MADROX (2004 mini series) – comic review

Posted: September 10, 2016 in comics
Tags: , , , , , , ,

madrox-david-e1430104854661.jpgFor those who have never heard of Jaime Madrox (much like myself before reading this) he is the Multiple man. A mutant capable of creating an almost limitless number of copies of duplicates of himself. Sounds like an awesome power doesn’t it? Well it comes with a catch. He can’t control it. It simply happens when his body receives some kind of reasonable impact. It can be as simple as hitting a wall or being punched.  It also doesn’t help that each of these duplicates contain different segments of Jamie’s personality, which generally leads to chaos and arguments ensuing as he fights with himself (literally) to get jobs done.
After the semi- disbandment of X-Factor (the sister group to ‘the X-Men’), around the time of the events of ‘House of M’, Jamie Madrox decides  to start up a private detective business in the aptly named ‘Mutant Town’ (a place of refuge for some of the few remaining mutants after Scarlett Witch’s wish). He along with his former X-Factor teammates ‘Wolfsbane’ and ‘Strong Guy’  take on all manner of cases, nothing’s too big and nothings too small, as long as it pays the bills.
This is where the 5 issue mini-series begins. The story requires no real previous understanding of who the characters are and works as a great starting point into this more gritty side of marvel.  The story feels fresh and even if some parts are quite predictable, is consistently readable and different enough from the usual ‘superhero’ fare that it stands out magnificently.
The story is narrated by Jaimie and feels just how it aims to, like an old noir thriller from the 1950’s. yes it’s set in a modern environment but it harks back and pays homage to the genre brilliantly. It has the same story beats, the same thought-provoking narration, the same downtrodden detective and even has a femme fatale.  What more could you ask for.
All of the characters are brilliantly fleshed out and feel as three-dimensional as two dimensional characters can.  All have their weaknesses and it is these that build them. The largest of these is Jamie’s fear of what life is all about as he no longer knows where he belongs.  He has the ability to go down as many routes as he likes simultaneously (which he regularly does) and has the ability to know anything his duplicates learn.   It’s a fascinating character study and brings up some interesting questions about life.
The art throughout the 5 issues is fantastic although I can see why it may not be to everyone’s tastes. It is a rough and gritty style that for me echoes the tone of the amazing story written by the fantastic Peter David.
I cannot praise this mini-series enough. It’s both a brilliant starting point to the world of X-Factor, while also being a clever standalone story that feels constantly fresh and interesting. So if you feel like trying something a little different than the usual superhero fluff of recent years, give this a go and I hope you’ll find a deep, character driven detective story which stands above the crowd with some amazing writing and some fantastic art.
-It is included in the ‘X-Factor complete collection: volume 1’ as well as the first 12 issues of X-Factor investigations-

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