Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4
Issue(s): Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4
On the way to a football game with Alicia, the Thing's train is stopped due to a man on the tracks. He's wearing a strange suit and he calls himself Madrox.
He talks like someone without a lot of experience in the world, saying to the Thing "You... you are different... like me!" and "We are different... you and I! We are... the same! Why do you... reject me? I will stay here... until I know!".
The Thing, diplomatic as always, takes a swing at Madrox, but the result of the punch is that a second Madrox is created.
Each hit creates more duplicates, and the Thing is eventually overwhelmed and knocked out. When he wakes up, he's back at the Baxter Building, having been recovered by the police. Madrox is gone, but Reed detects power outages throughout NYC in a pattern approaching their building. It turns out Madrox is somehow causing the outages as he approaches. The FF stupidly attack Madrox when he arrives, but luckily Professor X shows up. It turns out Xavier has been aware of Madrox since birth, and he designed the suit that was supposed to contain Madrox's energy. But the suit hadn't been overhauled in years, and it's in need of repair. Xavier mentally shuts down the duplicates and takes Madrox away, to cure his mental problems and fix the suit.
Not a great story. The FF in particular come off looking like nitwits.
In Madrox's origin, he's shown to have his duplication powers from birth. I suspect it was really just so they could have the cute scene of the doctor smacking the baby's butt and creating a duplicate...
...but since mutants normally don't receive their powers until adolescence, this scene has caused some complication and questions about whether Madrox is really a mutant or something else.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Fantastic Four #157-158, and Professor Xavier appearing during Uncanny X-Men #94.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAlicia Masters, Human Torch, Madrox the Multiple Man, Medusa, Mr. Fantastic, Professor X, Thing
This could be another case of Claremont finishing up for someone else, if Len's scripting was interrupted by his EIC chores.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 20, 2011 11:29 PM
The idea of mutant powers "manifesting" at adolescence was never perfect, really. What about characters whose mutations include a physical component? Meaning the characters are deformed or look different in some way? Do they look like that from birth or not? I know Angel was shown to have grown his wings in adolescence, but what about someone like Nightcrawler? He was born that way, and the appearance (in such cases) has to be considered part of the power. So it's an imperfect idea.
I think unless otherwise noted (or logically impossible), you just have to assume the mutant got his powers in adolescence.
(The mutant idea itself has evolved; Xavier and probably others had their mutation connected with radiation and nuclear testing.)
Posted by: Paul | May 10, 2012 3:24 PM
You seem to have a double listing for Madrox as "Mulitple Man" in your character index.
FOOM#6 announced Madrox as "Zerox" and said this was to be a regular issue of Fantastic Four, with Rich Buckler later announced as artist.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 10, 2013 5:50 PM
Fixed "Mulitple" Man; thanks!
Posted by: fnord12 | February 10, 2013 6:10 PM
Mark's FOOM comment is especially interesting in light of the fact that the Madrox story is barely longer than a monthly installment, and far shorter than the current norm for a giant-size book. Coincidentally or not, I believe the FF was also the first GS title to throw in the towel and shift to all reprints, as it will next issue. I suspect there's a story there somewhere...
Posted by: Matthew Bradley | July 3, 2014 10:26 AM
Per Len Wein in Back Issue #74: Madrox was created by him and Buscema. Claremont only dialogued the 2nd half of the story.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 22, 2014 6:29 PM
X-Men wise, this issue makes more sense to be placed after Defenders 15-16 and before GSXM 1.
Works pretty well there, since Xavier is on his own at the time. Also, it's placed closer to publication time (came out a couple of months before GSXM 1)
Posted by: Bibs | May 23, 2017 9:36 AM
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