"Dead Dirty Pool"
Writer: Peter David
Artists: Pablo Raimondi (p), Drew Hennessy (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
After seeing Jamie's dupe managed to narrowly escape the assassin's bullet back in New York, we see the original Jamie is in a bit of a spot in Chicago, as the mob boss that he's come to investigate finds him making time with his fiancee. As Jamie is locked inside a supply closet until they can decide what to do with him, we see Jamie's escape is hampered by the idea that the double he creates is poorly motivated. He's than quickly brought before the mob boss once again, where he makes an unsettling discovery.
Peter David doesn't get nearly enough credit for his ability to build up characters that had been cast aside by other writers, as when one looks back on his previous work it is full of examples where he's taken a grade-Z character and made them into genuinely cool characters. In fact, John Ostrander, the Giffen/Dematteis team and Peter David are the writers largely responsible for the fact that my favourite character list is littered with heroes that many would consider to be grade-Z characters. Now this miniseries benefits tremendously from the fact that Peter David had worked his magic on these characters in the early 1990s, but I'd like to believe that even if one hadn't read those classic issues of X-Factor one would be able to recognize that this is one of the more engaging miniseries currently coming out under the Marvel banner. I mean even if one is able to look past the idea that Multiple Man has a pretty cool power, Peter David is able to take it one step further, as how can one not enjoy the idea that Jamie's dupes are reflective of the different aspects of his personality, which in this case often makes the character his own worst enemy. The issue is also full of a number of fun little details, like the idea that Jamie has acquired a number of useful skills by sending his dupes out in the world, with this issue's example being a stint that one of his dupes spent learning escape artistry in Las Vegas. The issue also has itself a great cliffhanger revelation, and I can't wait for this little wrinkle to be explained.
First off I have to say the cover image is a fun look at Multiple Man's powers, as it does a nice job of reflecting the idea that Jamie's dupes sport different personalities. As for the interior art the book opens with a great little sequence where we see Jamie has to figure out whether he wants to continue living as he's drowning at the bottom of a swimming pool. The art also does some nice work on the scene where Strong Guy lives up to his name, and the scene where he discovers the neighbour doesn't take kindly to being told to shut up made me smile. Jamie's escape attempt was also a fun display of his power, as we see how he's able to deal with a locked door, and one has to love his expression when he discovers the personality of his dupe. The scene where Jamie deals with one of the guard using a playing card was also a powerful piece of art, and the final page surprise was nicely handled as it's left up to the art to sell where this dupe has appeared in the book previously.
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