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– by Drew Carlton

Disclaimer: This article will contain spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Strange Tales, August 1965 -- First LMD appearance

Strange Tales, August 1965 — First LMD appearance

Last night, one of the first shows to come back from their midseason break was aired: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They have retired Ghost Rider for the time being and decided instead to focus on robots that can pass for humans. LMDs, or Life Model Decoys, I believe were originally created in the comics as a plot device to explain a death and bring a character back to life. Over time, they have become the “shield” of central characters to save them in a kill attempt and more than once the LMDs have gone rogue, the most recent being a LMD of Jake Fury (Nick’s brother) and the robot doesn’t even know that it is an artificial lifeform.

So we have robots masquerading as humans in an attempt to gain power, and as Mack would say, “to cause a robot apocalypse.” (On a side note, 10 one-liners from Mack about Terminator style movies was a bit much.) Does this sound like another series I have harped on over-and-over? Oh ya, it’s a similar premise to the androids in Westworld, and one might think that Agents may have ripped of Michael Crichton (creator of the original Westworld). This would be incorrect, as with most cases in modern media, the comic idea came first. LMDs first appeared in Strange Tales #135 (1965), a full year before Michael Crichton wrote his first book, and it wasn’t until 1974 that he penned Westworld, an adapted novel based on his 1973 movie of the same name. More than likely, he may have gotten the idea after reading Strange Tales.

To briefly review the episode, the show starts with AIDA (the first LMD created by Dr. Radcliffe) going “killcrazy” and invading S.H.I.E.L.D in an attempt to steal The Darkhold after having read the book which granted her human emotions, or so we are led to believe that it did. Throughout the invasion attempt, another LMD wearing the guise of May is fighting alongside of Coulson and nobody is the wiser, apparently even the LMD has no idea that it is a robot. This thread ends with Mack finally putting his axe-shotgun to good use when he chops the “sexbots” head clean off it’s shoulders. At the end we find out that Dr. Radcliffe’s mind has been corrupted by The Darkhold and he is behind everything.

During this whole story line, we are going back and forth to Senator Nadeer’s summer home where she is holding her brother Vijay captive because he emerged from an Inhuman cocoon after 7 months of hibernation. Her mission is to destroy Inhumans, and unfortunately for Vijay, she attempts to do just that. At first, Vijay seems to have defeated the Inhuman curse and appears to have no powers. However, during a fight scene his superhuman reflexes and agility materialize which he uses to kick everyone’s butt. After the fight, he decides to go with his sister instead of returning with S.H.I.E.L.D. for protection. Bad idea. The senator shoots him in the gut, and with the help of The Watchdogs he is dumped in the ocean. As he falls to the bottom another cocoon envelopes him, presumably saving his life, and we are left to wonder about his future.

Oh ya, the hamster wheel in my head started rolling, and I am thinking that when the second cocoon breaks he may just have another power. What if that power is the ability to remember and duplicate other abilities, specifically fighting or tactical ones? If that were the case, we would finally get what many fans have been begging for; Taskmaster. Now granted, it wont be Tony Masters (the comic Taskmaster), but Taskmaster in any form is good for me!

Did you guys like the episode? Could this actually be Taskmaster? Are you sick of robot invasion story lines?