Stage One: Denial – X-Factor #227
There is hope.
Yes, my favorite comic book character was killed in X-Factor #227 today. A sword plunged through his torso, there was blood everywhere. Oh man, oh man, he’s dead! But he’s not really dead. How do I know this?
Because he wakes back up on the very next page – sort of.
I still don’t want to spoil who dies or what happens. I’ll save that for my review of issue #227, which will be posted within the next day or two. But right now, I’m still reeling from the death of my favorite superhero. Yet even though he was killed, there’s still hope that this is not the end. There’s a lot of hope, actually. A metric ton of hope. And not just the usual ‘nobody stays dead in comic books’ kind of hope. I mean real, on the page, hope that this is not the end, just the beginning.
He’s not really dead, people, and I can prove it.
Spoilers after the jump.
SPOILERS from here on out.
Okay, still with me? Yes, Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, was killed in the closing pages of X-Factory #227. He was stabbed in the back by new villain Bloodbath. We don’t know very much about Bloodbath at this point, he’s a brand new character. But we know that he can possess corpses. That’s how he was able to use a dead dupe in order to stab Madrox. Here’s the page:
For anybody who doesn’t know how Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man is, allow me to explain. First, you can follow this link to My 6 Favorite Comic Book Characters to get a pretty good description about him. He’s #1. Madrox is a mutant in the X-Men franchise of comic books. He has the super power to create duplicates of himself, walking, talking, thinking duplicates of himself. He’s a one-man-army, essentially. He’s also the lead character in X-Factor, a comic about how Madrox and a couple of his mutant friends broke off from the X-Men to start a detective agency in New York City. It’s fun, Madrox is funny and it’s got a lot of character and heart.
Well for months now, Marvel Comics has been teasing that someone would die in X-Factor #227. And they carried through. Madrox was killed.
I’d been worried about this. For awhile, I thought he’d be OK because Madrox shows up in the preview material for the X-Men franchise’s big Regenesis storyline. Perhaps that was misleading. But then again…as I said in the beginning, Madrox isn’t really dead.
And that isn’t just me in denial.
On the very next page after the ‘Fade to Black’, Madrox wakes back up. But the thing is, he’s not in the same body or in the same place.
What’s going on, you ask? Allow me to explain.
First of all, clearly Madrox isn’t dead. His mind, his consciousness, has seemingly jumped to those other place. He recognizes himself dying on the floor, and the ‘bride’ is Layla Miller, a teammate of his on X-Factor. The ‘Rahne’ that the dupe mentions is another teammate, Rahne Sinclair, Wolsfbane.
Way back at the beginning of this volume of X-Factor, Rahne was given a vision of the future, where she killed Jamie and Layla on their wedding night. And for while, that vision haunted her, but that storyline eventually faded away.
Whatever happened to Madrox in today’s issue has transported him to that vision of the future. But what does that mean? What’s happening to him? Is he really dead?
The answer is…probably not. We need to look further into the future. Comic books solicit their new issues months in advance. In fact, February’s solicitations just came out this week. So we have covers and synopsis for the next three months worth of X-Factor comics. None of them spoil what’s going to happen to Madrox, but we can start putting the pieces together to figure out what’s going to happen.
Let’s start with December and X-Factor issues #228 and #229.
The synopsis for those issues: Still reeling from the shocking death of one of their own, how can the X-Factor team possibly take down the one responsible — the deadly Bloodbath? Then, in issue 229: Layla Miller. Jamie Madrox. Husband and wife. Lying murdered in their honeymoon suite. The moment you thought would never come is here, and not only are you a witness to it, but so is Jamie Madrox himself. We feel safe in saying that this is X-Factor as you’ve never seen them before in the first part of what has to be the trippiest arc in the history of Marvel.
So the next few issues are clearly going to deal with that vision of the future and what becomes of Madrox. It’s also the start of the ‘trippiest arc in the history of Marvel’. What does that mean? We’ll find out more in a bit. Here’s one of those issue’s cover.
Then we move on to January with X-Factor with issue #230. This finds X-Factor in the midst of Regenesis. I’ve written about it before. Basically the X-Men are splitting in half. Wolverine is taking half with him to open up a school for mutants in New York. Cyclops is taking half with him to be superheros in California.
X-Factor falls on Wolverine’s side. And in the wake of Madrox’s ‘death’, Havok and Polaris will join the team.
The synopsis: • REGENESIS tie-in, guest-starring Wolverine! • The team is shattered by recent events, including the death of a key member in #227. • The highly-publicized return of two fan-favorite classic X-Factor characters: HAVOK & POLARS!
So clearly the team moves on after Madrox dies. Probably because they don’t know that his mind has jumped to that honeymoon scene. But again, what does that all mean? Why don’t I think Madrox is dead? Is he coming back?
Because of the synopsis for X-Factor issues #231 and 232 in February. These synopsis just came out this week.
• Parts 3 & 4 of a 4-part dimension-hopping storyline, “They Keep Killing Madrox”! • Guest-starring Tony Stark and Steve Rogers (part 3) & Doctor Strange and the dread Dormammu (part 4) • Startling twist ending that ties the entire story arc together!
So the ‘trippiest arc in the history of Marvel’ is a dimension-hopping caper called ‘They Keep Killing Madrox’. Hmmmm. With a ‘startling twist ending’. Also hmmmmm.
Here’s the cover of issue #231, on which Madrox appears in the background:
So I think it’s clear to say that Multiple Man is the one doing the dimension-hopping. Something is up with Madrox. He is killed, but his mind jumps to a different duplicate’s body in some other dimension? He keeps dimension-hopping? What is up!?
It may have something to do with the secret of Multiple Man’s powers that writer Peter David is constantly hinting at.
The truth is, I just don’t know yet. This is all speculation and hope that Multiple Man isn’t just going to take a sword to the gut and be dead forever. I hope instead that Peter David has a big storyline planned that will end with Madrox back among the living and back in X-Factor with his friends. It happened to both Batman and Captain America, why not Multiple Man? He’s my favorite comic book character, and I just want to keep reading stories about him. X-Factor has been one of my favorite comics to read over the past several years. David has done amazing things with Madrox. To just kill him would be a waste.
But who knows? Maybe all this speculation will just lead to a grand send-off for Madrox, a big story where his death is stretched out over several issues. I hope not. I don’t want to lose my favorite character from the comic book stands.
It’s going to be a tense couple of months.
Denial is just the first stage of grieving. Here are the rest:
Acceptance. – My full review of X-Factor #227