Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artwork: Andy MacDonald
Colours: Tamra Bonvillain
Lettering: VD’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 27th June 2018
Back in my younger days, Jamie Madrox – AKA Multiple Man – was one of my absolute favourite X-Men, and the character’s blend of humour and tragedy was the pretty much the hook that dragged me down the X-Men/X-Factor rabbit hole in the first place. So when I heard that prolific writer Matthew Rosenberg was bringing ol’ Jamie back from the dead for a brand new solo series, I knew I simply had to pick it up.
Now, it’s perhaps fitting that the first issue of this requires multiple readings in order to figure out exactly what the heck is going on. Rosenberg certainly isn’t short of idea, but with time-travelling dupes, a chunky cast of familiar faces and some absolutely batshit crazy enemies showing up in the final pages, there’s definitely a lot to digest here.
The deadpan humour – a Marvel Comics staple since the success of the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye and Waid/Samnee Daredevil runs – definitely raises a few smiles throughout, although it also makes it a little difficult to get any real feeling of threat from what we’re seeing unfold. Pretty much everyone’s response to everything seems to be a sarcastic, weary indifference, which detracts a little from a story that should probably feel like a bigger deal.
Andy MacDonald does a solid job with the artwork, clearly having fun with the wide range of characters on display, and cutting loose in emphatic fashion in the final pages as the aforementioned craziness unfolds. There’s nothing particularly ambitious in terms of layouts or structure, but everything flows smoothly throughout and he nails the key beats of the story with requisite flair.
As I mentioned, some of the happenings here are a tad confusing, and while a mystery is always a cracking way to start a new series, the cliff-hanger here sees things perhaps getting a little too weird for my taste. That said, I’m definitely still planning on picking up issue two in order to see what the hell’s happening, so in that respect, the creators have certainly done their job. Tamra Bonvillain also delivers some typically high quality colours, with some depth and vibrancy throughout.
You can probably knock half a point off my score if you’re not already a fan of the character, but while it’s clear that the larger story is still waiting to be told, this is still an undeniably attention grabbing opening chapter. Rosenberg’s wit and enthusiasm works wonderfully alongside MacDonald’s fluid artwork, and the strength of Jamie Madrox as a leading man (or should that be men?) makes this an easy series to recommend.