Or – “Don’t You Hate It When People Get A Swelled Head About Themselves?”


Man, I hate it when I get behind… It’s virtually impossible to catch up again, and I end up doubling my efforts, which leads to me getting tired, which leads to me taking a day off and getting behind again. Catch-22. Really, it’s very similar to the feeling that MODOK’s minion patrol (aren’t minions small onions?) seems to be encountering in their attempt to knock off a group of quasi-godlike beings called the Infinicide, in which the price of failure is death, and the cost of success is… also death.

So.. their choice is “or death?” Let’s see if anybody has the cojones to choose cake…

Previously, on Super-Villain Team Up – MODOK’s 11: The giant floating head once 111.jpgknown as George Tarleton has assembled a team of Marvel’s least-wanted villains, hoping to pool their specific abilities into a whole greater than the sum of their parts. Armadillo, Chameleon, (or at least an Adaptoid in his form) Deadly Nightshade, the Living Laser, Mentallo, Puma, Rocket Racer and the Spot aren’t exactly Doctor Doom caliber, but shaped and targeted by the Mental Organism Designed Only For Kill-puting, they’re a formidable force. Mentallo discovered the duplicity of the Chameleon (which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has ever met the Chameleon) and got blasted with the Human Torch’s pyrokinesis, revealing the manipulator behind the egg-headed shapeshifter to be Monica Rappacini, current Scientist Supreme of a faction of A.I.M. and former associate/conquest of MODOK, back when he had a body that wasn’t a withered vestigial mess. In a remote region of China, Chameleon/Ultra-Adaptoid/Monica (for she is controlling the beast) approaches the Infinicide’s floating fortress…


The false memories of a World War Hulk trauma implanted by Mentallo get her through the first lines of defense, while her teammates tunnel through the ground, thanks to the flashing claws of the Armadillo. As for Monica Rappacini, she and her A.I.M. beekeepers keep watch over the mindless Adaptoid, and she gloats about finally erasing the ‘stain on our history’ that is MODOK. A whispering voice laughs that it will also erase her shame, as she once slept with Big Head McGee…


Normally, I’d feel bad for Hendricks, but honestly, that haircut is reason enough to kill him, regardless of his insubordination. Monica transforms the Adaptoid from Chameleon form to the form of one of the guards that walk the halls of the fortress, and slips through to a hidden storage area. Thanks to Nightshade’s genetics genius, he is able to synthesize a fake sample of Infinicide genetic code and enter the containment area. The Adaptoid throws one of Spot’s ‘portable holes’ on the ground, allowing the man called Puma to leap through, evade the sensors, and snatch the bounty…


The Laser kicks into high gear, while Armadillo and Nightshade wait nervously underground. Having performed their portion of the mission, they have nothing to do but jawjack, and Armadillo remarks that it’s going well. Nightshade nervously wonders, remarking “Maybe it stopped being okay LONG before we got here.” Armadillo wonders what she means…


Tilda may not be the most heroic or together person in the world, but she seems to have a grasp of things that the others don’t, as I’ll wager she’s exactly right about Modey’s motivations. Puma hands off the item to Spot, and gives the signal to the Living Laser, but L.L. has lost himself again in his energy state. Puma tries to shake him, whispering a bit louder, and one of the guards hears. “Confirm: audible anomaly.” Ultra-Adaptoid nervously responds, “No anomaly detected,” and the extra-stupid robot accepts it. The Laser manages to coalesce, and the three-man infiltration team starts to jump through Spot’s portal… which is gone. Back in the tunnel, ‘Shade and ‘Dillo try to involve the polka-dot persuader in their conversation only to find that their access point is also mysteriously missing.


Monica considers triggering the full power of the Ultra-Adaptoid, but decides against it, as the threesome of Puma, Laser and Chameleon (attorneys at law) are suddenly face to face with the floating orbs of the Infinicide. “Is it just me,” asks the Laser, “or when we fought these things during MODOK’s psymulation, didn’t we… uh… die?” Puma leaps into action, tracing a familiar scent trace that he hopes will lead to an exit. Instead, he finds the Infinicide, and an answer to some of the more pervasive questions about MODOK’s knowledge…


Back in Arizona, at the worst possible time, the elders of Thomas Fireheart’s tribe have officially stripped him of the power of Puma. “Would that we could have protected my nephew,” replies the chief, “but until he learns selflessness… I fear he’s beyond anyone’s help.” As for the turncoat Spot, (not to be confused with the spotted-coated tern, a small bird of the American Northwest) he has teleported himself to find his NEW boss, the man who has paid him to betray the Eleven. “Sayonara, suckers!” says the screwball teleporter, only to have his financier chide him for using the language of ‘the Imperialists of Nippon’ in his earshot.


