The Mandarin is the main antagonist of the show and seeks the Makluan Rings. He is a title that was carried by specific individuals, and is able to wield the power of the rings. Voiced by Vincent Tong.
The first Mandarin was once a man known only as "Khan" who was a savior at his homeland, one day the Makluan found that Khan was the one worthy to wear the rings so he gave the dragonseed to Khan and the Makluan Rings and he became the Mandarin. He conquered all he saw with his might and grew his dynasty.
However, he needed an heir, but his many children were not worthy of the rings, so he scattered them all over the world and designed tests to measure the worthiness and virtue of those who would seek them.
Young Temugin became the stepson of Zhang. After Temugin's mother mysteriously disappeared, Zhang claimed the ring for himself, stole the position of the Mandarin, and became leader of his own criminal organization, the Tong. Temugin changed his name to Gene Khan in the present day. He couldn't wield the true power of the rings because he does not have the dragonseed, unlike Khan family descendants.
When Zhang attempted to destroy Stark International, the plot is stopped by Iron Man. Zhang presumed that Obadiah Stane had unleashed this hero to prevent him from taking the Makluan Ring, which he presumable didn't know its significance. Gene tried to convince Zhang not to be so judgemental. However, Zhang refused to tolerate such insolence in front of his servants and warned Gene to be careful, otherwise he'll join his mother. Gene tells him that he is a Khan and if Zhang was smart, he would start listening to him. His warnings fell on deaf ears and he paid the price with imprisonment and Gene holding the ring.Iron Man.
Now leading the Tong as he could, Gene started conflicts with the Maggia. As Gene, he ironically befriended Tony Stark, and enrolled in his school when discovering Stark could help him find the rings. This later causes Gene to team up with Stark, Pepper, and Rhodes in order to get all the rings. Though overall driven by his desire to get the remaining rings, Gene proved several times he took his friendship with the group seriously, as he showed it when he helps Tony and Pepper get away from the Maggia, or when he helps Pepper and Rhodes recover the Steath Iron Man armor (though he was unaware of what they were doing).
Though, Gene eventually succeeds in getting his second ring activated and later took the third active one from Iron Man, it was Tony/Iron Man who passed the tests each time, causing Gene to feel unworthy of the rings (an idea Zhang took pleasure in reminding his stepson).
At the same time Pepper, who until now had a dislike of Gene (due to his stepfather rumored to be a criminal), eventually tried to befriend him in order to keep her friendship with Tony. This accidentally caused her to be taken prisoner by Count Nefaria during a diplomatic discussion between the Maggia and the Tong. Despite the risk, Gene tried to find a way to save her, voluntarily calling Iron Man to do it. However, as Iron Man was forced to fight the Black Knight, Nefaria's henchman, Gene has to save Pepper as his normal self. All of this caused the Tong men to have doubt about their master's identity.
Gene eventually succeeds in passing a test, saving in the process both Tony, Pepper, and Rhodey (despite not being with them, as he told Rhodes what to do by using the phone). This is the first test he had personally passed.
Eventually, Zhang returns from his imprisonment and reclaims the rings from Gene. He then orchestrates Tony and Pepper's capture and learns that the fifth ring is in Machu Picchu, Peru. Zhang ends up retreating when the Test of Sacrifice begun with the awakening of Fin Fang Foom. Pepper tries to pass it by throwing the Makluan Rings into Fin Fang Foom but it doesn't work. When Rhodey in his War Machine armor showed up, he learned that Tony was Iron Man. Gene eventually passed the test by allowing Fin Fang Foom to swallow himself when he saved Pepper. Inside the dragon, Gene found the four rings as well as the fifth. Upon coming out of the dragon, he revealed to the others he was the Mandarin and fought Tony. It was during the battle Tony learned that Mandarin was behind the explosion of their plane and that his father is still alive somewhere. Gene manages to get away. Some minutes later, Gene was dissatisfied that he wasn't made stronger until the five Makluan Rings reveal to him that there are five more rings hidden on Earth.
