Episode #13 - Hide and Seek
Original Airdate - August 14th, 2009
Tony and Gene find the third Makluan Ring, but this time Tony plays it smart without awakening the ring’s guardian, Tony takes the ring back to the city to study. But Gene has other ideas and in order to possess the ring’s power; he activates the guardian, Ultimo. But Ultimo isn’t interested in Gene, it only wants the ring. And now, not only does Iron Man have to deal with a giant robot in New York, he’s also about to have a rematch with the Mandarin.

Story Editor Christopher Yost
Written By Ken Pontac
Directed By Stephane Juffe and Phillipe Guyenne
Review by Arsenal

Iron Man has a pretty lame rogues’ gallery.

Seriously, name an Iron Man villain who isn’t the Mandarin. Can you do it? How many Spider-Man baddies do you know? Batman? Superman?

The problem with heroes like Daredevil, Captain America or Iron Man—second-tier heroes—is that they don’t have the same caliber of foils as the top tier.

In 13 episodes, the creators of this show have been culling Iron Man’s history for legitimate antagonists. They did a good job with the Crimson Dynamo, Mr. Fix and Whiplash. Madam Masque has potential. But would you mind if you never saw Killer Shrike again? How about the Living Laser? Blizzard? The Unicorn?

But all that would be forgiven if they could make Obadiah Stane and the Mandarin work. Stane continues to be a poor man’s Lex Luthor; but “Hide and Seek” tries to make the Mandarin a more interesting character.

In this episode, Tony and Gene Khan continue their fight over the Mandarin’s rings. Khan gets a lot of screen time, and it’s obvious the creators of this series are working to make him seem better rounded.

In the opening segment, when he and Tony sneak into an Arctic temple, Khan not only cracks a smile, he laughs. Later on, he gives his best explanation of purpose ever. He doesnt perceive himself as a thief. He sees himself as someone who is reclaiming his birthright, which includes the rings. (This was hinted at in “Masquerade” when he talked about Stane’s art gallery.)

Yes, he’s rich. Yes, he’s spoiled. Yes, he has a sense of entitlement. But so does Tony (and Whitney Stane, for that matter.)

For the first time, the Mandarin is almost interesting.

He’s not a scene stealer by any means, but he’s no longer a detriment to the series.

“Hide and Seek” may not be a great episode, but it could prove an important one. One of the primary antagonists is becoming a better foil for Tony, and better villains make a better series.

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