The initial years of the 1970s began with two fairly uninspired MODOK stories. First, Captain America #124, in which MODOK makes a robot and Cap has to fight it. The tale is called: Mission: Stop the Cyborg!

Then, in Captain America #132-133, MODOK incites riots and tries to make Cap look like a protester-hater (pictured above). The first story is basically “smash the robot” and the second is too similar to issue #119, in which MODOK incited college kids to riot. Granted, we also get a little more development of his origin story, but in all it’s not really a great use of the MODOK brand. These stories really treat MODOK too seriously—in them, he’s a generic mad scientist. It’s a waste of his petulance and enormous head. MODOK deserved better.

But then we get the wonderful, the brilliant, Sub-Mariner #47-49.


I say it’s brilliant, and I admit that might be a stretch, but it’s the first time MODOK strays away from Captain America’s series. And it’s the first time he meets Dr. Doom!


Plus, we see him building (pun intended) on his robot-making skills to create an entire army. We already know from his first appearance that his AIM henchmen hate him—so it makes sense that he’d create an unthinking, completely obedient group of soldiers to do his bidding.

Gerry Conway and Gene Colan brought us this story, which came out in 1972.

modok war of the super

For completists only, MODOK is referenced (complete with a picture) in Captain America #176, because everybody loves to draw MODOK.  It’s the famous “Captain America Must Die” storyline, which is great but it’s not really a MODOK story.  No, the big M really returns in 1975, in the pages of Iron Man, for the “War of the Supervillains” saga Iron Man #74, 75, 77, 80, 81). The story features an invasion from another dimension by The Black Lama, who recruits MODOK to help him defeat a bunch of other dudes like Mandarin and Mad Thinker.  It’s not a great story, but it’s the first time MODOK fights Iron Man and it kind of cements his status as a major villain.  We also get see MODOK prove his ruthlessness, killing a henchman. 

modok war of super 2

But the major development for our antihero is that he officially loses his job as the head (ahem) of AIM.  He’s now on his own, a freelancer, which leads him to try to prove himself by doing a Joker thing.  He tries to infect New York City with Nerve gas, but he’s foiled by Ms. Marvel and the Vision in  a fairly protracted story that goes from Ms. Marvel #5 through 10.  Again, not terrible, but not great.

modok destroyed

Aside from a brief mention in Incredible Hulk #215 (acknowledging MODOK as the creator of the unfortunately named “Bi-Beast”), the last appearance of MODOK in the 1970s is in Iron Man Annual #4 (1977), in which he’s killed by Iron Man.  Which is weird, because superheroes usually don’t kill.

But I guess it’s okay to kill a guy with a severe deformity?  Hmmm.  Anyway, MODOK stays dead for a pretty long time. When he returns, there’s no explanation for how he survived. But that’s next.

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