Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Eric Canete

What it’s about: In Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin, writer Joe Casey and artist Eric Canete retell the story of the first encounter between Ol’ Shell Head and his most famous foe. With a delicate balance of modern, decompressed storytelling and Silver Age action and suspense, Enter the Mandarin is a loving tribute to the old school Marvel flavor. This series digs deeper into the rivalry between these two characters in a way that the actual first appearance of the Mandarin in Tales of Suspense #50 never quite did, and, in the process, gives us one of the best battles between the two every to hit print.

The story itself details the Mandarin’s attempts to destroy the modern world of the West by hijacking a S.H.I.E.L.D. weapons satellite and turning it loose. Though the story itself follows similar story beats from countless comics from throughout the years, Enter the Mandarin actually paints a compelling conflict between Tony Stark’s world of technology clashing with the Mandarin’s old world belief in magic and mysticism. Couple that with some appropriately cartoony art by Cenete, which is a throwback to the comics of yesteryear, and this miniseries acts as the perfect gateway into the early stages of one of Marvel’s great conflicts.

How it relates to Iron Man 3: We're pretty certain that Iron Man 3 won’t have much to do with the story in Enter the Mandarin, nor will it be as lighthearted, but this is still a great tale to read in order to get a more complete picture of why the Mandarin is such a compelling villain.