Life Model Decoy

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A Life Model Decoy (frequently known by the abbreviation LMD) is a fictional android appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. LMDs duplicate all outward aspects of a real living person, with such authenticity that they can easily impersonate a specific person without casual detection. LMDs first appeared in "The Man For the Job!", a short story by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby that ran the anthology book Strange Tales #135 (August 1965) in which the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. created LMDs of agent Nick Fury to use as decoys for an attack by the terrorist organization Hydra.

LMDs have been used in numerous Marvel Comics storylines in the half century since their first appearance, and have also been adapted into other media based on Marvel, including films, television series, animation and video games.

Publication history[edit]

Life Model Decoys (LMDs) first appeared in "The Man For the Job!", a short story by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby that ran the anthology book Strange Tales #135 (August 1965) in which the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. created LMDs of agent Nick Fury to use as decoys for an attack by the terrorist organizationHydra.[1]

A Life Model Decoy (or LMD for short) is a S.H.I.E.L.D.-designed robot that duplicates all outward aspects of a living person. The owner can see through, speak through, and control everything the Life Model Decoy does. Nick Fury's Life Model Decoys are probably the most common in the Marvel Universe.

It is designed to function as an exact body double for VIPs. Their design is such that they mimic the subject's outer appearance (i.e., fingerprints, hair, all details of the skin), speech patterns, scent, iris and retina patterns, body language, thought patterns (to fool telepaths), and any other biological indicators. Aside from any invasive procedure and vulnerability to strong electromagnetic pulse, they are indistinguishable from the original.

Powers and abilities[edit]

As an android, a Life-Model Decoy possesses all of the various superhuman attributes:

  • Superhuman Strength – An LMD is super-strong and possesses strength beyond the human limit.
  • Superhuman Speed – An LMD can run and move at speeds that are beyond human physical limits.
  • Superhuman Durability – An LMD's construction makes them very durable.
  • Superhuman Stamina – An LMD can exert itself well beyond a normal human's limit.
  • Superhuman Agility – An LMD's agility, balance and coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond natural human physical limits.
  • Quick RepairNanites working within the LMD allow for self-repair similar to an enhanced Healing Factor.

Known examples[edit]

A number of Life Model Decoys with simple numerical designations have appeared in storylines. These include:

  • 281 – Appears in the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline.[2]
  • 361 – Appears in the 2011 Hulk storyline "Scorched Earth".[3]
  • 391 – Appears in the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline.[4]
  • 399 – Appears in the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline.[2]
  • 442 – Appears in the 2011 Hulk storyline "Scorched Earth".[3]
  • 737 – Appears in the 2011 Hulk storyline "Scorched Earth".[3]

A number of Life Model Decoys have also been depicted impersonating specific characters. These include:

