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The Mandarin

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,086
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Subj: Re: Which super villains do you think are broken and how would you fix them?
Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 05:49:25 am EST (Viewed 201 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Which super villains do you think are broken and how would you fix them?
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:06:10 pm EST (Viewed 213 times)


      He was created decades before Apocalypse.

    22 years is a pretty lenient use of word "decades". But it doesn't matter since Apocalypse is by far much more popular than Mandarin currently is. You don't want to be first here, you want to be the best.

Not really. The only popular X-villain is Magneto. The Mandarin has been the main villain of two Iron Man cartoons. Apocalypse gets a single or two-parter episode here and there.


      In your opinion.

    Which part? It's not an opinion that the character isn't unique in his motivations. And when I asked for his motivations, you listed like 6 things.

You say that like it's a bad thing. Lex Luthor is motivated by a petty urge to kill Superman for making him feel small. He also has a certain genuine urge to make the world a better place. He's also just plain old fashioned greedy. Is he diminished because you can't sum up his motivations in one line?

Besides, all of the things I mentioned flow out of one thing: the Mandarin has a hypermasculine mindset. In the hypermasculine mindset, strength is good, weakness is bad. The hypermasculine mind values honor of a sort, but that version of honor is so twisted that it amounts to little more than an eschewing of blatant cowardice.

    So what do you think the reason is this character has languished in B-list status for so long?

The big one is just that Iron Man has historically been a B or even C lister, and this has hurt his villains by extension. That's probably 90% of it right there. Iron Man isn't a concept that has historically attracted big-name writers like Grant Morrison and Frank Miller. So he's had far fewer classic stories than those characters that attract big-name writers. Big name writers seem to prefer to tell either gritty street-level stories about guys who could have stepped out of 30's pulp detective novel, or grand stories of myth. So Batman and Superman and characters very close to them get big name writers constantly, while characters like Iron Man rarely do. Can anyone even tell me who Flash's arch-enemy even IS, for example?

This is minor by comparison, but the name is weak. He probably should have been named something like Khan. One of the definitions of Mandarin is Elitist, and this seems to be what Stan Lee was going for in his initial stories. However, that is a little obscure compared to "the Joker" or "Bullseye" or "Magneto" or "Doom". He should have just named him the Elitist or the Aristocrat and been done with it, since that is how he characterized him. Instead he named him something with multiple obscure definitions and then tried to fill in the blanks with characterization. You shouldn't have to solve an intellectual puzzle when it comes to the meaning of a villain's name.