bump in the Road
As the Elementals found the rings, Stark was building himself a large grey armor in order to escape the Jade Dragons, unwittingly fulfilling the part of the prophecy about the Iron Knight. When Stark and Rhodes made their escape, Li Mei realized the prophecy was indeed coming true and became horrified.
After Stark and Rhodes returned to New York City Li Mei and the Jade Dragons entered the city hoping to blow up the temple. They gathered in the foggy forest, led by Li Mei after she killed Wong. They worried about the Dragon Spirit but knew that if the temple was destroyed the dragon would fall. Li Mei led the way with the others following.
The group entered the city and moved past the unearthed Terracotta army. They moved past the large construction lights that illuminated the area. The group stopped once they reached the central temple. The group begain activating the explosives and readied rocket launchers.
However, the Dragon Spirit awoke and began attacking the group. Soldiers ran to see after one screamed. They got there to see a large reptilian foot grab three of them and toss them aside.
Li Mei turned to see three of the attacked land on top of them and her group scattered. Li Mei looked up to see other members of the group pulled under the fog or whipped around. She backed up but quickly turned around to see the Dragon Spirit looming above her. She took off her mask and dropped her gun. She knelt before the statue of Mandarin and asked for forgiveness. He did and the Dragon Spirit spared her.
Over some time the rings were found one by one. However, Stark, in advanced armors, took one of the rings and destroyed the Wind, Ice, and Fire Spirits. Li Mei still had one and the Earth Spirit had the other two. The three of them found their way back to the temple where Earth Spirit was preparing for the resurrection of Mandarin.
Preparing for the End
The fog slowly let up as Earth burst through the ground. He stood and walked among the Terracotta army. He emitted a blast of light out of its hammer and soon the entire army was uncovered. As the winds died down Earth continued his march among the army. It looked up to see Stark, back in the grey armor, slam it into the ground. Li Mei stood on a cliff overlooking the city to watch it all.
Stark got up but Earth stood and grabbed his head. It picked him up and tried to crush him. Stark struggled to get the hand off his head then activated his jet boots and blasted into the air. Li Mei ran up in time to see them leave. In the air Stark turned off his boots and they began free falling. Earth tried to punch him but was too far away. It suddenly flew forward and caught Stark.
Tony activated his boots in time so as not to slam into the ground. He landed near Li Mei and blasted off again. As Tony and Earth moved closer Tony fired his beams damaging the Elemental. He then flew through him completely destroying its body. The four rings and Earth's mask fell to the ground around Li Mei.
Stark landed behind Li Mei and walked over to the center of the dragon image to pick up the rings. He gathered them in his hands and Li Mei approached. He handed her the rings saying that he was going to destroy the temple and hopefully the fifth ring inside. However, Li Mei chose that moment to reveal that she had the fifth ring. She held out her hand to reveal that the bracelet she wore was the last ring.
Realizing what the bracelet was, Stark walked up wondering what was happening and lifted his faceplate up. Li Mei begged him to stop and leave telling him she did everything she could to keep him away. She revealed that she forged the documents so the Chinese and American governments would believe Stark was giving weapons to the Jade Dragons.
While Stark thought her purpose was to destroy the Mandarin, she revealed that it was to resurrect him. She told him that he was the last descendent of Mandarin and was to become his vessel. Stark tried to talk her out of it but she refused and told him to leave or he would die.
Then the Terracotta army came to life and opened their glowing white eyes. They turned to stare at Stark and raised their swords. He called out to Li Mei who ignored him to enter the temple. The soldiers on horses charged and Stark closed his faceplate. As the army charged Stark flew up, and another group readied their bows and arrows and bombarded Stark with them. Though there was little damage he was knocked out of the sky.
Meanwhile, Li Mei made her way to the temple. She raised her ringed hand and the temple door opened for her. She turned to see the army surround Stark and entered the temple walking past large images of dragons. Li Mei continued her way through the temple and flames lit themselves along the way. The fire moved ahead and illuminated a large Mandarin statue sitting on a throne. Li Mei then realized she was surrounded by skeletons. The fires made the statue glow as if staring at her.
Return of the Living Mandarin
She approached the statue and the ground she walked on suddenly lowered to another level. Li Mei walked calmly as she descended to the great depths of the temple. She soon reached the bottom where water had collected in a small room. Suddenly, Mandarin's coffin rose out of the water. The dragon statues holding the coffin lid down suddenly released. Li Mei stepped into the water and approached the coffin. However, the water churned and skulls rose to the surface. Li Mei held up her hand and the waters began to swirl around the coffin.
The lid was blown off revealing the decayed skeleton of the Mandarin, still with his long hair. The winds moved down and surrounded his corpse blowing off chunks of skin. Soon Mandarin's spirit returned to his body and rose out of the coffin. He moved forward as Li Mei's rings burst into a large flame. The flames then shot forward and engulfed the Mandarin.
