Rogue's Gallery Mandarin Bust
Rings are one of the symbols that keep cropping up in society and pop culture. Yes, they can signify both a beginning and end and can be used as symbols of graduation and marriage. They also hold power in literature as seen by the Green Lantern's power ring (yes, rings and lanterns always go together) and the One Ring in Lord of the Rings. While the world of Middle Earth only needs one ring to rule them all, in the Marvel Universe you get to have ten. The down side is that having them all really doesn't mean you get to win, as the Mandarin has learned over the years.
The Mandarin may be Chinese, but his mother was English, and unlike Hong Kong she didn't have a lease. His parents died when he was young so he was taken in by a bitter aunt to be raised. He used his inheritance to study around the world (science being one of his favorite subjects) and eventually got a government job in pre-revolutionary China.
Since Marvel Comics uses topical references to keep themselves current, being alive and an adult in China before the Communist Revolution made sense when the Mandarin's character was introduced. Now though it doesn't work quite so well but we'll just pretend anyway and when the Communists took over he lost his power and wealth. What else can you do when your government has changed, other than head out to the haunted 'valley of the spirits' to search for mystic powers.
Well, we all know that those 'mystic powers' are just made up and instead he found a crashed alien space ship from Maklu-4. Since the pilot was dead he didn't mind the Mandarin taking his rings and wallet. The Mandarin spent a few years learning about the alien science and how to use the rings, as well as using the alien's ID to get into clubs. Now that he had technology and power he set out to take over the world.
Unfortunately, when you try to take over the world you end up with unwanted attention and the Mandarin was no different. In his case he keeps running into Iron Man and the result is always the same. Iron Man wins and Mandarin loses. That's probably because Iron Man has his own book and the Mandarin doesn't.
The work and detail evident in the Mandarin is consistent with the high levels of quality that the Rogue's Gallery line is known for. The sculpting and paint are well done, but the small details are what really sets this bust apart even from the other Rogues. Yes, the detail work on the robes is sculpted and the arms are missing though the hands need to be there for the Mandarin since his primary weapons are rings. And the rings are truly the coup de grace for this bust. The Mandarin has ten distinct rings, each with an individual design and powers and the team at Art Asylum has taken the time to match the rings with the correct designs and fingers (per the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe).
The power streaming out of the rings loops around the back and then around the base, with the ice and black light making a sort of yin-yang design. The two effects coming from the rings come from the correct rings, so you can see the dedication that went into designing and sculpting this bust. The base of the piece is a partial ring itself, with the motif of the rings added to it and a name plate so your non-comics friends will know who the bust represents.
The Mandarin is the latest addition to the Rogue's Gallery line of busts from Diamond Select Toys and Art Asylum. The line highlights villains from the Marvel Universe done in a consistent scale and style. The design aesthetic of the line is built around not having any arms for the busts (in a classic style), dynamic poses and integrated base designs individual to each character. This combination has created one of the best lines of busts available in any genre and one well worth checking out.
To bring the Chinese criminal to life Art Asylum has used Eli Livingston for sculpting duties. He's also the man behind the Sunfire and Vulture busts, and he assisted on the Scorpion bust (all in the Rogue's Gallery line). He also worked on the Thanos statue for the Marvel Milestones line.
The work has been duplicated in China (of all places) to create a run of 5000 pieces. Each one has a full-color certificate of authenticity signed by the sculptor and numbered so you can have a paper momento if you lose or break your bust (note - do not lose or break your bust). There is also the classic white box (with a little Japanese writing to make it exotic) with the miracle of modern science known as Styrofoam included inside. What more could you want?
More Pictures of the Mandarin
|Where to buy the Mandarin Bust: This piece is limited to a run of 5000, and you can find it at your local comics shop and various online retailers for between $35 and $45 USD.|