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« Weekend Box-Office Results: It's The 'Ice Age' All Over Again | Main | Marvel Announces ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ as Sequel Title »
Sunday
Jul152012

'Iron Man 3' Will Feature The Mandarin; A Reminder That Comics Used To Be Kinda Racist

The inception of comic books and superheroes came about at a time when patriotism was very high.  It was a war time and the belief in your country was paramount; the concept of a superhero is, at the heart, a figure to represent the spirit of a nation.  One time, Captain America punched a red-faced Nazi scientist in the gut with freedom.  Now that's a powerful metaphor.  In similar fashion  the capitalist Captain America, Iron Man, had a different political undertone all together.  He had a villain with a very thin veil, The Mandarin.  Fast forward to Comic Con 2012 where countless fans are weeping over Iron Man 3 footage, debuting The Mandarin as the villain.

Without a doubt, The Mandarin is Iron Man's most formidable adversary.  He's a martial arts master so powerful he can split Iron Man's armor, a scientific genius, and he knows how to accessories.  And by that, I mean he has ten supernatural rings that can summon a vortex, freeze someone, burn someone, shock someone, shoot them with light, and even more deadly things.  To makes it all even better, Sir Ben Kingsley is playing him.  I'm excited to see the battles, but I think I'm even more giddy for the banter between Robert Downey Jr. and Sir Ben.

I think it's rather fascinating that after roughly fifty years, The Mandarin remains as the greatest arch rival for Tony Stark despite the political symbolism behind their feud is no longer relevant.  Maybe I'm just reading too deep into my precious comics.  Regardless, the battles are going to be epic and Sir Ben Kingsley is the perfect man to slip on the rings of Marvel's most cunning evil-doer.  

Iron Man 3 will be in theatres May 3rd, 2013 from director Shane Black.

Reader Comments (1)

I'm a huge Iron Man fan (have been for many years) and I agree with the premise of your article. However, I would add that all good comic books and comic characters adapt and evolve over time.

When the Mandarin was first introduced in the 1960's he was a buck-toothed racist fu-manchu caricature of the "yellow peril." When I started reading Iron Man in the 80's that was all gone. He has been grown and developed into a truly complex and frightening villain.

Good writers (and artists) have made him a worthy (and not racist) arch-nemesis. Check out Charles Nauf's "Haunted" storyline and Matt Fractions "Iron Man Annual #1: The Mandarin" I'm really excited for the Mandarin and I look forward to Iron Man 3.

Sunday, July 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterironmanfan

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