MODOK

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MODOK is a comic book supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. His name is an acronym for Mobile/Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. MODOK first appeared in Tales of Suspense #94 (October 1967), which was written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby.


Contents

Facts

Character biography

George Tarleton

George Tarleton was born in Bangor, Maine. As an adult, he became a technician and agent of Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Scientists at AIM created a powerful being to analyze and probe the Cosmic Cube and to improve the organization's productivity in its scientific endeavors, while still being subservient to the higher echelons of the organization. To that end they mutagenically altered Tarleton, one of their technicians of average intelligence, into the super intelligent being, MODOC (Mobile/Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing). These scientists unwisely did not take into consideration the theory that superior ability naturally leads to superior ambition.

It did not take long for MODOC to turn on his former masters and overthrow AIM. He adopted the new acronym for his title: MODOK (Mobile/Mental Organism Designed Only for (or perhaps Devoted Only to) Killing) at this time as he was more of a ruthless killer than a bean counter in his own estimation. MODOK battled Captain America in his first appearance.Tales of Suspense #94 Later, he battled Doctor Doom and was defeated by Namor.Sub-Mariner #47-49 MODOK and AIM frequently came into conflict with the Avengers and many other superheroes.

AIM was not happy with MODOK's megalomaniacal and short-sighted leadership and he was frequently ousted only to return to power again. MODOK was so focused on his personal grudge with various superheroes that he ignored the scientific aspect of the organization and allowed it to become stagnant. The other AIM leaders eventually hired assassins to eliminate him. The George Tarleton variant of MODOK was hunted down by the Serpent Society and killed by Death Adder at the Newburg Mall in Newburg, New Jersey, during the Serpent Society's first mission.Captain America #313 The Serpent Society later returned MODOK's body to AIM, who used it as originally intended in the function of a supercomputer. However, rogue AIM agent Yorgon Tykkio remotely operated MODOK's body in a fight with Iron Man that led to its destruction.

Ms. MODOK and MODAM

Dr. Katherine Waynesboro, an associate of Bruce Banner (the Hulk), was briefly transformed into a female MODOK counterpart called Ms. MODOK. This occurred prior to MODOK's death and she nearly married MODOK until he tried to disintegrate the Abomination, which appalled her. Crestfallen, MODOK decided she wasn't the one for him after all, and forcibly returned her to normal.Incredible Hulk #290

Subsequently, a different female counterpart of MODOK was created. She had been mutated into a large headed creature, and she was believed to be Henry Pym's first wife, Maria Troyvana. She first appeared in West Coast Avengers #36. Pym took her in, believing she was his late wife, but she was secretly a spy and returned to AIM. There, she was further mutated into a being nearly identical in appearance to MODOK called SODAM (Specialized Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers),Solo Avengers #14-16 which later was changed to MODAM (Mental Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers).Quasar #8 Omega Red believed that MODAM was not Maria Troyvana, but Olinka Barankova, a woman who had once betrayed him. However, MODAM herself stated that "AIM personnel files are routinely falsified".Iron Man #296

Return of MODOK

During the "Taking AIM" crossover, AIM used a Cosmic Cube to revive MODOK in order to repair the damage to reality that the Cosmic Cube had wrought. After the breach was sealed by the sacrifice of an Adaptoid, MODOK took advantage of his resurrection and once again led AIM. AIM, now described as a "technology-worshipping cult", ran afoul of various heroes.

MODOK eventually realized his tenure as Scientist Supreme of AIM was swiftly repeating his old position, and undertook a trip into another dimension in order to acquire additional power. However, in this other dimension, MODOK found himself overwhelmed and stranded. The Headmen recovered MODOK, who agreed to help them use Orrgo to conquer the world. However, after battling the Defenders, MODOK withdrew the support of AIM, lest the organization suffer another defeat.

In Captain America and the Falcon, MODOK had been captured by a US Naval intelligence/drug cartel alliance, who lobotomized him and used him to tap spy satellites and manipulate stock markets. Unknown to them, MODOK regained consciousness and swapped his mind with the human Damocles "The Saint" Rivas as well as developing the ability to convert his original form to data and "e-mail" it around the world. His original body, acting off old instincts, murdered every AIM agent who had created MODOK while MODOK himself battled Captain America, the Falcon and the Anti-Cap in a takeover attempt. He was finally trapped in interdimensional stasis and taken into SHIELD custody.

