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Grey Gargoyle

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 10,472
In Reply To
The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,564
Subj: Roman von Ungern-Sternberg
Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 at 01:19:19 pm EDT (Viewed 151 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Evil Aunts, squandered gold, and training from Hell
Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 at 02:47:20 pm EDT (Viewed 157 times)

    Eh, the thing is we've seen plenty of his schemes, and they don't fit with that. Rather, they tend to be a very blatant and ugly blend of Ayn Rand flavored social darwinism, and blatant hunger for blood, dominance, and conquest.

... but that's the key : restoring the Great Qing Empire & the Mandarin gentry as long as he is the ruler (for example, like Nogai Khan was the de facto ruler and kingmaker of the Golden Horde) would satisfy his hunger for dominance & conquest.

If I am not mistaken, your quote is from a story written by Kurt Busiek :

    Statements like, "To know that you are superior, in mind, in body, in spirit, that is everything! To know that power is your birthright, to know that untold thousands exist on this world for no reason but to serve you, to channel their power through your empire, be it of land or of business, channeling it upward to fuel you, to fuel your glory!" are not about restoring a particular culture or social order.

In the same story, the Mandarin said :
"The Mandarin stands close to Iron Man and explains that his mind was clouded, his true memories only surfacing in dreams, he endured unspeakable humiliation for one such as he. ‘But I thank you - and the Heart - for such a valuable lesson’ he tells Tony. ‘A lesson -?’ Tony asks, groggily. The Mandarin explains that he had thought to destroy technology - to erase two thousand years of progress and restore feudalism. But instead discovered that feudalism was not dead, merely as transformed as he. ‘Coolies, masters, magistrates, mandarins - the manual labour of the peasants generated power which flowed ever upward - growing greater at each level, until it rested in the hands of the truly deserving - the noble classes. And nothing was changed. My coolie labour enriched those above me, and above them - until it reached you, Anthony Stark. Feudal lord of a modern age’.

‘Not - lord -’ Tony utters, but the Mandarin continues, admitting that he was foolish to reject what he should have sought to understand. ‘And more foolish still, to rage at the idea of Iron Man, a vassal, as my greatest foe - rather than see beyond him, to my true enemy. I was heartbroken when I learned of your death, Anthony - and jubilant to learn you’d survived’. "
"Tony doesn’t know what to think - even if he could think clearly. ‘It sounds like the truth, but if so - who sent the others?’ Tony wonders. However he knows in his current state that is not the question to ask now. ‘Then why - all this? Why - Russia?’ Tony asks, still clamped to the wall. The Mandarin sighs and tells Tony that one might ask why not Russia, pointing out that they have been shattered for years, always fragmented, always looking for a strong man to lead them. ‘I shall be that strong man - stronger than any they could find from within - and I shall rebuild them, bringing back the empire of the Tsars - but with a sensibility more fitting to my own traditions’ the Mandarin explains, adding that it will be the power base he requires."

My comments are not contradictory with yours. I just focus on a different point of view when I read the story, that's all.

Mandarin believes that an Asian Empire should rise and that he should be the one to rule it.

    I get the vibe that his perfect man would be a combination of Ayn Rand, Fu Manchu and Iron Fist, and that he believes that the world should be a jungle in which these Ayn Rand/Fu Manchu/Iron Fist combo Ubermenchen forever conquer and devour everything weaker than themselves.

Here, I am not as certain as you are about this.

Indeed, it may fit the self-sacrificing scheme of the 2008 Extremis story.

But, before that, during the Silver Age & Bronze Age, when he was not trying to kill Iron Man, most of the time, he was trying to build his own empire in Asia.

I agree that he considers himself above everyone else, and thus the superman that you were speaking about.

It doesn't mean that his ideal civilization would be a lawless jungle. An empire is a social order, an unjust one but a social order, nevertheless.

The Empires of Genghis Khan & Kublai Khan, for example, were the most sophisticated society of their time, far in advance to any other. The same could be said of the Great Qing Empire at its zenith.

In my opinion, the old stories only focused on Mandarin trying to become a world power in his own right, threatening the world with nuclear weapons and giant androids, so that people would give him absolute power and that he could be the head of his own empire.

Mandarin was narcissistic but exactly like Doom, Magneto, Red Skull & Strucker were during the Silver Age.

They were all trying to become dictators, indeed preying on the weak but through an unjust social order, not through radical libertarianism.

Much more than classic Mandarin, I think that classic Apocalypse would totally fit your definition.

If I had to compare Mandarin to an historical character, I think that Roman Von Ungern-Sternberg would be the closest in terms of personality.

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