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A.I.M. debuted in Strange Tales #146 (July 1966), created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It is revealed to be a branch of the organization known as THEM in Strange Tales #147 (August 1966). A larger organization is mentioned in Strange Tales #142 (March 1966) and is depicted in Tales of Suspense #78 (June 1966) a few months earlier. It is later revealed that THEM is also a parent organization to the Secret Empire and is a new incarnation of the previously dissolved organization HYDRA in Strange Tales #149 (October 1966). It
A.I.M. is described as an organization of scientists and their hirelings dedicated to the acquisition of power and to overthrow all the world's governments through science and technology. Its leadership traditionally consists of the seven-member Board of Directors (formerly known as the Imperial Council) with a rotating chairperson. Under the Directors are various division supervisors, and under them are the technicians and salesmen/dealers.
The organization supplies arms and technology to various terrorist and subversive organizations both to foster a violent technological revolution and to generate profit. A.I.M. operatives are usually involved in research, development, manufacturing, and sales of high technology. Members of A.I.M. are required to at least have a master's degree, if not a PhD, in some area of science, mathematics, or business.
A.I.M.'s reach is worldwide, including various front organizations such as Targo Corporation, International Data Integration and Control, Cadenza Industries, Koenig and Strey, Pacific Vista Laboratories, Allen's Department Store, and Omnitech. It also has had a number of bases of operations, including a nuclear submarine mobile in the Atlantic Ocean; bases in the Bronx, New York; Black Mesa, Colorado; West Caldwell, New Jersey; Asia, Canada, Europe, Haiti, India, Sudan and Boca Caliente (also known as A.I.M. Island), an island republic in the Caribbean.
Over its appearances A.I.M. has produced three major implements of deadly potential. The greatest of these is the Cosmic Cube, a device capable of altering reality. However, A.I.M. does not realize that the cube is merely a containment device, in which the real power is an entity accidentally drawn into their dimension. The Cosmic Cube eventually evolves into Kubik. Their second achievement is the Super-Adaptoid, an android capable of mimicking the appearance and superpowers of other beings, which is made possible by incorporating a sliver of the Cosmic Cube into its form. When Kubik repossesses the sliver after defeating the Adaptoid, the android is rendered inanimate. A.I.M.'s third and final major achievement is the creation of MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing), an artificially mutated human with an enormous head accompanied by a massive computational brain and psionic abilities. MODOK is originally an A.I.M. scientist named George Tarleton, who was selected by A.I.M.'s leader at the time, the Scientist Supreme, to be the subject of the bionic and genetic experiments that turned him into MODOK. After his transformation, MODOK kills the Scientist Supreme and takes control of A.I.M., and later takes advantage of the chaos in HYDRA's organization following HYDRA Island's destruction and the deaths of Baron Strucker and most of HYDRA's leading members to sever all of A.I.M.'s ties with HYDRA. A.I.M. has remained independent ever since.
A.I.M.'s developments cover diverse fields, such as advanced weaponry (plasma blasters, cryo-cannons, anti-charge bazookas, paralyzer rays, q-bombs, sonatrons, etc.), robots (synthoids, Adaptoids, robot duplicates, giant robots, etc.), cyborgs, or artificial lifeforms they use to do their work, but also biological viruses (Omega Bacillus, Virus X), radio-wave transmitted "broadcast power," and mind control, cloaking, and teleportation technology. Its agents utilize a variety of submarines, hovercraft, jets, fleets of ships, and other vehicles. A.I.M. has also attempted to recreate versions of MODOK, including transforming Dr. Katherine Waynesboro into Ms. MODOK and creating SODAM (later revamped as MODAM). Since A.I.M's redirection as an exotic arms dealer, members have access to whatever exotic weaponry available in its warehouses.
A.I.M.'s leaders traditionally wear yellow three-piece business suits. Technical supervisors wear yellow jumpsuits, skull-caps, and goggles. However, the organization is renowned for the "beekeeper"-looking outfits of its underlings since the first appearance.
The Livewires member named Cornfed wears an A.I.M. uniform. He also wears a button referencing "The Real A.I.M".
