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A.I.M.
A.I.M. troopers from Tales of Suspense #94.
Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceStrange Tales #146
(July 1966)
Created byStan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Type of organizationTechnology
Terrorist
Leader(s)Monica Rappaccini
Andrew Forson
Baron Strucker
MODOK
Sunspot
Agent(s)Allesandro Brannex
Doomsday Man
Head Case

A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) is a fictional criminal organization appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it first appeared in Strange Tales #146 (July 1966).[1] A.I.M. is primarily depicted as a think tank of brilliant scientists dedicated to world domination through technological means.[2]

The organization started as a branch of HYDRA founded by Baron Strucker.[3] Its most notable creations include the Cosmic Cube, Super-Adaptoid, and MODOK, who has been depicted as a prominent member of A.I.M. and sometimes the organization's leader.[4]

Since its original introduction in comics, A.I.M. has been featured in various other Marvel-licensed products including video games and television series. The organization made its live action debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Iron Man 3 (2013), in which it was headed by Aldrich Killian.

Publication history

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2009)

A.I.M. debuted in Strange Tales #146 (July 1966), created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.[5] It is revealed to be a branch of the organization known as THEM in Strange Tales #147 (August 1966). A large organization was mentioned in Strange Tales #142 (March 1966) and depicted in Tales of Suspense #78 (June 1966) a few months earlier. It is later revealed in Strange Tales #149 (October 1966) that THEM is also a parent organization to the Secret Empire and is a new incarnation of the previously dissolved HYDRA.

Organization

A.I.M. is described as an organization of scientists and their hirelings dedicated to the acquisition of power and overthrowing of 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 in the hierarchy 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 to foster a violent technological revolution and to generate profit. A.I.M. operatives are usually involved in research, development, manufacturing, and sales of technology. Members of A.I.M. are required to have at least a master's degree, if not a PhD, in an area of science, mathematics, or business.

A.I.M.'s reach is worldwide and it operates 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 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.

Technology

Over all of 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.[6] 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 recovers the sliver after defeating the Adaptoid, the android is rendered inanimate. A.I.M.'s third 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.[7] MODOK is originally an A.I.M. scientist named George Tarleton, who is selected by A.I.M.'s leader at the time, the Scientist Supreme, to be the subject of the bionic and genetic experiments that turn him into MODOK.[6][8] After his transformation, MODOK kills the Scientist Supreme and takes control of A.I.M., later taking advantage of the chaos within HYDRA 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. has made developments in fields such as advanced weaponry (plasma blasters, cryo-cannons, anti-charge bazookas, paralyzer rays, q-bombs, sonatrons), robots (synthoids, Adaptoids, robot duplicates, giant robots, etc.), cyborgs, artificial lifeforms, biological viruses (Omega Bacillus, Virus X), radio wave-transmitted "broadcast power," and mind control, cloaking, and teleportation technology. Its agents use a variety of submarines, hovercrafts, 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[9] and creating SODAM[10] (later revamped as MODAM).[11] Since A.I.M's establishment as an exotic arms dealer,[11] 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. The organization is known for the "beekeeper"-like outfits of its underlings since their first appearance.

After the "Scorpion: Poison Tomorrow" arc of Amazing Fantasy, A.I.M. gained a new costume involving insectoid armor and large guns.

The Livewires member 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 HYDRA. Under the code name 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. It is 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.[12] An A.I.M. android factory in a Florida swamp is raided by S.H.I.E.L.D., which also involves Count Bornag Royale due to a weapons deal negotiation.[13] A.I.M. then raids S.H.I.E.L.D.'s New York City headquarters.[14] As a result of these events, Royale is discredited, and A.I.M.'s headquarters are destroyed.[15]

A.I.M. employs Batroc the Leaper to recover an explosive compound called Inferno 42[16] and dispatches a chemical android against Nick Fury and Captain America.[17] A.I.M. also dispatches their special agent, the Cyborg, against Captain America.[18] A.I.M. is involved in a skirmish with the Maggia and its "Big M".[19] A.I.M. also captures Iron Man in an attempt to analyze and replicate his armor.[20] MODOK and A.I.M. are responsible for transforming Betty Ross briefly into the gamma-irradiated bird-woman called the Harpy.[21] A.I.M. dispatches their special agent the Destructor to capture Ms. Marvel.[22]

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,[23] with MODOK and the Blue faction employing Deathbird as an operative.[24] A.I.M. captures the Thing and Namor to test Virus X on them.[25] The Blue faction later makes an attempt to recapture the Cosmic Cube.[26] A second battle occurs between the rival factions,[27] but since then factions no longer seem to be active within A.I.M.

A.I.M. hires the Serpent Society to kill MODOK, which they do successfully.[28] A.I.M. is responsible for a jet attack on the West Coast Avengers compound[29] and then takes over Boca Caliente[30] and unleashes a microbe aboard the Stark space satellite.[31] A.I.M. also sends an agent to attempt to confiscate the quantum-bands given to Quasar.[32]

The organization is revealed to have become a 'techno-anarchist' group with no connection to HYDRA and a hatred for fascism. With the introduction of Death's Head 3.0, a pacifist version of the organization with a new leader is promised.[33]

A.I.M. helps General Thunderbolt Ross and Doc Samson create the Red Hulk.[34]

A.I.M. creates the pocket dimension of Earth-13584 by using an obtained sliver of time to alter certain events so they can obtain technology from various individuals. They do this by exploiting the fluidity of time brought on by Kang the Conqueror manipulating the past. This lasts until the Dark Avengers end up in the new reality, causing it to collapse. The Dark Avengers are able to get out before the pocket dimension collapses.[35]

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.[36] Forson then leads A.I.M. to a weapons expo, where A.I.M. fights the Secret Avengers. During the battle, Forson steals the Iron Patriot armor.[37]

