Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review # 104: "Madrox: Multiple Choice"

After bidding farewell to X-Factor Investigations, going back to before the beginning to read "Madrox: Multiple Choice" is a weird trip. It's apt to call this finally re-released story something like an "un-aired pilot." The concept of what would become X-Factor is there, but some elements were changed heading into production of the main line. Ultimately, this mini paved the way for the X-Factor relaunch and - like a pilot - it needed approval to go ahead. In this case, though, it wasn't a bunch of network suits: it was the fans who snapped up every single copy available of the first two issues upon release that were responsible for that decision.

For me this reads a lot like a hybrid between Peter David's two acclaimed "X-Factor" runs. Early on, Madrox's attitude seems even more like a smokescreen than normal and Guido's jokes are reminiscent of the "government team" era. Part of the way through, though, that changes. We get the first instance of Madrox's dupes no longer being exact copies, instead representing a part of himself. That element landed a lot more of an emotional punch to the material as time went on, and plays a big role in the main plot here more than once.

However, I can't help feeling like there's several major voids while reading this. I had gotten so used to the "X-Factor" team that the absence of all but Jamie, Wolfsbane and Guido is noticeable. It really hammers home how brilliant of an addition Layla Miller was, the true "X-Factor of X-Factor." Also noticeable is the change of role for Wolfsbane. In "Madrox: Multiple Choice," she speaks with an American accent with her Scottish brogue popping up rarely. By the time "X-Factor" relaunched, Rahne was speaking with a full Scottish accent again.... and the added Siryn had dropped her Irish tone. That was also a great move, putting Theresa into the role of second-in-command and utilizing Rahne's established character strengths including her devout faith and overreacting temperament.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read that doesn't quite hit the highs "X-Factor Investigations" did. But, like I said, it's like a pilot. Marvel did the right thing picking it up, and you should do the same... especially since it's collected with the first two volumes of the series proper*.

Rating: 8/10

*Check out my reviews of the complete "X-Factor" series by clicking the "X-Factor" tag below.

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