Friday, June 18, 2021

Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. is a Fun Diversion From the MCU

 I hadn't really heard about Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. on Hulu before the first season dropped in May.  I also didn't really know anything about the character, though I do have a cheap figure of it that I got for $2 on clearance from a Walmart many years ago.  The figure was for some Playstation thing sort of like Disney's Infinity thing where you could get figures and use them in a game.  

Anyway, M.O.D.O.K. is a comedy starring Patton Oswalt as the erstwhile villain.  M.O.D.O.K. means Mental/Mobile/Mechanical Organism Designed Only for Killing and as you can see, he's a weird looking dude.  I guess so weird that Marvel decided they'd never include him in the MCU, so why not let Patton Oswalt and the guys behind Robot Chicken and Supermansion make him the center of a comedy?

In this series M.O.D.O.K. is a supposed genius who's sort of like an adult Stewie Griffin in that he has all sorts of weird gadgets and dreams of taking over the world...but hasn't really done it yet.  He has a Latina wife and two teenaged children:  a daughter Melissa who's like him and a son Lou who's a full human.  M.O.D.O.K. runs AIM, which you might remember from Iron Man 3; in the Marvel Comics they're basically an evil company that uses science for creating weapons of mass destruction.  They all run around in these yellow biohazard-type suits that obscure their faces.  At the office, M.O.D.O.K. has a rival in Monica, who's the only other one at AIM who doesn't wear a biohazard suit thing.

Over the course of the season everything falls apart in M.O.D.O.K.'s world.  AIM goes broke and he sells it to an even eviler company, who bring in an annoying guy to micromanage everything.  His wife leaves him and becomes more successful than him with a self-help book.  Trying to win her back, he goes back in time, which causes his younger self to come forward in time to try to kill him. 

In order to survive and get back his life, M.O.D.O.K. has to learn to swallow his pride with his family and his enemies.  The season ends with a twist where we see M.O.D.O.K. in the future, having taken over the world, but only at the cost of losing his family.  He vows to find a way to bring his family to the future so he can have it all.

If you actually care about M.O.D.O.K. in the comics then you probably wouldn't like this as much.  It does mostly reduce M.O.D.O.K. to a joke.  If you're a more casual fan then it's a pretty fun show.  Being made by Stoopid Buddy Studios, there's some potty humor, though probably not as much as Robot Chicken.  There are plenty of comic book references and Easter eggs and whatnot in the 10 half-hour episodes.  It's not essential viewing compared to WandaVision or Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but it's a fun diversion from the MCU and hopefully there's more to come.

Fun Facts:  Before this, Stoopid Buddy Studios produced 3 Robot Chicken/DC Comics specials on Adult Swim and DC Comics writer/Creative Chief Geoff Johns wrote a few sketches for Robot Chicken so it's interesting they kind of switched sides now to Marvel.  One of the AIM minions, one who loses an arm early on, is named Gary, which is a reference to Gary the Stormtrooper in two of the Robot Chicken/Star Wars specials.  During the season, M.O.D.O.K.'s wife starts going out with Wonder Man, who I think because of his name was probably also deemed not worthy of being in the MCU.  But really Wonder Man should have shown up on WandaVision because in the comics I read, Wonder Man and Vision are brothers in that Vision has the memories of Wonder Man's brother.  But I suppose that wouldn't have really worked with the Vision's MCU origin in Age of Ultron.  Patton Oswalt was already in the MCU on Agents of SHIELD and recently was announced to voice a raven in the Sandman series, which is from DC Comics.

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