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Quote1 These are priceless, unearthly, alien artifacts, and that's all you can muster? "Hm"? You are one of the very few men that have ever seen them without dying their next human instant. Relish it. Quote2
--Mandarin[src]

These ten cylinders were Makluan pieces of technology. Each contained the soul of a long-dead legendary cosmic warrior, trapped in a phantasmal state limited by their respective device.[1] Each of these artifacts additionally possessed a quarantined A.I. for when the rings were separated from their wielders.[2]

They found their way to Earth aboard the starship of Makluan explorer Axonn-Karr, who had to retreat to a cave in the Valley of Spirits in China after being fatally wounded by the scared natives of the land.[3] The Mandarin discovered Axonn-Karr and his ship, and became transfixed by the cylinders. Ignoring the pleas of the moribund Axonn-Karr not to touch them, the Mandarin finished him off with his sword and took the devices for himself.[4] Having found them similar in shape to rings, the Mandarin began to wear them as such, one on each of his fingers, learning how to use them and unlock their powers.

When the Mandarin first wore all the rings together at the same time, the spirits within them managed to reach out to his mind and influence his thoughts so his ultimate goal would be to resurrect them. Many years later, the Mandarin decided to finally carry out their will. To this end, he kidnapped his long-time nemesis Tony Stark and forced him to build Titanomechs, powerful robots that could become the rings' new vessels.[1] Only three Titanomechs were built and had rings inserted in them before Stark rebelled against the Mandarin.[5] Using the Swarm, a cloud of nanobots developed by Resilient, the Titanomechs were destroyed. Following Mandarin's death at the hands of Zeke Stane,[6] the rings were placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. custody in their Weapons Vault Omega.[7]

Not long after that, Iron Man brought to Earth the corpse of the Rigellian Recorder 451. Unbeknownst to Stark, the robot began to leak an alien frequency that reached the rings and altered them, upgrading their Makluan A.I., and granting them sentience. The A.I.'s latent purpose to analyse the planet they were residing and try to help it achieve progress combined with the hatred for Tony Stark inherited from the Mandarin.[2] The rings escaped the S.H.I.E.L.D. vault and parted ways to find individual hosts, communicating with each other through a shared computational space called the Ring of Rings.[8] The Liar ring stayed behind, casting an illusion that made it look like the entire set remained in custody to trick their curators. The rings chose the following hosts:

Upon receiving his ring and learning of the existence of other nine, Malekith decided to hunt down his fellow ring-holders and take their rings for himself.[13] Iron Man travelled to Svartalfheim in order to retrieve Malekith's rings, and managed to take Incandescence from one of his subordinates. Malekith's unexpected stratagem prompted the other ring-holders to work together against him,[14] for which they arrived to Svartalfheim and confronted Malekith once he had lost the Lightning, Remaker and Incandescence rings to Iron Man.[10]

By reverse-engineering the technology of the rings he had obtained, Stark created a "Master Ring" to ease the labor of taking the rings from their bearers. With the help of Abigail Burns, Stark captured the remaining rings.[15] Stark's brother Arno would later gift back the Incandescence ring to Abigail Burns.[2]