Fictional organization history
A.I.M.'s origins begin late in World War II with Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's creation of his subversive organization HYDRA. Under the code name of THEM, he creates two HYDRA branches called Advanced Idea Mechanics and the Secret Empire. A.I.M.'s purpose is to develop advanced weaponry for HYDRA. They are close to developing and attaining nuclear weapons when HYDRA Island is invaded by American and Japanese troops. Although HYDRA suffers a major setback, it survives and grows in secret over the following decades.
A.I.M. has numerous encounters with various superheroes and supervillains and is the subject of ongoing undercover investigations by S.H.I.E.L.D. It is responsible for reviving the Red Skull from suspended animation. An A.I.M. android factory in a Florida swamp is at one time raided by S.H.I.E.L.D., which also involves Count Bornag Royale in a weapons deal negotiation with S.H.I.E.L.D. A.I.M. then raids S.H.I.E.L.D.'s New York City headquarters. As a result of these events, Royale is discredited, and A.I.M.'s headquarters are destroyed.
A.I.M. employs Batroc the Leaper to recover an explosive compound called Inferno 42 and dispatches a chemical android against Nick Fury and Captain America. A.I.M. also dispatches their special agent, the Cyborg, against Captain America. A.I.M. is involved in a skirmish with the Maggia and its "Big M". A.I.M. also captures Iron Man in an attempt to analyze and replicate his armor. MODOK and A.I.M. are responsible for transforming Betty Ross briefly into the gamma-irradiated bird-woman called the Harpy. A.I.M. dispatches their special agent the Destructor to capture Ms. Marvel.
For a time, a schism develops within A.I.M., causing it to split into Blue and Yellow factions (the former loyal to MODOK, the latter independent from him). These factions battle each other, with MODOK and the Blue faction employing Deathbird as an operative. A.I.M. capture the Thing and Namor to test Virus X on them. The Blue faction later makes an attempt to recapture the Cosmic Cube. A second battle occurs between the rival factions, but factions no longer seem to be active within A.I.M. since then.
A.I.M. eventually hires the Serpent Society to kill MODOK, which they do. A.I.M. is responsible for a jet attack on the West Coast Avengers compound and then takes over Boca Caliente and unleashes a microbe aboard the Stark space satellite. A.I.M. also sends an agent to attempt to confiscate the quantum-bands given to Quasar.
The organization is revealed to have become a 'techno-anarchist' group, with no connection to HYDRA, and even a hatred for fascism. With the introduction of the Death's Head 3.0 character, a pacifist future version of the organization is promised, with a new leader.
A.I.M. is revealed to be behind the pocket dimension of Earth-13584 by using a sliver of time they obtain to alter certain events so they can obtain the technology and science from various individuals. They do this by exploiting the fluid nature of time brought on by the manipulations of Kang the Conqueror traveling back to alter the past. This lasts until the Dark Avengers end up in this reality, causing it to collapse. The Dark Avengers are able to get out before the pocket dimension collapses.
When the Secret Avengers recruit Taskmaster after freeing him from Bagalia, they send him to infiltrate the new High Council of A.I.M. which consists of Andrew Forson, Graviton, Jude the Entropic Man, Mentallo, Superia, and Yelena Belova. Andrew Forson then leads A.I.M. into attending a weapons expo, where A.I.M. fights against the Secret Avengers. During the battle, Andrew Forson takes the opportunity to steal the Iron Patriot armor.
Daisy Johnson launches an unsanctioned operation to send the Secret Avengers to A.I.M. Island to assassinate Forson, and they seemingly kill him. Johnson is suspended for breaking protocol and Maria Hill is put in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. again. As Forson is revealed to be alive all along, the news of A.I.M. being a new permanent member of the Security Council is known.
Using an unidentified device in the pages of Avengers World, Andrew Forson and A.I.M. accelerate the flow of time within the limits of A.I.M. Island, creating in a matter of hours for the real world a year of progress and transforming A.I.M. into a technologically advanced empire.
A.I.M. has a more violent offshoot, Advanced Ideas of Destruction (A.I.D.); the two competing organizations are major antagonists of Captain America in the mid-2000s.
As part of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel", it is revealed that the A.I.M. members that fled when Sunspot bought out A.I.M. have been taken in by Maker where they work for his organization W.H.I.S.P.E.R. (short for World Headquarters for International Scientific Philosophical Experimentation and Research) as his personal tool to reshape the world.
After Sunspot leaves American Intelligence Mechanics, Toni Ho succeeds him and allows the rogue A.I.M. cells to regain their acronym, as Toni has her organization rebranded as R.E.S.C.U.E.
