Comic Reviews: Multiple Man and Detective Comics!
Multiple Man #1 (Marvel Comics)
One of the Marvel universe’s best sleeper characters is Jamie Madrox, aka The Multiple Man. The mutant hero was the lead in a stellar run on X-Factor years ago that was one of the best comics that people never read, but after the whole “Terrigen Mists” plot point that ran through multiple X-titles a few years ago, the character was killed off. Or at least he was, until now. With a brand new miniseries from Matthew Rosenberg and artist Andy Macdonald, the last surviving Madrox clone has to find out why he’s still alive, and what can keep him up and walking in this new Marvel universe.
After being discovered by remaining X-Force members Strong Guy and Majik, the final Madrox clone (or “Dupe”) is brought to Beast for examination. Upon waking up, Madrox tells Beast that he’d been working on a serum to protect him from the Terrigen Mists, but needs Beast’s superior intellect to help him finish it. But then, another Madrox dupe arrives from twenty minutes in the future (thanks to Bishop’s time travel device) and tells Beast that he can’t make that serum. But that Madrox wouldn’t be alive at the moment if Beast hadn’t made it. So what does the “future” Madrox really want?
I know that sounds very confusing, but it makes sense in Matthew Rosenberg’s script. Rosenberg’s well on his way to becoming a big Marvel writer thanks to books like Phoenix Resurrection, but he flexes some muscles that he hasn’t since his early Black Mask Studios days with Multiple Man. There’s a few moments of action in this opening issue, but it primarily plays out like a weird time-travel mystery, with the Multiple Man at the center of it. Rosenberg’s got a great handle on the characterizations of the X-Men team, but he really shines with Madrox, who hasn’t been this fun since Peter David’s X-Factor.
Andy MacDonald’s art isn’t the type you would pick for a seemingly action heavy X-Men book, but luckily for him, this isn’t a very action heavy book. Macdonald has some super detailed facial expressions and hilarious visual gags in this comic, but there’s also some pretty disturbing stuff in here too. You’ll never look at the way Madrox “absorbs” his dupes into himself the same way again after you’ve seen MacDonald’s take. The one action sequence that does pop up is pretty well done, and MacDonald plays off the big reveal at the end in a fun way that guarantees I’ll be back.
Multiple Man‘s opening issue is a great time, and it’s honestly nice to have a cool little mystery going on in the Marvel Universe. Multiple Man is a character that should have a lot more exposure than he does, and hopefully this miniseries will give that to him. I know I’ll be checking out the rest of the series to see how this new world for him shakes out.
Detective Comics #983 (DC Comics)
Now that James Tynion IV has moved on from Detective Comics, it’s time to get some new blood on the book, both on the creative side and the roster side. Taking Tynion’s place as writer is Bryan Hill, with new artist Miguel Mendonca, and joining the team is Black Lightning himself, fresh from a hit TV show.
After a Batman “Viewtube” super fan is murdered in an attack that also leaves The Signal injured, many members of Gotham City are pointing the blame at the Dark Knight. With a city around him looking for Batman to answer for his perceived crimes, it’s not a great time to be a vigilante. At the same time, Batman is looking for someone to take his place as a leader of his group of heroes, and he believes that Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning, is the man for the job. But as Pierce considers Batman’s offer, the mysterious enemy behind the death of the Batman fan is making his first moves against the Bat-Family, and he’s got his sights on Cassandra Cain.
Bryan Hill leaves a major mark on this opening issue, and I was completely blown away by it. As someone who loved the Black Lightning TV show when it aired on CW this year, I was excited to see him make an appearance here, but I was worried just how he’d fit in with the rest of the Bat-Family. Thankfully though, no one gets upstaged here, as Hill’s script balances both the Batman plot and gives us enough background with Jefferson Pierce to catch us up to speed on his life as a superhero and educator, and make us care for him. In the span of a few pages, Hill crafts an emotional meaning behind why Jefferson Pierce not only fights crime, but also teaches, and I found Pierce’s speech to a potential co-worker about why he teaches to be extremely moving (but that’s probably because I used to work in a high school).
Miguel Mendonca’s art is in line with the art we’ve seen before in Detective Comics, in that it’s extremely detailed, but not so detailed that the art feels stiff. In fact, his art is really quite fluid, and has a fantastic sense of movement and grace to it. His Batman is pretty intimidating, but Mendonca’s also able to effectively portray the grief that many characters, both main and background, experience in this issue.
If you worried about a sudden dramatic change in Detective Comics with the departure of Tynion IV, I can assure you that this first issue from the new creative team is a welcome addition to the series. In fact, adding a character like Black Lightning to bounce off the other team members is a great idea, and opens up a lot of different avenues for the series going forward. Hell, even if it gets us a new Black Lightning series by Hill, I’ll consider it a success.
Posted on June 27, 2018, in Comic reviews and tagged Andy MacDonald, Bryan Hill, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Marvel Comics, Matthew Rosenberg, Miguel Mendonca, Multiple Man. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.