Wednesday, August 27, 2014


He is the one, and many, MULTIPLE MAN!

More X-Men reviews below!

Comic title: MadroX: multiple choice
Art by Pablo Raimondi 
Written by Peter David  

Published by Marvel Knights
From 2005
Lineup Marvel Universe/X-Factor series
Format: Trade paperback collecting Madrox #1-5.

Returning after a ten year absence from these characters, in 2004 well renowned comic book writer Peter David returned for the occasion for a very special mini-series in the Marvel Knights line. A line originally launched by Marvel for their darker and more mature titles. (Headlined with successful relaunches of characters such as The Punisher and Daredevil.)

MadroX: multiple choice is a mini centered around Jamie Madrox. Aka Multiple Man. A 1970s character originally created by writer Len Wein back in the days of Chris Claremont's X-Men. Jaime himself originally popped up in the pages of Fantastic Four as a one-off villain.

On the paper the idea is pretty simple and basic. Multiple Man has the mutant ability to create duplicates of himself he calls "dupes". He was a relatively minor character at first. But he was finally given a proper backstory and character development in the pages of Peter David's run of X-Factor in the 1990s.

Several other writers would take over that title and play with this team of misfits before the book would ultimately be revamped for PaD's* second run in the 2000s.
*Peter David's nickname in the field

"multiple choice" is a very captivating thriller, inspired by film noir. With Madrox now a huge fan of noir/crime/detective stories, so he simply decided to open his own detective agency, "xXx Investigations". With Jamie providing heavy narration through the entire story.

The story follows the end of the run of the classic X-Factor series, after the fall of X-Corporaction. Jamie Madrox is just back from Paris.

We find a Multiple Man now obsessed with noir detective stories. He decides to open a private detective business back in the "Mutant Town" part of New York City.

To do so, he invites aboard some of his former X-Factor teammates and closest friends. "Strong Guy" Guido and the werewolf-mutant "Wolfsbane" Rahne Sinclair.

Jamie now has a much better control of his powers... He appears to be much more powerful and really easily able to absorb back their knowledge and memories onto him. Which means he can instantly absorb years of training in all sorts of field in mere seconds if he sends a dupe off for a few years somewhere. But not without a new downside. Sometimes they might come off with different exaggerated personality traits if he's not focused, depending what he might be thinking in the moment when generating them. And sometimes... it might just turn for the worst! It's a form of extreme multiple personality disorder if you will, what would you expect from a Multiple Man!

Lately his dupes have been dangerously instable and unpredictable, emerging with split personality radically diverging from himself!

Anyway, Madrox sent duplicates all over the world to learn several skills for him. In fact he's been doing that for the last few years, sending some of them to lead lives of their own. They're in fact all converging back now to return to him (for example one of the dupes has become a Shaolin monk, another is now a field agent at SHIELD, etc.) 

But one day one of these dupes comes back bleeding... Who shot Jamie Madrox? Who is the killer and why?! The mystery begins...

It's a great introduction to this character and even the rest of the X-Factor team, even if only the core members of the roster are present in this tale.

For me, the three most important X-Factor members, the heart of what PaD turned X-Factor into, have always been Madrox, Guido and Wolfsbane. They're the one moving most of the stories along and also providing the book most of its tone.

But this is just an introduction behind the basic synopsis of the new X-Factor, the detective agency.

Jamie "Prime" goes after the killer of his dupe. A tale taking him to Chicago and uncovering an entire plot behind the local mob forces! Where he will discover he might not be a proper mutant after all... (this storyline would be followed in the later X-Factor series)

And who is this Clay who seems to have the same powers?!?

Meanwhile Guido, Wolfsbane and a Jamie duplicate are in charge of X-Factor Investigations. Taking a parallel case of their own, to establish the motives of the gang.

The noir-tone and traditional Peter David humor make this a very fun read.

There's a lot of fun new elements introduced to these characters that would be a keystone in the new X-Factor series.

Most of Madrox' dupes are often two-dimensional caricatures accentuating some of his worst traits, be it his libido, his cowardice or even his self-loathing.

You'll also note that his dupes often sports different speech bubbles text, something that also would be carried over X-Factor.

It's little details like this that truly immerse the reader in this story. Catching all that early on really helps catch you in the loop of what's going on in this tale.

Peter David would get to explore Jamie's childhood - only quickly mentioned here how he grew up all by himself in a farm in Kansas, after the death of his parents - in later stories.

In fact, "multiple choice" really feels like a prologue to the main series. It has since been reprinted (in a hardcover collection) as Volume 0 of that following series actually. This mini-series functions kind of like a pilot for the X-Factor series launched afterwards.

It's a great fun story following such an obvious basic idea. If you could make infinite copies of yourself as you please, being able to absorb their memories memories later on, why not send these copies all over the world to learn everything? And that's exactly what Madrox sent all these dupes for... in order to become the best private detective there is!

Overall, it's a fantastic read, an Highly Recommended read! For fans and newcomers to these characters alike, you don't even need to be that familiar with the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe.

This mini-series would launch a new X-Factor series, where the government-sponsored team would be replaced by a detective agency - and what a fantastic original premise for an X-Men title!

Following his acclaimed run on X-Factor, Peter David finally returned back to his beloved characters in this noir-esque thriller/detective story. Done in classic film noir mystery-fashion. It's brutal, dark and there's many deaths at every turn! But it's still PaD's X-Factor, fun, moody with plenty of humor!

It's a perfect starting point for newcomers to these characters, and a sign of great things to come for the X-Factor relaunch!

It's just a great story with some of the best characters he wrote over the years.

The art is also fantastic. Complimenting the storytelling. Perfectly fitting moody art by Pablo Raimondi which would define the standards of this series.

Multiple Man is such a fun character, who really deserves more attention from the general public. He's such an interesting, complex and fun protagonist. He has gone on to appear in a lot of cartoons, from the original X-Men animated series to X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men as well, but you better ignore his sole live action portrayal to date in the questionable 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand...

Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, and the other members of his detective agency would go on to star in the revamped X-Factor monthly series, still under writer Peter David until it ended not that long ago. And this Madrox mini is a fantastic place to start. It was later reprinted under the title X-Factor Vol. 0: Madrox - Multiple Choice in 2005.

I give it:
3 / 3 Howards!

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