Multiple Man #4

Issue Date: 
November 2018
Story Title: 

Matthew Rosenberg (writer), Andy MacDonald (artist), Tamra Bonvillain (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Marcos Martin (cover artist), Nick Russell (logo & graphic designer), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Christina Harringon & Jordan D White (editors), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Fifteen years from now, Emperor Madrox has slain Multiple Man. He later regrets his decision and after ordering his assistant away, he steals the dead Madrox's clothes and uses his chronal device to teleport himself back in time, arriving at a time when Madrox was talking to the Beast about time travel. The Madroxes argue, before one of them is absorbed into the other and Beast asks the remaining Madrox if he has been messing with the Time Stream. In an alternate time, a Multiple Man dupe arrives at the home of Doctor Stark, and when Stark refuses to help him, he demands to be taught magic. Another dupe finds himself in a wasteland, where he drinks some gamma-infected water, and meets up with an old man who warns him not to drink the water. A third dupe finds himself in 2099 where he is rescued by the group called Freakshow. A fourth dupe finds himself on a beach where heroes are partying, and in an attempt to find Tony Stark heads towards a bar. Finally, a fifth dupe is in the Askani timeline, and meets Nathan Dayspring. Sixty years from the future where the dupe met Doctor Stark, that dupe is now proficient in magic and takes the teleporting cloak from the dead hero Cloak, and vanishes. In the wasteland future, the dupe is now a Hulk and part of the Hulk Gang, until Cloak-Madrox teleports in and takes him away in his cloak. In the Askani timeline, the dupe has been infected with the techno-organic virus and fights alongside the Technarchy, until Cloak-Madrox arrives and teleports him away. Cloak-Madrox soon arrives in 2099 and finds that the dupe has been turned into Deadpool-Madrox. The dupes then arrive in the present day where they confront the X-Men and New Mutants. The Madrox based in the present tries to stop the madness, but they want him to come back to the future and help them, despite him trying to explain that will not work. The dupes leave with Madrox anyway, leaving an annoyed Kitty Pryde to clean up the mess – until Emperor Madrox's assistant dupe arrives in the present and shoots her.

Full Summary: 

Fifteen years from now:
'I didn't feel anything' Emperor Madrox calls out, Soulsword in hand as he stands over the decapitated body of Jamie Madrox. 'Sir?' his assistant dupe replies. 'It should have hurt. But I felt... nothing' Emperor Madrox explains. 'He's older than me. Slightly, but he is' Emperor Madrox adds. 'But you're the Prime. How is that possible?' the assistant dupe asks. 'I don't know' Emperor Madrox tells him, before wondering if they were from the future. He drops the Soulsword and it falls to the ground with a clang. 'Possibly, but -' the assistant dupe begins as Emperor Madrox looks at his blood-drenched hands and wonders if Madrox could come back here to confront him, then what will stop him from going back and trying to stop Beast from making that serum that saved his life in the first place?' 'Well... he's dead. That's what's to stop him' the dupe points out.

Emperor Madrox throws a hand to his forehead and exclaims 'Now he is. But is he always dead?' before telling the assistant dupe not to answer that. 'I don't really get how this $#%& works and you're dumber than I am' he mutters. The assistant dupe narrows his eyes and tells Emperor Madrox that when he realized that time travel may be a problem, he sent one of their best dupes back in time to make sure Beast finished the serum. 'It won't be a problem. Or it already wasn't since you're still here' he reveals. 'Hate this. All of it. I want to be alone' Emperor Madrox declares. 'Sir?' his assistant asks. 'Clear the throne room!' Emperor Madrox shouts. 'And find out what those gadgets he had were!' Emperor Madrox adds as various dupes in his army leave the throne room.

Emperor Madrox picks up Madrox's head from the pool of blood that has formed on the floor. 'You were right. I didn't like seeing your blood on my hands' he remarks, adding that this wasn't what he wanted. 'You should know that' he adds. Emperor Madrox squats down next to Madrox's headless body and wishes that he was still like him – so idealistic, so naive – just a simple guy in a dumb-looking shirt. 'I don't know where it all went wrong' he remarks, wishing he could go back in time and  fix it. He reaches into Madrox's jacket, and finds a strange device.