Avengers Idea Mechanics
During the Time Runs Out storyline which takes place eight months in the future, Sunspot reveals that he bought A.I.M and used their resources to investigate the incursions. Heroes working as part of Avengers Idea Mechanics include Hawkeye, Squirrel Girl, Songbird, Wiccan, Hulkling, White Tiger, Power Man and Pod. Sunspot reveals the group was much easier to deal with after much of higher management had been fired. Many heroes working in the primary Avengers team such as Thor and Hyperion, also find themselves working side by side with A.I.M. Once they managed to create a machine to propel individuals across the Multiverse some of the heroes who were helping A.I.M. offered themselves to participate in a one-way trip to find the origin of the Incursions threatening all reality.
Following the fight against Maker, Sunspot meets with the government and they make plans to merge Avengers Idea Mechanics into the U.S. government. At the same time, the Avengers Idea Mechanics defeats A.I.M's splinter groups.
American Intelligence Mechanics
The merger between the U.S. government and Avengers Idea Mechanics results in the formation of the American Intelligence Mechanics. Since Da Costa had turned the organization into a force for good, rogue cells exist fighting for A.I.M.'s original goals on behalf of their former leaders, Andrew Forson and Monica Rappaccini. To tackle the nuisances caused by these cells, Da Costa's successor Toni Ho decides to let them reclaim the organization's acronym, while rebranding her own organization into a new one called R.E.S.C.U.E.
Some AIM splinter cells have appeared in various issues:
Kenjiro Tanaka –  – A former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who trained alongside Wendell Vaughn. He infiltrated IDIC and stayed on as employee after the break-up of SHIELD. He later left to join Vaughn Securities, and was promoted to partner and eventual CEO due to Vaughan spending less time on Earth.
Monica Rappaccini – Mother of Carmilla Black, Scientist Supreme, and an Italian national. She has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Padua. She became a radical, and developed poisons for the Black Orchestra and A.I.M.. Monica has sought to reestablish contact with her daughter.
Alvin Tarleton - George Tarleton's father and one of the original founders of A.I.M. He got his son a job with the organization as a custodian, then authorized his transformation into M.O.D.O.C/K. After the transformation drove his son mad, he was driven out by M.O.D.O.K. and forced to hide-out in the fake superb of Butterville, Ohio. Eventually his son began malfunctioning and experiencing false memories, which Alvin used to lure him to his base so he could capture him and reset his brain, hoping to repeat their initial experiment with more successful results. M.O.D.O.K killed his father by activating his Uru phone before the mind wipe could be completed, then uploaded his father's consciousness onto the phone so he could "swipe left on him.
Bernard Worrell –  – Member of A.I.M.'s Blue Faction; former apprentice of George Clinton; led the capture of the Cosmic Cube/Kubik, but was unable to control it once it began its metamorphosis into Kubik
David Garrett – ally of A.I.M., funded Gilbert Wiles to monitoring his tracking of the Uni-Power, slain by Lombardi after outliving his usefulness
Destructor (Kerwin Korman) – former premier weapons-maker, stumbled on and unleashed the power core of Kree Psyche-Magnitron, later built into the Doomsday Man by A.I.M. technicians and used as its power source, discovered and freed by Avengers, required continued connection to the remnants of the Doomsday Man for life support.
Doomsday Man – virtually indestructible robot created by Dr. Kronton to steal cobalt bombs and blackmail the U.S., initially defeated by Silver Surfer, later revived by Kree Psyche-Magnitron, battled and destroyed by Ms. Marvel, rebuilt by A.I.M. and merged with Kerwin Korman, whom it used as a power source, battled Avengers, sought Warbird as replacement when Kerwin began to weaken, destroyed by Justice, remnants used as life support for Korman.
Dr. Cristiano Ryder – posed as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to regain control of Android X-4.
Dr. Ralph Rider –  – brother of Charles Rider, uncle of Richard and Robert Rider, leading research scientist until killed by Photon (Jason Dean)
Jethro Prufrock – father of George and Martha Prufock, was a perennial right-wing Libertarian candidate for president and a staunch advocate of arms-stockpiling; he was slain by a mutated George
Julia Black – adoptive mother of Carmilla Black, former ties to Symbionese Liberation Army, currently deceased
Lifeform (George Prufrock) – was mutated into a progressively larger carnivorous creature by exposure to experimental virus developed by his father, Jethro Prufock, at A.I.M.
