Writer: John Byrne
Artist: Paul Ryan
What it’s about: When Tony Stark seeks a cure to a nervous system virus that is killing him, he heads to China for help. But in order to receive the cure, the Chinese government tells Stark that Iron Man must do them a favor by first defeating the Mandarin, who has awakened the dragon Fin Fang Foom to wreak havoc on the country. The problem is that there is more than one dragon looking to cause destruction, and by the end of the story Ol’ Shell Head has to do battle with an army of mountainous lizards looking to destroy everything in their path.
This story also does some tweaking to the Mandarin’s origins, tying it more closely to Fin Fang Foom’s story. John Byrne was known as a comic book miracle worker during the ‘80s after revitalizing the X-Men, Fantastic Four, the Hulk (briefly) and Superman, and though “The Dragon Seed Saga” never quite reaches the heights of those books, it’s still one of the better Iron Man stories before the character gets dragged through the proverbial mud in the ‘90s.
How it relates to Iron Man 3: You don’t see Fin Fang Foom or any other dragon in the movie (unfortunately), but “The Dragon Seed Saga” serves as a good primer to get you acclimated to the hatred these two characters share for each other. There is a lot more to their rivalry than the movie will show, and this is a great place to fill in some of the blanks.