MODOK escaped custody and either expelled or subverted the personality of Rivas and took command of an AIM research lab in India. There, he was attacked by Deadpool, who was searching for a sample of the Phalanx. He was later defeated by Squirrel Girl when attempting to take over one of Maelstrom's old labs. Some time later he faced off against Ms Marvel and Wonder Man, and has now regained a massive organization after a daring caper involving several villains such as Mentallo, Chameleon and Spot.

Endangered Species

In X-Men: Endangered Species, MODOK was among the 9 criminal geniuses that Beast sought out to help him reverse the effects of M-Day. As with many of the others, MODOK rebuffed the Beast.

MODOK's 11

Left impoverished and isolated after Monica Rappaccini took full control of AIM, MODOK came up with a new plan to regain power. Assembling a team of current and former supervillains — Puma, Mentallo, Armadillo, Chameleon, Deadly Nightshade, Living Laser, Rocket Racer, and Spot - using a psychic illusion of cash,Super-Villain Team-UP: MODOK's 11 #1 he plotted to steal a living star called the Hypernova. Able to be used as a power source or ultimate weapon, it belonged to the Infinicide, a race of naturally-evolved MODOKs from the end of time. He is repeatedly trying to focus on being Designed Only for Computing, and has to struggle not to say "Killing" instead.

MODOK's team was infiltrated by Rappaccini's Ultra-Adaptoid and two of its members were working for other beings, but MODOK secretly took and replaced the Hypernova while it was being handed to the Spot via the Dark Dimension (MODOK had kept one of Spot's portals around for this). He then sold the Hypernova to AIM for a billion dollars and paid off his minions that remained loyal (with increased cuts due to only three remaining in the end). It turned out the Hypernova was unstable away from the Infinicide — which MODOK had known, and his plan all along had been to get Rappaccini to give him money for something that would destroy her and AIM's HQ (although it bears to be seen whether this was the real Hypernova and not another imitation; an actual hypernova explosion would completely destroy the entire solar system rather than just a single AIM base). MODOK now has a base and army of minions once more.

The themes in MODOK's 11 include internal struggle and being trapped due to bad decisions. Many of the villains (including MODOK himself) show conflict over their actions, and most of the group are in desperate situations and need to work for MODOK — they have "used up all [our] second chances" (Nightshade in #3). Treachery is another theme: several members of the team were working to backstab the rest (and suffered for it) and MODOK is betraying everyone (and succeeds).

Powers and abilities

MODOK underwent an artificial mutagenic process and bioengineering, granting him a superhuman mental acumen, making him, in theory, capable of knowledge and comprehension beyond the human ability to understand. He is potentially capable of mastering every worldly subject and capable of adopting concepts completely foreign to his environment. His ability to predict probable outcomes of tactical and strategic scenarios is so advanced that it sometimes borders on clairvoyance. MODOK's superhuman intellect is accompanied by an eidetic memory, and a virtually unlimited capacity for storing knowledge. MODOK has been programmed with computer files in numerous areas of science and technology. As George Tarleton, he had earned a graduate degree in engineering, and as MODOK he has complete expertise in many areas of science and technology.

In addition to extraordinary intelligence, MODOK has great psionic powers that enable him to mentally control large groups of people (though those with sufficiently strong wills can resist this compulsion), and with the assistance of his armor/flying platform he can use his psionic powers to fire a mind-beam. He is able to operate machinery such as his flying platform/armor with his thoughts alone. He is equipped with a synthetic crystal, which has been called a "Ram-thinker" which focuses his psionic waves in any number of ways. MODOK has the ability to project psionic force for a number of effects, including concussive energy, generation of heat, and protected force fields, and limited telepathy. MODOK's psionic powers had a maximum range of about five miles. MODOK's headband contains equipment which aids him in the focusing of his psionic powers.

MODOK has also designed a large number of sophisticated weapons, vehicles, computers, androids, and telescoping limbs for his armor. He even has a giant android body that is proportionally sized for his head. His armor/flying platform is designed to levitate based on magnetism. MODAM, for her part, used a hover-chair similar to her predecessor's, but capable of switching to a 'combat mode' which sported an arsenal of advanced weapons as well as massive, clawed arms.

He has developed machinery that allows him to turn himself into data and e-mail himself to anywhere on Earth.

Despite MODOK's great powers, his effectiveness is greatly hampered by emotional instability and immaturity, sometimes to the point of making rash and dangerous decisions that belie his great intellect. He has also shown to be sensitive about his appearance on occasion.