MODAM (Olinka Barankova) – A creation of A.I.M. whose name is an acronym for Mobile Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers, who also operated under the names "Maria Pym" and SODAM (an acronym for Specialized Organism Designed for Aggressive Maneuvers). Killed by MODOK
Wakers – A.I.M. deep penetration agents under the leadership of Scorpion (Carmilla Black) and four others, genetically engineered to resist all chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons
Lars Branco – Waker agent; currently deceased
Warbot – A.I.M. weapon, used by Arthur Shaman to capture the Hulk to use against Ms. Marvel, destroyed by her
Yorgon Tykkio – brother of Valdemar; became a cyborg and led a revolt against his brother's rule; controlled the body of MODOK and destroyed it after he was defeated in battle against Iron Man; allied with Clytemnestra Erwin against Tony Stark/Iron Man; was killed by Clytemnestra when she was attempting to flee from him
Avengers/American Idea Mechanics members
Roberto da Costa - The Supreme Leader following his acquisition and buying out of A.I.M.'s faculties.
Dr. Toni Ho - A scientist and engineer whose work emulates Stark's Iron Man designs. She became the second Rescue and later the third Iron Patriot.
Screen Rant included A.I.M. in their "Marvel: The 10 Most Powerful Henchmen In The Comics" list.Comic Book Resources ranked A.I.M. 7th in their "10 Most Powerful Secret Organizations In Marvel Comics" list, and 10th in their "10 Most Evil Teams In Marvel" list.
Both A.I.M. and Hydra first appeared in the 1960s as analogues for the threat of Communism, but are also associated with Nazism and resemble organizations fought by Captain America in World War II. Political science professor Matthew J. Costello has pointed out that this conflation of Communist and Nazi totalitarianism removes ambiguity from the threat and thus from America's moral superiority in the comics. In contrast, in the post-9/11 context of Iron Man 3, Pepper says of Extremis' war profiteering, "That's exactly what [Stark Industries] used to do." Whereas immediately after 9/11 Captain America was concerned with Islamic terrorism, by 2005–2007 he was primarily engaged with homegrown terrorists: A.I.M. and A.I.D.
A future (2020) version of A.I.M is featured heavily in the Marvel UK limited series Death's Head II. This future organisation creates the cyborg Minion, which is later taken over by the personality of Death's Head. A.I.M's representative Evelyn Necker became a popular character in the ongoing series that followed.
In Amazing Fantasy #16–20, set further in the same future, A.I.M is on the point of making peace with the UN, when a renegade A.I.M. scientist unleashes Death's Head 3.0 on the peace conference.
In the Marvel Adventures version of Iron Man, A.I.M., through the use of dummy companies, acquires Stark International's hover platform and uni-beam technology in their invasion of Madripoor, a third world country. Gia-Bao Yinsen tries to tell the world about A.I.M.'s terrorist attacks on his country, but his message is dismissed. During Tony Stark's test of his new solar-powered glider, A.I.M. causes Tony to crash on their artificial island. Tony's heart is damaged, and A.I.M. forces him to build an EMP weapon to allow A.I.M.'s forces to finish their conquest of Madripoor. In exchange, A.I.M. will repair his heart. Tony learns that Yinsen was also kidnapped, as A.I.M. wanted to prevent him from telling the world about their attacks on his country and to use his intellect to build technology for A.I.M.. Similar to Iron Man's main Marvel Universe origin, Yinsen and Tony both build armor to escape. However, Yinsen destroys the generator powering the island to save his homeland. The explosion kills Yinsen, but Tony Stark lives. Tony becomes Iron Man to prevent people like A.I.M. from committing evil against innocents. Here, the Supreme Scientist is a black-haired woman who is extremely brilliant. In addition, the uniforms that A.I.M. uses are basically NBC orange suits. However, the Supreme Scientist wears black clothing in a style similar to Darth Vader.
