Captain America #133
Issue(s): Captain America #133
...who is sent by MODOK (i will fight you if you say anything about MODOK is implausible)...
...but MODOK's goal isn't really to defeat anyone with the robot. It's to stir up discontent in the Falcon's community; the robot destroys decrepit buildings, something that the local citizens applaud.
When Cap and the Falcon attack the robot, they are derided.
Cap and the Falcon get some help from Tony Stark and trace the robot back to an abandoned church where MODOK is lurking...
...ultimately leaving MODOK buried in the collapsing church's rubble. There's really no resolution to the community anger issue, but Cap and the Falcon do become permanent partners.
AIM's assault here should be seen as a major PR coup and probably the basis for a recruiting drive. AIM's efforts don't actually do anything to improve the community, but the expression of anger and destruction would have been appealing to anyone feeling put-upon and powerless.
I was thinking i'd like to see more development of the idea, but most likely if it was addressed further we'd see Cap and the Falcon giving a speech to the crowd and everybody accepting it and living happily ever after, so on further consideration i actually like the unresolved theme.
This issue also provides the origin of MODOK (it's an "extra", according to the cover). We already got the elevator speech version in his first appearance ("Once, I was a mere human guinea pig for the scientists of AIM! But, they did their job too well... and now... I AM THEIR MASTER!!"). This version doesn't go much further, but it does drop the fact that MODOK was previously an agent of AIM as opposed to just a random captive.
We don't see any indication that Peter Gillis' Dr. George Clinton is the scientist involved in the transformation of MODOK, although that is the (jokey) revelation of later issues. We also don't yet learn MODOK's real name, George Tarleton.
If it wasn't for Colan's underinspired-looking robot and Stan Lee's typical bombastic scripting, this would have been an incredible issue. It's a rare occasion in the Silver Age where the plotline not only doesn't leave you screaming "WHAT?!?!" but actually makes you nod your head in agreement. Wait! I mean agreement that it's a good plot! Not that i agree with exploiting oppressed minorities!
This may be the first use of an "Avengers priority" but that could just be due to my poor note taking. The phrase "I've an Avengers' priority!" is clearer than the phrase "priority clearance" that it evolved into.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has been pushed a bit back in publication time, after Avengers #82. Iron Man's appearance is context free (i'm out of sync with the Index/MCP for reasons going back to Iron Man #21). The issue starts with MODOK reflecting on the failure of the Buckybot from last issue, but doesn't have to take place immediately afterwards (P.S., by "reflecting on" i mean "killing some poor schlub AIM agents").
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
It's interesting looking at the account of MODOK's origin in this issue and the account in Captain America Annual 7. They're almost impossible to reconcile. Worrell describes MODOK as being "constructed" and makes it sound like MODOK turned against AIM after a few months of working for them while this story makes it sound like MODOK immediately turned against AIM.
Posted by: Michael | February 15, 2013 7:45 PM
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