SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Death of X” #1, which is on sale now.
With a name like “Death of X,” you know major things are going to go down in this X-Men/Inhumans event series. That name caused quite a stir amongst X-Fans when it was first teased way back in March, and now — over six months later — “Death of X” #1 is finally in stores. The kickoff issue comes from writers Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule and artist Aaron Kuder and, as revealed back in July, covers what went down between the two factions during the eight-month gap in-between the conclusion of “Secret Wars” and the launch of the current status quo.
The issue starts out a year ago with a squad of X-Men (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Iceman, the Stepford Cuckoos and Goldballs) responding to a distress call coming from Muir Island. We learn that Jamie Madrox (the Multiple Man) has taken over the mutant research facility on Muir Island, staffing it with his dupes and a handful of staff members. The X-Men’s Blackbird arrives at Muir Island to see it shrouded in a green mist.
Current X-Men readers will recognize the Terrigen Mist, the mist that triggers powers within latent Inhumans while simultaneously killing mutants. As this takes place a year ago, Cyclops and his X-Men are just about to discover this. Upon landing, they’re greeted by a queasy feeling and the sight of blood splatter. Scott even develops a cough.
The team searches the facility, finding a dead mutant scientist and no other sign of life. The Stepford Cuckoos get a mental reading on a life sign, though, and the team rushes outside where they find Madrox — all of Madrox.
With his dying breath, the prime Madrox alerts Cyclops to the danger of the Terrigen Mist. Cyclops then quickly collects the research materials and sends it to Beast for analyzation. Beast wonders why all the mutants aren’t feeling the effects of the mist at the same time, as Madrox, Cyclops and Goldballs seem more affected than Emma, Magik and the Cuckoos. But instead of dwelling on details, Cyclops looks at the bigger picture: “What matters now is that the Inhumans lied to us,” he says, stating that they released the Terrigen clouds into the atmosphere, putting their own race ahead of others. Then we get the declaration of war:
The issue ends with both Cyclops and Crystal simultaneously stating, miles away, that they “protect our own.”
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So “Death of X” kicks off with one major death: Jamie Madrox. Multiple Man debuted way back in 1975’s “Giant-Size Fantastic Four” #4. Coincidentally, Medusa — the queen of the Inhumans — was filling in for Sue Storm on the team at the time.
The character later joined the government-sponsored iteration of X-Factor in 1991. He then started his own detective agency (X-Factor Investigations) and headed up a new “X-Factor” series from 2006 to 2013, serving as the lead of its ensemble cast. Madrox was last seen in continuity in the final issue of that series, 2013’s “X-Factor” #262, where he had retired from superheroics with his pregnant wife Layla Miller. It has not yet been revealed how Jamie found himself on Muir Island or what happened to Layla Miller.
Madrox’s death on Muir Island is somewhat fitting, though; following his debut in 1975, Multiple Man next showed up in 1977’s “X-Men” #104 where he was employed as a lab assistant on Muir Island. Up until he joined X-Factor in 1991, the majority of Jamie’s appearances were set on Muir Island. He was even a member of the ragtag Muir Island X-Men.
This is also not the first time Multiple Man has died. A death and resurrection interrupt Madrox’s two stints with X-Factor; the character died in 1994’s “X-Factor” #100 — a death also caused by a virus. Madrox contracted the Legacy Virus and the team’s deal with their enemy Haven to heal him didn’t work out.
It was revealed two years later that the Madrox that had been infected and died was actually a duplicate. After his resurrection in 1996, Madrox went on to join the international X-Corps and, later, started the aforementioned long-running detective agency. But his death in “Death of X” seems to be more definite than his previous one, as Madrox calls himself the “original” and says that “all” of his dupes have died.
“Death of X” #2 arrives in stores on October 19.
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