Quote:The thing is, villainy actually HAS worked out for him, in that he's fabulously rich and even owns his own de facto country. It's easy to think of him as a failure since we see Stark foil his biggest schemes, but objectively he's a colossal success who periodically has his hobby ruined.
Quote:So I think the better way to approach him is like Kingpin in "Born Again", and Penguin in "Penguin: Pain and Prejudice".
Quote:In Born Again, Kingpin has basically won. His rule is unquestioned, he's fabulously rich and influential. So as a hobby, he destroys the life of someone who has occasionally annoyed him. He doesn't have some big grand scheme, because he's already won the big stuff. Ruining Daredevil's life is his version of building a ship in a bottle.
Quote:In Penguin, Pain and Prejudice, Penguin has basically won. His rule is unquestioned, he's fabulously rich and influential. He destroys the lives of several people who annoy him simply as a hobby.
Quote:There's your angle: the Mandarin has won. The Mandarin won a long time ago. The Iron Man keeps ruining his side hobby of outright conquering the world instead of ruling it via money, corruption, blackmailing, campaign donations, etc. The Iron Man keeps smashing his ship in a bottle. So now Stark's life is his ship in a bottle.
I won't tolerate any "the villain already won" poppycock without a time jump. You can't have a guy lose for decades and declare he's won all along. Nope not having it.
It's like what X-Files tries and fails to do with the Cigarette Smoking Man. He takes credit for all the bad stuff in modern history but it's more telling than showing...and it's just lazy writing.
If Marvel wants to turn Mandarin into A list villain then DO that by showing stuff as it happens. Don't just say he accomplished all this stuff off panel and that's why he's the best. The lazy villain taking credit for stuff always rankles me. Red Skull did that back around Cap #350 taking responsibility for almost every villain group Cap fought in a couple year period...super annoying. Or like when Red Skull tries to take credit for orchestrating Baron Zemo killing Bucky. Nuh uh that was Heinrich Zemo's kill and he planned it alone.
I think all it takes to catapult Mandy into top tier villainy is having him kill the right people. Pick someone (or a few someones) that Marvel can do without but still have their fans and let Mandarin kill them.
Like let Mandarin slaughter the new Champions. They're useless. He needs something to build up his street cred.
Except it's already part of the character that he has all of this land, money, political power, corporate power, and military power. It's not like him having all of the things that would qualify as having already long since won is some kind of retcon. It's just that him having already won is so utterly in the background of whatever scheme he's doing that it tends to be forgotten. He uses all of these enormous resources in a bid to conquer the world outright, and it fails, so people forget that, holy christ, this guy has more resources than most countries. In his failed attempt to conquer the entire world outright, he used the resources of a global superpower.
So what I'm suggesting isn't even a retcon. Rather, it's just a shift of emphasis. Instead of his ruling a big chunk of the world being this quiet background thing that barely even gets a mention during his failed attempt to conquer the world, that background stuff is looked right in the face and acknowledged for what it is: utter victory for anyone whose ambitions are even slightly below world conquest. And having finally acknowledged that, we can move on to The Mandarin enjoying his new hobby of torturing Tony Stark on every level.