  • Amber D’Alexis – The Life Model Decoy of the mother of Mikel Fury (aka Scorpio) appears in the 1994 original graphic novel Wolverine & Nick Fury: Scorpio Rising.[5]
  • Annie – This female Life Model Decoy created and programmed by Bruce Banner in a 2011 Hulk storyline to assist Red Hulk between missions.[6][7]
  • Ant-Man III – In a 2010 Secret Avengers storyline, a villain named Father replaces Eric O'Grady, the third Ant-Man, with an LMD after O'Grady's death.[8][9]
  • Black Widow – An LMD of the former Russian agent appears in the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline.[10]
  • Bucky – An LMD of Captain America's former partner appears in the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline.[11]
  • Captain America – An LMD of the original Captain America, Steve Rogers, appears in a 1968 storyline in Captain America.[12][13][14]
  • Sharon Carter – An LMD of Captain America's ally, Sharon Carter, appears in a 1969 storyline in Captain America.[15]
  • Chuck – The Life Model Decoy who functions as the driver for Red Hulk and Annie is destroyed by Black Fog in a 2011 Hulk storyline.[16]
  • Deadpool – In the 2009 Hulk storyline "Code Red", the mercenary Deadpool is attacked by a number of Life Model Decoys made to resemble him.[17]
  • Dum Dum Dugan – The 2014 storyline "Original Sin" reveals that Nick Fury's long-time S.H.I.E.L.D. subordinate is revealed to have been killed in 1966 from weapons fire ricochet and replaced by Fury with an LMD that operated for many years without drawing suspicion from anyone, and which believes itself to be the genuine Dugan.[9][18] The Dugan LMD appears in a 2015 storyline in Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.[19]
  • Nick Fury – Nick Fury employs numerous Life Model Decoys of himself throughout his career.[20] One of them is an enhanced version that is stolen by Scorpio in a 1977 storyline.[21] It later takes name of Max Fury when it was recruited into the Shadow Council.[22]
  • Maria Hill – Maria Hill has used LMDs of herself as a tactical or hazardous situations that pose a danger to her life.[9] During the 2008 storyline "Secret Invasion", S.H.I.E.L.D. Hill uses her LMD, which she uses in order to escape a group of alien shapeshifters known as Skrulls.[23][24]
  • Iron Man – Tony Stark has used LMDs of himself as a tactical or hazardous situations that pose a danger to his life.[9] In a 1969 storyline that ran in Iron Man #11-12, Tony Stark's archenemy, the Mandarin, discovers that he is secretly Iron Man. Tony Stark has an LMD of himself built in order to trick the Mandarin into believing that Iron Man is actually someone else. Stark subsequently secures the LMD in a vault. Through an unknown means, it gains sentience, and tries to replace the real Tony Stark.[1] Stark LMDs would reappear in subsequent storylines featuring Iron Man.[25][26][27]
  • Joanie – In a 2013 storyline in Avengers A.I., a Life Model Decoy is created by the terrorist weapons maker A.I.M. to infiltrate the youth culture in the 1970s. She later becomes an ally of Dimitrios.[28]
  • Nightshade – An LMD of this character appears in a 2012 storyline in Villains for Hire.[29]
  • Thunderbolt Ross – In a 2009 storyline in The Incredible Hulk, a Life Model Decoy of General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross is revealed to have been created to cover up his transformations into Red Hulk.[9][30]
  • Valentina Rychenko – An LMD of Valentina Rychenko appears in the 2001 "Rage" storyline in X-Force.[31]
  • Glenn Talbot – During the 2010 "World War Hulks" storyline, a Life Model Decoy of the Glenn Talbot is revealed to have been programmed to believe that it is the real Glenn Talbot brought back from death. It is destroyed when Red Hulk tears its head off its body.[32]
  • Thor – An LMD of the Asgardian God of Thunder appears in a 1976 Avengers storyline.[33]

Other versions[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the "Heroes Reborn" storyline, Captain America is brainwashed into believing that he is a civilian living in the suburbs. As part of this ruse, his wife and son are LMDs assigned to protect him. Nick Fury also used a Captain America LMD during secret missions.[volume & issue needed]

The android protagonists from the 2005 miniseries Livewires are were built using LMD technology and Mannite technology. The main antagonist of the series are revealed to be rogue Nick Fury LMDs as well.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]

Marvel Cinematic Universe[edit]

The Life Model Decoys have been depicted in the films and TV series of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They are first mentioned by Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in the 2012 film The Avengers, when he attempts to avoid taking a phone call from S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson by jokingly pretending to be Stark's Life Model Decoy and asking Coulson to leave a voicemail message.[34]

They subsequently appear in "Ascension", the 2016 third season finale of the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in which scientist and inventor Holden Radcliffe and Leo Fitz plan to place the artificial intelligence, AIDA into one of the LMD bodies. AIDA and the LMDs are central antagonists during the series' fourth season.[34][35][36]

Television[edit]

  • Life Model Decoys appear in the 1998 made-for-TV film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..
  • Life Model Decoy models are seen in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. In the episode "Breakout" [Part 2], a Life Model Decoy of Nick Fury is destroyed by Graviton while taking the place of the actual Nick Fury. In the episode "Secret Invasion", a Life Model Decoy of Maria Hill was executed by the Skrulls was in place of the actual Maria Hill (a scene taken directly from the comic book storyline of the same name).
  • Life Model Decoy are seen in Iron Man: Armored Adventures. In the episode "Extremis", a Life Model Decoy of Nick Fury is used to confront ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Mallen and ended up destroyed.
  • Life Model Decoys appear in the various animated TV series broadcast on Disney XD.
    • Several Life Model Decoys appear in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. In the episode "The Man-Wolf", they are used to train Spider-Man and his team and are able to roughly duplicate the powers of whoever they impersonate.
    • Multiple Life Model Decoys appear in the Avengers Assemble animated series. In the episode "Avengers Disassembled", a number of LMDs that form a S.H.I.E.L.D. drop team accompany Captain America to assist the Avengers into fighting Ultron. These LMDs are hacked by Ultron, who uses them against the Avengers.

