Iron Man: HOW MANY rings did the Mandarin have?

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While The Mandarin traditionally only has ten Makluan Rings of Power, the ’90s cartoon Iron Man has given it a mysterious set of duplicates.

While many of Iron Man’s enemies wear tech armor like him, his nemesis in the animation Iron Man the series is quite different. Instead of traditional technology, the Mandarin wields ten powerful rings of alien origin, though their great powers and arcane bearer give them a seemingly mystical existence. Because as amorphous as they are sometimes in the comics, the Iron Man series presented an incredibly amazing version of it.

The cartoon itself is one of the most criticized in the Marvel team, not least because of the writing. The cast is presented in a particularly caricatured manner, with the Mandarin’s patterns continually degrading in terms of logic. The poorly done show wasn’t above animation errors and continuity jumps, but a story in which The Mandarin gets its own armor is perhaps the biggest offender in that regard. In an episode that finally reveals his origin, Iron Man’s greatest foe is suddenly shown to possess more rings than he logically should have.


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Iron Mandarin


This bizarre sequence takes place in Season 1, Episode 7, “The Origin of the Mandarin”. In the scene, The Mandarin takes on Iron Man and Force Works in his own highly advanced robotic armor. The armor looks like a modified version of the Silver Centurion armor from the comics, albeit entirely in silver instead of silver and red. The costume is actually adamantium and given to the Mandarin when he steals it from Tony’s armory.

The armor is equipped with ten rings, just like the Mandarin wields it. The villain attempts to attack Iron Man by combining the power of his new armor with those of the rings, but the armor stops responding to his orders. Instead, he rejects The Mandarin and eventually begins to fight to remove its current occupant. Eventually, the Mandarin discards the armor, showing that his rings were still in his hands.

This gives the impression that the Mandarin has two sets of rings – one with which he has equipped the armor and one which he wears on his hands. It makes absolutely no sense, as there should only be enough rings for the Mandarin itself. It is possible that these duplicates are just conduits to channel the power of the rings, but even that is questionable. The armor was meant for Iron Man himself, and it logically should have been impossible for the Mandarin to make any changes to it. This could all be attributed to the shoddy, error-laden nature of the show’s first season, but it presents a huge logical problem for The Mandarin, especially with Season 2.

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Mandarin Rings


In the comics there are definitely ten rings, all found by The Mandarin. The rings are derived from the Makluan alien empire, discovered by the Mandarin in a crashed ship in the Chinese mountains. The “rings” are in fact cylindrical devices which the Mandarin simply thought to be rings and treated accordingly. By uniting with the makeshift balls, against the will of the surviving pilot of the Makluan ship, the Mandarin was able to use his incredible power at will.

The rings each have unique abilities, including material manipulation, concussion energy blasts, decay, vortices, dark energy, electromagnetic energy, pyrokinesis, mind manipulation, electricity, and cryokinesis. The Material Handling Ring even has the power to summon poison and solidify said gas to envelop the victim. The explanation for the power of the rings is that they actually imprison the souls of long-dead cosmic warriors, whose trapped phantasmal essences still have their original power.

Because as powerful as these rings make the Mandarin, they do not however give him the possibility of doing more. For this reason, among others, the Iron Man The cartoon version of The Mandarin and its many insane plots continue to make no sense.

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