Jamie Madrox is dead…again? Wait, didn’t he just come back to life? Well, it’s kind of a confusing story. In MULTIPLE MAN #3, Jamie Prime fell victim to the wrath of Emperor Madrox, the leader of an alternate, dystopian society where a bunch of Jamie’s dupes rule the world. Jamie was trying to save the world from this grim future, but he lost his head in the process. Now, MULTIPLE MAN #4 picks up right where Jamie’s head rolled off.

The series thus far has been an interesting one as each and every issue subverts expectations. Although, that has not always been a good thing in this series.

Nonetheless, writer Matthew Rosenberg puts forth an unconventional story that never fails to be a fun, entertaining reading experience.

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MULTIPLE MAN #4 page 1. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Off With His Head!

MULTIPLE MAN #4 kicks off with Emperor Madrox lamenting his decision to behead Jamie. He comes to realize that the Jamie he just killed was, in fact, older than him and, thus, a prime. So, the Emperor deduces that the now dead Jamie came to his timeline to confront him and his wrongdoings.

Thus, Emperor Madrox enters an existential crisis. He begins expressing a desire to go back in time and change who he has become. As a result, Emperor Madrox steals dead Jamie’s time traveling device and travels back in time. Interestingly, various other future dupes of Jamie had the same idea.

So, they all find themselves confronting each other in the same moment in time, attempting to develop a plan to save the world from impending doom. Unsurprisingly, a bunch of evil dupes followed them through time in order to stop them in their tacks.

MULTIPLE MAN #4 is an adventurous work. You can easily become invested in the chase and wildness of the story. However, the pace is inconsistent and makes it hard to engage with the constant changes in the story. Additionally, these changes affect the development of the narrative. Much of the issue’s content gets muddled in its own progression and attempts to explain what exactly is going on.

As a result, though MULTIPLE MAN #4 comes out as one of the stronger issues in the series, it still falls short of reaching its total potential.

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MULTIPLE MAN #4 page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Many Hues of MULTIPLE MAN #4

The chaos the narrative maintains resonates in the issue’s artwork. Many panels are crowded with characters and action, which fits the overarching plot. However, this chaos ultimately lacks coherence.

I wish the depiction of characters and settings was more fleshed out to present sleeker images. With that being said, I do enjoy Andy MacDonald’s work in the sequence where Emperor Jamie confronts the various other dupes who have come back in time as well. I like how each and every dupe is isolated in their own image and thought process. This technique mitigates the chaos other sequences exemplify when portraying Jamie’s dupes. It also showcases the distinct qualities of each dupe, from their subtle mannerisms to obvious appearances.

So, overall, I wish the artwork of MULTIPLE MAN #4 and the rest of the series thus far focused in more on its detail. Additionally, I wish there was more of a balance in distinguishing Jamie’s dupes and conveying a dystopian world of uniformity.

What Lies Beyond

MULTIPLE MAN has been a conflicting series thus far. It maintained a strong start with an abundance of potential. However, as the series went on, various flaws rose to the surface that obstructed the series’ reach. I like Jamie Madrox. I find him to be an engaging lead and an entertaining one. However, I wish this series maintained a clearer direction to his character and more dimension in its artwork.

MULTIPLE MAN #4 certainly gives the series thus far a bit of a boost. Its exciting unpredictability definitely helps. I hope that upcoming issues do not get lost in that.

MULTIPLE MAN #4 by Matthew Rosenberg, Andy MacDonald, Tamra Bonuillain, & Travis Lanham
MULTIPLE MAN #4 is fun, but it is undoubtedly hard to keep up with as the pace, narrative, and characterization continuously changes at the flip of a switch.
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