Off My Mind: Life Model Decoys (LMDs) Used to Cheat Death
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).
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.
" 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.
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:Yep, couldn't agree more." 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. "
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.
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.
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.
" @Danial79 said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:Yep, couldn't agree more. "
" 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. "
you guys would hate LOST,
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.).
" 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.
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.
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!
"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.
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.
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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