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When Was THEM Officially Revealed as Part of AIM? | CBR

This is “The Book of Knowledge,” a feature where I spotlight instances where notable revelations that affect comic book continuity were first made in texts outside of comic book stories themselves. In other words, times when stuff like the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe either introduced or resolved changes to continuity.

Today, we look at how THEM was revealed to be part of A.I.M.

In the previous edition of The Book of Knowledge, I talked about how Batroc was introduced working for some mysterious employers in Tales of Suspense #75 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Dick Ayers and John Tartaglione), a group of bad guys who want a powerful explosive that SHIELD had recovered from them…

Steve Rogers accidentally bumps into Sharon Carter while she is doing a transfer of the Inferno-42 cylinder, which is about to be attempted to be stolen by Batroc the Leaper!

In Strange Tales #141-142 (by Kirby, Lee, Frank Giacoia and Mike Esposito), they introduced Mentallo and the Fixer, who fought against S.H.I.E.L.D.

In Tales of Suspense #78, Kirby, Lee and Giacoia introduced THEM, who were revealed to be the secret force (who were not even slightly mentioned in Strange Tales #141-42) behind Mentallo and Fixer…

Years later, it was revealed that THEM was also behind Batroc’s operation (which, of course, would contradict their whole “The only setback we had was Mentallo and Fixer,” which makes that story seem even odder now, right? They made THEM behind two guys who DIDN’T have mysterious bosses, but NOT have them initially behind the guy who very much DID have mysterious bosses).

Okay, so, in Strange Tales #146 (by Kirby, Lee, Don Heck and Esposito), S.H.I.E.L.D. fought THEM again…

but in that same issue, they also introduced Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.)…

And in Tales of Suspense #92 (by Kirby, Lee and Sinnott), Kirby and Lee seemingly decided that the beekeeper look was going to be A.I.M.’s look now, and THEM was phased out…

Logically, then, THEM and A.I.M. must have been connected, but that was never addressed in an actual comic book.

No, it wasn’t until the special Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition that it was established that THEM and A.I.M. were one and the same…

Okay, folks, this sort of thing is something that happens all the time, so if you have any suggestions for future “The Book of Knowledge” features, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

See how THEM came to be part of AIM.

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