Moments later, the assistant dupe enters the throne room, 'Sir? Sorry to interrupt...' he calls out, holding the so-called “chronal beacon”, he remarks that he isn't sure that is what it is, but whatever it actually is, it started blinking. 'I thought you'd want to -' the dupe begins, before discovering that Emperor Madrox is gone. Madrox's headless body lies naked on the pool of blood, Emperor Madrox's clothes scattered across him. 'Oh no. what have you done now, you fool?' the assistant dupe wonders, dropping the device, he rushes off, announcing to the guards that the Emperor has gone missing, and that he is assuming command until Emperor Madrox returns.

'Wait... when are... what year is it?' Jamie Madrox calls out inside the Beast's lab at the Xavier Institute. 'Jamie, what's happening?' the Beast asks, as Emperor Madrox, disguised in Jamie's clothing, arrives in the present. 'Sonuva...' Emperor Madrox utters he sees the Beast standing with the other Madrox. 'I'm not -' the other Madrox begins before Emperor Madrox lunges at him, knocking him to the ground and sending part of the Beast's lab equipment flying into the air. 'Dammit, Jamie! Stuff like this is why everyone finds you so annoying!' the Beast shouts. 'I am so annoyed right now. Stop hitting yourself' the Beast calls out.

'You were... a mistake' one of the Madroxes declares. 'You... are... a traitor!' the other calls back, before turning to the Beast and asking him to help him. 'Why I should I help you?' the Beast asks. 'If he hits his head hard enough, he'll multiply! You want more of us in here?' Madrox asks.

The Beast grabs both Madroxes and holds them apart from one another. 'Enough! I'm going to separate you and then we'll figure out what this is all about' he tells them, asking them if they can calm down. 'Yes' they both respond in unison. One of the Madroxes thanks the Beast and asks for a few minutes to explain, but the other Madrox exclaims '%&$# this' and grabs the other Madrox and pulls him into him, absorbing him. 'NOOOO!' the other Madrox cries out. The one remaining Madrox turns to the Beast and tells him that he knows he is going tro be annoyed, and tells him not to make that serum. 'Jamie...I'm going to need you to throw me a lifeline here' the Beast asks.. 'That's valid' Jamie responds, admitting that he is fuzzy on some of this himself – no pun intended. Madrox asks the Beast to brace himself and announces that he is from the future. '...when I spoke to you twenty minutes ago you said you weren't a time-traveler' the Beast responds. 'I wasn't then. I -' Jamie begins, before someone shouts 'MADROX!' and Jamie and the Beast look over to see Bishop pointing at him. 'I'm gonna kick your ass!' Bishop shouts. 'Oh, riiiight. I forgot about this' Madrox mutters, to which the Beast looks at him and asks him if he has been messing around in the Time-Stream.

Elsewhere and Elsewhen:
A Multiple Man dupe stands before the  Santcum Sanctorum. 'Oh, what the hell is this?' he mutters. 'I hate magic $#%&' he adds, before ringing the doorbell. A moment later: 'Hello, how may I – Jamie? How is this -' Nightcrawler asks as he opens the door. 'Kurt? Thank God. I need to see Doctor Strange!' Jamie exclaims. Nightcrawler lets Jamie inside, and a figure in a red costume with a yellow cape hovers above him. 'It's Doctor Stark, actually. What can I do for you?' Doctor Stark asks. Jamie informs him that there is a big problem in the time he came from, and needs him to come with him. Doctor Stark tells Multiple Man that he can't come with him, as he is sworn to protect this time. 'Fine. Then teach me some magical $#%& so I can fix it myself' Multiple Man asks.  'I can't just teach you some magical $#%&. Learning the mystical arts takes a lifetime of learning, practice and training' Doctor Stark responds. 'Then get started' Multiple Man calls out, throwing a hand into the air.

Elsewhere and Elsewhen, again:
A scorching desert, where a Multiple Man dupe removes his mask:'Hellooooo?' he calls out, sweat pouring down his face. He squats beside a lake and scoops some water up into his hands. 'Why's it so hot?' he wonders, before spitting the water out and muttering that it tastes awful. 'Hello, anyone?' Multiple Man shouts, before someone sitting under a tree nearby tells him to quit yelling. 'Oh, finally! A person!' Multiple Man remarks as he goes over to the elderly man sitting under a tree. He has a long white beard and white hair, and whittles an arrowhead. 'You look real familiar. Do I know you?' the old man asks, a bow lying on his backpack. Multiple Man tells him that he doesn't think so, as he isn't from around here, and asks the old man if he can help him, explaining that he is looking for the Avengers. 'You really ain't from around here, huh? They're all dead' the old man reveals, before offering some words of advice to Multiple Man – not to go asking about the Avengers, not to travel the wastelands alone and not to drink the water. 'The water?' Madrox asks. 'Unless you want gamma poisoning' the old man explains.

Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still:
Multiple Man ducks behind some rubble to avoid some energy blasts that destroy some buildings in an already ruined city. 'Mutant detected. Initiating purification -' a Sentinel suddenly announces as he appears above Madrox and shines a beam of energy on him – but before the Sentinel can open fire, a blast of energy is shot through it, destroying it. Multiple Man looks over and sees six mutants gathered nearby. 'Who's this guy?' one of them asks. 'He's a mutant. That's all we need to know' a woman with brown hair and a red costume replies, before welcoming Madrox to the Mutant Underground Railroad. Madrox informs them that he is looking for the X-Men, to which a large muscular woman with short white hair tells him that is too bad – because he found the Freakshow.

Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still again...:
Multiple Man stands on a beach shore: 'Hey, guys. I'm looking for Iron Man. Have you seen him?' he calls out, waving to several members of X-Force – Cannonball, Rictor, Boom-Boom and Cable, who are in their bathing suits nearby. Boom-Boom tells Jamie that the last she saw him, he was playing tug-o-war with some other Avengers, before asking Jamie where his bathing suit is. 'No swimming for me. I gotta save the world' Madrox replies. 'Boooooring' Boom-Boom exclaims. Madrox goes over to where Wonder Man and Punisher, both wearing very revealing bathers, are playing volleyball and asks them if they have seen Iron Man. 'Nope' Wonder Man replies as he leaps into the air to knock the ball back to Punisher, who mutters 'No'. Madrox sees an establishment called Bobbie's Beach Bar – the Bar with No Shame, a short distance away. He isn't sure what timeline this is, but he would put it at 50/50 that Tony is at the bar, and walks towards it.

And finally, Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still again. Again…
People gather at the front of a shack, where inside a voice can be heard shouting 'Get back! Everyone stay back!' Inside, Multiple Man holds a gun to the head of young Nathan Summers, and announces that he is looking for the X-Men and needs their help. 'I've got some bad news for you... the X-Men died a long, long time ago' Slym remarks as he enters the shack. 'Right, Redd?' he asks the woman standing next to him. 'Right' Redd confirms. Nathan suddenly bites Madrox's hand, and Madrox screams.

Sixty years in the future's future:
'Do you require anything else, master?' Nightcrawler asks as he props himself up on a cane, and walks towards Madrox, who hovers above a fireplace in a library, books scattered all around him. Madrox remarks that he needs one last thing, and asks where Tyrone Johnson's body is. Nightcrawler reports that it is in the sarcophagus chamber. 'Bring him to me' Madrox instructs Nightcrawler, who teleports away, and re-appears a moment later. Nightcrawler hands his master the remains of Cloak – his cloak, and asks him what he wants with them. 'I'm going to wear him' Madrox replies, putting the cloak on, he announces that it is finally time to save the world. 'And you're fired' he adds.

Two years in this future's future:
'GIT 'EM!' shouts one of the Hulk Gang as they chase several Moloids. 'Don't let them escape!' one of the Moloids calls out, when suddenly, they and the Hulk Gang come to a stop as Cloak-Madrox appears between the two groups. 'Whoa! Who the hell are you?' one of the Hulk Gang asks. Ignoring the question, Cloak-Madrox asks 'Which one of you is Jamie?' The Hulk Gang members glance towards one of their number at the back of the group. 'Uh... that's me' Hulk-Madrox confesses. 'It's time. Get in' Cloak-Madrox instructs him as he opens his cloak.

Ten years in this future's future:
Madrox shouts 'For Askani! For Cable!' as he fights alongside various Warlocks. 'For self-heroes!' one of the Warlocks exclaims as they fire energy beams outwards. 'Jamie! We found you!' Cloak-Madrox exclaims as he teleports into this time period. 'Whoa! Hey. You look all... great. You look great. But we need to gather your guys and go' Cloak-Madrox tells Cable-Madrox, who asks 'What? Apocalypse's forces are retreating! After all these years!' Cloak-Madrox reminds Cable-Madrox that he was sent here to find heroes to save their time. 'You did it. Now we gotta go...' he exclaims, waving the teleportation bracelet in Cable-Madrox's face. With the techno-organic virus flaring up on his body, Cable-Madrox tells Cloak-Madrox that he doesn't understand, and informs him that Warlock brought the Technarchy to save this world, and now self-family finally stands a chance. 'They can't leave. And neither can self' he adds. 'I'm sorry' Cloak-Madrox replies as he pulls Cable-Madrox into his cloak. 'No! NO!' Cable-Madrox shouts.

