Tag Archives: multiple man

73 – X-FACTOR

13 Jul

Subject: X-Factor
Roster: Havok (Team Leader), Polaris, Multiple Man, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy, Val Cooper (U.S. Government Liaison)
First Appearance: X-Factor #71, October 1991

Seems super weird to have X-Factor’s first appearance be in X-Factor #71, huh? Well, that’s because this X-Factor team is different from the original X-Factor team, made up of the original X-Men first class (the comics, not the movie). That team, made of Cyclops, Iceman, Beast, Angel, and Jean Grey, had been a privately funded mutant advocacy group. When those guys returned to the X-Men, the government created a new federally-sanctioned X-Factor, starring those guys you see on the card.

The relaunch, written by Peter David and drawn by Larry Strohman, was beyond quirky and eccentric: it was strong on the satire, and really played up the clashing personalities of the various members, all of whom had huge chips on their shoulders. If you were really into the Image look/feel it was either a huge turnoff or a refreshing palate cleanser (in a different way from Excalibur‘s weird whimsy and dimension-hopping, which were often headache-inducing). As a kid it was definitely a little bit of both. I gravitated mostly on the stylized art and the team’s badass costumes, even if I couldn’t remember much of the actual plot.

Lee’s art here disappoints yet again. While it’s not the claustrophobic composition of the Blue Strike Force card, it’s far too distant and hasty, making it look like the generic 90’s Marvel look, and not the Jim Lee aesthetic. I’d say this was because of his unfamiliarity with the characters, but almost all these guys got competently drawn individual cards.

Finally, the team bio chooses to profile government liaison Valerie Cooper in the Team Leader photo, even though it clearly says that Havok is the team leader. It also forgoes an image of their base, which at the time if I recall correctly was the pentagon. As such the back of the card seems sparse and lacking of effort, which isn’t all that surprising really.

34 – MULTIPLE MAN

13 Apr

Subject: Multiple Man
Real Name: Jamie Madrox
Height: 5’11” Weight: 155 lbs.
Group Affiliation: X-Factor
First Appearance: Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4, February 1975

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 2/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 3/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

I remember a classmate of mine in 2nd grade being obsessed with Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man. He loved the costume and the name, both of which, arguably, really are badass (as cool, in fact, as his teammate, Strong Guy. And while his power wasn’t particularly exciting or powerful, it was at least unique and probably far more useful than many other mutants’ abilities.

The art is pretty good, with that tessellated quality you would expect from a portrayal of the character. The smile belies his happy-go-lucky sense of humor, and the trenchcoat is just stylish. The side-b portrait still has that sense of mischief, but still suffers from Lee’s inability to really differentiate the masses of white males that populated the majority of the X-Books, under the masks and hoods.

I also can’t remember off the top of my head if the bit of trivia in his character bio was something I knew beforehand, but it is interesting nonetheless: while it’s well known that his multiplying ability is triggered by a kinetic impact (like a slap on the back), turns out his costume is actually a special suit that insulates him from such unwanted impacts (he usually claps his hands to trigger it himself).

The Power Ratings again seem appropriate, as far as the different criteria go; but again, they are inadequate at highlighting what makes Multiple Man unique as a superhero. Not that I can think of an appropriate power criterion that would be sufficient.