Off My Mind: Life Model Decoys (LMDs) Used to Cheat Death

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Posted by G-Man (30641 posts) - - Show Bio
When a character dies in a comic book, chances are they will return soon. The trick for writers is to come up with a believable way to "resurrect" the character without alienating or upsetting readers. No one likes a cheap death and they definitely don't like the cheap return of a character. 
 
One common tool used to explain the death or serious injury of a character is the Life Model Decoy (also known as LMD). These were first used by Nick Fury in SHIELD as decoys when fighting enemy agents of HYDRA. LMDs are nearly identical to the original. Besides Fury, Maria Hill, Tony Stark and Thunderbolt Ross are among those that have used LMDs to replace them. 
 
Are Life Model Decoys a clever invention or just a cheap way for characters to cheat death? 
 == TEASER == 

Whenever you see Nick Fury injured or acting out of character, the first thought is it's an LMD. While the use of an LMD to replace Thunderbolt Ross when Red Hulk "killed" him was a clever way to trick everyone in the Marvel Universe (as well as readers), it did feel a little cheap after the fact sunk in.  
 
What it comes down to is LMDs should be used sparingly. You would think they cost quite a bit to make. We shouldn't see them pop up all over the place. As important as Nick Fury is, I don't know if SHIELD's budget can afford to have a ton of LMDs at his disposal. Unless I missed it, it wasn't fully explained how MODOK happened to have an LMD of Ross lying around (perhaps he had it made when planning out the Red Hulk scheme). 
 
I say the day of the LMD is over, especially if it's going to be used to fake a death. We've seen it too often. It's getting to be as bad as Doctor Doom and all his Doombots. If we must be subjected to death and trickery, I say we should see a new explanation to explain away the death of a character. (Now watch Nightcrawler and Cable's deaths will be resolved with LMDs).
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#1 Posted by ForbushBug (496 posts) - - Show Bio

I think LMDs jumped the shark with the Punisher/Nick Fury storyline. Marvel had hyped a major death and to have it reversed fairly quickly in such a trite manner made the whole thing cheap.

#2 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate LMD's. Simply the lamest form of deus ex machina. General Ross' death was a solid instance of this.

#3 Posted by BuddyBulson (427 posts) - - Show Bio

nick fury was right!

#4 Edited by ComicMan24 (147042 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree that they are a cheap way to cheat death. Maybe not that cheap now that I think of it.

#5 Posted by Mainline (1129 posts) - - Show Bio

LMDs are a bit played in the manner Doom Bots have forced writers to add an asterisk or line of expository text every single time Doctor Doom is present stating "he's actually here this time!" 
 
That said, writers are going to use them anyways and the LMD is just a stopgap to get us over the queasiness of the alternative... disposable clones.  With the ambient tech-level of the Marvel Universe, reprogrammed and grown clones are far more cost effective and better at replicating death than androids... but most are still uneasy with the ethics of throwing away clones.  So LMDs let the hacks have their desired soap opera resurrection device (hey, it's better than the rampant incidence of surprise evil twins in actual daytime TV) without cloning.

#6 Posted by Theodore (3445 posts) - - Show Bio

LMDs are kinda lame... Doombots are just ridiculous though.

#7 Posted by Danial79 (2333 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" I hate LMD's. Simply the lamest form of deus ex machina. General Ross' death was a solid instance of this. "
Agreed. I think LMDs are the Marvel equivalent of "I woke up and it was all a dream". In other words: poor writing.
#8 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@Danial79 said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" I hate LMD's. Simply the lamest form of deus ex machina. General Ross' death was a solid instance of this. "
Agreed. I think LMDs are the Marvel equivalent of "I woke up and it was all a dream". In other words: poor writing. "
Yep, couldn't agree more.
#9 Edited by antiterra (168 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate fake deaths in general. In the vast majority of cases, they are nothing but cheap ways to fabricate suspense and easy shock factor.

