Tag Archives: Mandarin

The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Jack Kirby
Inked by Vince Colletta
Lettered by Artie Simek
Catered by The Bullpen Gang!

The original story in this issue features a whopping 19 superheroes and 20 supervillains, not to mention Uatu the watcher, Patsy Walker (from the girl magazines they did, and a decade before she’d join normal Marvel continuity as Hellcat), Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves. I’m not going to mention all of them in my little one paragraph review, but I actually kept track in the tag section if you’re interested, and I’m so sure that you are.

It’s the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm, the most beautiful event in any comic book person’s life. Unfortunately, they are comic book people, and that means they associate with a lot of super-powered folks. Also, Richards was mean to Dr. Doom back in college, so he’s decided to invent a machine to make every villain in the area try to kill him. After a ridiculously massive brawl, the Watcher shows up and (without interfering at all) gives Mr. Fantastic a machine that’ll send all the villains back to where they were with no memory of what happened at all. Okay, whatever. The happy wedding goes on happily and everyone is happy forever. Except Lee and Kirby, who are turned away at the door because everyone thinks they’re bums.

The reprint stories are that one awesome issue where Dr. Doom and Namor team up to throw the Baxter Building into the Sun and the two half stories from issue #11 where the Fantastic Four answers fan mail and deal with the Impossible Man. There’s usually another one in these annuals, but the huge brawl took up a lot of space, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Yeah, that’s a dumb ending to this excuse to fit every character possible into one comic book, but who cares? It’s all in good fun, and Giant Man didn’t show up at all, so I couldn’t be happier with it! Plus, his worst enemy, the Human Top, is taken out by a single punch from Quicksilver, who doesn’t even have super strength or anything. LOVE IT.


The Avengers #20, Sept. 1965

The Avengers #25, Sept. 1965

Wham-type script by Stan Lee
Pow-type pencilling by Don Heck
Zowie-type inking by Wallace Wood
Rather nice lettering by Artie Simek

This issue starts out nice and strong with everyone working together as a team and then hating each other immediately, but the stupid Mandarin has to get involved for no good reason and drag the whole thing down. Way to go, YOU CLOD.

Captain America has jumped off a building to keep the rest of his team from surrendering to the Swordsman, counting on their teamwork skills to save him, which they actually manage to do quite well. With the whole team together, the Swordsman seems easily beaten… but he suddenly disappears! Hawkeye blames Cap and Quicksilver blames Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch I think was just sick of the whole thing. As it turns out, the Mandarin has the ability to transport people to his lair, and he’s decided to make the Swordsman his pawn to kill Iron Man by helping him join the Avengers (despite the fact that Iron Man isn’t really IN the Avengers anymore).

Mandy makes a holographic version of Iron Man appear in Avengers HQ giving the Swordsman a recommendation, which they stupidly accept despite the fact that they JUST fought him and he mysteriously vanished. Then the Swordsman mysteriously appears and they let him join the group. After pretending to be a good guy for a while, the Swordsman attaches a bomb to a console, which the Mandarin decides to set off early just because it advances the story. The Swordsman feels bad all of a sudden and tries to take off the bomb, but he gets caught and they think he’s putting it back on, and he gets kicked out again.

I really hate everything about the Mandarin’s involvement in this story. Basically everything after the Swordsman disappears makes no sense whatsoever. I can buy that the Mandarin doesn’t know that Iron Man isn’t planning on coming back to the Avengers anytime soon, but why would his plan change to “set it off so Iron Man comes back to help them, then we can trap him”? What does that even mean? How the hell is that going to happen? Arrgh, I’m getting so angry about this.

Tales of Suspense #62, Feb. 1965

Tales of Suspense #62, Feb. 1965

Brashly written by: Stan Lee
Boldly drawn by: Don Heck
Brazenly inked by: Dick Ayers
Bashfully lettered by: S. Rosen

Pow! Script: Stan Lee
Wham! Art: Jack Kirby
Zowie! Inking: Chic Stone
Ulp! Lettering: Art Simek

This issue has the thrilling origin story of the Mandarin in it, which is basically a billion times more awesome than the actual Iron Man story, so that’s all I”m going to talk about there. I guess I’ll say that it had something to do with communist Chinese tanks and a ring that shoots fire. See? That’s way lamer than dragon astronauts.

You see, the Mandarin is a descendant of Genghis Khan himself, and he was raised by a woman who wanted him to be evil, basically for no reason. One day, he goes into a valley where people have avoided for centuries and finds the skeleton of a dragon, and also a UFO. It turns out the dragon was an intelligent alien who was killed by the superstitious natives of Earth, and the Mandarin learns everything these aliens knew. Also, his ship apparently ran on ten powerful rings which shoot different lasers, so Mandy took those as well. They don’t really explain how the rings could’ve possibly powered the ship, but I think it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t really matter.

Meanwhile, the warden at a local prison has asked Captain America to give a show, and he of course agrees. It turns out that the “warden” is actually an escaped convict, and that the whole thing was just a way to get Cap’s shield, which they believe was magnetized by Iron Man, and which will open up the magnetic door out of the prison. Once Cap figures out who the bad guys really are, it’s him against a hundred convicts… and he’s nice enough to not seriously injure any of them. Also, it turns out the password to the door was the phrase “Captain America”! How ironic! And retarded!

So… how did Cap make it into the prison, if the prisoners couldn’t open the door? I’m just sayin’.


