The trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania dropped, and so did our jaws. We now know that Corey Stoll, the actor who portrayed Yellowjacket in the first Ant-Man movie, will return to the MCU. Only this time, he’s rumored to play MODOK, a super-genius villain with a unique appearance. So, how powerful is MODOK compared to other MCU villains?
MODOK is a super-genius who sacrificed his body to undergo mutagenic experiments and gain the world’s largest brain. His intuition and probability calculation skills borderline precognition. MODOK also has powerful mind beams, psionic powers, and advanced weaponry.
That being said, he does have some limitations. For instance, his creativity remained on an average human level, making it hard for him to create more complex schemes to achieve his goals. Also, MODOK’s giant head weight can’t be held by his body, so he relies on a hoverchair and an exoskeleton. How does he compare to other MCU villains, then? Let’s find out.
Who is MODOK?
MODOK is an acronym for Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, first appearing in Tales of Suspense #93 in a cameo appearance and Tales of Suspense #94 in a full appearance, both in 1967.
His real name is George Tarleton, and he was an employee of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) that agreed to undergo serious mutagenic experimental modifications to gain super-intelligence.
The experiments worked; however, as a side effect, Tarleton’s head grew to a ridiculous size, so much so that his body was unable to hold its weight. That being said, A.I.M. is known for developing futuristic weaponry, so they managed to create an exoskeleton to help MODOK hold his head and a hoverchair known as the Doomsday Chair to help him move.
Not long after his creation, MODOK took over A.I.M. by killing his creators. Later, Tarleton separated from MODOK, and the new being called itself MODOK Superior. MODOK was a part of several supervillain teams, including the infamous Intelligencia.
Interestingly, a version of MODOK already appeared in the MCU, in a show that many forget were actually a part of the main MCU continuity. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., MODOK was portrayed by Zach McGowan. Well, actually, he was Anton Ivanov, aka The Superior, and had an army of L-MODOKs, or Life-Model Decoys Designed Only for Killing.
MODOK’s powers & abilities
Interestingly, MODOK currently has no powers whatsoever in Marvel comics. In Incredibly Hulk #610, Amadeus Cho reverted MODOK back to Geroge Tarleton, an ordinary human. But we’re not here to talk about a powerless MODOK, are we? So, what are his original powers?
MODOK’s main power was his super-genius intelligence. As a result of the experiments, Tarleton’s head grew to a gigantic size, making his brain the biggest on the planet. His logical deduction, pattern-solving, information storage, and philosophical structuring are at an unfathomable level.
His probability calculation skills and enhanced intuition are so advanced that they border on precognition. MODOK’s hunches and assumptions are almost always correct, and his memory is so great that he can recall every moment he ever experienced, including every conversation, information, etc.
It doesn’t end there, though. MODOK also had incredibly psionic powers, enhanced by A.I.M. technology. He had telekinetic, telepathic, and mind-controlling abilities, to the point of being able to control a big group of people simultaneously.
MODOK’s Doomsday Chair and exoskeleton are also equipped with all kinds of weaponry, including missiles, explosives, guns, etc. On top of that, the A.I.M. headband allowed MODOK to focus his brain power on devastating Mind Beams.
His limitations, however, always made him lose to the strongest superheroes. Firstly, his creativity remained on a human level, which prevented MODOK from using his incredible calculation skills and intelligence to develop complex schemes required to beat the most creative and intelligent enemies.
Also, the giant head made MODOK essentially inert, and he could only move with his hoverchair. It had its advantages, but if you took it away in any way, MODOK was quite helpless. When you put that all together, how does MODOK compare to other MCU villains, seeing that he will be the next supervillain to appear in an MCU movie?
How powerful is MODOK compared to other MCU villains?
We haven’t had many super-genius villains in the MCU other than Thanos or maybe Ultron, so it’s not that easy to rank MODOK among the most powerful MCU villains. We’ll give it a shot by comparing him to all the villains individually.
MODOK Vs. Loki
I think we’re all past calling Loki a villain. Sure, he’s mischievous and can be an ass sometimes, but he more than redeemed himself in my eyes. Having said that, he was the main villain of the first Avenger movie. Loki is a God of Mischief whose intelligence is often underrated.
He is skilled in magic, is a trickster, and had an entire army of powerful aliens (the Chitauri) at his disposal. Now, if Loki went up against MODOK one-on-one, my money would be on the giant head.
His hunches and probability calculation skills are just too incredibly accurate, and he would likely be able to see through Loki’s trickery. And Loki is not that imposing physically, although he has superhuman strength and durability. Still, I think it wouldn’t be enough against MODOK.