And I think we just met the eleventh player on the field: Temujin, son of the Mandarin, and a scary mofo he is, indeed. Using the Black Light ring, he absorbs the Spot, trapping him within a strange dimension, left alone with only his money to console him, unable to even teleport out. It never rains but it pours, as back in the fortress, Puma freaks that his powers are gone, but Monica just sends Laser and ex-Puma on their way. Once their out of the way, she starts accessing power profiles, starting with the Invisible Woman, then moving on to her husband…


Heh. That’s two Monica Rambeau jokes in one day, folks, perhaps a new record for references. The Living Laser finds new focus in trying to keep Puma alive, reminding him that he would give nearly anything to be normal again, to give up his light-form. As ‘Chameleon’ arrives, The Living Laser responds to his request for a situation report with “It’s not like things can get any worse.” Oh, Laser… No wonder they call you the Living Loser. Shmuck! As if on cue…


That’s… probably not good. I hope next issue isn’t 24 pages of white space on the empty plain… So, we’ve got a new player (our first REAL A-list villain, with all respect to Monica) on the field, MODOK has been betrayed, Mentallo left for dead, Puma depowered, Chameleon replaced, and the whole team blowed up real good. That’s a cliffhanger worthy of the name, folks. Writer Fred Van Lente once again nailed the characterization, with every one of the villains maintaining their previous interactions, while also showing their human nature and emotions. Francis Portela and Terry Pallot (whose names are pretty close to anagrams of one another) have a very clean art style, with even the most inhuman characters coming across as attractive, and Nightshade showing every ounce of the regret she obviously feels about her career to date. With the entire book firing on all cylinders, MODOK’s 11 #3 ranks an impressive 4 out 5 stars, and my highest recommendation: ‘This here’s a good’n. Check it out.’


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. stridey
    September 12, 2007 at 12:50 am — Reply

    Good old Spot is absolutely hilarious. Too bad he got trapped in a pocket dimension. I don’t think he’ll be complaining though. Marvel should show more of him.

  2. September 12, 2007 at 1:09 am — Reply

    That…that’s…wait, the Mandarin’s Rings are fused in his Spine. That happened in Iron Man. So where’d Temugin get these new ones?

  3. Salieri
    September 12, 2007 at 6:31 am — Reply

    I recall Fred Van Lente’s words in issue #1: ‘Don’t think Nightshade’s penchant for werewolf-creation doesn’t play a major role in this series…’

  4. Sanlear
    September 12, 2007 at 7:23 am — Reply

    Heh. I’m going to name my breakfast “Revenge Fuel” from now on.

  5. Brother129
    September 12, 2007 at 7:45 am — Reply

    They need to give Van Lente some more work…I’m sold. This has been of the best reads of the month since the series started. Props to Portela & Pallot, a couple of times I thought I was looking at Steve McNiven work…

    I am so confused about this Mandarin thing. I’m reading Iron Man right now and I’m having trouble synching this up.

  6. Sanlear
    September 12, 2007 at 8:18 am — Reply

    The only explanation for the Mandarin’s rings I can come up with is that this comic took place before the events in Iron Man when the rings were fused to his spine.

  7. September 12, 2007 at 8:29 am — Reply

    Perhaps Temugin only BELIEVES his father dead, and vice-versa. Perhaps also, he has Ten REPLICA Rings…

  8. Jason
    September 12, 2007 at 9:49 am — Reply

    “Or death?” Nice job with the Eddie Izzard reference there.

  9. Mark I.
    September 12, 2007 at 10:36 am — Reply

    “Revenge Fuel”…ahahahahahahahaaah. Hey, what was he eating, anyway? Twinkies? Taco Pie?

    Still giving MODOK the Cybernetic Ghost voice. For me, that bumps the series up to 5 stars.

  10. Ben
    September 12, 2007 at 2:35 pm — Reply

    I’m not really reading Iron Man…but maybe this whole book is designed to explain Mandarin’s new life? Shot in the dark, w/absolutely no backing mind you.

  11. September 12, 2007 at 10:40 pm — Reply

    “Or death?” Nice job with the Eddie Izzard reference there.

    It’s what we do… I’m just crushed that I can’t tell the herbs joke due to my own rule that I don’t use the f-word. :)

  12. JacinB
    September 13, 2007 at 9:51 am — Reply

    Oh, good. That’s Puma. Since I haven’t been following this title at all, for a second there, I thought Sabretooth was back and that he’d had gotten the cat-Beast treatment.

  13. Tater Nuts
    September 13, 2007 at 5:31 pm — Reply

    Perhaps this is before the Mandarin’s appearance in Iron Man.

    Besides, they do mention his son is dead in Iron Man so maybe something happens that ends with him getting owned and with the rings in Mandarin’s spine.

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