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Zodiac (LMDs)



The Zodiac was the name of a criminal organization whose members were named and costumed after a sign of the astrological zodiac. Over the years, there have been various incarnations of the organization. The android Zodiac was created by Jacob Fury, a member of the human Zodiac Cartel, in hopes of creating a team that would operate under his control.

Jacob Fury, as Scorpio, was believed to have died in a previous attempt to kill his brother, Nick Fury, the public director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Scorpio wielded an ankh-shaped extra-dimensional power object called the Zodiac Key, which could fire energy bolts and teleport people and objects, even from one dimension to another. The Key originated in another dimension where conflict, especially between the forces of good and evil, in which neither side entirely and permanently defeats the other, is prized above all else. However, when conflict had waned there over time, a cult of beings known as the Brotherhood created the Zodiac Key and sent it to Earth, believing that the Key would perpetuate the struggle between good and evil, as the battle was more intense on Earth than in their own world. The Key appeared to Jacob Fury, drawn to him by his great potential for doing evil, motivated by his intense hatred of his brother and of the society and governmental system that Nick Fury worked to protect.

Jacob Fury had not died in his last defeat, and he recovered the Zodiac Key after it had been sent back to Earth by the Brotherhood. Fury again assumed the role of Scorpio and used the Zodiac Key as an energy source for his "Theater of Genetics." In this laboratory he created eleven sophisticated androids known as Life Model Decoys (LMDs) to serve as members of his own Zodiac organization. The Capricorn and Pisces androids, however, died due to imperfections soon after their activation, and the Virgo android proved to be impossible to activate. Fury again went after his brother, but the Defenders and their ally, Moon Knight, defeated the Zodiac LMDs. Jacob Fury, engulfed by despair at the failure of his plans, committed suicide by shooting himself. Nick Fury came to the scene and found his brother's corpse.

But this was not the end of Jacob Fury. The sentient Zodiac Key constructed an LMD in his form. This LMD believed itself to be the original Jacob Fury and that the original Jacob Fury's spirit and consciousness were transplanted by the Key into this android form. The Jacob Fury LMD, retaining the identity of Scorpio, found the Zodiac androids that had escaped from the Defenders and created new ones to replace Capricorn, Pisces, Virgo, the Zodiac androids that had been destroyed by S.H.I.E.L.D. after their capture.

The new android Zodiac first appeared having been organized by the Avengers’ then-renegade member, Quicksilver, although the exact details of Quicksilver’s recruitment remains unrevealed. Quicksilver, who was then temporarily insane, ordered the Zodiac to defeat the Avengers in revenge for imagined wrongs. However, the Avengers defeated them all before escaping to regroup. Most of the androids were placed in federal custody.

The android Zodiac were soon released, and the Scorpio LMD rebuilt a number of them. Scorpio used the Zodiac Key to create LMDs that exemplified the forces and personalities inherent in each sign, hoping to create great strength in the combination of all twelve traits of the Zodiac.

At some point the android Zodiac captured and presumably killed the human Scorpio, Jacques LaPoint. Jacob Fury's Scorpio android then impersonated him and infiltrated the original, human Zodiac organization. He arranged the ambush in which the android Zodiac killed all of the remaining human Zodiac leaders except Cornelius van Lunt, alias Taurus.

Immediately afterward, Van Lunt sought out the services of the Avengers' West Coast branch to confront and defeat the android Zodiac. In their initial foray, the Avengers failed, although several androids were destroyed. Sagittarius, in particular, was destroyed and replaced with an LMD replica of the Avengers’ Hawkeye. Hawkeye's LMD was used to infiltrate the Avengers' headquarters, and Scorpio also made a Leo LMD in the form of the Avengers’ Tigra for additional infiltration. This new Leo LMD helped the Zodiac gain an upper hand when the Avengers tracked the Zodiac to their refuge in Death Valley, California, but the first android Leo took offence at being replaced. He battled Scorpio directly, seemingly destroying him.

The Zodiac Key immediately resurrected the Scorpio LMD. Claiming superiority and believing that the Zodiac would eventually kill the Avengers as the androids could never be stopped, Scorpio wanted to use the Key to transport everyone on the scene to the Key's native dimension where the conflict, he believed, could be prolonged indefinitely. However, when the androids were in the other dimension, they ceased to function because each of them were aligned with a particular zodiacal energy, energy that did not exist in the other dimension. The Avengers found Hawkeye and Tigra had been sent to the same dimension and, reunited, the team was sent back to Earth by the Brotherhood. However, secretly the Brotherhood waited so that someday they could also send the Key to Earth again and create new conflicts for them.

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- Marvel Editorial Staff