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Whitbrook, James (January 10, 2017). "The Silliest Life Model Decoy Stories in Marvel Comics History". io9.
  2. ^ a b Parker, Jeff (w), Casagrande, Elena (a). "Planet of Fear, Part 1", Hulk Vol. 2 #37. Marvel Comics.
  3. ^ a b c Parker, Jeff (w), Hardman, Gabriel (a). "Scorched Earth Part 4: Exit Strategy", Hulk (Vol. 2) #29 (March 2011). Marvel Comics.
  4. ^ Parker, Jeff (w), Casagrande, Elena (a). "Planet of Fear, Part 2", Hulk (Vol. 2) #38 (October 2011). Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ Chaykin, Howard (w). McManus, Shawn (a). Wolverine & Nick Fury: Scorpio Rising (October 1994). Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ Parker, Jeff (w), Hardman, Gabriel (p), Palmer, Tom (i). "The Whale", Hulk (Vol. 2) #30.1 (May 2011). Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ Richards, Dave (July 20, 2011). "Parker Hounds 'Hulk' with an Army of Adversaries". CBR.com. 
  8. ^ Brubaker, Ed (w), Conrad, Will; Deodato, Mike Jr. (a). "Secret Histories Part Two", Secret Avengers (Vol. 1) #32 (August 2010). Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ a b c d e Marston, George (May 18, 2016). "S.H.I.E.L.D.’s LMD - LIFE MODEL DECOY Explained". Newsarama. Archived from the original on May 22, 2017.
  10. ^ Bunn, Cullen (w), Nguyen, Peter (a). Fear Itself: Black Widow #1 (August 2011). Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ Brubaker, Ed (w), Guice, Jackson (a). Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1 (January 2012). Marvel Comics.
  12. ^ Lee, Stan (w), Kirby, Jack (p), Giacoia, Frank (i). "Cap Goes Wild!", Captain America #106 (October 1968). Marvel Comics.
  13. ^ Weiner, Robert G. (2009). Captain America and the Struggle of the Superhero: Critical Essays. McFarland & Company, Inc. Retrieved May 22, 2017.  Archived at Google Books.
  14. ^ Hölbling, Walter (2006). US Icons and Iconicity. Münster: LIT Verlag. Retrieved May 22, 2017.  Archived at Google Books.
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  16. ^ Parker, Jeff (w), Hardman, Gabriel (a). "Fog Of War", Hulk (Vol. 2) #33 (July 2011). Marvel Comics.
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  22. ^ Brubaker, Ed (w), Deodato, Mike Jr. (a). "Secret Histories Part One", Secret Avengers (Vol. 1) #1 (July 2010). Marvel Comics.
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  26. ^ Busiek, Kurt; Howell, Richard (w), Zircher, Patrick (p), McLeod, Bob (i). "Bodyguards", Iron Man: The Iron Age #2 (September 1998). Marvel Comics.
  27. ^ White, Mark D. (Editor) (2010). Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved May 22, 2017.  Archived at Google Books.
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  29. ^ Abnett, Dan; Lanning, Andy (w), Arlem, Renato (a). "Knight Takes King", Villains for Hire #1 (February 2012). Marvel Comics.
  30. ^ Loeb, Jeph (w), McGuinness, Ed (p), Farmer, Mark (i). "Seeing Red", The Incredible Hulk #600 (September 2009). Marvel Comics.
  31. ^ Edington, Ian; Ellis, Warren (w), Lucas, Jorge (a). "Rage War Part One", X-Force #110 (January 2001). Marvel Comics.
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  34. ^ a b Bucksbaum, Sydney (July 19, 2016). "'Agents of SHIELD' Season 4: What Is a Life Model Decoy?". The Hollywood Reporter.
  35. ^ Abrams, Natalie (January 11, 2017). "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reveals true villain of 'Life Model Decoy' arc". Entertainment Weekly.
  36. ^ Leane, Rob (May 22, 2017). "How Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. fixed the 22-episode problem". Den of Geek!

External links[edit]