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  1. #46
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Watkins View Post
    eh. it's not like it would be punching down.
    To your eyes probably not, but to a lot of people around the world it would be. To the Chinese, a character like Mandarin which has its roots in crap like Fu Manchu and others, would be no different for them than say the Thuggee in that second Indiana Jones movie were to Indians and South-East Asian Americans in general.

    I think the upcoming Shang-Chi movie by Disney/Marvel where Mandarin is made into a bad guy for him is a good lateral move to salvage the character and mythos.

    does Tony represent western capitalism?
    Mr. "I-just-privatized-world-peace", hell yeah he represents western capitalism. These days specifically, a kind of Silicon Valley capitalism a la Elon Musk and others. Unlike Batman where Bruce Wayne is a civilian identity, Stark as Iron Man is a publicly backed and publicly known superhero sponsored by a corporation. Buying Stark Stock literally goes into the fund to protect the planet from Thanos or whatever.

    Tony Stark as a fantasy is the embodiment of capitalism as a force to save the world.

    ...if Mandarin is problematic, shouldn't Magneto also be? he made FOX a lot of money being overtly jewish and a villain.
    Mandarin as a character has never been presented like Magneto, nor has any villain Iron Man faced. Mandarin has never been humanized to the same extent, never been given the same nobility and stature that Magneto has, never been given the same high feeling, substance, and elegance that Magneto has. There's never been a story in Iron Man where you root for Mandarin over Tony Stark, the way you do root for Magneto over the X-Men or other opponents in some stories, or Doctor Doom over Reed Richards and others. Iron Man's stories are always fairly black-and-white in that Tony's the good guy who fights dudes worse than him. There's never a sense that the enemies pose an alternative or a compelling challenge to him on any level whereas in the case of Magneto and Doom that's been there for a big time and animated their greatest stories.

    That's part of the problem with Yellow Peril characters in general, they are always presented as other, evil and foreign who need to be put down.

  2. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    To your eyes probably not, but to a lot of people around the world it would be. To the Chinese, a character like Mandarin which has its roots in crap like Fu Manchu and others, would be no different for them than say the Thuggee in that second Indiana Jones movie were to Indians and South-East Asian Americans in general.

    I think the upcoming Shang-Chi movie by Disney/Marvel where Mandarin is made into a bad guy for him is a good lateral move to salvage the character and mythos.
    still feels like an artificial stumbling block. he's, theoretically, the same character whether he fights Iron Man or Shang Chi. the problem is looking at the Mandarin as a symbol of anything instead of an individual character. he's evil. but not because he's chinese (well, part chinese). he's a villain who happened to be born in a particular locale. looking at this origin, he doesn't have much in common with people currently living in modern day China; background-wise. so he's certainly an anachronism. but i guess that i just don't see him as a representative of his homeland in the same way as the Red Ghost is a russian representative.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  3. #48
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Watkins View Post
    still feels like an artificial stumbling block. he's, theoretically, the same character whether he fights Iron Man or Shang Chi. the problem is looking at the Mandarin as a symbol of anything instead of an individual character.
    That's because not enough has been done to make him feel like a distinct, shaded character. Such work has been done for Magneto and Doom but not him.

  4. #49
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    I don't think his core design lends itself to Doom/Magneto stuff. It does lend itself to "Penguin: Pain and Prejudice" stuff, though. Also to X-23 stuff. I.e. a rich kid who was raised by someone who hated him and trained him to be her super-soldier. I'm more than a little surprised that we haven't seen modern Mandarin stories that combine "Penguin: Pain and Prejudice" with X-23 stuff. Writers seem too busy deconstructing Stark himself to develop Mandarin this way.

  5. #50

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    maybe it would help to definitively retell Mandarin's story; maybe with heavier focus on aunt. the backstory is more great expectations or wuthering heights than yellow peril imo. like i mentioned earlier, if ignore his ethnicity it's the story of Bruce Wayne being guided by a malicious alfred, training with the league of shadows, and coming into the possession of the green lantern ring instead of relying on body armor/gadgets.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
    Israel isn't a dictatorship with such a thin skin it bans Winnie the Pooh. Neither is Japan, which is why you still see ninja villains from time to time. China, on the other hand, is both incredibly aggressive and incredibly thin-skinned. In other words, China can't be portrayed as an evil dictatorship, because China is an evil dictatorship.
    Yeah, this, pretty much.

    No country is perfect mind, but China's pretty damn bad and super controlling. I doubt any C list character or above could get away with a China villain storyline now.

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cool Thatguy View Post
    Yeah, this, pretty much.