MODOK Vs. Thanos
When it comes to fighting Loki’s boss, Thanos, though, MODOK would likely get his giant head whooped into oblivion. Thanos is a super-genius in his own right. He’s not only a genius for human standards but for Eternal standards as well.
On top of that, he’s physically (almost) as strong as the Hulk, more durable than Thor (who could take on the full blast of a neutron star over his back), and unfathomably skilled in combat due to thousands upon thousands of battles he led.
And we haven’t even mentioned his insanely powerful army and the fact that he wielded the Infinity Gauntlet. I’m sure that MODOK’s intelligence would give anyone a run for their money, but the only thing he could calculate against Thanos is how quickly his head would get crushed like a peanut.
MODOK Vs. Gorr the God Butcher
MODOK is certainly more intelligent than Gorr the God Butcher, the epic main villain of the not-so-epic fourth Thor film, titled Thor: Love and Thunder. Gorr wields All-Black, the Necrosword, the initial Symbiote, and one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe.
He’s killed millions – and I mean, literally millions – of gods all over the universe. I’m sure at least some of them were even more intelligent than MODOK, but against the God Butcher, it doesn’t really mean much.
MODOK’s psionic abilities and weaponry would serve exactly zero purposes against Gorr, but his super-intelligence would certainly at least give him the wits to run as far as he can from the God Butcher.
Winner: Gorr the God Butcher
MODOK Vs. Dormammu
Dormammu is more than a god – he’s a primordial cosmic entity that’s a master of his own Dark Dimension. In that dimension, Dormammu is essentially omnipotent. I can see MODOK giving him some problems with his wits, but again, I don’t see how he could hurt Dormammu in any way.
If he could somehow find a way to get Dormammu weakened, he might have a fighting chance to contain him. But, beat or kill Dormammu? Not a chance.
MODOK Vs. Ronan
Ronan is another Thanos puppet that eventually rebelled against his big purple boss. He appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy and was tasked with obtaining the Power Stone. Instead, Ronan took it for himself, which eventually didn’t go well for him. Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, beat him with a dance-off. A dance-off!
Okay, it was just a ploy to get him distracted, but even with the Power Stone at his disposal, he was dimwitted enough to get beaten in such an idiotic way. I would absolutely bet on MODOK in this matchup simply because the difference in intelligence is absolutely overwhelming here.
MODOK VS. Taskmaster
Taskmaster appeared in the Black Widow movie, and if I’m being honest, the character was absolutely underwhelming for me. I mean, Taskmaster is one of the most skilled combatants in the entire Marvel universe in the comics, having a unique skill known as photographic reflexes – being able to copy moves and skills from anybody after seeing them only once.
That made him as great of an archer as Hawkeye, as agile of a fighter as the Black Panther, and as skilled of a martial artist as Shang-Chi, just to name a few. In the MCU, though, we saw almost none of that. Sure, she was an awesome fighter, but Taskmaster was beaten by Black Widow – an incredibly skilled human, but still, just a human.
If MCU’s Taskmaster went head-to-head against MODOK, the giant head would certainly demolish the skull-face assassin.
MODOK Vs. Ultron
Ultron is one of the few villains on this list that could give MODOK a run for his money in terms of intelligence. He is essentially the most advanced Artificial Intelligence ever created on Earth, with access to all the information that humanity had ever stored or had at their disposal.
He is also much more physically durable than MODOK and, one could argue, much stronger. That being said, MODOK is no joke – you shouldn’t underestimate his power because of his silly appearance. The advanced futuristic weaponry and super-intelligence would surely be problematic for Ultron, and I’m actually having a hard time giving any of them a clear-cut victory.
Ultron might have a slight advantage, but I’m leaving it a tie.
MODOK Vs. Ego
Lastly, I wanted to include Ego, Star-Lord’s Celestial father and the main villain of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He’s the only guy on this list that has a bigger head than MODOK because his head is essentially an entire planet.
As for who would win between MODOK and Ego, I’m sure that MODOK would easily destroy Ego’s human avatar. But if we’re talking about MODOK versus Ego the Living Planet, I’m not sure how he could win. One is a Celestial – a super-powerful cosmic being, and the other is a smart giant bobblehead. You see where I’m going with this.
There are numerous more villains in the MCU that we didn’t mention here, but I think this is more than enough to get a good grip on how powerful MODOK is and how he compares to MCU villains so far.
That being said, we don’t know what version of MODOK we’ll be getting in the MCU. We’ll just have to wait until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania drops in theaters on February 17, 2023.