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America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 11,535
In Reply To
The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,571
Subj: Re: Mandarin stories should begin with the premise that he's already won
Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 at 06:12:18 am CST (Viewed 177 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Mandarin stories should begin with the premise that he's already won
Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 at 02:50:35 pm CST (Viewed 184 times)

    I'm actually not. Rather, I'm aiming for an extremely personal enemy. The political stuff is mostly just a plot-device to explain why The Mandarin has so much free time to devote to hurting Stark in personal ways. It's intended to be lead to something like Kingpin's torture of Daredevil. That story wasn't some long-winded speech on all of the political factors that allowed Kingpin to gain so much power. The political part was either explained in a few caption boxes, or implied. Rather, beginning with the premise that Daredevil was a peasant in Kingpin's kingdom, allowed for a story about one man torturing another for fun, and the man transcending that.

(Cathartic rant begins.) I hated that story. Yeah, I know, it's a classic, it redefined Daredevil, it was dramatic, it was a masterpiece. But it wasn't fun. It went too far. It was too depressing. It was too hard to look at. It made me too angry.

I don't need or want Waid/Samnee cartoonishness. But I also don't need or want Frank Miller sadomasochism. Another story (in another medium) that I hated was Stephen King's "Misery." (Cathartic rant ends.)

Nevertheless, I get what you're aiming at. I just don't think the target can be hit. By anyone. Not with a tainted character like the Mandarin. (Same holds true for the Titanium Man, whom I also used to love.) They both thrived in a context of the Cold War. People loved to watch Tony beat up those commies. Yeah, I know, the Mandarin was never a commie, but he was Chinese, and that was close enough. Of course he wanted to conquer the world. China was communist and all commies wanted to conquer the world. The only thing standing in their way was the good old US of A.

That's an important element that has been lost from Iron Man. He represented the best of American know-how and gumption. He might as well have been named Super-Capitalist. Despite the lack of the flag on his chest, he was more representative of the American ideal as it really existed in people's minds than Silver Age Steve Rogers ever was. Someone named Captain America should really have been a captain of industry. Tony was that character. But Marvel was marketing to young people and young people were breaking from the American ideal of the 1950s. Tony was shifted to a position more palatable to flower children and Beatniks, at least as Stan Lee believed them to be. That shift in overall aesthetic made the Mandarin and the Titanium Man poor fits even as far back as the late 60s. The Cold War was still a blizzard and grown-ups would still have welcomed Super-Capitalist. But grown-ups weren't the target market.

I would make the Mandarin and the Titanium Man global terrorists. The War on Terror is today's Cold War.

But never mind because - marketing. At least as far as the Mandarin is concerned. Chinese villains are a marketing nightmare so they must be eliminated.

    I'm also thinking of "Penguin, Pain and Prejudice", where Cobblepot possessing tremendous behind-the-scenes power is treated as a given, an implied background part of a very personal story.

You make me wish I had that read this story. Sounds awesome.

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