Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania radically changes MODOK’s, Origin Story
MODOK, the MCU version of MODOK, has many thematic similarities to its comics counterpart. However, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania gives him new origins.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe offers a fascinating example of adaptation. Many filmmakers have had to navigate a tricky creative balance between preserving the spirit of Marvel Comics and re-imagining stories and characters to make their unique films. This balancing act is evident in Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania with its reimagining of a well-known villain.
The MODOK in Quantumania shows how the MCU adapts. This is an excellent example. The classic comic character’s look, general traits, and purpose are all preserved in the cinematic version. However, his fate, origins, and personality are altered to better match the overarching characters of the franchise. MODOK is a very different character from his comic counterpart, even though they share many of the same qualities.
MODOK’s debut was made in Tales of Suspense #93 (by Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby). MODOK was originally just George Tarleton, an ordinary human being. A.I.M. scientists made use of mutagenesis to give Tarleton super-intelligence. Tarelton was given super-intelligence by scientists at A.I.M. The procedure was successful and George was further enhanced with lethal technology. However, George became far more ambitious and ruthless after the transformation. MODOK, who had a new name and turned against his creators, quickly became a persistent thorn in Marvel’s side. He faced off with Iron Man and Hulk as well as The Avengers, a rival feud that has continued even after MODOK briefly worked with the team. MODOK has had a few minor revelations about his past over the years. These included information about his father, A.I.M. Alvinm, the founder of MODOK, and his connection with A.I.M. they has remained constant.
The MODOK MCU version is not directly related to A.I.M. but it still results from some serious superscience. Darren Cross was the antagonist to Ant-Man. Cross was a former student under Hank Pym and had grown increasingly furious with him — leading him, to try and sell Pym technology for himself, which includes the Yellowjacket armor. Scott Lang confronted him and damaged the technology in Cross’s suit. He was then shrunk to the Quantum Realm at an irregular rate, leaving him with a strange and distorted body. Cross was saved by Kang’s technology and given a new lease on life as MODOK.
How the MCU Modifies MODOK But Stays True to the Concept
It’s amazing how MODOK is different from the others, while still keeping true to its inherently funny spirit. These two characters are entirely different and have very different motivations. The Cross MODOK is so eccentrically outlandish in his dialogue and understated in his acting that he becomes an intentional punch-line throughout the film. It’s a strange connection with the first Ant-Man that takes the heroes by surprise. The comic MODOK is an even more singular character who, once he was transformed into his current form, became a problem to the entire universe and not just the heroes.
Both versions of Cross end up following different paths. Cross’ redemption helps the heroes in ways that comics MODOK can’t. Cross finally showing his backbone against Kang while rebelling against him is consistent with the comics MODOK. He has never been slow in attacking or backstabbing his associates if necessary. This is a significant aspect of Cross’s character in the comics. He can suddenly become comically pathetic or even lethal in a split second.
MODOK’s appearance is also quite faithful. MODOK’s design is a classic example of Marvel’s most outrageous villains. These elements are true to the MCU version, even though he may be quite different. MODOK is consistent with his comic role, a minor villain who is memorably odd. The film takes some liberties in portraying him. This film is a perfect example of how the MCU can adapt ideas straight from the comics, but find ways to tie them together in its version of the universe.
For MODOK’s MCU origin story, Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania can be seen in theaters right now.