MODOK is evil. MODOK is genius. MODOK is… well, he’s just adorable with that giant head, isn’t he?!
Today’s Herald guided tour takes a look at Fred Van Lente’s take on the good ol’ Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. There’s a little bit of origin, a little bit of elaborate heist, a little bit of kung-fu, and 100% comic book fun. A good trade for any collection.
Comic Book Run: Super Villain Team-Up/MODOK’s 11 (1-5)
Publication Dates: July 2007 – Nov 2007
Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: Francis Portela
CBH Score: 7.7
Continuity Relevance?: Yes, minor.
Listening Material: Kraftwerk – “The Man Machine”
Who Needs It?: Fans of Marvel’s favorite giant-headed evil genius with cute little arms and legs. Anyone who needs a good, fun super villain heist in their lives.
MODOK It To Me
Want to hear something crazy? Ok, here goes – sometimes, when my wife is out, I’ll cover my face in peanut butter and chase the cats around the apartment yelling “Where’s the jelly!!!!”.
Wait. That wasn’t it. I don’t even like jelly, honest.
Oh, right – Somehow, for all my comic book obsession, I’ve never read a comic with MODOK before today. Not a once.
This seems impossible given the ubiquitous nature of the mega-melon-maniac. MODOK is easily one of the most popular Marvel villains, achieving a cultish popularity rivaled only by Taskmaster, Deadpool, They Might Be Giants, and hummus. And yet my lone experience with the character came from the newer TV series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and before that the Iron Man Animated Series. He’s about as cool in the latter series as a flaming bag of hot coals (I don’t even want to know why you have a bag of that. Just be careful, ok?).
By his very nature, MODOK requires very segmented handling. MODOK is simultaneously evil, pure genius, and comically laughable in the truest sense of comically. He’s a comic book brain in a little yellow chair. Writing him without a sense of humor would be like eating at KFC without a sense of self-loathing.
Fortunately, Fred Van Lente knows how to perfectly balance the innate humor with the fact that, at the end of the day, MODOK’s ambitions are to end all life on earth. The last laugh if you will.
MODOK & His Traveling Band of Super Villains
This five issue trade paperback collects MODOK’s efforts to put together a team of 11 c-level super villains, steal an all-powerful energy source from a temporal race (time-lords anyone?), and either create another cosmic cube (his general AIM), or perform some other sort of incomprehensibly evil task. Also, you have to think MODOK gets a little lonely and could use a nice team.
You don’t really need to have much background on the super villains MODOK brings into the fold because they are intentionally obscure. Sure, we all may have seen Armadillo fighting Rhino at the bar in Punisher: War Journal #4, but if you’re keeping tabs on Armadillo’s place in the Marvel Universe, even I think you may need help. And also secretly would like to meet you.
As is bound to happen, MODOK’s team of 11 super villains unleashes a whole world of backstabbing and intrigue. Van Lente keeps the twists coming each issue to make sure a MODOK plan to destroy the world doesn’t carry out in any predictable manner at all. After all, it’d be pretty lame if MODOK’s team of villains just quietly and successfully stole the hypernova energy source they’re after.
End of the day, this is unadulterated comic book fun at its finest – just the sort of story and writing MODOK was built for. There are a handful of minor continuity issues that these five issues create, but follow the Comic Book Herald reading order guide and you’ll be in great shape. Definitely a recommended buy (especially for the trade paperback price in the link at the top of the post!).
If you have any thoughts on MODOK, feel free to share in the comments. Alternatively, you could always just shoot him an e-mail yourself.