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Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1

Posted: Friday, September 7, 2007
By: Kevin Powers



Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Eric Canete

Published by: Marvel Comics


The new Iron Man trailer will be debuting in a few days and as anyone who saw the ComicCon footage knows, this movie has he potential to be Marvelís best. I personally canít wait. With Marvel in full creative control of the film, the possibilities are endless, not to mention Sam Jackson will be Nick Fury. There is one aspect of this film that has left me completely baffled. While Obadiah Stone/Iron-Monger seems like a very plausible villain, Iím surprised that there hasnít been much speculation or wonder about the Mandarin. Iíll be interested to see how this plays out, especially with this weekís release of Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin. I know that the main Iron Man book is gearing up for the Mandarinís big return, but this series, as well as the main series, will feature the Mandarin coinciding with the filmís release in February. While director Jon Favreau has stated the characters presence will be felt, I hope it is done so in a manner that makes any possible sequel a ďcanít miss.Ē

Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin is a unique way to introduce readers to the power and the influence of the Mandarin. For younger readers it is especially so because the style of artwork resembles that anime-style kidsí love. Honestly, one of the things to really grab me was the cover art. The cover is fantastic, reminiscent of pulp heroes and an older 40ís style of work. The cover also shares a resemblance to one of the finer ďmodern pulpĒ films of my generation, The Rocketeer. Nonetheless, this style of cover looks quite fantastic.

Joe Casey does something with this story I really didnít expect. To be honest, I didnít expect a whole lot from this issue other than a re-telling of the Mandarinís origin and Iron Manís first meeting with him. Casey goes a different route; the Mandarin already exists and S.H.I.E.L.D. has recruited Iron Man to investigate the villainís influence in China. It seems simple enough but Casey makes the wise choice in setting this tale in a more modern environment. Thereís e-mail, modern spy equipment, and a B-2 Stealth Bomber. This works well not only for younger readers, but for regular Shell Head fans as the story is given the feeling that itís happened in the past twenty years and can be utilized in the modern Iron Man stories.

This story is and isnít something special. Itís not special in the fact that it doesnít seem like it will break any new ground in terms of Iron Man and the Mandarin. But this title is very special in that it takes the classic iterations of both characters and pits them against one another for the ďfirst time.Ē The Mandarin is going through some physical changes in the main Iron Man series, and to see the classic version of the character in action is really fun. The dialogue he spits also fits true to the character, exerting his power over the communist regime in China. Casey manages to show both a reasonable and overly-aggressive character in the Mandarin that fits well with the characterís ancestral ties to Genghis Khan.

I am not the biggest fan of the artwork in this issue. A lot of that comes from my distaste for the anime-style being in American comics. Iím not a fan at all of manga and that can often sway my opinions on certain matters. While the style here isnít completely manga, itís just not my cup of tea. I will say though, that the Mandarin looks fantastic in his classic robe.

While this story may not be completely mind-blowing, itís a whole lot of fun. Itís got the potential to be entertaining and exciting and thatís really all one can ask for from a series pitting two classic arch-enemies against one another. I hope Casey can keep the exciting and energetic tone that this issue established, as I feel this series will definitely be a fun experience.



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