In the first issue of Matthew Rosenberg’s Multiple Man, some of the X-Men discover that everyone’s (least) favorite multiplying mutant is not as dead as people thought he was. As it turned out, he also may not be as alive either. So how is Jaime Madrox back among the living? And what does it mean for the past, present, and future?
The first issue of Multiple Man had two takeaways: building the mystery of why Madrox was back and its humorous tone. The mystery was solved (sorta), leaving way for a new puzzle. The second issue takes readers to a new setting and asks new questions that are even more intriguing than the first. Traveling to dystopian futures is not out of the ordinary for Marvel’s most hated superheroes, but this one will still manage to surprise longtime readers. It is not so much that the situation is new, but the way in which Rosenberg and artist Andy MacDonald present it. This book is filled with Rosenberg’s trademark humor, but there is still the requisite oppressive atmosphere.Multiple Man #2 manages to be even funnier than last month’s issue. Time travel is simultaneously one of the easiest and most difficult things to write about and the complicated rules of traveling through eras and the how easy it is to fix things is a running joke. Rosenberg clever use of wordplay makes sure that the gag never seems tired. Madrox is hilarious yet again as he seems to have a comment for every and any situation. He comes off as funny while also demonstrating why others find him annoying.
What also becomes clear is that Multiple Man’s sarcastic attitude is as more of a defense mechanism than a genuine attempt at humor. While the setting is silly (“fascist-y”), it’s also frightening. Posters of wanted and dead heroes cover the walls and firing squads work in the streets. An act as harmless as begging can warrant a beating from the police. Madrox deals with all of these things along with the realization that he is in part responsible for everything.
After two issues, it’s obvious that MacDonald has a clear handle on who Jaime Madrox is. So far during the series, Madrox has not been able to get a full grasp of the situation. He has a general understanding of what is going on, but the looks on his face show he does not know much more than his teammates. MacDonald also does a great job of showing the conflict the recently revived mutant is going through. While he is quick with a witty rejoinder, it’s also apparent that Madrox does not find the situation funny. The art does a great job of showing a multi dimensional character.
Multiple Man #2 continues where the debut left off. The situation is more ridiculous, making the jokes funnier, but the setting is also more dire and the gravity of the circumstances is having an effect on Madrox. There will be a lot going in the X-Universe in the next few months and Multiple Man is a great addition.