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Post By
Omar Karindu

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242
In Reply To
The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,014
Subj: Re: The Mandarin's Living Ring: Iron Man #512 and upcoming issues
Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 09:31:38 am EST (Viewed 308 times)
Reply Subj: Re: The Mandarin's Living Ring: Iron Man #512 and upcoming issues
Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 03:38:12 am EST (Viewed 258 times)

Previous Post

    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 The Mandarin being communist is what seemed very out-of-character to me, as well as extremely outdated, as communism simply isn't a relevant enemy anymore.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.

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:

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."