Jamie Madrox is in the future and under attack by a horde of other dupes of himself, commanded by Emperor Madrox who has taken over the world. He’s aided by a small group of other dupes and another group that’s from the farther future who have been transformed into versions of other Marvel characters. Yes, this is a little confusing, but go with it. It’s time travel so you take this kind of stuff with a grain of salt anyway.
What Madrox is most definitely the star of Multiple Man, and not just because he makes up about 95% of the cast, Forge steals the show in this issue. He’s been reduced to little more than a floating head in a washing machine (his words, not mine) so he’s living this depressing life. Forge grabs onto the weirdest things to occupy himself, which frustrates Jamie to no end. What else could possibly happen to this guy to make his life worse?
It’s this kind of humor that has made Multiple Man such a great read. Writer Matthew Rosenberg fills this book with impressive and hilarious dialogue that is pitch perfect for the Marvel Universe. It’s not dark and dreary, despite the dystopian world we’re watching. Instead, it moves at a brisk pace and frequently breaks the tension. This keeps you on your toes as you don’t know what to expect next. Plus, it’s laugh-out-loud funny.
Although the bulk of the characters look alike since they’re all the same person, artist Andy MacDonald provides more than enough variety to them so you can tell them apart. I’m not just talking about the one that’s dressed like Deadpool. Even the characters that all wear the same uniform have some unique qualities to them. Each dupe represents a different aspect of Madrox’s personality, so they exhibit slightly different behavior. Some are scared. Others are happy and energetic. Some are grumpy. You don’t need them to wear name tags to figure out who is who because we can see that from MacDonald’s artwork.
The firefight that breaks out is exciting and action-packed. There’s a lot going on and MacDonald directs your eye to the right spots to capture every detail. There’s never confusion as to what’s going on or who’s attacking who despite the same uniforms popping up on multiple characters. It flows well.
The humorous dialogue is matched up perfectly with MacDonald’s pencils. This comes down to the facial expressions. It’s clear that Madrox is in way over his head, so he often has this puzzled look on his face, like he’s wondering how his life got some complicated. Forge has a lackadaisical expression, like he couldn’t care what happens one way or another. It’s so spot on. This is the case for every character.
While Multiple Man is lighthearted in its humor, there is no doubt this takes place in a dystopian landscape. Colorist Tamra Bonvillain gives the book a gritty feel. This is not a bright, clean version of the future filled with hope and promise. This is the opposite of a utopia. Even though this issue mostly takes place in an underground bunker, that tone comes through on every page.
Travis Lanham’s letters help convey the emotion of some of the characters as well. For example, during a particularly funny death scene, someone’s speech is a little hazy, so the word balloons are shaky, like they’re deflating. It’s a nice touch. This extends for Forge’s melancholy outlook on life, too. Somehow you can feel that deadpan, robotic delivery of everything he’s saying.
Multiple Man is firing on all cylinders. It’s unpredictable, hilarious, action-packed, and beautifully illustrated. I have no idea where it’s going to go next, but if the story so far is any indication, I’m going to love the rest of this journey. I just hate that this is only a mini-series. Marvel, please, please, please, keep this ride going because it is too good to let it end after only five issues.