With the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania today, Marvel Unlimited has released one of their Infinity format comics to give the backstory of one of the weirder villains in the Marvel rogue’s gallery.
M.O.D.O.K (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) is a genius with a giant head and teeny-tiny arms and legs that floats around in a flying chair and blasts people with lasers from a crystal in his head. He’s one of the sillier-looking villains out there and incredibly narcissistic, always convinced of his genius and imminent victory right before the Avengers punt him into outer space.
His foibles have been mined for comedy before, most notable by Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt in the late, lamented Hulu animated series. (Seriously, Hulu, that show was gold, WTF were you thinking?) Blum is the writer here, tasked with introducing new readers to the backstory of this floating mad genius.
The hook here is that M.O.D.O.K. has to reboot his memory after yet another defeat at the hands of Earth’s mightiest heroes. As his memory restores, his brain computer shows him his past. His origins as George Tarleton, a humble janitor at Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) that volunteered to become a human super computer, M.O.D.O.C (Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing). However, George changed that C into a K, and destroyed those who created him, taking over A.I.M. in the process.
The scrolling artwork here of the Infinity format is used to great effect. M.O.D.O.K. often appears on the cusp of victory until a quick scroll down shows how that quickly turns to defeat. Artist Damian Couceiro has a firm grasp on how to use this to great effect, using a set up as a misdirect to show M.O.D.O.K.’s hubris coming back to bite him.
This short comic proves to be a great introduction to M.O.D.O.K. and his often pathetic aspirations. Hopefully, the portrayal in Ant-Man will be as interesting.