POINT OF ENTRY: Iron Man: Rings of the Mandarin

Iron Man #23 (writer) Kieron Gillen (artist) Luke Ross Marvel Comics
“Iron Man #23”
(writer) Kieron Gillen
(artist) Luke Ross
Marvel Comics

If you’ve read many of my Point of Entry articles you’ll know that I’ve never had much experience with Marvel. Because of that, I’m trying very hard to branch out from DC (although I still love them) and learn more about the comic world. I’ve seen the Iron Man movies and I liked them. I like Tony Stark; he’s snarky and that’s entertaining for me. So when I was at my comic shop the other day and was talking to another regular I mentioned how I’d been wanting to read about Iron Man, he pointed out that issue #23 was a new story and that I could start there. So I hopped on board with my first time reading an Iron Man comic! I read issues #23 and #24. #23 is the start of the “Rings of the Mandarin” storyline.

Issue #23 actually doesn’t start off on Earth. It starts off on Asgard where an elf king named Malekith the Accursed reigns. A magical ring chooses him to save Earth. It’s a little confusing why, but I’m guessing it’s because the ring is, for some reason, against Tony Stark. Now it turns out that he doesn’t have the only ring. Other people, against Tony, are also trying to wipe him out. The only thing is, Malekith isn’t satisfied with just one ring. Now he’s out trying to wipe out other ring-keepers just to get his hands on them (or I guess get them on his hands, hah).

Tony is trying to defeat the ring-keepers while still trying to spare them. You know, the super-hero way. But Malekith is getting in the way and lobbing off their hands! So Tony goes to Shevaun, a.k.a. Dark Angel, for help. She’s like a magical M from bond. She’s tough and looks super cool with her partially shaved head. With her help, Tony ends up in fairyland.

All hell breaks lose because he doesn’t end up where he intends and a great battle ensues for the rings. Malekith hands out some of the rings to his warriors and in the end Tony sacrifices his only way out to get a tough Iron Man suit sent to him.

I’ve never read a Thor book so I was caught off guard a little by the book starting off in Asgard, but I know my myths so I could follow along. Later on, Tony mentioned to Shevaun that he didn’t want to bring Thor into the battle for the rings because it would be political. I’m aware that Thor is in the Marvel universe, and I’ve seen the Avengers, so when Tony mentioned him all the cogs clicked into place and I understood why Asgard was is the setting for half of these two issues.

There were also times when I didn’t follow so well because Malekith was talking about Tony being a changeling. I’m betting that is stuff that happened right before this arc. It makes you think a little bit but doesn’t really detract from the story. Honestly it made me want to go out and read all the rest of the Iron Man series up to this point.

This was a really good Point of Entry for noobs like me. It focused on one main story line with a character I’m sort of familiar with. Doing that I was also able to see some things around him that made me interested: Malekith and Shevaun. Now I have something to follow up on. When I was finished reading these two issues I immediately Googled Shevaun and found this:

Revolutionary_Dark_Angel_Vol_1_1_Textless

I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be that I need to read more about this B.A. looking chick.