"It was a cyborg!" "It was a magically animated life-size clay model!" "It was a shapeshifter!" "He was teleported away a millisecond before his body was apparently vaporised!" "It was all an illuuuusion..." "It was just a cheap ploy and I can't even be bothered to come up with an excuse!" 

Lame, lame, lame. LMDs are quite literally deus ex machina - machines from which "God" emerges to solve the story-writing woes of uninspired writers.

#10 Posted by karrob (4276 posts) - - Show Bio

Its lame but I kind of like characters with the foresight that this could be it for me so they send in a decoy...call me crazy

#11 Posted by lagoon_boy (10951 posts) - - Show Bio
It was a good idea in the first few LMDs, But after a while it became boring.
#12 Posted by DavidHenderson (7 posts) - - Show Bio

The only use of an LMD that I've seen to be quite good was at the end of the Secret War story line and Fury used one to explain to everyone what happened knowing that Logan would go beserk. It also allowed him to go into hiding earlier. 
 
But, other than that, I think they're pretty terrible as deus ex machinas.

#13 Posted by Dark Walker (477 posts) - - Show Bio

LAME, just lame. 
 
That top pic is kinda spooky, with the side of the robot face visible through the eye almost makes it look like the "human" face is looking back at the robot face.  Creepy. 

#14 Posted by Retro_Metro (368 posts) - - Show Bio

A little overrated.

#15 Edited by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio

I never had a problem with the LMDs in general, but I do have a problem with the over use. It is assumed that to make a LMD is rather simple, considering in one of the Secret Warriors comics the SW used a small army of them to slow down Osborn. I also like when Fury uses them because its true you never do know who you are dealing with the man or the machine. Now that being said even in real life people have used "duplicates" or look a likes to skirt danger. Church had a number of them during WW2, just one example.
 
In closing the LMD is a good idea, but its used way to often. Although if you read Avengers/Invaders that is a very good story line involving artificial life and just how far unlike humans they are treated... which turns the Torch briefly against Cap and his allies.

#16 Posted by G'bandit (13689 posts) - - Show Bio

Is believable from the military because well they are the military

#17 Posted by mesosteros (145 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree that they shouldn't use it as often as they do but I gotta disagree on the Ross LMD... that was an unexpected and very well plot wise one.

#18 Posted by sarahsdad (11 posts) - - Show Bio
@BuddyBulson said:
" nick fury was right! "
This. I loved Maria's use of an LMD there.
#19 Posted by darkwolverineUSMC (315 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate when I found out that Ross was the Red Hulk and that the Ross that had fought against the Rulk was a LMD. That was so confusing.

#20 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @Danial79 said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" I hate LMD's. Simply the lamest form of deus ex machina. General Ross' death was a solid instance of this. "
Agreed. I think LMDs are the Marvel equivalent of "I woke up and it was all a dream". In other words: poor writing. "
Yep, couldn't agree more. "

you guys would hate LOST,
#21 Posted by Danial79 (2333 posts) - - Show Bio
@doordoor123: Yeah, I've heard how that ended : P
#22 Posted by Wolverine0628 (398 posts) - - Show Bio

Whenever anyone dies now, it's only a matter of time before they come back.  I think maybe Marvel should kill off somebody relatively big, and never bring them back, to restore our faith in their deaths from then on.

#23 Posted by ImperiousRix (1069 posts) - - Show Bio

That's so weird.  I just started reading Secret Avengers, and my first thought when I saw Nick Fury in cahoots with that Thorndrake fellow was that it was an LMD.
It's one of the reasons I don't really even LIKE Nick Fury anymore.  You just can never tell if it's really the guy or not.  I mean for goodness sake, they even used LMDs with Nick Fury in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, the video game.

#24 Posted by SupremoMaximo (209 posts) - - Show Bio

If an LMD could go to work for me while I stayed home, then I'm all for them...

