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Post By
Happy Hogan 
Manager

Location: Northern Virginia
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 3,907
In Reply To
The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,494
Subj: Re: I prefer to think of him not as a cultural amalgam, but as a cultural nihilist.
Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 at 09:22:14 pm EST (Viewed 197 times)
Reply Subj: I prefer to think of him not as a cultural amalgam, but as a cultural nihilist.
Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 at 01:01:14 pm EST (Viewed 209 times)




    Quote:
    I prefer to think of him not as a cultural amalgam, but as a cultural nihilist. In Stan Lee's origin, he begins by spending his father's money, money that could have been spent on making the lives of the people in his fiefdom better, on himself, on becoming a kind of super-soldier, on becoming the perfect predator. He doesn't spend that money becoming devoted to culture. The Mandarin is defined by his desire to spend other people's money in a rather crude, hypermasculine way. Once all the money is gone, he goes exploring like Christopher Columbus, finds alien resources, and enslaves the surrounding villages. The rings and alien tech thus become at once the gold Columbus enslaved the Taino to mine, and the guns used to do the enslaving.


That doesn't quite fit for me. Calling him a cultural nihilist implies that he doesn't believe in any culture. He might have squandered his father's money, but he didn't do it to give himself more worldly pleasures, (like most villains would); he didn't do it to immediately acquire more weapons (like most warlords would). He did it to make himself better. (At least what he viewed as being better). From Stan's origin story he seemed to have a unique world view and worked to achieve it for himself.
Much like Heath Leger's Joker, the Mandarin Stan created seemed to have something he believed in and seemed to work to champion it.

If the current Iron Man writers could agree on what he believes in, and make that central to the character's story, the Mandarin would come across as a more fleshed out character.






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