Any longtime readers of Marvel Comics are already familiar with M.O.D.O.K. (also known as MODOK), the supervillain with a ridiculous name and an even more ridiculous appearance - while others might find themselves asking some basic questions about his role in Marvel’s Avengers for PlayStation, such as “Who is MODOK?” and “What does MODOK stand for?”
The answer to the latter question is simple, MODOK is the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. But don’t let that preposterous acronym fool you - right from his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #93, MODOK has been one of Captain America’s greatest foes, and one of the most serious threats to the Marvel Universe as a whole.
George Tarleton Helped Create The Cosmic Cube, An Item On Par With The Infinity Stones
George Tarleton was a brilliant technician employed by Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), an organization of super-scientists in the Marvel Universe that is sometimes described as morally ambiguous, but usually as just downright evil. Along with other AIM scientists, Tarleton created something known as the Cosmic Cube, a reality-warping device so powerful that it could essentially grant wishes - and right on par with the Infinity Stones and other such items.
In time, the Cosmic Cube would go on to have a massive impact on the Marvel Universe. Sought after by villains as notable as Thanos and Doctor Doom, it has brought Bucky Barnes back to normal and even rewritten all of history so that Captain America was a member of HYDRA all along. The cube became a particular obsession of the Red Skull, who wanted to use it to permanently reshape history.
Unfortunately for Tarleton, however, he would not be around to see the fruits of his labor - at least, not in his original form.
His Fellow AIM Scientists Tried To Transform Him Into A Mental Organism Designed Only For Computing To Master The Cube
Seeking to further understand the Cosmic Cube and its seemingly unlimited potential, AIM scientists decided to subject one of their own to some involuntary experimentation - and Tarleton was the unlucky candidate they chose for “Project MODOC,” as revealed in Captain America #133.
The goal of the project was to subject Tarleton to enough mutagenic alteration - against his will, of course - that he developed into a super-intelligent being, or a Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing (MODOC). Tarleton’s head, and the brain inside it, grew to enormous proportions as a result, making the project somewhat of a success. Of course, as is often the case with mad science, it was only a matter of time before the experiment turned on the experimenters.
Instead, Tarleton Became MODOK - The Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing
As MODOC, Tarleton’s increased intelligence did make him more capable of understanding and manipulating the Cosmic Cube. Unfortunately for the rest of AIM, however, it also made him all the more aware of the horrors they had inflicted upon him. Soon, MODOC became convinced that he should be in charge of the entire operation.
He then staged a bloody, ruthless coup against AIM’s leadership, either wiping them out or driving them into hiding. As the new head of the organization - no pun intended - Tarleton decided that he was much more suited for mayhem than for computing, and so he changed his designation to MODOK, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. In this form, he made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #93.
MODOK’s Mind Is Powerful, But Oversized, Necessitating The Creation Of The ‘Doomsday Chair’
Due to his mutagenically enhanced brain, MODOK was given access to a whole host of mental powers and abilities. In addition to his supreme overall intelligence - which included skills like superior tactical thinking, pattern solving, and logical reasoning - he found that he was able to harness psionic energy into telekinetic blasts, force fields, and other such expressions. He also gained a low level of telepathy and mind control.
There was, of course, a cost to this transformation. MODOK’s head became so large that his limbs and torso - which remained normal-sized - were no longer able to support him. To get around this, AIM created the “Doomsday Chair,” a levitating seat that can transport MODOK wherever he wishes - and that came with its own host of offensive and defensive capabilities.