Soon a large blast of light engulfed the room. Li Mei shielded herself but soon realized that the lines of light stopped around her. She tried to touch one but they suddenly pulled back into the Mandarin. She was then pulled forward and landed into the pool of water. She tried to stand but the skeleton's hands kept her down. She struggled but then the rings began to glow.
Numerous spirits erupted from the coffin and picked up Li Mei. Mandarin rose and stared at his descendent and she stared back. He became a skull and flew towards her passing through her. As he did he ripped her clothes apart. She screamed in pain but was soon engulfed in the light of the spirits. Mandarin then flew up into her body.
Mandarin then possessed and took over Li Mei's body and made her eyes glow. They lay on the ground naked and she cried. Stark, having defeated the Terracotta army and the Dragon Spirit, landed in the room. He walked up to them asking if she was okay. Mandarin immediately recognized Stark's armor as that of his nemesis, the Iron Knight. He shouted at him, raised their arm, and pushed him back into a wall.
Mandarin then projected himself around Li Mei and made the waters swirled as Stark stood. The waters died down and Stark saw the Mandarin's ghostly image. Mandarin, having learned English through Li Mei, told Stark that his descendent served her purpose and it was time for him to die so the prophecy can be fulfilled. Mandarin picks up his descendant and carries her over to the Iron Knight.
They raised their hand and the waters swirled around them. They commanded the water to push Stark over. Mandarin picked up and carried Li Mei over to Stark. He called out to Li Mei but they blasted him back into the wall. Stark fell to his knees and looked up at Mandarin/Li Mei. They raised their arm and Stark was gripped in pain as the chest piece of his armor came apart. They lifted Stark into the air and fired him across the room next to the coffin.
They ran over to the fallen hero and as he stood up his shoulder piece fell off. They stopped and stared at him. He took off his helmet, dropped it into the water, and called out to Li Mei once again. They raised their arm and the waters once again swirled around them. Stark called out to Li Mei but Mandarin commanded her to kill him. They were about to strike when Li Mei managed to stop them. Mandarin commanded his descendant once again to kill him but she fought back.
Her eyes stopped glowing and returned to normal. She then defied him by telling her ancestor to leave him alone. Mandarin grew angry, showing his skull underneath. He extended his hands and shot lightning bolts at Li Mei. She screamed in pain as Stark watched. He then picked her up in a vortex of energy then dropped her into the water.
Mandarin moved behind her as she struggled to stand. Then she did the unthinkable, she grabbed her bracelet and threw it to the side. Mandarin screamed out in pain as was engulfed in light. He continued screaming as she slowly pulled the rings off one by one. His body became engulfed in flames as the third ring was pulled off. As she pulled the fourth ring off, Mandarin's skin fell apart revealing the skeleton. As she pulled the fifth and final ring off Mandarin's skeleton was blasted apart.
The blast knocked the water away and loosened many of the skeletons. Mandarin was finally destroyed once and for all.
He had neither defeated the Iron Knight, but neither had the Knight defeated him. However, because of the stress of being possessed and the battle Li Mei soon died in Stark's arms. It is unknown what happened with Mandarin's temple.
Powers and Abilities
Mandarin has untold magical abilities granted to him by the Deities of Death and the Bands of the Underworld. It is unknown just what he is able to do and what those limits are. It appears that he has command over the elements, including the Demon Elementals. They do only his bidding and serve and protect him.
His main power is his immortality. After his initial death he was able to remain a spirit on Earth for nearly three thousand years. As long as his temple, rings, and bloodline remain he can return. It is possible that even after the removal of the rings his spirit remains. However, without another descendant he can never truly return.
However, his greatest power is also his greatest weakness. For when the bands are not together he cannot return and has no power. He must then rely on the Elementals, now all destroyed, to accomplish anything.
Mandarin is a cruel and evil tyrant. He shows no sympathy whatsoever to either his subjects nor his descendants. To him, they are merely pawns in his quest for dominance. It seemed he had little hesitance to murder each and every one of his subjects. In fact he even filled his temple with their bodies as a show of his power.
Mandarin was the first to reign over China, though he could just have easily wiped out all memory of older dynasties.
Mandarin was voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
The idea of Mandarin being an ancient ruler whose spirits would inhabit the body of his descendants is original to the video.
Much of the exploration of Mandarin's reign was explored in the removed opening of The Invincible Iron Man. Since none of the opening was contradicted by the rest of the video, in fact many elements were supported, it can be considered part of the video's canon.
According to concept art, Mandarin's spirit is ten feet tall.
Li Mei and the Demon Elementals are original to the series. Though, the Dragon Spirit is based on Fin Fang Foom and is called so in concept art.
In reality, around 1000 BC was the time of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. There have been known dynasties before even then, dating back to 3500 BC and the time of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. While it could be a "lost" dynasty, it certainly would not predate all others except in the context of The Invincible Iron Man's reality.
In the Comics
Mandarin is a modern day wealthy man and descendent of Genghis Khan.
He found an alien ship and used ten rings, not just five, to try to dominate the world.
He actually sees technology as the surest means to achieve his goals.
The dragon is the alien that crashed in China.