Wr. Peter David
Ill. Pablo Raimondi
Madrox is one of Peter David's finest works.
Peter David is known for his rather lengthy and critically praised Incredible Hulk run, which many fans and critics alike consider to be the most definitive interpretation of the green goliath.
However it is his most recent work, on two books in particular, that is worth noting as some of the crowning achievements of his arduous career.
Along with the little known Vertigo/DC series Fallen Angel, which I quite frankly believe is his best comic book work, Madrox delves into the noir-esque vision of a superhero world, exploring familiar themes, and reinventing some old beloved characters from the early and late 90's.
Madrox "Multiple Choice" follows Jamie Madrox, the multiple man, known for his antics in the X-men incarnation of the 90's X-Factor. In this series, Jamie starts up his own detective agency and with that simple notion, noir drama ensues.
Peter David, who wrote X-Factor for Marvel at a point in his career, ingeniously reinvents and transforms the often joking multiple man into a smarter funny persona seeking knowledge and experience. In a great take on an old character, Peter David makes Jamie Madrox send out multiple copies of himself to different parts of the world so they could learn the cultures and acquire the knowledge of that particular place. Upon returning to Jamie at a very later date, he combines himself with that copy and in turn gains their knowledge.
Many of these tidbits he acquires become very useful in this series as he tries to find out who killed one of his copies. After recapturing his barely alive "self clone" he goes out on an adventure full of intrigue, many plot twists, love, and on your edge thrills that present itself like a would be superhero version of the Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart as Jamie Madrox.
Along the way you get to meet Wolfsbane and Strong Guy that are in their own story within a story, two great characters that get a "this generation" type of face lift.
Peter David's fantastic story is supplanted by the moody pencils of Pablo Raimondi.
Raimondi is a little known artist, mostly doing independent, overseas, trading card and cover work. He does a fantastic job in trying to recreate the style presented through Peter David's script.
The art, even though not stellar, does capture the feel of the book effectively. Raimondi's usage of shadows, facial expressions and drawing angles are quite impressive. The pencils tend to represent the mood of a particular scene with great effectiveness and they are very easy on the eyes. Couple that with eccentric but regulated coloring and thin inks on character borders but heavy on the shadows, the art creates a very pleasant picture for the avid fanboy eye. And the most important part is that they stay consistent from panel to panel.
One does not need to strain their eyes, nor go back as scenes are fairly easy to imagine and are certainly memorable to boot.
The presentation of this book is of course lacking. It costs $14 for 5 issues. No extras, but the pages are of high quality. I would have greatly enjoyed some script samples and additional sketches, but you can't have everything in this world. The story does move rather quickly, even though there is plenty to read.
Overall, at times humorous and dramatic detective thrill ride, the book scores high and should be read by everyone.
- Pawel Goj