MODOK is permanently encased within an exo-skeletal shell of life-supporting machinery which augments his musculature, provides mobility, and performs various bodily functions. MODOK sits and rides in a magnetically-powered "hover-chair" that could fly through the air and that was constructed to be capable of supporting the weight of his oversized head. His headband contains a transmitter that enabled him to use AIM equipment by remote control that could teleport him from one place to another. MODOK's exoskeleton was armed with various offensive weaponry, including concussive force bolt projectors in the fingers. His exoskeleton is powered by "hydro-rockets" energized by MODOK's psionic powers. MODOK's musculature is atrophied, while his head has been freakishly enlarged. Thus he is physically dependent on the exoskeleton provided by his hover-chair for physical support and movement.

MODOK used various ray guns that projected different forms of energy. MODOK also had access to AIM's entire arsenal of advanced weaponry.

Other MODOKs

  • The MODOC Squad: In Captain America #8, in a battle with AIM, Captain America fought the MODOC Squad (Military Operatives Designed Only for Combat). However, rather than MODOK variations, these are modified humanoid warriors.
  • M.O.D.O.G.: In the series "The Invincible Iron Man", a rogue branch of AIM called AGM (Advanced Genocide Mechanics) used an enforcer called MODOG, to stand for Mobile Organism Designed Only for Genocide. The mutate seemed capable of little more than spouting propaganda and was dispatched by Iron Man by being thrown into outer space.
  • M.O.D.O.T.: In the 2007 Howard the Duck series, a Cleveland branch of AIM is controlled by M.O.D.O.T., the (Mental Organism Designed Only for Talking - neé Dimitri Smirkof). He was created by that branch without his consent, just as his predecessor; however, in his case, he was mutated in the hopes of creating a being so eloquent and persuasive he could talk the management of AIM into providing the Ohio branch with more funds. Again, just like M.O.D.O.K. he rebelled and took control of his organization, turning his creators into his servants. Being obsessed with boring, long-winded speeches, he has been found to heavily annoy his minions, to the point where he punishes them for incompetence or insubordination by subjecting them to one of his endless lectures. He has successfully taken over the media industry with nearly every talk show, and news hosts (actually AIM's androids) broadcast MODOT's speeches to the masses, seemingly making them more stupid and obsessed with celebrities, National Geographic documentaries about sharks, and trivial fluff stories than real news. His true goal, however, was quite simple: he wanted to use the advertising and endorsement money his personalities used to make himself rich, and maybe even "find a girl." While not as intelligent as M.O.D.O.K., M.O.D.O.T. did have superhuman abilities, particularly in parallel data absorption (scanning a hundred news channels all at once) and communication (he could literally give a hundred different speeches at the same time, posing as a hundred different people). Unlike M.O.D.O.K., his body was strong enough that he could walk around without the aid of a hover-chair.

Other versions

Earth X

MODOK was killed by the massive psychic disruption caused by the manifestation of Ben Beckley's powers. Beckley would later call himself the Skull and attempt to conquer the world, starting in America. MODOK's chair was used as a throne by Beckley.

Marvel Adventures

The MODOC from the separate Marvel Adventures universe was created via a process he invented himself in order to increase his intelligence. The process can work on anyone, as he proves by temporarily turning the Avengers into beings like himself (they are later turned back.) Interestingly, this MODOC's name uses a new acronym, Mental Organism Designed Only for Conquest. This makes sense as he is not shown ever killing anyone, but is interested in conquering the world. This one also briefly changed the Marvel Adventures Avengers into MODOK versions of themselves, only to find they were still heroes, even though their heroic efforts were performed in an aggressive manner - for instance, dispelling an invasion of Atlantis by conquering Atlantis while its military was preoccupied with attacking.

Marvel MAX

In the first "US War Machine" mini-series, published under the MAX imprint, there is a MODOK, salvaged from a faction of AIM which has become the victim of extreme racist intolerance. This MODOK seems severely damaged, apparently being reduced to an enormous skull (and somewhat smaller skeleton) in an otherwise familiar hoverchair. While it apparently still has a working brain, it does not seem to have much free will. It is deputized by SHIELD to facilitate an attack on AIM headquarters in Latveria, where it, despite its powerful psionic abilities, is destroyed by a vengeful Doctor Doom.

Marvel Zombies

For one panel a dead M.O.D.O.K. appears in Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #3. Mostly devoured at this point, zombie Hawkeye and She-Hulk are shown feeding on what remains.

