A classic X-Men villain just debuted on Marvel TV in a surprising place.
Hulu’s animated M.O.D.O.K. show had the aspiring supervillain visiting Murderworld, the twisted amusement park run by one of the X-Men’s more intriguing foes.
While low-key, it’s still one of the first times an X-Men character is appearing in an MCU-related production.
Who is MODOK?
Created in 1967, MODOK is the Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. Once scientist George Tarleton, he worked for Advanced Ideas Mechanics, a super-scientific terrorist group.
Tarleton was experimented on by AIM to expand his mind, which also mutated him into a massive head on a small body held up by a levitating chair.
With mental powers, including psychic blasts, MODOK has clashed with the Hulk, Avengers and other heroes.
The new animated series is a comedic take on the character with Patton Oswalt voicing him as a failed villain trying to win over his distant family, including a human son and a daughter who looks just like her father.
In episode 8, a time-traveling younger MODOK kidnaps his family and has them indulging in “family therapy.” The location happens to be Muderworld, and the “therapist” is Arcade.
Who is Arcade?
Debuting in 1978’s Marvel Team-Up #65, Arcade has been a thorn in the X-Men’s side for years.
His true name never revealed (in fact, much of his past is suspect), Arcade grew up in wealth as a spoiled brat. When his father cut him out of his will, Arcade killed him.
He then went into a career as a contact assassin but grew bored with it. So Arcade put together Murderworld, a massive amusement park packed with death traps from explosive pinballs to deadly holograms.
A complete sociopath, Arcade has often targeted the X-Men for his sadistic games. He also hires himself out to battle other Marvel heroes.
In the Avengers: Arena storyline, Arcade forced scores of teen heroes to fight each other to the death. Instead of getting respect, this made him a pariah even among other supervillains.
Arcade’s recent move was to team up with Kraven to get rich people to hunt animal-themed supervillains in Central Park.
Arcade on the show
The episode has the younger Modok thinking that by “solving” his family problems, he’ll be able to rule the world.
He thus hires Arcade to put the family through some deadly traps in Murderworld. Voiced by popular genre actor Alan Tudyk, Arcade is portrayed much like the comics, a sadistic showman who loves to brag about his plans.
Arcade’s acknowledgment this is less about the money, and more the twisted games fit the character well. He uses perfect robotic duplicates against the family.
Also keeping to the comics, when the MODOK family band together against him, Arcade decides to simply run and live to fight another day.
While using Iron Man, M.O.D.O.K. isn’t exactly considered the main MCU. Creator Jordan Blumm claims this takes place on Earth-1226 (his son’s birthday) not Earth-19999 (the world of the MCU movies).
However, as it appears Marvel will be utilizing the Multiverse in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, M.O.D.O.K. would appear to count as just one of the many alternate Earths connected to the MCU. Oswalt is pressing to play the role in a live-action film.
So far, there have been limited references to the X-Men used in MCU productions. But using a villain as famous as Arcade in a show packed with MCU references indicates that maybe those restrictions are easing, and Arcade’s appearance is just the first of several X-Men characters popping up in MCU-related projects.
M.O.D.O.K. season 1 now streaming on Hulu.