Taking stock of super-villains

M.O.D.O.K.: As Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK’s 11 limps to a close, we find our favorite big-headed baddie leaping ahead in the Marvel Universe.

But first, why did this series leave me so cold? Well, first of all, there were no good villains. Despite the oxymoron, what I mean by that is: There weren’t any villains with gripping personalities.

M.O.D.O.K. was a secondary player in the series — as was Mandarin. The closest to a “sink-your-teeth-into-it” concept was A.I.M’s control of the Ultra-Adaptiod. Unfortunately, this was never mined for the story gold — both comic and dramatic — that could be found therein. Same situation with the supposed love story between M.O.D.O.K. and Monica (then-head of A.I.M.)

Secondly, there was no interesting character-development to be had among the second- and third-tier villains in the series. Puma, Rocket Racer, Armadillo, Nightshade… all of them leave the series exactly as they entered — except with considerably more pocket money. Living Laser sees some significant changes — but I just didn’t have the emotional investment to care. And that’s unfair. His character hook is that he’s lost the ability to fel human touch so long ago that even pain was a welcome sensation. It’s a great hook, but one that’s really hard to communicate with pathos. It’s significant that writer Fred Van Lente attempted it at all.

Lastly, in the final throes of the last book, the remaining band of the core team (Puma, Nightshade and Armadillo) indicate the possibility of an ongoing story, and I couldn’t be less enthused. It goes more than unenthused. I actually hope it doesn’t happen. I pride myself on reporting the very best of the bad guys in this blog. If they do continue the story, I’ll just feel obligated to pick it up so I can report on it here.

In the end, the triple-scheming M.O.D.O.K. enjoys his revenge over an old flame and regains control over his own army of minions.

So, despite the poor showing of the series, M.O.D.O.K.’s character sees a tremendous jump in power and potential, bringing his overall V.Q. rating to a 9.

(If you have a suggestion for “TWiV,” please let me know.)