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Omar Karindu


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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- Omar Karindu
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Leonard





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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,981


I liked the way the mind-ring was done in the Knaufs story: as just a weak illusion casting ring that supplemented The Mandarin's skill as a bullshitter without overshadowing it.




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Omar Karindu


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242





- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,981



    Quote:
    It's somewhat irritating to me that Fraction's take on the Mandarin as a Kim Jong-Il (Jong-Un, now?) type has been largely jettisoned here in favor of "generic megalomaniac."


Well in what way did he make him Kim Jong-Il other than make him express communist leanings and gratitude to Mao? The Mandarin being communist is what seemed very out-of-character to me, as well as extremely outdated, as communism simply isn't a relevant enemy anymore. Other than being one of the last remaining commies, Kim WAS a very generic megalomaniac. Making Mandarin a communist simply wasn't an idea that worked, since it puts him in the same catagory of no-longer-viable post-cold-war villains as Titanium Man.

Personally what I miss is the Knauf's social darwinism, a philosophy that fits someone obsessed with learning science and martial arts, and implicitly obsessed with perfection of mind and body. It is a natural fit for a barbarian archetype with a genius I.Q. It's also a more timeless and flexible philosophy. A social darwninian can try to conquer the world one day, kidnap a few people for gladitorial games another day, and try to purge the world of the weak without conquering it on day three, and all of these things feel natural, fit the same character.




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Omar Karindu


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242


Mandarin having his own city ruled by propaganda is much like North Korea's Juche system. And Kim Jong-Il was notorious for kidnapping an award-winning South Korean film director and his actress (ex) wife in the 1970s in order to force them to make ridiculous propaganda films for him; the Mandarin does just this in the annual.

See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shin_Sang-ok

As far as I know, this is (in the real world) a pretty singular and famous act, so the Mandarin repeating it seems like a pretty clear allusion to Kim. Both Kim and Mandarin kidnap the director because the director is critically acclaimed, and the bit about also kidnapping the actress wife of the director makes the allusion almost too close. It's even accented by both of the real victims being lured to Hong Kong for the kidnapping, since the Annual has the Mandarin kidnapping his creative team from Hong Kong's film industry.




- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,981


Okay there's that, I had forgotten that connection. Still, how does making him an Kim analogue make for an interesting supervillain? Especially an arch-enemy for Iron Man? Kim was such a banal little boy, with no real philosophy that I know of. Can you imagine Kim in, lets say, "The Dark Knight"? The Joker there comes across as a kind of High Priest of Nihilism, with a very sharp contrast between his beliefs and Batman's, to the point where the whole thing is a kind of Nihilsm/Humanism debate conducted physically, operatically.

Come to think of it, that's why movie Red Skull fell flat for me. There was something so banal about his evil.

Heck, the reason why Fraction may have seemed to abandon the Kim analogue take is Kim was such a thin brat that there simply wasn't anything left to mine from him past the Annual.

Personally I prefer for the Mandarin to have more in common with Bane and Kraven The Hunter than Kim. I think he should have Kraven's basic philosophy but expressed in a much more ambitious way most of the time.

Leonard seems to want him to think like Doom at his grandest, and by extension like the Paradise Lost Satan. I don't agree, but I'd take it over Kim's utter banality.




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Comicguy1





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Comicguy1





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Comicguy1




Kraven is just a big game hunter who hunts for the thrill and to try to beat Spider-Man or some other hero. Occasionally he'll do it for the money or if he's really desperate, but it's pretty much just the World's Most Dangerous Game (Is that the right story?) to him. Kraven isn't really all that violent and generally tries to avoid killing (Unless he's really pissed.). The characters have two completely different motivations.


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,981


You're missing the forest for the trees.

Both characters have at their core the idea that social darwinism, the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest is the noble way to be and live.

In Kraven's case this takes a very small-scale, street-level form. He hunts people and seeks out worthy prey both to test himself and to satisfy his bloodlust.

In The Mandarin's case this is displayed on multiple levels. It can take the small-scale form of him forcing Iron Man to fight a duel in the woods, or holding gladitorial games with him as the star, or it can take the large-scale form of him trying to purge the world of the weak-gened. The Mandarin is much smarter than Kraven and therefore usually more grandly ambitious, but the core beliefs are very similar.




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emerick man 

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Omar Karindu


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242





- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
Posted with Apple Safari 4.1.3 on MacOS X
Omar Karindu


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242





- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
Posted with Apple Safari 4.1.3 on MacOS X
Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,307


Not Doom.

Something more ancient and dark, and as always you neglect the rings. You should not.

What was he before the rings? Nothing!

The Mandarin is not just Zhang Qan Qu*, the orphaned rich boy who was raised by his embittered aunt before he lost his possessions to the Communists. He's also a son of Kakaranathara, steeped in their technology and culture, changed by the rings of power. Unlike you so steadfastly support, he is not a human warlord. He may not be a human anything.

And this is why I actually do want to know more about those rings. And about Kakaranathara. Where did those rings come from? Not from the dragons - according to Century, they're destined to always fall into the hands of those who can the most damage with them. And what about the dragons? Were they really just a band of brigands and thrillseekers?
We know that Chen Hsu lives... he appeared in Marvel Team-up.








* In one of the animated Iron Man comics, his name was given as Zhang Chan. It's the only name I've ever read as given to him that sounds like it could be really Chinese apart from Zhang Tong. Unless his birth name should turn out to BE Zhang Tong I am sticking with this. Hey, it's better than Arnold Brock.


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Leonard


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,981


The thing is, I find the orphaned aristocrat who burned through all his fiefdom's wealth becoming a certain version of perfect in mind and body much more interesting than kakarantia-dude.

The orphaned aristocratic ubermensche is awesome and loathsome. He shows such incredible determination and perseverance and the end product of his training IS incredible from a certain perspective. At the same time, he's so utterly selfish and narrow-minded, indifferent to all the servants who depended on his fiefdom for their livelihood. I don't find that character to be "nothing". I find him to be someone I want to read more about.

I don't particularly want to read about someone utterly alien. Utterly alien is just another word for cipher, and ciphers are bland.

Therefore the rings work better as simply his first big score and as a visual metaphor for what kind of person he is, since they look a little like brass-knuckles and a lot like pimp-bling.




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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,981





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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,307


I completely disagree with you.

"Utterly alien is just another word for cipher"

No. Just no.


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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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The Mandarin


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 6,981


Yes it is. Human behavior runs a broad gamete from saint to psychopath. Past that broad gamete you get something a human writer can't actually write, not really. You get something like Chthulu, a creature which can only show up very briefly because utter-alieness isn't writable by a human writer, and translates into bland cipherness when you try.




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Leonard


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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The Mandarin


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MysteryMan





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