#25 Posted by HaloKing343 (1252 posts) - - Show Bio

I use LMDs all the time. That's the only way I feel safe anymore
#26 Posted by leokearon (1759 posts) - - Show Bio

If the character dies and is immediately revealed to be an LMD then all well and good, but if it takes longer it is stupid as anyone should be able to tell a person from a robot during an autopsy

#27 Posted by Mumbles (846 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel still can beat patrick duffy on dallas taking a shower stating everything was a dream.  its always a cop out way of doing things.  but it will be done over and over again.

#28 Posted by knife (59 posts) - - Show Bio

Just another escape cause for the writers to use to bring back a character and get a couple of stories out of it. Check out Legion of Super-Heroes issue #306(I think) about the durlan female who took over Shrinking Violet's place. That was good writing and also a good story line. Also no one DIED to get the story.
#29 Posted by Decept-O (7274 posts) - - Show Bio

LMD's.  *ugh*  "Nuff said.
#30 Posted by Omega Ray Jay (7583 posts) - - Show Bio

If the Beyonder that got retconed was an LMD I'm cool with that.

#31 Posted by DarkSyde79 (214 posts) - - Show Bio

Better LMDs than random clones, alternate reality copies, and the random last second switch by another time travelling hero. 

#32 Posted by 614azrael (10304 posts) - - Show Bio

I saw u post images last night i shud of seen this blog comeing lol, LMDs are ok if apon death its revealed if it dosent then its simply lame
#33 Posted by iloverobots (455 posts) - - Show Bio

It was used recently in Action Comics where Lex has his own Lois android and they don't mention the fact that she's a robot before a couple of pages in. Now that I think about it maybe it was mentioned somewhere else before and I missed it?

#34 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2233 posts) - - Show Bio

I guess if the technology exists in that reality, it would be incredibly hard to keep it out of the hands of everyone, including bad guys.
Like in Iron Man 2, or the Super Soldier stuff in the comics, everyone is working to duplicate this technology and make one of their own.  LMDs being everywhere would make sense but it is annoying.
I would imagine hearing a lot of heroes, especially Spider-Man, always asking "Is that an LMD?"
I didn't read the issue where Ross died, but I guessed it was a clone.  I think the reason for that was because Betty was a clone so a clone of Ross might have made more sense.  And then it felt cheap after the fact because then an entire prison like base was run by LMDs.  Thats a little much.  To first imagine one robot so life like that it seems human, and then an entire military base full of robots is stretching it a little too far.
 
Thats going to be my new go to answer for things in comics now when I don't like how things are going.
Captain America wouldn't act like that, oh he must be an LMD.  Xavier died again, no its must be an LMD.  Why would a writer purposely ruin a comic, he must be an LMD. 
Pretty soon we will find out all of Marvel are LMDs, robots fighting robots.  All day every day!  No humans in sight.
Who is to say we aren't all LMDs?

#35 Posted by wolfman54 (50 posts) - - Show Bio

LMD's SUCK
#36 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2233 posts) - - Show Bio
@doordoor123: How does it end?  And for that matter, how does Battlestar Galactica end?  Are the all Sylons?  Sylons fighting Sylons?
 
Maybe what this will lead to is the technology for LMDs gets wiped from the Earth, and any trace of it is destroyed as best as they can, so that hardly any - none, exist anymore.  Like how Blackest Night was meant to end the revolving door of death at DC.
#37 Posted by MisterMollusk (103 posts) - - Show Bio

LMDs just make me think "oh yeah this is a comic book" and takes a toll on the emotional investment I had put in to the story.

#38 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio
@ArtisticNeedham:  To answer your first question about Battlestar it ended with the surviving members of the fleet integrating with the humans on Earth. The Cylons left for good, and the fleet (controlled by Anders) flew into the sun. If I remember correctly only that little girl Cylon and Boomer stayed on Earth. Oh and Starbuck just disappeared.
 