The Rings

  • Matter-Rearranger Ring, aka Remaker (worn in the right thumb): This Ring allows the Mandarin to manipulate the atomic and molecular structures of matter. It cannot transmute elements or affect objects encased in force or energy fields.
    • Poison Gas – The Mandarin may transform the surrounding air into a Toxic gas.
    • Solidify Gas – The Mandarin may solidify the air around opponents, encasing them in blocks of cement-like material.
    • Rearrange costume and/or alter appearance.
  • Impact Beam Ring, aka Influence (worn in the right index finger): This Ring allows the Mandarin to generate and project various beams of concussive force.
    • Force Blast (Electron Beam, Neutron Beam) – The Mandarin may project blasts of concussive energy.
    • Sonic Beam – The Mandarin may project waves of high-intensity sound.
  • Vortex Beam Ring, aka Spin (worn in the right middle finger): The ring causes the air to move about at high speed in a vortex. The vortex can be used as an offensive weapon, as a means of levitating objects, or as a means of propelling the ring's wearer through the air.
  • Disintegration Beam Ring, aka Spectral (worn in the right ring finger): This ring allows the Mandarin to project a beam of energy capable of destroying the bonds between the atoms and molecules, causing inanimate objects to disintegrate. This ring must recharge for 20 minutes after each use.
  • Black Light Ring, aka Nightbringer (worn in the right little finger): This Ring allows the Mandarin to create an area of darkness, presumably using Darkforce energy to do so.
  • White Light Ring, aka Daimonic (worn in the left thumb): This ring allows the Mandarin to generate and manipulate various forms of electromagnetic energy.
    • Light Burst – The Mandarin may generate bursts of high intensity light to blind opponents.
    • Gravity Field – The Mandarin may encase opponents in a field of heavy gravity, pinning them to the surfaces.
    • Magnetic Levitation – The Mandarin may utilize electromagnetic fields to levitate and manipulate objects.
    • Image Projection – The Mandarin may project holographic illusions. He can also produce multiple images to confuse an opponent, or make a substantially larger version of himself.
  • Flame-Blast Ring, aka Incandescence (worn in the left index finger): This ring allows the Mandarin to project blasts of infrared to produce flame or ignite combustible materials.
  • Mento-Intensifier Ring, aka The Liar (worn in the left ring finger): This ring magnifies the Mandarin’s psionic energies, allowing him to mentally manipulate the thoughts and actions of others.
    • Mental Illusions – The Mandarin may psionically generate illusions within the minds of others. These illusions are very realistic and are capable of affecting all of the senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell).
    • Mental Paralysis – The Mandarin may psionically manipulate the minds of others, temporarily paralyzing them.
  • Electro-Blast Ring, aka Lightning (worn in the left middle finger): This ring allows the Mandarin to project blasts of Electrical Energy.
  • Ice Blast Ring, aka Zero (worn in the left little finger): This ring allows the Mandarin to project waves of up intense cold and ice, including trapping foes in ice blocks and sheaths.

Limitations

The rings cause electrostatic reactions with each other when used. Iron Man attacked the rings with magnetic pulses to exploit this limitation in his last battle with Temugin.

Alternate Realities

Iron Man: Armored Adventures (Earth-904913)

The Makluan Rings were the property of the Makluan Overlord, who used them to bring peace to the galaxy - by conquering everything under Makluan rule. His son, wishing to stop the aggressive expansion, betrayed the Overlord and brought the rings to Earth. He then chose his champion, the original Mandarin, and imbued him with some Makluan blood, that would forever empower him and his descendants to wield the rings. This Mandarin was indicated to be a good man, but his sons were not. Fearing they would use the rings for evil, he constructed the Makluan temples across the world, each hiding a ring, protected by a challenge to test the skill and heart of a seeker.[16]

Gene Kahn, a descendant of the ancient Mandarin, seeks out the rings, seeing them as his destiny. He is however neither knowledgeable enough on the rings to track the temples, nor does he have the skill and wits to pass the challenges, forcing him to rely on Iron Man and Howard Stark to aid him. When the ten first rings are finally together, they call the Makluan Overlord to Earth, where he easily takes command of the rings again. After the heroes and Gene defeat the Overlord, Gene is again in possession of the rings, though he now questions his own selfish purposes.[17]





Notes

  • These rings are Makluan (a race of dragonlike aliens) technology and were apparently used to power a ship Mandarin found crashed. The rings have altered their wearers to be superhuman, most notably the hands of the Mandarin becoming dragon-like. Mandarin has a strong link to his rings, and is aware of where they are and if they are used if he is not wearing them. He can attempt to mentally take over control of anyone who attempts to use them, as the Yellow Claw found out after attempting to steal them.
  • The rings can render any level telepathy useless on who ever wears them, unless they willingly let it.
  • The rings are less effective on objects protected by force fields.
  • The Mandarin seemed able to teleport when the rings' power are used to activate another device.
  • The rings' energy emissions increase a lot when they're about to teleport.[8]


Trivia

  • Before being identified as Makluan the Mandarin would sometimes swap out rings or alternatively "upgrade" his rings with new abilities. It is unknown if he actually tampered with the rings themselves.


See Also

Links and References

  • None.

Footnotes