Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. arrives this week on Disney+ as a Star original and Hulu in the United States. The stop-motion adult animation series focuses on the supervillain M.O.D.O.K. (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing); he’s an evil genius whose oversized head houses a living computer. He’s the head of A.I.M. by day and suburban father by night, struggling to balance family life with taking over the world and fighting Ironman.
The series itself is one of the last produced by Marvel Television before it was merged into Marvel Studios, so naturally, it isn’t connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which works in its favour. Being disconnected from anything Marvel has produced gives the series the freedom it needs to do its own thing. It’s a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t afraid to make fun of the superhero genre, even though it leans heavily on comic book movies that have gone before it.
Animated and co-produced by Seth Green’s “Stoopid Buddy Stoodios” (Robot Chicken), the style and humour are familiar; it feels over the top and silly, which is big a part of its appeal. There are tons of Marvel references, which don’t feel out of place. The appearance of Ironman in episode 1 is great fun, and there are some more well known Marvel characters set to appear as the series goes on.
As well as running A.I.M, the criminal organisation he’s managed to bankrupt, M.O.D.O.K. is a family man, his wife has had enough and wants a divorce, and his kids are pretty weird. In short, his life is a failure. The series hilariously shows what it’s like when a supervillain fails, both at work and home. He doesn’t have much going for him, his colleagues dislike him, and he’s kind of a dick.
I watched the first two episodes, each clocking in at just over 20 minutes, it was great fun, and the silliness and over-the-top plot made me laugh out loud at times. It is written like a classic sitcom that happens to follow someone who is part of the superhero life, which works well as a format. It’s a lighthearted, refreshing watch that will be liked by most. If you’re a fan of Marvel movies, you’ll love that it pokes fun at your favourite genre; if you’re not a fan, you’ll love that it pokes fun of a genre you hate.
The series is accompanied by a four-part comic, written by showrunners Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum (Oswalt also provides the voice of M.O.D.O.K.), which takes a slightly more serious look at the character. Although it isn’t a direct tie-in, it’s still worth a read if you have the Marvel Unlimited app.
I’d recommend M.O.D.O.K. as an easy escape from the big, wide interconnected world of the MCU. It felt nice to watch a Marvel series that was just made to make you laugh, there’s no broader context to it, and I didn’t need to overthink what I was getting into while watching. The only negative point from my perspective is that it is being released here (U.K.) weekly. I think the show would benefit from having all episodes available, just like the U.S. with Hulu. I, for one, would undoubtedly like to binge-watch the whole series.
M.O.D.O.K. is as ridiculous as its synopsis makes it sound, and that is its biggest draw. Over the top, silly and great fun. For my money it’s the best thing Marvel Television has produced, and the best Marvel TV show not to be part of the MCU. 4.5 out of 5 stars.