‘MODOK’ Is How Marvel Can Master the Multiverse

A favorite cult The villain Marvel has finally gotten his own television show, one that skillfully balances humor and raw emotion. Time travel evokes the plot, while the understated characters of long-forgotten numbers play crucial roles. It’s one of the most original comic book adaptations ever touched on the screen, and offers an enticing view of the full potential of Marvel’s impending multiverse. I speak, of course, of MODOK

OK, yes Loki it also adapts to that bill. But chances are you’ve already watched it, or at least been aware of it. That’s beautiful! The more Tom Hiddleston is the better. Hulu’s MODOK, a madcap stop-motion show created by Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum, is a deeper cut. It’s also an exercise to burn down the timelines Loki‘s TVA is desperately trying to fix it — one that could spark a new creative renaissance.

What is MODOK? Well, then, bring it with me. The name means Mental Organism Conceived Only to Kill; it’s basically a giant skull with a teenage torso and extremities that sits around a flying chair. First introduced in comics in the late 1960s, it has become a regular feature for Captain America, and is commonly associated with Advanced Idea Mechanics, a criminal organization that seeks to outdo the world with fantasy gadgets. . MODOK can flash energy beams from his forehead, access an assortment of weapons from his chair, and it’s one of Marvel’s most absurd creations. That says something.

To that end, MODOK isn’t even someone who can present it in the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself. It’s too outrageous, even next to a raccoon talking about trash and a monosyllabic creature in a tree. Ma MODOK the show goes on until it’s ridiculous. She fills her world, imagining him as not only a failed nemesis, but a furious husband and father. It’s unapologetically as violent and profane as it is sentimental, as much as possible to give an entire episode to an unfortunate theft as to family reconciliation. It’s almost certainly the only Marvel television property that has ever featured Tenpin, a bad type of comic that … throws bowling pins. (In the world of MODOK, Tenpin didn’t even have those; he hit them and got out of his car, which didn’t run.)

If it’s not already very clear, this isn’t a show for everyone. It is Infinity War by Adult Swim, and rewards a healthy appreciation for esoteric comics. In addition to Tenpin you get strong doses of C-list supervillains like Armadillo, Arcade, and Angar the Screamer. And it’s also before we get to the Easter eggs, which take repeated visualizations and an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel tradition to fully realize.

Not being for everyone, though, is the whole point. On the contrary Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and with all the great releases of tentpole movies from the last 13 years, MODOK exists outside of the MCU. She has no interest or obligation for the continuity that unites the tens of hours of canonical Marvel movies and TV shows that preceded her. He has not been formed by study notes or had its rough edges polished in search of mass appeal. The only Avenger to make an accredited appearance in MODOK it’s Iron Man. MODOK calls him a “wet bitch.”

The events of MODOK unspool instead in the Marvel multiverse. Specifically, on Earth-1226; Disney + movies and series are held primarily on Earth-199999, and the comics are set in a different reality. That multiverse – where multiple realities are presented simultaneously and sometimes intersect – has been a marvel of Marvel comics from the very beginning and is fundamental to its cinematic future. Spider-Man: In the Spider-Verse explored it in 2018. WandaVision brought it to the main timeline before this year, and Loki lays the groundwork for a broader streak that will take place in theaters for years to come. (This is neither spoiler nor speculation; the next slate literally includes Strange Doctor in the Crazy Multiverse.)

That all sounds exciting, but also a little daunting. The multiverse releases a significant entropy on a process that has been tightly controlled for more than a decade. If the past comics are a prologue, that will mean at the end muddled plots, unsatisfied resolutions, lost narrative threads, and at the end of having to jump the whole thing and start from scratch. “Watch out for my warning,” my colleague Adam Rogers said wrote earlier this year. “This will end in tears.”

But at its best, the multiverse allows for exploration and experimentation, especially once freed from the gravitational pull of the canon. here we go MODOK, a glorious autonomous experience. It owes nothing to the Fourth Phase of Marvel’s expanding universe. You should not build infrastructure for future installments or ask that you remember the final picture of the Sokovia Agreement. His only crossover is an instinct; invites Nathan Fillion to voice Wonder Man, years after the actor’s brief appearance as the same superhero was cut yes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

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