A cult favourite Marvel villain has lastly gotten his personal tv present, one which deftly balances humor and uncooked emotion. Time journey stirs the plot, whereas undercard characters from long-forgotten again points play pivotal roles. It’s one of the authentic comedian e book diversifications ever to hit the display, and it presents a tantalizing glimpse on the full potential of Marvel’s impending multiverse. I’m speaking, in fact, about M.O.D.O.Ok.
OK, sure, Loki additionally suits that invoice. However chances are high you’re already watching that, or at the very least conscious of it. Which is nice! The extra Tom Hiddleston the higher. Hulu’s M.O.D.O.K., a madcap stop-motion spectacle created by Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum, is a deeper minimize. It is also an train in burning down the timelines Loki‘s TVA is attempting desperately to repair—one that might spark a brand new artistic resurgence.
What’s M.O.D.O.Ok.? Properly, so, bear with me. The title stands for Psychological Organism Designed Just for Killing; he’s principally an enormous skull with a teensy torso and extremities who will get round in a flying chair. He first confirmed up in comics within the late 1960s, grew to become a daily foil for Captain America, and is often related to Superior Concept Mechanics, a prison group that desires to overhaul the world with fancy devices. M.O.D.O.Ok. can blast power beams from his brow, accesses an assortment of weapons from his chair, and is considered one of Marvel’s most absurd creations. Which is saying one thing.
To that finish, M.O.D.O.Ok. can be not somebody prone to present up within the Marvel Cinematic Universe correct. He’s too outrageous, even subsequent to a trash-talking raccoon and monosyllabic tree-creature. However M.O.D.O.Ok. the present leans all the best way into that ridiculousness. It fills out his world, imagining him as not solely a failed nemesis however a flailing husband and father. It’s as unapologetically violent and profane as it’s sentimental, as seemingly to offer a whole episode to an ill-fated heist as it’s to familial reconciliation. It’s nearly definitely the one televised Marvel property that can ever characteristic Tenpin, a nasty man from the comics who … throws bowling pins. (On this planet of M.O.D.O.Ok., Tenpin doesn’t even have these; he pawned them and lives out of his automotive, which doesn’t run.)
If it’s not already abundantly clear, this isn’t a present for everybody. It’s Infinity War by the use of Grownup Swim, and it rewards a wholesome appreciation for comics esoterica. Along with Tenpin you get hefty doses of C-list supervillains like Armadillo, Arcade, and Angar the Screamer. And that’s earlier than you even get to the Easter eggs, which might take repeat viewings and an encyclopedic data of Marvel lore to totally clock.
Not being for everybody, although, is your complete level. In contrast to Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and all the massive tentpole film releases of the previous 13 years, M.O.D.O.Ok. exists outdoors the MCU. It has little interest in or obligation to the continuity that binds collectively the handfuls of hours of canonical Marvel movies and TV reveals that preceded it. It has not been formed by studio notes or had its tough edges sanded down in pursuit of mass enchantment. The one Avenger to a lot as make a credited look in M.O.D.O.Ok. is Iron Man. M.O.D.O.Ok. calls him a “moist bitch.”
The occasions of M.O.D.O.Ok. unspool as a substitute within the Marvel multiverse. Particularly, on Earth-1226; the films and Disney+ collection primarily happen on Earth-199999, and the comics are set in one more actuality. That multiverse—the place a number of realities happen concurrently and generally intersect—has lengthy been a staple of Marvel comics and is foundational to its cinematic future. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse explored it in 2018. WandaVision brought it into the main timeline earlier this 12 months, and Loki is laying the groundwork for a broader splintering that can play out in theaters over the following a number of years. (That is neither spoiler nor hypothesis; the upcoming slate actually contains Physician Unusual within the Multiverse of Insanity.)
Which all sounds thrilling, but in addition a bit of daunting. The multiverse unleashes vital entropy on a course of that has been tightly managed for greater than a decade. If comics previous is prologue, that can at worst imply muddled plots, unsatisfying resolutions, misplaced narrative threads, and ultimately having to blow the entire thing up and begin from scratch. “Heed my warning,” my colleague Adam Rogers wrote earlier this year. “This can finish in tears.”
However at its finest, the multiverse allows exploration and experimentation, particularly when you break free from the gravitational pull of the canon. That’s M.O.D.O.Ok., a gloriously self-contained expertise. It owes nothing to Part 4 of Marvel’s ever-expanding universe. It doesn’t should construct infrastructure for future installments or ask that you simply keep in mind the high quality print of the Sokovia Accords. Its solely crossover is a wink; it enlists Nathan Fillion to voice Surprise Man, years after the actor’s transient look as the identical superhero was cut from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.