Ultimate MODOK

The ultimate version of George Tarleton appears in Ultimate Vision #1, in which he tricks the Vision into activating the Gah Lak Tus module under the guise that they would order it to self destruct. Instead, he uses it to fire an energy beam at her and take control of the module, turning him into more of a monster (though not to the extent of his 616 counterpart). He then leads the Gah Lak Tus module back to Earth claiming that it has unfinished business there. Upon his arrival, he is confronted by the Vision, who, using one of her uncountable methods of communication, manages to undo the mental damage his transformation has caused, and he joins her in her attempt to stop Gah Lak Tus. Cooperating with the Falcon and the Vision, he realizes their attack will fail, and instructs the artificial girl Dima, with whom the Vision had formed a strong emotional bond, to self-destruct, critically damaging the Gah Lak Tus module. Vision is infuriated by this action and his callous reaction to it, and in a rage tears his cybernetic body apart, throwing his severed head over the horizon. However, he is seen to survive... as a loose head, moving around on spidery cybernetic legs, attempting to contact AIM again.

Beyond Corporation© MODOKs

At least four versions of MODOK, apparently based around Elvis Presley, were created by the Beyond Corporation to defend their secret weapons factory, State 51. They were defeated by the Nextwave Squad in Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #11. Their principal mode of attack seemed to involve shooting cheeseburgers at their target.

The following issue revealed that the Beyond Corporation© was being run by a disguised infant MODOK, apparently conceived by a MODOK and MODAM making "sweet monkey love by the light of a rack of World of Warcraft servers".Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #12, Marvel Publishing, Inc., March 2007. This MODOK escaped the Nextwave Squad, but was subsequently killed by its master, Devil Dinosaur.

In other media

Television

  • In the 1994 Iron Man animated series, a much smaller MODOK (voiced by Jim Cummings) served as one of the minions of the Mandarin. He was a scientist who sought to cure the criminal mind. His boss the Red Ghost increased his mind by 100 times. He soon fell in love and got married to famous ballet dancer Alana Ulanova (voiced by Sarah Douglas), who later became a swimsuit model. The Red Ghost was jealous about the relationship with his new wife and turned him into MODOK. He served as Mandarin's 2nd in command so that he could turn him back into human. However, in the second season MODOK's character became little more than comic relief, with his original back-story forgotten (When asked why he served The Mandarin after all the abuse he took from him, MODOK gushingly replied "He makes me laugh", which may be a reference to Jessica Rabbit). After Mandarin was defeated in the season finale, MODOK (alongside Mandarin's henchmen) was sent to jail.

Video games

  • MODOK appears in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Michael Gough. He is a member of Doctor Doom's Masters of Evil. He, along with A.I.M., takes over the SHIELD Omega Base and try to ram it into a dam. When the heroes reach him, he freezes them and challenges them to a scientific quiz in which the questions given out include "What is the scientific symbol for gold," "What percentage of the Earth's atmosphere is oxygen?," "Which of the following is not a geologic period of the Earth?," "What does M.O.D.O.K. stand for?," "Which of these is capable of escaping a black hole?" "How far is the Earth from the Sun?," "What is the half-life of Strontium 90?," "Which of these is not a sub-atomic particle?" and "Which race exterminated itself with technology from the Watchers?" If the player selects a wrong answer, MODOK administers an electric shock to the characters. If the player selects a correct answer, MODOK lets his guard down and the heroes are able to move forward. If the heroes win the quiz, MODOK accuses the heroes of cheating and battles them. If the heroes lose the quiz, MODOK's punishment is a battle. Either way, you have to fight him.

Parodies

  • The villain Magnanimous from the animated show Megas XLR is modeled after MODOK with a touch of Bruce Campbell, who provides the character's voice.
  • The villain Technor from the Disney animated series Teamo Supremo is modeled after MODOK, and his henchmen (the TechnoCreeps) are likewise similar to MODOK's minions at Advanced Idea Mechanics in their classic "bee-keeper" helmets.
  • Mental Mouse, an anthropomorphic rat with an exposed brain was clearly inspired by MODOK.Template:Fact He was often seen in The Justice Friends segments on Dexter's Lab. In his first appearance he stole Val Hallen's guitar so he could absorb its power and conquer the world but was stopped by White Tiger.
  • The aspiring supervillain Zodon from the web - and print comic PS238 is clearly inspired by MODOK.

Music

  • The band Monster Magnet refers to MODOK in the song "Baby Götterdämerung" from the album Powertrip with the lyrics "So what would MODOK do, if his memory got too full? He'd find the power source, and then he'd pick what plugs to pull."

Toys

  • Toy Biz produced a MODOK action figure for the 1994 Iron Man Animated Series.
  • In 2006, a "Build-A-Figure" toy was produced by Toy Biz for Wave 15 of their Marvel Legends toy-line. This toy required you to buy all the figures in the wave with each figure coming with a piece of the MODOK toy. The pieces would snap together to make the MODOK figure complete.


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