Tales of Suspense #61, Jan. 1965

Tales of Suspense #61, Jan. 1965

Story by: Stan Lee, because we wanted the best!
Art by: Don Heck, because we wanted the finest!
Inking by: Dick Ayers, because we wanted the tops!
Lettering by: S. Rosen, because we wanted to keep him busy!

Stan Lee: Writer, par excellance!
Jack Kirby: Illustrator without peer!
Chic Stone: Delineator extraordinaire!
Artie Simek: Letterer –what else?

If you’ll recall, Tony Stark is too weak to take off his Iron Man armor and still survive, so he’s been pretending to be gone, leaving Iron Man in charge. In this issue, he mentions that he could never reveal his true identity, because then his factories would be under constant attack. THAT’S ALREADY HAPPENING, DIPSHIT. Everybody knows that Iron Man is Tony Stark’s bodyguard, so to fight him, you have to blow up a Stark Industries factory. That happens every single issue. That’s the worst goddamn excuse ever, Tony.

Happy Hogan and Pepper Pots bust into Iron Man’s office and tell him that they quit. They suspect that he’s behind the disappearance of Tony Stark, and want to get to the bottom of it, so that means they have to quit. Huh. Anyway, Happy goes back to do some sneaking around and finds Tony Stark in bed under the covers, alive and sickly. WHY DIDN’T YOU THINK OF THAT BEFORE?! Goddammit, Tony. So everyone learns that Stark is fine and Iron Man isn’t to blame… and then a satellite shoots a death ray into his house, destroying it. Iron Man gets away, but everyone is sure that Stark’s dead now. Shellhead traces the satellite back to it’s source: The Mandarin. He goes to fight the evil oriental, but gets captured. To be continued!

Meanwhile, Captain America is in Vietnam! Not to fight the war, but to rescue a single helicopter pilot who’s brother once saved Cap during WWII. However, to get out of the Viet Cong camp, Cap has to fight the general… a gigantic sumo wrestler! As it turns out, a sumo wrestler is actually not very tough for an acrobatic yet strong judo master like Captain America to take out, or at least get around.

Seriously, sumo wrestlers are not great fighters or anything. They’re just huge fat guys who push other huge fat guys around. Having a sumo wrestler fight anybody other than another sumo wrestler is just retarded. Still, I guess I can see what they were going for. Some sort of… asian thing, I guess. Speaking of which, Cap’s in Vietnam and he’s not fighting in the war, huh? Well, here’s some historical perspective for ya. The US got involved with the Vietnam Conflict in about 1963, which mostly consisted of bombing runs and some aid, and they didn’t start the actual ground war by sending over troops until March of 1965. Now, the trade date on this issue is January ’65, but publication dates are notoriously wrong, and are generally a couple months ahead of reality. Still, that means that US troops hadn’t yet entered into the war, and yet the public opinion that America should stay out of it started in ’62. That opposition grew exponentially until about ’69, which is when the big anti-war displays that we all think about started taking place. Basically what I’m saying is that this is the tip of the Vietnam iceberg, and something as amazingly culturally relevant as a war managed to seep its way into all media, including Marvel comics. In fact, the Vietnam War’s effect on 60’s Marvel is one of the things I’m most interested in finding out about, which is partly why I just wrote a huge paragraph about military history, haha. I swear, by the next issue I’ll be back to making jokes about Paste-Pot Pete. SWEAR.

Tales of Suspense #55, July 1964

Tales of Suspense #55, July 1964

Written by: Friendly Stan Lee
Illustrated by: Faithful Don Heck
Lettered by: Fearless Art Simek

When last we left him, Iron Man was “all tied up,” as they say, in the clutches of the Mandarin. Heh. Get it? Because the phrase “all tied up” means that he’s busy and can’t do anything, which was true because he was actually tied up. Sometimes it’s tough being as funny as I always am.

Like I said, Iron Man is trapped by the Mandarin, but he has a great plan: He tells him that Tony Stark is still loose in his castle somewhere, and that he’s no doubt making a big mess of things. And that’s why superheroes love secret identities. The Mandarin falls for it, giving Iron Man a chance to free himself and follow, thus finding out where the Mandarin’s anti-missile missiles are stored. As it turns out, he’s been downing American missiles with a ray of some sort, then storing them for later, I guess. He refers to the missiles as “eggs” in his “nest”. It’s kinda weird.

Iron Man tries to disable the Mandarin’s evil missile-stealing operation while avoiding the myriad of traps throughout the place. Meanwhile, Happy Hogan is having some problems running Stark Enterprises while Tony’s away. I don’t know why they included that, but it’s in there. Actually, I’m more concerned about the fact that Tony actually left Happy Hogan in charge of his multi-million dollar corporation (it’s the sixties, that’s still a lot), the dude’s an ex-professional boxer, current chauffeur. Anyway, Iron Man eventually breaks everything in the Mandarin’s castle and gets away, and everyone lives happily ever after.

In the back of this issue, there’s a special segment that explains a lot of reader’s questions about Iron Man, like how he puts on his suit (at the time, his suit is made up of a bunch of pieces which magnetically attach to each other. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, so I understand why people would be confused) and why Happy never smiles, and there’s even a pin-up page for Pepper Potts, which is excellent because it has this really sad looking Happy Hogan in the background in huge shorts staring forlornly at her. I delight in the sadness of fictional characters.