Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, is back among the living. I had no idea he’d died as I have a gap in my Marvel Comics knowledge where the Terrigen Mists killed a bunch of mutants, including Mr. Madrox. A few of the X-Men find one of his dupes holed up in an underground bunker. That’s a good thing, right? Well, just wait until he gets out and starts causing some mischief and another dupe shows up. It seems Madrox is having a bit of an identity crisis. In order to save the world, he has to kill himself…sort of.
I’m going to get this out of the way up front. Multiple Man is my favorite mutant. After Peter David’s Madrox mini-series and subsequent X-Factor run, I was all in. This is a character that speaks to the nerdy side of me (who am I kidding? That’s every side.) as he can learn and experience everything the world has to offer through his dupes, effectively living tons of different lives at once. So how does this new mini-series stack up? Pretty good so far.
Writer Matthew Rosenberg captures that quirky quality that makes the character so fun. Madrox can be a walking paradox and this comic is no different, especially when time travel is thrown in. The humor is spot on and just dark enough without being overly cynical. He’s like a noir version of Spider-Man. He’s the only one that truly understand himself and the odd things he gets himself into. It makes for some zany interactions, like something out of a Marx Brothers movie.
Jamie’s sly personality comes through perfectly in Andy MacDonald’s artwork. He looks super aware, not just as a keen observer, but also looking for the next joke he can throw out there. His mind is always moving. His signature green shirt with six connected dots returns as his unofficial uniform. I really want one of those. Marvel, can you make that happen?
No time is wasted getting into the story. This issue moves at a mile a minute, getting to the meat of the tale fast. Jamie’s background is explained right away so even those that are unfamiliar with the character will be up to speed right away. This is helpful as there’s a lot of story to sift through. The comic does not feel bloated or exposition-heavy. It moves at such a brisk pace that you’ll be able to take everything in at first, but may want to go through it again just to make sure you caught all the fun bits.
The vast majority of Multiple Man #1 takes place in the X-Mansion. Tamra Bonvillain’s colors highlight the different areas. There’s a sterile quality to Beast’s lab with the bright fluorescent lighting beating down on the equipment and cold blue walls. Meanwhile, the living quarters of the mansion feel softer and more homely. This makes the craziness of the last few pages all the more shocking and exciting.
MacDonald’s best work comes at the end of the issue which is big spoiler country, so I won’t go into too many details. Suffice it to say, Madrox’s already complicated life gets even more complicated. There are some great designs at play. This is also where letterer Travis Lanham shines with some awesome sound effects that curl around MacDonald’s pencils.
Multiple Man is back and I could not be happier. This is such a fun, solid debut issue and I can’t wait to see what this creative team has in store for this character. The story starts with a bang and a bunch of questions that got me super pumped for the rest. The only real downside is that this is only a mini-series. I so want to see more of this.