Before 2004, if Marvel were to put out a miniseries focused on Madrox the Multiple Man, my first thought would not have been, “Yes, I must buy that!” But Peter David excels at finding approaches to often-overlooked characters that make them incredibly interesting.
Jamie Madrox, longtime bit player among the numerous X-Men titles, can create a seemingly endless number of duplicates of himself. So you could use him as a one-man army, or perhaps kill off one of his duplicates to demonstrate a villain’s power. But David went with a more imaginative take.
If a man can create independent, sentient copies of himself, then those copies can go off and pursue paths the original man would otherwise never have time for, all those “roads not taken.” Those duplicates can then reintegrate with the original, who can benefit from their memories and experiences. Madrox isn’t just the Multiple Man—he’s the multiple-choice man who can almost always select “all of the above.” And of course, “all” doesn’t necessarily mean only good choices.
In this storyline, Madrox is trying his hand at being a private eye, and one who’s as noir as he can manage. He’s not exactly a hardboiled kind fellow, so opportunities for humor abound.
Beginning with this miniseries, David turned Madrox into one of Marvel’s most fascinating characters, mutant or otherwise. This story served as the pilot for a new X-Factor ongoing series, which maintained the superb quality for years. Fantastic stuff.
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Pablo Raimondi
Inker: Drew Hennessy
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Madrox: Multiple Choice (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 14 and up