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Every Marvel Character Referenced In MODOK Episode 1

Thanks to the powerhouse pairing of "American Dad" writer Jordan Blum and nerd deity Patton Oswalt, "Marvel's MODOK" is a stop-motion tapestry of wonderful geekiness. It sort of had to be — it's the story of a fan-favorite, borderline unadaptable silver age supervillain with a head the size of a refrigerator. It was never going to be for pedestrian enthusiasts. As a result, the series comes out swinging, dropping reference after reference to the larger Marvel mythos. Episode 1, "If This Be... M.O.D.O.K.!," is coated in a six-inch-thick layer of comic book callbacks. It winks so hard that it's got a permanent Popeye squint by the time the credits roll.

Since the Easter eggs come hard and fast, we decided to break down every Marvel character that gets a shout out in the "MODOK" premiere. Beware of spoilers, and of the awe you'll experience upon witnessing our very specific brand awareness.

Iron Man

Some MCU fans are still recovering from the dramatic death of Iron Man during 2019's "Avengers: Endgame," when Tony Stark brought his journey of redemption to a feelings-inducing conclusion. It's the sort of on screen passing that traumatizes a generation of youth, with its message that the many mean more than the few and a funeral featuring half of the actors in Hollywood with active SAG memberships.

So let's ignore that version of the character and focus on the new one, voiced by Jon Hamm. Sporting that classic comic book armor — looks like about a Mark II, for anyone keeping score at home — he's got everything you could ask for in an Iron Man, plus or minus a sturdy, well-tied rocket boot. Fun fact: back in 2014, Hamm told "The Hollywood Reporter" that he had turned down several superhero roles, saying that the long-term contracts involved meant committing to not just one movie, "but at least two more that you haven't read, and you have no idea what they are going to be ... For me to sign on now to do a superhero movie would mean I would be working until I am 50 as that particular superhero."

Anyway, he turned 50 in March and he's Iron Man now.

Monica Rappaccini

Monica Rappaccini has been experiencing a moment in the Marvel multiverse recently. She made her television debut in the Disney XD "Spider-Man" show during a 2018 episode, and in the high-profile Square Enix game "Marvel's Avengers," she's standing at George Tarleton's side through his skull-specific, midlife growth spurt. Naturally, there's some ethically questionable scientific skullduggery on Monica's part in both instances. Which only makes sense. Since her first appearance in Fred Van Lente's "Amazing Fantasies" #7, Monica has been all about that science life, stuck in a "Tom and Jerry" back-and-forth with MODOK in the pursuit of the title of AIM's Scientist Supreme. She's been seen operating an Ultra-Adaptoid, creating all manner of science fiction accoutrements, and generally cementing herself as one of the brightest minds in supervillaindom.

Here, voiced by Wendi McLendon-Covey, she seems more interested in developing a genetically engineered dog with a urethra in its mouth and a solid enough grasp of the english language to beg for death. Say what you will about the ethical implications, you've got to admire science for science's sake, especially in nauseating, perfectly animated stop motion.

Fin Fang Foom

The superhero stories of the 1960s gave us so many timeless gifts. There was Groot, the tree monster from Planet X. There was Goom, the something-monster, helpfully also from Planet X. And then there was Fin Fang Foom, the dragon monster, not yet written as an alien, but eventually determined to be from a different planet, albeit not one named after a letter of the alphabet. Hailing from the world of Maklu IV, also known as Kakaranthara, Fin Fang Foom is a shapeshifting dragon beast from outer space. In his 60-year career, he's fought alongside the Mandarin, traded blows with the Incredible Hulk, and, in 2006's "Marvel Holiday Special," saved Christmas. In "Marvel's MODOK," he's started a new life working at a local eatery, Fin Fang Farm to Table, where he apparently works as a waiter.

On a particularly dark note, it sure looks like the meal that he serves to MODOK is a small, purple dragon creature that bears an astonishing resemblance to X-Men animal sidekick Lockheed. If Kitty Pryde asks, just tell her he got sent to a farm upstate — leave out the "to table" part.

Lila Cheney

The second stop on MODOK's nefarious, carefully orchestrated tour of "six Michelin star restaurants" and corporate wine 'em dine 'ems is, naturally, in the inky blackness of the cosmos. He and Austin head to what sure looks like a deep space concert venue. The main act: Lila Cheney, performing a little something called "Steal This Planet."

In the comics, Lila Cheney is a mutant interstellar teleporter and celebrity singer, having previously worked with disco "it" girl the Dazzler. She first popped her head up in "New Mutants," dating Cannonball for a quick minute, despite her aspirations, detailed in her premiere story "Steal This Planet!," of — you guessed it — stealing the Earth, selling its entire population into slavery on the space black market to a race called the Vrakanin. Celebrities: they're just like us. Since her first appearance, Lila has made intermittent appearances in the comics, but never made the A-list. Her inclusion in "Marvel's MODOK" is a severely deep cut.


Comic book supervillains are an eccentric group of people. Generally speaking, no monologue is too grand for them, and no costume too flamboyant. But even in a field populated by bad guys like Baron "Big Fur Collar" Zemo and Galactus the Bucket-Headed Planet Eater, you always get the feeling that Arcade is like, a little extra.

Five-foot-six, redheaded as they come, and generally seen sporting a white bellbottom suit and a gigantic bow tie, Arcade gets his kicks building death trap-themed amusement parks called Murder Worlds, complete with giant pinballs, evil robots, and so on. He's got all the earmarks of a Batman villain, but somehow made it into the Marvel universe, first appearing in 1978's "Marvel Team-Up" #65. Since then, he's gone toe-to-toe with all of Marvel's biggest names, usually hired by unusually optimistic fellow villains to take out their brightly-clad nemeses. He has also, according to "Marvel's MODOK," apparently started a chain of arcades called "Arcade's Arcade." It's heavy on Skee-Ball and light on giant circular saw blade robots, but that only makes sense in this economy.