"They Keep Killing Madrox" continues and, yup, Madrox dies in this issue of "X-Factor." Sort of.
Like a twisted take on a blended version of "Quantum Leap" and "Exiles," Jamie Madrox finds himself in a world similar to his home, but oddly different. This world is patrolled by Sentinel-sized Iron Men. Naturally, where's there's Iron Men, there's Tony Stark. Stark brings Madrox to him for a discussion. That discussion reveals that the world Madrox is currently visiting has also been altered. By Wanda Maximoff. And three words.
Those words forever altered the course of this world, setting Tony Stark to stand up as humanity's defender, a role he serves reluctantly. Madrox's conversation with Stark (as can only happen in comics) leads to a scuffle with Deathlok. This Deathlok, however, is wildly different from the one appearing in other X-books of late. Peter David adds enough weirdness to the characters and the story around them to make it compelling. He then seasons it all with liberal amounts of humor and personality, imbuing each character with a distinct voice. David makes this story much bigger, more entertaining, and more fun than an adventure featuring Iron Man, Madrox and Deathlok fighting for the future of a shattered world has any right to be.
The trend of the X-books to showcase alternate universes of late has been entertaining. True, it is hovering around the "too much" range of things, but for now the alternate universes are just enough. We aren't given as wide a sample of the universe in this issue, but the pieces David does give us are compelling. David provides just enough background to this story to leave us wanting more. Maybe, like "Age of Apocalypse," we'll one day revisit this world. For now, it's up to Madrox to find a way home.
As she did in the previous issue, Emanuela Lupacchino delivers some fabulous art. Her subject matter is tighter in this issue, featuring one world and, literally, a handful of characters. The world Madrox is on is ugly and broken, further breaking with every minute as the "separations are getting thinner" between worlds. David's choice of pushing the story in that direction gives Lupacchino the opportunity to draw things familiar, but to push them far enough to be different and otherworldly. Matt Milla's moody colors are quite evocative over Lupacchino's art and help sell the terrifying uncertainty of it all.
I gave the previous issue a look-see and was drawn in. I came back for this one. Lupacchino's art and David's writing are enough to guarantee that I'll be back for the next issue.