M.O.D.O.K. Season One Review
At this point, it’s safe to say that our culture is completely saturated with superheroes. Ever since the MCU was born, the entertainment industry has tried to push how far they could take the genre, and it shows! Now that everyone’s gotten used to big superhero movies, though, studios have started to get creative, asking how they can subvert or play with the concept. Amazon Prime’s made waves with the likes of The Boys and Invincible. HBO Max has Harley Quinn, which is like The Venture Bros on comedic steroids. And now, even Marvel’s getting in on the fun with their new, adult-oriented show on Hulu, M.O.D.O.K.
Who, or What, is M.O.D.O.K.?
For those who don’t know, M.O.D.O.K. is a fictional super villain and super genius and head of the evil think tank, A.I.M. He may or may not have experimented on himself to boost his already impressive intellect, giving him his giant head that requires a hoverchair to move around in. In other words, he’s like Darth Vader, but with a giant head and no third-degree burns. In the comics, he’s a ruthless scientist bent on world-domination. However, the version found in the show is a little more comedic in nature.
The premise of the show sees M.O.D.O.K. has been trying, and failing, to conquer Earth for years. As a result, A.I.M. is bankrupt and sold off to an analogue of Google. In addition, M.O.D.O.K’s home-life isn’t going great, either, with his wife asking for a divorce. Now at rock bottom, thrown out of his own company, and living in a rundown apartment, the show follows M.O.D.O.K. as he tries to regain control of his life and his status as a supervillain.
In a nutshell, it’s a show about a supervillain going through a mid-life crisis.
Quite an Interesting Mixture of Shows.
One of the things that stands out the most about M.O.D.O.K. is the influences that it seems to draw on. Firstly, we have Adult Swim’s popular stop-motion comedy series, Robot Chicken. The same guys who produce Robot Chicken are the ones who provided the animation for the show. Besides maintaining their iconic stop-motion style, having Seth Green and Matt Senreich on board as producers means they can carry over much of Robot Chicken’s style of humor. In other words, there’s a lot of blood and over-the-top violence to be had.
Secondly, we have another equally raunchy, animated superhero show, Harley Quinn. Like M.O.D.O.K., Harley Quinn is focused on a titular villain (or villainess) as they try to gain the respect of their peers. That, and sort out any personal problems they may have. However, while M.O.D.O.K. has a good amount of violence and cussing, it never reaches the levels found in Harley Quinn. So, those who were hoping that this would be Marvel’s answer to what is essentially The Venture Bros on steroids, take heed. Harley Quinn may have set the bar too high. Then again, seeing a woman bite the Penguin’s nose off and then kill him will do that!
M.O.D.O.K. Makes for a Pretty Decent Show
Having come out in its entirety on Hulu on May 21st, viewers were able to binge watch M.O.D.O.K.‘s first season from start to finish. Having done so, what’s the verdict on what’s essentially Robot Chicken and Harley Quinn having a Frankenstein child together? It’s got some promise.
While the show never reaches the insane levels of violence of Harley Quinn, and the jokes aren’t always as funny as that or Robot Chicken, there’s no denying that M.O.D.O.K has got heart. It’s a self-aware superhero comedy that runs a mile a minute with the jokes, and it doesn’t care what other people think. In addition, the cast is fairly impressive: M.O.D.O.K. himself is voiced by Patton Oswalt, while DuckTales! alumni Ben Schwartz and Beck Bennett voice M.O.D.O.K’s son Lou and his new boss Austin, respectively. Plus, there are a few other heavy hitting voice actors in recurring roles.
Having seen the entire first season of M.O.D.O.K. over the span of a few days, I think that this show has a lot of potential. It’s not perfect, but it’s got plenty of room to improve into something bigger. If you’re a Marvel fan looking for a few laughs as the world begins the slow return to a new normal after COVID-19, then I’d recommend M.O.D.O.K.