Now to your second point I doubt Blackest Night will stop that revolving door, Marvel did The End and that was supposed to solve that problem with constant hero resurrection, but we see how long that last.
#39 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio

Well I am not much of an expert on Marvel's concept of LMD's, but it does bring something familiar with DC Comics. In Action Comics #86, the ORIGINAL Toyman shows a hidden secret about himself and to other TOYMEN (Jack Nimbell, Hiro Okamura, and the SUPERMAN TAS Toyman, and different costumes of himself). He reveals that they are all androids and are controlled by him.


If you ask me, it sounds like Toyman has built the perfect scapegoat and Trojan horse (Hiro is still active and could now be considered as a threat hidden in the superhero community.).
#40 Posted by BuddyBulson (427 posts) - - Show Bio
@sarahsdad:  thats exactly why i said it
#41 Posted by Dr. Detfink (460 posts) - - Show Bio

Wait are we complaining about cyborg clones in an industry where guys have multiple deaths/resurrections, all kinds of beams, etc?

#42 Posted by Retro_Metro (368 posts) - - Show Bio
@Nova`Prime` said:
" I never had a problem with the LMDs in general, but I do have a problem with the over use. It is assumed that to make a LMD is rather simple, considering in one of the Secret Warriors comics the SW used a small army of them to slow down Osborn. I also like when Fury uses them because its true you never do know who you are dealing with the man or the machine. Now that being said even in real life people have used "duplicates" or look a likes to skirt danger. Church had a number of them during WW2, just one example.  In closing the LMD is a good idea, but its used way to often. Although if you read Avengers/Invaders that is a very good story line involving artificial life and just how far unlike humans they are treated... which turns the Torch briefly against Cap and his allies. "
You would think that Fury is always busy so readers would think he would replace himself.
#43 Posted by Woerlan (17 posts) - - Show Bio

They're a cheap trick used to generate false death/injury tension and to maintain a status quo that they're deathly afraid of changing. The way they toss those things around you'd almost expect them to be available for $19.99 at a Best Buy.

#44 Edited by ArtisticNeedham (2233 posts) - - Show Bio

Why are Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, and other heroes all over the place with being on multiple teams, their own solo adventures and having secret private lifes?
They are LMDs!  There are several Spider-Mans and Hawkeyes, and Wolverines!

#45 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio
@Retro_Metro said:
"You would think that Fury is always busy so readers would think he would replace himself. "
That's very true, Fury does seem to use the LMDs more because he's doing multiple things at once, so it fits him. Also he's a "mortal" working along side super-humans and gods, so it pays to have a little insurance.
#46 Posted by The Velvet Rabbit (262 posts) - - Show Bio

clever invention?   I suppose.   cheap way to cheat death?   yeppers.   the last thing we need is to make it easier for Loeb.   of course, it's not so bad if it's discovered immediately, but if it's drawn out for several issues and then suddenly somebody's like, "oh, he was an LMD", that's a little different story.

#47 Posted by RandomAtom (48 posts) - - Show Bio

Ten bucks says that Nick Fury has gained thirty pounds sitting around while his LMDs do all the work...
 
 
...lucky jerk.

#48 Posted by squiresmadnessmachine (303 posts) - - Show Bio

cable can come back easily as much as time travel comes in to play in the x-men cable can be brought back at anytime he just wouldnt know who hope is

#49 Posted by RJMooreII (205 posts) - - Show Bio

The stupid thing is that no one can ever detect them. Shouldn't they be like 100lbs too heavy? From what I can tell most of them are chock full of metal.

#50 Posted by SuperXAsh (506 posts) - - Show Bio

While it makes sense from the perspective of being a secret agent in a world like the Marvel Universe, yeah it does get kinda played out too much. Kinda like the whole Doombots thing too. 
 
BUT Nick Fury's use of them makes sense when dealing with guys like Punisher or Wolverine, say one wrong word and they're likely to kill ya. Makes sense when dealing with THOSE guys... but as shown in recent years... that can also be used to get Nick in some deep shitake, like how various Fury LMDs have been used to screw with people without Nick knowing about it (like the one that recruited the Hulk for that space mission). 
 
If used right they can add an interesting layer to a story... if used wrong, they make things needlessly stupid.

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