Gene travels the world with the kidnapped Howard Stark as his guide. He searches for the remaining rings and defeats the guardians, taking the sixth and seventh rings. On the eighth test, he had to ask for the help of his former friend, Tony Stark, whom he now knows as Iron Man. During a skirmish with Doctor Doom over the ninth ring, he no longer holds Howard Stark prisoner. He got the tenth ring from his homeland China, he learned the history of the Makluans and his ancestor Khan and also the dragonseed and defeated the Makluan, claiming the ring for himself and gaining limitless power. Gene Khan now currently has ten out of the ten rings, and is acknowledged by Tony as the most powerful person in the world.
Gene issued a proclamation to the Earth for world domination, which was met with resistance with SHIELD, but Mandarin easily decimates their forces and teleports their Helicarrier to the Negative Zone. The three armored heroes, Iron Man, War Machine, and Rescue fight him. But the Makluan Overlord's ship appears and captures Gene and takes back the Makluan Rings. He is forced into a gladiator competition along with the captured armored heroes. All four of them manage to best their warriors, but the overlord in enraged and teleports all of them, except Gene back down to Earth, then the Makluans begin their invasion of the world. Gene remains as the Overlord's prisoner, until the armored heroes and the Hulk fight the Overlord. Tony uses his dad's quantum neutralizer satellite weapon to temporarily disable the Makluan Rings. Gene takes the opportunity to put them back on and decides to help the heroes. Iron Man asks him to teleport War Machine, Rescue, and Banner out of the ship, it explodes, but Iron Man is undamaged. Gene moves the Helicarrier back into their dimension and decides that maybe he wasn't supposed to rule the world, but to protect it. Gene then flies away in the sky to parts unknown.
Makluan Rings: The rings give the user a multitude of abilities that appear to be magical at his disposal. The Makluan rings are highly advanced technology that can perform feats that would be indistinguishable from magic. Each ring the Mandarin holds enhances the power of the rest in his possession. The more rings he has, the greater the Mandarin's power. Their abilities include, but aren't limited to:
- Mandarin Armor Creation: The Mandarin's armor is created by the rings. The user can make the armor and segments of it, disappear and reappear around him.
- Teleportation: He can teleport to any place that he wants in the world.
- Energy Manipulation: The Mandarin can harness the power of energy that he can use for:
- Vacuum Explosions: The rings can cause vacuum explosions.
- Force Fields: The rings can erect force fields.
- Energy Blasts: He can project energy blasts.
- Force Manipulation: He can manipulate force to blast away or pin down targets.
- Levitation: The Mandarin can levitate in the air.
- Control of the Elements: The rings give him control and generation over elemental forces like fire, ice, earth, lightning, water, and wind.
- Fire Manipulation: He can control fire.
- Ice Generation: He can generate intense cold.
- Earth Manipulation: The Mandarin can pull apart a massive cliffside with this ability.
- Lightning Generation: The rings can project electric blasts and generate lightning.
- Wind Manipulation: The eighth ring grants the power to create wind storms and stop them. It also gives him super speed.
- Water Manipulation: This ring can control and manipulate liquid and it can be used to erect a barrier-field made out of water on a target. The Mandarin can then crush it or peel whatever covering it has on itself.
- Map Creation: The rings can create a holographic map of the planet to show the location of the remaining rings. They can also emit a revealing light to find the temples in which they are hidden.
- Immobilization: The Mandarin can immobilize an opponent, freezing it in place like he did with the Melter.
- Acid Cloud: The sixth ring has the ability to produce a green gaseous cloud that dissolves and eats all forms of living matter or metal.
- Mental Abilities: The seventh ring enhances mental power.
- Hypnotism: Mandarin can influence the minds of others and cloud memories.
- Clairvoyance: The Mandarin could access all hidden knowledge through this ring.
- Darkforce Manipulation: Mandarin can control darkforce power with the ninth ring. He can emit blasts and erect barriers of darkforce energy. He can also open portals to other worlds and dimensions. The ninth ring's power is so great, that it could tear the fabric of reality all around the world.
- Matter Manipulation: The full powers of the Mandarin could allow him to create massive structures like temples.
- Life Creation: He can create life, like the Makluan guardians that guard the temples.
- Omnipotence: Mandarin has the power to do anything he wants.
- Omniscience: He can see everything, molecules, electrons, the very building blocks of the universe.