Iron Man Used Shang-Chi’s Ten Rings To Build His Deadliest Armor Ever
After being forced to work for the Mandarin, Iron Man constructed the devastating Titanomech Armor, which harnessed the power of Shang-Chi’s Ten Rings.
While Iron Man may have faced a fake Mandarin in the MCU, in the comics Tony Stark is well acquainted with the real supervillain and his super-powered ten rings (which also got a makeover for the Shang Chi film adaptation.) Repurposed parts of an alien spacecraft, the Mandarin’s rings each grant a different ability, including mind control, illusion creation, and time manipulation. Together, the rings make Mandarin a godlike being, and in one of his most ambitious plans, the villain attempted to coerce Iron Man into making them the centerpieces of his deadliest armor.
Recently, Marvel Comics introduced a new set of ten rings wielded by Shang-Chi that more closely match how the movies have reimagined them. However, the original ten rings have long belonged to the Mandarin, who retrieved them from a Makluan spacecraft in his youth. The Mandarin later claimed that they weren’t rings at all, but rather futuristic storage devices, each used to hold the memories and abilities of an ancient alien warrior. These warriors wanted new bodies capable of leaving Earth, and there was no one better to create them than the armored Avenger.
Unfortunately – as shown by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca Iron Man ‘The Future’ arc – the Mandarin was able to hack the technological advancements Iron Man had made to his body in order to force him to create the Titanomechs. These incredibly dangerous suits were an idea Tony had developed but decided never to create. Unfortunately, through a combination of trickery and control, the Mandarin put it to work. The Titanomechs were already extremely powerful suits, but once piloted by the alien consciousnesses inside the Ten Rings, they also gained the abilities of their assigned warrior. Luckily – due to a desire to maintain control of his empire and the army of tech-based supervillains he enslaved to help Iron Man – the Mandarin didn’t commit all the rings to the times, giving Tony the slight edge he needed to destroy the hulking suits before they destabilize Earth’s core in an effort to return to the stars.
Fortunately, Iron Man was able to win against the three Titanomechs he was forced to build, but only with serious support. It took Iron Man, a group of villains ready to turn on the Mandarin, and the super-teams known as the Triumph Division and Dynasty to keep the Titanomechs at bay, and they were only beaten due to an experimental swarm of billions of nanobots that Tony’s company had released to find where he was being held. In short, it took Iron Man’s allies, enemies, and most of his experimental tech to level the playing field, and he probably still would have lost had the Mandarin been willing to give up more of his rings to the project.
While Iron Man’s armor and Shang-Chi’s Ten Rings pack a punch in the movies, their combination in the Titanomechs turned the fused technology into a world-class threat. Worse, it underscored just how dangerous Tony Stark is even when in charge. Iron Man is capable of designing doomsday weapons that no one else could even figure out. In a world of telepaths and manipulators, his knowledge is dangerous on its own, and in the past he has even suppressed conceptions from his own mind to prevent them from coming true.
Tony Stark’s blessing and curse is that whenever he designs a problem – from everyday troubles to apocalyptic mayhem – he also designs the armor that can solve it, but each combination has its own consequences. In the case of the Titanomechs, even the design of these powerful suits gave the Mandarin’s rings reason to enslave him and end the world. Shang Chithe Ten Rings and Iron ManThe armor of proved to combine to become the ultimate weapon, but Tony is still learning, and that means, as deadly as the Titanomech armor is, he’s already started imagining something worse.
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