In the Ultimate Marvel reality, A.I.M. commissions Mad Thinker to steal Cerebro from the X-Men and frame the Fantastic Four, as seen in the Ultimate X4 mini-series. The miniseries Ultimate Vision introduces A.I.M. as composed of several directorates spread across the globe, with George Tarleton as an A.I.M. leader on an orbital research facility. Tarleton and his team attempt to take control of a Gah Lak Tus module that is left behind in orbit after the swarm is driven away. Being unable to do so on their own, they lure Vision to the station to help them by claiming they will use the knowledge to order the Gah Lak Tus swarm to self-destruct. Once the cyborg Tarleton connects to the module using Vision, he has the module fire an energy beam at her. Tarleton then incorporates the Gah Lak Tus' circuitry into his own body, but it seemingly takes over him, transforming him more into a machine, with a monstrous appearance. He takes over the entire station remotely and sets it to plummet out of orbit, along with the Gah Lak Tus module, which he says has "unfinished business on Earth." Ultimately, Tarleton is broken free of the module's control and helps the Vision and the Falcon a.k.a. Dr. Samuel Wilson in destroying the module.
A.I.M. appears in M.O.D.O.K. This version is entirely founded and led by MODOK, although he eventually causes the organization to go bankrupt and allows the rival company GRUMBL to buy it out. Throughout the series, MODOK continually schemes to reclaim his position as A.I.M.'s leader and eliminate GRUMBL CEO Austin Van Der Sleet, although these attempts continually end in failure and lead to him being demoted and replaced by Monica Rappaccini as Scientist Supreme. Meanwhile, Van Der Sleet uses A.I.M.'s resources and technology to further the plans of his superior, Hexus, the Living Corporation. By the end of the first season, MODOK sells his A.I.M. shares to Iron Man, enabling him to buy out A.I.M. from GRUMBL, while MODOK, Rappaccini, and A.I.M. subordinate Gary go on to establish A-I-M-2 independently.
A.I.M. appears in the 2008 Iron Man film tie-in game. They work with Obadiah Stane to develop an army of Iron Men based on Tony Stark's original prototype suit. Although their attempts to develop an effective power source fail, they are able to create Titanium Man. However, Iron Man defeats him before thwarting A.I.M.'s attempt to generate power using a solar collection satellite grid.
A.I.M., hybridized with Resident Evil's Umbrella Corporation to create "A.I.M.brella", appears as a stage in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. Unlike other fused locations, which were created by UltronSigma after they fused their respective universes together, A.I.M.brella was a proper company merger, as both A.I.M. and Umbrella are led by warped scientists who chose to pool their resources.
A.I.M. appears in Marvel's Avengers. Founded by Dr. George Tarleton after the events of "A-Day", this version is a powerful multinational corporation made to protect the world through science as opposed to "fallible" heroes. They also develop robotic synthoids for public service duties, security forces, and to manage the growing population of Inhumans. Five years after A-Day, A.I.M. has established a virtual police state in the U.S. Additionally, a young Inhuman named Kamala Khan discovers that the company's leaders are experimenting on Inhumans rather than curing them, and also harvesting their powers to create an army of Adaptoids to replace the Avengers. After that, a warped Tarleton, now MODOK, intends to wipe out all Inhumans and superpowers on Earth with DARK Terrigen mist, but he is defeated by Khan and the Avengers. After he is presumed dead, Monica Rappaccini assumes control of A.I.M. and its assets. Realizing that the company is still an active threat, the Avengers partner with S.H.I.E.L.D. to locate and take out A.I.M.'s remaining facilities around the world.
^ abJohn P. Doucet, "Chapter One: On the Design of Mental Organisms", in: Marie Hendry and Jennifer Page, eds., Media, Technology and the Imagination, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2013, ISBN978-1-4438-4850-3, pp. 19–20.
^ abChristian Steinmetz, "A Genealogy of Evil: Captain America vs. the Shadows of the National Imagined Community", in: Robert G. Weiner, ed., Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero: Critical Essays, Jefferson, North Carolina / London: McFarland, 2009, ISBN978-0-7864-3703-0, p. 199.
^Matthew J. Costello, Secret Identity Crisis: Comic Books and the Unmasking of Cold War America, New York: Continuum, 2009, ISBN9780826429971, pp. 70–71.
^ ab"Chapter 5: 'Nothing's been the same since New York': Ideological Continuity and Change in Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World", in: Terence McSweeney, ed., Avengers Assemble!: Critical Perspectives on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, London/New York: Wallflower-Columbia University, 2017, ISBN9780231186254, n.p..