A.I.M. or Advanced Idea Mechanics aka THEM, first appeared in Marvel Comics Strange Tales #146.

AIM is a unique secret society of scientists and their lackeys who have the anarchic goal of overthrowing all world governments through the use of technology. AIM is headed by The Scientist Supreme, a post that has been filled by many different people. As it is a secret society, all members wear identity concealing yellow uniforms and helmets, and the Scientist Supreme is anonymous, having no other title or name. Their goal regularly brings the group into conflict with the superheroes of the Marvel Comics Universe. It follows the general formula of a faceless, far-reaching and unremittingly evil corporation/society that has a single supervillain type goal: world domination. Ironically, AIM consists of brilliant scientists and technicians, none of which has enough smarts to avoid super-hero types until after their sinister plans have reached fruition.

The History of A.I.M.

During World War II, the infamous Nazi Baron Wolfgang von Strucker formed a secret subversive society called HYDRA. Strucker gathered together scientists that shared his goals and formed AIM to develop advanced weapons and technologies for HYDRA. This mindtrust would provide HYDRA with most of its supervillainous weapons until the end of the war.

With Allied Victory came disaster for HYDRA. Driven underground, it regrouped and existed secretly, plotting to return. AIM survived HYDRA's initial defeat but splintered into several factions. It played the role of legitimate business in order to survive. Having never been official labeled as the technological research division of HYDRA, it escaped the stigma that forced the organization underground. AIM prospered during this time, growing in size and making great advances in various fields, including robotics, bioengineering, bionics, and physics. The scientists publicly incorporated their organization under the name of Advanced Idea Mechanics. AIM's subversive goals and activities remained hidden from the world. The appearance that AIM was simply an "international cartel dealing with the development and marketing of new technological products" took shape. AIM also curried favor in the U.S. Government, as a supplier of hardware and weapon to governmental and quasi-governmental agencies.

HYDRA, after quietly rebuilding and amassing AIM created weaponry, re-emerged and tried to take over the world. SHIELD rose to the challenge and defeated HYDRA, driving them underground again. After this initial defeat, AIM attempted to discredit SHIELD Director Nicholas Fury, in order to keep its connection with HYDRA secret. This attempt, publicly led by Count Bomag Royale, failed, and Fury exposed AIM as a subversive organization, but never officially exposing the HYDRA link.

Fury and SHIELD believed it had put an end to AIM's operation. However, much of the organization escaped capture. During the time between SHIELD's exposure and the destruction of HYDRA Island, an important development occurred: The creation of MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing), an artificially mutated human being with an enormous head and a stunted body who possesses superhuman intelligence and various psionic abilities. Modok was originally an ordinary AIM member who was selected by AIM's leader to be the subject of vast bionic experiments.

After being transformed, MODOK slew the Scientist Supreme and seized control of AIM. Upon the demise of Baron Strucker and the deaths of most of HYDRA's leading members in the destruction of HYDRA Island, AIM, now under the leadership of MODOK, severed its ties with HYDRA, and has remained an independent organization ever since. This division from HYDRA also split AIM in half, into pro- and anti-MODOK camps. For years AIM existed merely to serve MODOK's ambitions for power. Under his leadership, AIM stagnated intellectually, created no truly impressive weapon, and launched no major attack on any nation.

Other cadres spent their time either attacking MODOK or working on esoteric technological weaponry. After years of following MODOK's whims, the main body of AIM revolted against his dictatorship and ousted him from the organization, eventually using the Serpent Squad to dispose of him. With all parts of the organization re-united, AIM returned to technological advancement as a means for world conquest. Today AIM remains at odds with HYDRA, with both following different ideological paths and attempting different tactics to control the same planet.

Major Achievements of A.I.M.

AIM has created several major instruments of deadly potential which stand out above the rest. The first is the Super-Adaptoid, an android capable of duplicating the form and superhuman powers of another being.

The second instrument was the Cosmic Cube, an unimaginably powerful object capable of restructuring reality. AIM manufactured the containing device - the cube - not the reality-transforming energy itself, whose nature and origin remain mysteries.

The success of the MODOK experiment is debatable, but it did create two supremely intelligent and evil creatures, MODOK and MODAM.

AIM also has at its disposal vast technical resources, which includes an elaborate network of underwater bases, vehicles capable of space flight, and the sort of off-the-wall weaponry only comic book writers can come up with. All members of AIM are fanatics, with individual members often choosing suicide over capture.

Those Damned Heroes!

Commonly a foe for Iron Man, Captain America, SHIELD and the Avengers, AIM remains a relic of Silver Age of Comic Book villains. Created during the Cold War, when large scale secret enemies (eg. Serpent Society, HYDRA, the Molemen, Atlantis) seemed truly frightening, AIM has fallen into the shadows, underused by today's comic writers.

During its peak, Nick Fury and SHEILD were the main adversaries of AIM. Fury first exposed AIM as a subversive organization, and HYDRA was the major adversary of SHIELD, therefore so was AIM.

Iron Man is another continual foe. AIM scored a major victory against his alter ego, Tony Stark, when it infected Stark's dream project, a space station, with a virus that made human habitation of the station impossible.

AIM operatives, who are fascinated by the alien technology, have a real love-hate relationship with Quasar and his Quantum Bands. AIM is determined to attain them at all costs.

Captain America, by way of the Red Skull, has had major troubles at the hands of the Cosmic Cube, AIM's prize invention.

A Prime Example of A.I.M thinking.

AIM annexed the Caribbean island of Boca Caliente by vaporizing half of it with a microwave beam transmission, and bombing the other half into submission as seen in Iron Man #207. Using Boca Caliente as its main base of operations, AIM has been producing high-tech weapons and selling them to anyone without asking what the purchaser plans on using them for. Better living through technology!