Shang-Chi’s Show Stealer, The Mandarin

by Matt Tuck

090321A-300x157 Shang-Chi's Show Stealer, The MandarinShang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is wowing audiences with its modern approach to classic martial arts films and Chinese mythology, but the real show-stealer is the film’s antagonist, The Mandarin. 

It took Marvel Studios eight years to get the Mandarin right. The classic Iron Man villain with his ten magical rings finally had his moment to shine in Shang-Chi. After Iron Man 3 wasted both the Mandarin character and actor Ben Kingsley on a comedy bit, the real Mandarin, Xu Wenwu, stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. 

In this version, he is the hero’s father, setting the two on a collision course of morals and ideals. It is easy to fall in love with Shang-Chi. Cut from the same Boy Scout cloth as Captain America and Black Panther, he is noble, loyal, and vigilant in his moral compass, never failing to put others above his own needs. f367cfc071c23cb61185e36981b707fcbf0eb61f-e1630694717564 Shang-Chi's Show Stealer, The Mandarin

Xu Wenwu has the standard disregard for human life as Marvel villains do, but he has the same sense of nobility as Shang-Chi. Xu is motivated by the death of his wife and Shang-Chi’s mother. It gives a viable reason to pursue his goal and makes his story the more impressive of the two.

In fact, his tale is so interesting that it is not out of the realm of possibility for Marvel to further explore his 1,000-year history with what would be an enchanting backstory. 

On that note, let’s look closer at those Mandarin keys.

Tales-of-Suspense-50-198x300 Shang-Chi's Show Stealer, The MandarinTALES OF SUSPENSE #50

Debuting in 1964, the original Mandarin was initially Tony Stark’s nemesis before turning his attention to other heroes. Many fans were disappointed when Iron Man 3’s Mandarin became a joke, but Shang-Chi redeems Marvel’s mistake in epic fashion. With so much of his story left untold, this may not be the last time we see Xu Wenwu on the screen.

Being a key issue from the Silver Age, the higher grades of TOS #50 are hard to come by. Fittingly, the most recent graded sale was for a 5.0, which sold for $750 on August 29. The highest grade traded online in the past month has been an 8.0, and it earned $2,529 on August 14. 

Tales-of-Suspense-62-197x300 Shang-Chi's Show Stealer, The MandarinTALES OF SUSPENSE #62

Like most characters in Marvel Comics, especially those from the early days, the Mandarin has had his origin retold over the decades. Here you have the first origin of the villain and his magical Ten Rings.

Without spoiling the mid-credits scene, the story behind those rings will become more important in the near future, beginning with Eternals.

The best part about TOS #62 is that it is flying well under the collecting radar. While it is not a major key, the Ten Rings could become more integral to the overarching MCU stories, and that would make this a wise investment. At the moment, you can own all the way up to a 9.0 for $300 or less.

Iron-Man-53-2002-197x300 Shang-Chi's Show Stealer, The MandarinIRON MAN #53

In Shang-Chi, the hero and his sister are the children of Xu Wenwu. However, when a character has been alive for a millennium, the odds are good that there are other little Mandarins playing in the Marvel Universe. Iron Man #53 introduced Timugin, the comic Mandarin’s son, who would go on to take up the Ten Rings from his father. There is a high probability that the storyline could play out in the MCU, leading to an epic martial arts showdown between Timugin and Shang-Chi.

Once again, here is a future key prospect for a minimal investment. The last graded 9.8 to sell online brought just $11 in 2015. If you are looking for a raw copy, these ignored first appearances sell for as little as $2. 

THE SHANG-CHI SEQUEL

As soon as Marvel Studios announced a Shang-Chi movie, there was talk of a sequel. After all, this is Marvel, where virtually every movie gets at least one sequel. With the initial audience reaction being so positive for Legend of the Ten Rings, there is no doubt that the ball is rolling for the franchise’s next installment. Could we see more Mandarin or Temugin going forward? We will have to wait and see.

What books do you think will see an upswing after the movie? Let us know in the comments!

000080221A_Games_2-Footer Shang-Chi's Show Stealer, The Mandarin

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1 comment

Daniel Genest September 5, 2021 - 1:01 am

I would be overjoyed if we saw Midnight in the next movie.MCU doesn’t always follow exactly what happened in their books and it was quite a mistake to kill that character in the same book that shiowed his first apparition !!!! His backstory makes Midnight the Ultimate ennemy for Shang Chi …..

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