Super-Villain Team-Up MODOKS 11 -

Trade Paperback Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Issues: 1-5 Trade Paperback
  • Authors: Fred Van Lente, Francis Portela
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $13.99 US $22.50 CAN

Super-Villain Team-Up MODOKS 11

Bob's review of Super-Villian teamup issues.

By Robert T. Trate, Columnist     February 08, 2008

Danny Ocean who??
© Marvel

The Marvel Universe is currently in a chaotic state. Heroes are still dealing with Civil War fall out and its repercussions. The Hulk came home to Earth to take on the Illuminati and basically leveled New York City. So, with these heroes vs. heroes epics constantly unfolding you have to wonder, what’s going on with the villains in the Marvel Universe? Some are switching to the hero racket trying to live decent lives (like the Thunderbolts). Okay, not a bad twist for comic book villains to try and do the right thing when it is so easy to do the wrong. The Red Hood is getting some of them organized and kicking some Avengers ass. Then there is Modok (yeah, I know, who?), the one time A.I.M. experiment and former A.I.M. leader. Who first appeared way back in “Tales of Suspense” #94. Now before you whip out an old Marvel Universe and look him up, “Modok’s 11” immediately supplies you with all that you need to know about Modok. 

“Modok’s 11” is a tale that takes place during “World War Hulk”. Modok is out for a big score and he recruits some D list villains to help him steal a perpetual collapsing star that is an advanced power source from the future. Our ‘Ocean’s 11’ type crew consists of the following: Modok (the brains, obviously), Armadillo (muscle), Chameleon (disguise), Living Laser (security), Deadly Nightshade (genetics), Puma (acrobat), Mentallo (psychic), Rocket Racer (getaway driver), The Spot (breaking & entering). No, it is not 11 villains but here are other villains from the Marvel Universe involved (the Mandarin for one). They are all part of one giant double/ triple cross that involves these D list villains in a story that never takes itself too seriously. What’s great about “Modok’s 11” is that it brings the Marvel Universe back to its roots with a story about villains doing bad things.

There are quick introductions of all the players. This gives you enough back story so you aren’t confused as to who they are and what they have been doing since the last time they made an appearance. Of course, all of Modok’s gang’s lives are in the toilet, so when Modok dangles 5 million dollars in front of them they see it as one last big score. I was immediately reminded of Adam Beechen and Manny Bello’s “Hench” comic. Here was a bunch of losers out for that last score and teaming up with a bad guy that is way beyond normal. Modok does after all have a human’s intelligence genetically sped up 5 billion years. So, with whatever he is after; why would we need these poor slobs? This issue is addressed and the reasons for Modok’s scheme aren’t as grand as one might think. Trust me; it unfolds to be a bitter sweet story of one man’s delicious revenge.

Fred Van Lente’s characterizations of Modok’s 11 are what made this story appealing. Each was given a sad story and a fully fleshed out character. Usually villains get a one two punch for their character. Van Lente gives them a humanity and purpose for accepting Modok’s offer. It is that humanity which brings many of them together. When the double crosses start to occur they realize that the only person they can count on is the one standing next to them. A “Band of Brothers” mentality happens for many of the characters in “MODOK’S 11”. That alone made it worth reading. 

Francis Portela’s penciling is superb in its finiteness but never does he go too far with his work. Unlike Steve McNiven’s recent work with the “Amazing Spider-Man” (issue #548 especially). Portela’s penciling keeps the story vibrant and true to its superhero roots without showing off or making it uber real. This is, after all, a fun book with crazy characters but still grounded in the real world (well the Marvel Universe anyway).

Why didn’t you pick up this limited five issue series? Personally, I didn’t even know about it until I saw issue five’s cover art by Eric Powell and Marko Djurdjevic. It’s a breathtaking insane piece that makes the comic book store attendee pick it up and ask, “What’s going on in here?” Issue one however, is a solo cover by Eric Powell that reeks of early nineties comic blandness. For a first issue cover it is dull boring and unimaginative (unlike the story). 

“MODOK’S 11” is a quick easy read and a great villains of yester year fix. If the Marvel Universe has got you down with heroes fighting heroes pick up “Modok’s 11” and savor its crazy collection of eclectic villains. 


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muchdrama1 2/8/2008 1:55:58 PM
Too bad Francis Portela is just a plain awful artist.
jfdavis 2/8/2008 2:43:39 PM
I thought Rocket Racer was on the side of good now. Then again, Sandman's gone back and forth for years...


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