It's gotta be good to be in charge of a toy company. If there's some obscure, oddball character you've got a soft spot for, you can help tip the scales
in his favor. Jesse Falcon once told ToyFare magazine that he loved the ridiculous oversized head of MODOK, but didn't think the odds were good that he'd ever see a figure. Well surprise, surprise, guess who just squeaked in under the wire as ToyBiz's final Marvel Legends BAF.
Created by corrupt scientists to be the ultimate organism of destruction, MODOK now seeks to fulfill his genetic programming - by enslaving or destroying all life on earth! Possessing a massive intellect and psychokinetic ability, MODOK's only weakness is the frailty of his physical form. Without the assistance of his robotic exo-skeleton, he could hardly even move!
MODOK, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing,
was once George Tarleton, a low-level technician working for AIM - Advanced Idea Mechanics, the former research and development branch of Hydra. You know, the guys in the beekeeper outfits. Anyway, they gave him some treatment that increased his intelligence and his potential, not considering that everything else would increase, as well: his ambition, his anger, his... head.
Debuting in Tales of Suspense #94, MODOK was a classic bit of misbegotten Jack Kirby WTF-ery. He was monstrously ugly and lacked any kind of sensible proportions, but that was actually intentional, for once. Kirby excelled in crafting ideas like this, a mixture of improbable and incomprehensible that somehow mesh together to overwhelm the part of your brain that should say "hey, this thing sucks."
MODOK is built from seven pieces, and once assembled stands 8" tall. He moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, fingers, wrists, gloves, elbows, biceps and shoulders, which is a lot more than you might expect on a big freak like this. There are additional pivot points for the control stick and the thruster, as well - since there's no way MODOK can walk by himself, he mostly gets around via flying chair. Which is the evil technophile version of one of those motorized scooters old people ride in the mall.
The sculpt on the chair is simple, but detailed enough to look high-tech. The smoke and flame effect is actually very nicely done, and you can count every strand of hair on his massive, flattened head. The face is particularly distrubing, with its deep, furrowed brow and 2" wide mouth. In the comics, they usually draw these weird dark patches around MODOK's eyes - for the figure, they just relied on the sculpt. He's even got light cracks on his lips - when your mouth is two feet across, it's hard to find a chapstick that doesn't run out halfway through.
The paint is quite good, as well. There are at least four different shades of gold on the chair, and his blue limbs are two-tone. The orange and grey brushed onto the translucent red base works wonders. If there's one thing to worry about, it's the face, so look carefuly when you buy Spider-Woman. You can pretty much count on his blue and red tiara to be okay, but the thin patch of forehead visible between it and the fringe of his Beatle cut can get a bit messy. The wash that brings out the wrinkles on his face can get too heavy, but his lips and teeth are great. Unearthly and disgusting, but great.
There have been plenty of complaints that the BAFs aren't as big as they used to be -
we're not getting 16" figures any more. But MODOK doesn't need to be that big - other than his freakish giant babyhead, the rest of him is normal sized. Maybe even a little smaller, what with the atrophy and all. He'll fit in with your other Legends perfectly.
MODOK was originally MODOC - the Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing. AIM wanted him to study the Cosmic Cube they'd made, but it wasn't long before he slew his overseers and seized control of the organization. The original MODOK is dead, but it's not like you can tell them apart anyway. We now have another great villain to make Captain America's life hell. Or to get his butt kicked by Squirrel Girl, if they ever make her.
If you were in charge of ToyBiz, what one figure would you have sneaked into ML15? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.