Marvel Action Hour: Iron Man #6
Marvel (April, 1995)“Origins” part 2: “Mandarin Ascending” WRITER: Eric Fein PENCILER: Anthony Williams INKER: John Nyberg COLORIST: Sam Parsons LETTERER: Dave Sharpe EDITOR: Tony Daning
I don’t care what the credit say, this wasn’t freely adapted from anything.
It’s the Mandarin’s turn to head for the Valley Of Spirits, as he thinks back to his origins. In this version Zhang Chan was groomed for politics by his father, but his failed attempt to create a backdoor deal with Tony and the subsequent kidnapping led to his disgrace, even being dumped by his fiancé. In disgrace, Zhang headed to a tribe of monks, where he recovered and learned of the Valley Of The Spirits and a supposed great power within. He went, finding a crashed spaceship, 10 gems that hold different powers in his hands, and Fing Fang Foom, who protected it. Zhang defeated Foom and made him swear loyalty to him. Taking the new name of the Mandarin, Zhang went on his task of conquering the world, taking one village at a time, forming his base of power, and recruiting his supervillain team. In the present, Iron Man finds one of the missing geologists, as well as the Mandarin and Fing Fang Foom!
What they got right: As the Mandarin’s origin goes it isn’t too bad. The origin is closer to the show it claims to be adapting than Iron Man’s.
What they got wrong: It is, however, not an adaptation, free or otherwise, of the episode that explored Mandarin’s origins. It may share the origin more than Iron Man but the whole episode is done different, completely besides the origin. And the 90s artwork doesn’t help one bit.
Recommendation: When Fein was actually adapting the episodes he was telling better stories not only than the show but than what he’s writing at this part of the comic. Unless you’re a diehard Iron Man/Mandarin fan, this isn’t an issue to track down.