    No country is perfect mind, but China's pretty damn bad and super controlling. I doubt any C list character or above could get away with a China villain storyline now.
    just to remind everyone, Mandarin was just shot in the head after trying to run for political office in the United States. really lackluster story arc. but might that have been a dig at China? the Mandarin's presence in the story was kind of strange already. they even bothered to introduce an out-of-nowhere asian sidekick who picked up the rings after Mandy's death only to fall even more gruesomely to the Punisher.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Watkins View Post
    maybe it would help to definitively retell Mandarin's story; maybe with heavier focus on aunt. the backstory is more great expectations or wuthering heights than yellow peril imo. like i mentioned earlier, if ignore his ethnicity it's the story of Bruce Wayne being guided by a malicious alfred, training with the league of shadows, and coming into the possession of the green lantern ring instead of relying on body armor/gadgets.
    This^ This needs to happen.

  9. #54
    Incredible Member tbaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Watkins View Post
    maybe it would help to definitively retell Mandarin's story; maybe with heavier focus on aunt. the backstory is more great expectations or wuthering heights than yellow peril imo. like i mentioned earlier, if ignore his ethnicity it's the story of Bruce Wayne being guided by a malicious alfred, training with the league of shadows, and coming into the possession of the green lantern ring instead of relying on body armor/gadgets.
    This is the best idea for Mandarin that I have heard in years.
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  10. #55
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    The thing about any criticism of China, or any attempt to humanize Mandarin is that we as a reader are never given reasons as to why people would find China's current government appealing or why anyone would willingly follow Mandarin.

    The fact is that a lot of people in China aren't brainwashed, they willingly support their government and it's been good to a decent number of them. But when people think of criticizing China, it's presented as "other" and lesser.

    In the case of Doctor Doom or Magneto, there have been many issues devoted to why people in-universe like these characters, why a lot of Latverians love their ruler and it's not a case that all Latverians are brainwashed and so on. People are willing to humanize Doctor Doom and Magneto and other European dictators (even if both of them come from persecuted minorities) in a way that rulers from "the East" aren't. No, Mandarin is an "Oriental despot", the Chinese government is "evil" and inscrutable and cunning and not driven by rational policies and political interests. A good example of an exception is Captain Nemo, who is Prince Dakkar of Bundelkhand, an Indian leader turned terrorist. Jules Verne's books humanize him greatly, you totally understand why people are loyal to this guy, why some people admire him and follow him out of true belief.

    In the case of Iron Man stories in general, virtually no villain of his rogues gallery is ever given real credit. People want Stark's tech or want to sabotage him because they are jerks, thieves, greedy people, despots and so on. Which is why his stories have a fundamental right-wing dimension. Even Batman doesn't have that because Batman rogues are acknowledged to have some values. Joker's a brilliant chemist and on the occassion a great showman and charismatic guy, even if he's a murderous sociopath. Ra's Al Ghul when written well is the case of the Mandarin done right, he's an Arab guy who was a total hero when he was young and who suffered tragedy and who over time, living too long and fighting too much, has become as bad and worse than the people he fought. And Ra's has noble qualities which the Mandarin isn't shown to have.

  11. #56
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    I would say Penguin and Black Mask are both much, much closer equivalents to The Mandarin than Ra's Al Ghul. The Mandarin's origin story bears a great deal of resemblance to the former two, and no resemblance at all to the latter.

    Doctor Doom would be Marvel's Ra's.

    You keep seeming to insist that The Mandarin needs HEROIC depth, and I don't agree. I do think he needs depth, but it should be "Penguin, Pain and Prejudice" style depth, mixed with X-23 depth.
    Last edited by MichaelC; 12-09-2019 at 04:06 PM.

  12. #57
    Incredible Member tbaron's Avatar
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    I dont think every villain needs heroic death, or a tragic backstory that made them turn evil. Sometimes people are just evil and do bad things.
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  13. #58
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
    You keep seeming to insist that The Mandarin needs HEROIC depth, and I don't agree. I do think he needs depth, but it should be "Penguin, Pain and Prejudice" style depth, mixed with X-23 depth.
    You are aware that Penguin isn't Batman's arch-enemy right? He's an entertaining gangster.

    The actual Arch-Enemy needs to be of some stature, and have some kind of values as a contrast to the hero.

  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    You are aware that Penguin isn't Batman's arch-enemy right? He's an entertaining gangster.

    The actual Arch-Enemy needs to be of some stature, and have some kind of values as a contrast to the hero.
    i don't agree. and i think people project depth onto the Joker that simply isn't there. he's an agent of chaos (w/ an iconic look) to counter Batman who represents order in Gotham. his maybe-background as a failed standup comedian is irrelevant. similarly, he's completely uninterested in Batman outside of the costume. i'm really not interested in proving that Mandarin could be Stark's archnemesis. i'm mainly defending the Mandarin against your depiction of him as a yellow peril offshoot that needs to be discarded. he's not Doom or Magneto. and he doesn't need to be. because Tony Stark isn't Reed Richards or Professor X. he's a swaggering alpha male who believes that money and technology can solve the world's problems.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  15. #60
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    I think Thanos has long since evolved past being the arch enemy to Drax and Adam Warlock.
    Last edited by Agent Z; 12-10-2019 at 09:32 AM.

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