Daisy Johnson launches an unsanctioned operation sending the Secret Avengers to A.I.M. Island to assassinate Forson. Johnson is suspended for breaking protocol and Maria Hill is put in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. again. Forson is revealed to still be alive and A.I.M. becomes a new permanent member of the Security Council.[38]

In Avengers World, using an unidentified device, Forson and A.I.M. accelerate the flow of time within the limits of A.I.M. Island, creating a year of progress in the real world within hours and transforming A.I.M. into a technologically advanced empire.[39]

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.[40]

During the "All-New, All-Different Marvel" branding, it is revealed that the A.I.M. members that fled when Sunspot bought out A.I.M. have been taken in by Maker and work for his organization W.H.I.S.P.E.R. (World Headquarters for International Scientific Philosophical Experimentation and Research) to reshape the world.[41]

After Sunspot leaves A.I.M., Toni Ho succeeds him and allows the rogue A.I.M. cells to reclaim their acronym, as Ho has her organization rebranded as R.E.S.C.U.E.[42]

During the "Gang War" storyline, Crime Master mentions that he has allied with A.I.M. for the upcoming gang war as an A.I.M. Agent is with him at the meeting with the other crime lords.[43] Some A.I.M. Agents accompanied Crime Master in his fight against Ringmaster and his hypnotized civilians. Both sides were defeated by Spider-Man's group with the hypnotized civilians freed from Ringmaster's control. Spider-Man called up Mayor Luke Cage to arrange for the villains to be picked up and processed.[44] Some of the A.I.M. Agents that avoided capture were recruited to Madame Masque's side.[45] In a flashback, some A.I.M. Agents working for Madame Masque were briefly seen fighting Big Ben Donovan's gang.[46]

Heroic offshoots

Avengers Idea Mechanics

During the Time Runs Out storyline, Sunspot reveals that he bought A.I.M and used their resources to investigate incursions threatening reality. Heroes working as part of Avengers Idea Mechanics include Hawkeye, Squirrel Girl, Songbird, Wiccan, Hulkling, White Tiger, Power Man and Pod. Sunspot reveals he has fired much of higher management. Many heroes working in the primary Avengers team, such as Thor and Hyperion, work side by side with A.I.M.[47] When they create a machine to propel individuals across the Multiverse, some of the heroes who were helping A.I.M. offer themselves for a one-way trip to find the origin of the incursions threatening all reality.[48]

Following the fight against Maker, Sunspot meets with the government and they make plans to merge Avengers Idea Mechanics with the U.S. government. At the same time, Avengers Idea Mechanics defeats A.I.M's splinter groups.[49]

American Intelligence Mechanics

The merger between the U.S. government and Avengers Idea Mechanics results in the formation of American Intelligence Mechanics.[50] 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 lets them reclaim the organization's acronym, while rebranding her own organization into R.E.S.C.U.E.[42]

Splinter groups

These AIM splinter cells have appeared in various issues:

Fronts

Leaders

High Council of A.I.M.

Former

Members and agents

Avengers/American Idea Mechanics members

Reception

Critical response

Screen Rant included A.I.M. in their "Marvel: The 10 Most Powerful Henchmen In The Comics" list.[114] Comic Book Resources ranked A.I.M. 7th in their "10 Most Powerful Secret Organizations In Marvel Comics" list,[115] and 10th in their "10 Most Evil Teams In Marvel" list.[116]

Impact

Both A.I.M. and Hydra first appeared in the 1960s as analogues for the threat of Communism,[citation needed] 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 communism and Nazism removes ambiguity from the threat and thus from America's moral superiority in the comics.[117] 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."[118] 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.[40]

Other versions

A.I.M. has outposts active in several other universes in the Marvel Multiverse, including the universes for Ultimate Marvel, Marvel 1602, and Age of Apocalypse.

Heroes Reborn

In the Heroes Reborn reality, A.I.M. is led by Baron Zemo and MODOK as they take on Captain America and the new Bucky, Rebecca Barnes.[119]

2020 Death's Head Future

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 verge of making peace with the UN, when a renegade A.I.M. scientist unleashes Death's Head 3.0 on the peace conference.

House of M

In the House of M reality, A.I.M. is re-imagined as a human resistance movement led by Monica Rappacini to oppose Exodus, ruler of Australia, and his cohorts.[120]

Marvel Adventures

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 fictional 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 him to crash on their artificial island. Stark's heart is damaged, and A.I.M. forces him to build an EMP weapon for A.I.M.'s forces to finish their conquest of Madripoor, in exchange for A.I.M. repairing his heart. Stark learns that Yinsen was also kidnapped, as A.I.M. wants 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 Stark both build armor to escape. However, Yinsen destroys the generator powering the island in order to save his homeland. The explosion kills Yinsen, but Stark lives and 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 orange suits. However, the Supreme Scientist wears black clothing in a style similar to Darth Vader.

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate X4 mini-series, A.I.M. commissions Mad Thinker to steal Cerebro from the X-Men and frame the Fantastic Four, as seen.[121] 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 orbiting 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 takes him over, transforming him 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."[122] Ultimately, Tarleton is broken free of the module's control and helps Vision and the Falcon, Dr. Samuel Wilson, in destroying the module.[123]

In Ultimate Comics: Avengers, a group of A.I.M. terrorists steal advanced technology (revealed to be blueprints for a Cosmic Cube)[124] from the Baxter Building and have some associations with the Red Skull.[124][125]

In other media

Television

Film

Video games

Live performance

A.I.M. appears in the arena show Marvel Universe: LIVE!.[136]

Miscellaneous

Members of A.I.M. appear in issue #5 of The Avengers: United They Stand comic book series.

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