Between Matt Rosenberg writing a Multiple Man miniseries about Jamie Madrox and Saladin Ahmed writing Quicksilver it feels like all my favorite new comics writers are writing miniseries about all my favorite X-Factor characters! What’s next? Mags Visaggio writing Polaris? <crosses fingers.>
On this, Matt Rosenberg is joined by penciler Andy MacDonald and colorist extraordinaire Tamra Bonvillain. Together they bring Jamie Madrox back from the dead to mess around in the timestream and reconcile his past and future selves.
When Jamie “died” some years ago by Terrigen Mist we knew he’d be back. He’s Multiple Man, the most easy to bring back from the dead hero imaginable. Just explain that some duplicate was off hidden somewhere and as fast as you can letter a “bok” the problem is solved! This story is putting our credulity to good use.
I’m guessing it will become a conversation about identity — what makes you you. This Jaimie dupe who they found in the vault is a copy of Jamie Prime but does that make him any less our Multiple Man? Any time I think about Madrox’s significance at length there’s more than a whiff of Baudrillard’s theories on Simulacra and Simulation.
The art team’s combined efforts feel like a hybrid of Tyler Boss’ art from his book with Rosenberg 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank combined with Chris Bachalo X-Men and the current Marvel house style. It’s really the perfect fit for a script that is rife with humor both absurdist and character-driven.
MacDonald has made sense of Ilyana’s updated hair in a way I like, continuing the so-ugly-its-cool anti-fashion redesign Adam Gorham gave it for his New Mutants book with Rosenberg. But most importantly of all — the Jaime he draws is charming and vulnerable and full of physical humor. His hair is also good.
I picked this up for Multiple Man but boy is this an excellent Beast comic. Some of the finest Beast I’ve seen. He should write a Beast book next. Ilyana wearing a real Siouxsie and the Banshees t-shirt while defending her girlfriend Kitty’s burrito (goddamnit! admit they are in love you cowards!) reminds me I meant to pick up his New Mutants miniseries Dead Souls (Joy Division reference!).
If I’m talking a lot about small character notes it’s because this book is so damn good at them. This team’s take on each character feels exactly like how I see the character in my head and these are characters I have spent decades loving so that means a great deal to me. Why is Rosenberg’s take so close to my own? Probably because we grew up with the same Peter David/ Larry Stroman or Joe Quesada X-Factor comics and listening to the same punk records. Stroman did a variant cover by the way.
This book has so much fun with each characters’ super powers, with character beats and with particularly X-Men-ish time travel tropes.
But most importantly, I look forward to putting this panel of Jamie Madrox fighting himself to use for millions of political moments.
Eg: am I Beast watching Senator Schumer pretending to lead the Democrats while simultaneously chastising members of his caucus who actually confront Republicans?
Or am I Beast watching the latest re-litigation of the 2016 primary on my Facebook feed in the goddamn year 2018?
Or perhaps, Beast is my long suffering husband watching me struggle to disengage in the Twitter newstream while attempting to take a vacation?
Are you Beast? Or are you a Madrox? Stop hitting yourself! This is damn fine superhero comic. Go buy it.