MODOK in MCU has many similarities to his comics counterpart. Ant-Man the Wasp gives him a new origin with Quantumania.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe represents a remarkable example of adaptation. There are dozens of filmmakers who have been given the task of adapting Marvel Comics to their unique stories. This is evident in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania due to the way it reimagines an incredibly iconic villain.
The MODOK from Quantumania demonstrates how the MCU adapts. The cinematic version shares the iconic comic character’s distinctive look, general traits, purpose, and purpose. But his story, fate, and origins are reworked to better suit the larger character arcs. MODOK ‘s real-life version is quite different than his comic version. However, they share many striking qualities.
MODOK, originally a human being named George Tarleton made his debut in Tales of Suspense #93. A.I.M. scientists used Mutagenesis to transform Tarleton into a super-intelligent being. Tarelton was given super-intelligence after scientists from A.I.M. used mutagenesis to create it. The procedure worked and George was further augmented by lethal technology. But the process had a profound effect on George, making him more aggressive and determined. MODOK turned his back on his creators. He adopted a name fitting his new form and quickly became a constant foe of Marvel’s heroes. MODOK has experienced a few minor revisions to his background over the years. There have been revelations about his dad, A.I.M. Alvinm, the founder and father of MODOK. His connection to A.I.M. These have remained constant.
The MCU version MODOK has no direct link to A.I.M. However, MODOK is the result of serious super-science. Darren Cross, a former student of Hank Pym’s, was the principal antagonist in Ant-Man. Cross had become increasingly furious at his mentor and decided to try to sell Pym Technologies, which included the Yellowjacket armor. Scott Lang confronted Cross, and the suit was damaged. However, Cross was eventually shrunk to the Quantum Realm at disjointed rates, leaving him with a strange and unnatural body. Cross was saved and given a new lease by Kang as MODOK by his technology.
It’s striking how different MODOK 2 is, but they both still retain the same goofy spirit. They’re completely different characters with very different motivations. The Cross MODOK is bizarrely outrageous, but he’s also very understated in his dialog. It becomes a humorous punch-line throughout the film. A strange connection to the first Ant-Man takes the heroes completely by surprise. The comic MODOK represents a much more unique character, who after being transformed into his current form became a problem for all of the universe, rather than having personal ties to the heroes.
Both characters ultimately follow different paths. Cross’ redemption impossibly aids the heroes that comics MODOK simply could not. Cross proving his strength against Kang by rebelling against him seems to be consistent with the comics MODOK. Cross has never been afraid to attack or backstab any of his friends, no matter what the circumstances. Cross is capable of becoming comically demented or deadly in a flash. This is a major aspect of his character in comics.
MODOK’s appearances are also faithful. MODOK’s design was always a comical joker, and a trait comics like MODOK (by Jordan Blum. Patton Oswalt. Scott Hepburn. Carlos Lopez. Travis Lanham.) have all leaned into, even as they explored the more dramatic aspects of MODOK’s backstory. These elements are faithful to the MCU’s version of the character, even though they may be slightly different. MODOK seems very true to his comic role as an iconic minor villain, even though the film makes some alterations from the source material. It’s a fantastic example of how the MCU can adapt concepts straight out of comics but find ways that it can weave them through its interpretation of the universe.
Ant-Man the Wasp is now showing Quantumania, MODOK’s MCU origin.