Three months further into this future:
Dinosaurs roam the land as suddenly, Cloak-Madrox arrives in this reality. ''What is this?' someone calls out. 'Dinosaurs, huh? What the hell year is it?' Cloak-Madrox asks. '2099' one of the members of Freakshow, who are all standing nearby, announces. 'Hmmm. Weird. Doesn't matter' Cloak-Madrox replies, before asking which one of them is Jamie Madrox. The man wearing the Deadpool costume raises his hand. 'What the hell happened to you?' Cloak-Madrox asks. Mama Hurricane explains that they obtained the plans of the fabled Weapon Plus program and made him into the greatest warrior of all time. 'Was he cool with that?' Cloak-Madrox asks. 'Sorta' Mama Hurricane replies, as she and the others look at Deadpool-Madrox. Cloak-Madrox smiles and points out that it doesn't matter, and asks if they are all some sort of army. He tells them that he can't find any other versions of himself  in time and asks them who wants to come back to the past and fight an evil version of him.

Present day:
Outside the X-Mansion, Deadpool-Madrox, Cable-Madrox and Cloak-Madrox have gathered. Cable-Madrox reports that he isn't exactly sure what is going on in there. 'Forge's time-travel devices – are imprecise. But if Self's calculations are correct, he's inside. Self tripped one of the alarms, so they should be out investigating that' Cable-Madrox reports. Cloak-Madrox reports that he will wait out here, and tells the others to go in and get him quick. Deadpool-Madrox and Cable-Madrox move towards the mansion, while Cloak-Madrox hovers, meditating. He hears smashes, growls and gunfire. 'Who the hell is -' he hears someone shout. 'Ah, %&#$ this' Cloak-Madrox mutters.

Shortly, he's inside the X-Mansion, fighting alongside the other Madroxes, where they fight members of the X-Men and New Mutants. 'We did not come to fight you... but if we must...' Cloak-Madrox calls out as Iceman, Wolfsbane, Kitty Pryde and Magik appear before him – and an instant later, he releases Hulk-Madrox from inside his cloak. 'Oh, no...$&%# me. They brought a Hulk' Magik mutters as Strong Guy and Nightcrawler gather around her – before Hulk-Madrox slams a fist into them all, knocking them all over. 'Cute lightsaber, Darth Mall Goth' Cloak-Madrox jokes as he picks up Magik's Soulsword. Jamie Madrox looks around, confused, and declares that this isn't right. 'Everyone stop...' he calls out, before Deadpool-Madrox roars loudly.

'STOP!' Madrox suddenly shouts, before rubbing his head and asking the dupes what they are doing here. 'We came because you are going to need our help' Cloak-Madrox explains. Madrox asks him how he knows that to which Cloak-Madrox pulls back his hood and reveals his face, including the M over his eye: 'Because we're you, dumbass' Cloak-Madrox points out. Madrox asks everyone to hang on, because this has got real weird, only he thinks he can explain it. 'They're from... the future? But not. Maybe a different future? Or an alternate present...but the one version of me is old... and why am I green? I give up. I have no idea what this is' Madrox declares. Hulk-Madrox then reveals that they are from his far future. 'Cool, me too' Madrox smiles. Hulk-Madrox tells him that they returned here to bring him back then so he may be able to help them continue their mission to stop the end of the world. 'I just came here from then to do that Madrox remarks.

Hulk-Madrox tells Madrox that didn't work, which is why they are here to bring him back to then. 'Perhaps it would be a good idea to discuss the implications of time travel and -' the Beast begins, interrupted by Cloak-Madrox who makes a large belch-like sound, and declares that they didn't come here to “discuss the implications of time travel” or whatever – as bad things are happening and Madrox is going to fix it, end of story. Kitty suggests that if bad things are coming, then the X-Men should be involved. 'Or not' Cable-Madrox tells her. 'If you want to keep being rude after you busted into our house -' Kitty begins, to which Cloak-Madrox declares 'Oh, damn. Look at that. Y'all are too boring. Thanks for all the help, X-Men Gotta go. Byeeeee'.

Kitty turns to Beast and asks how Madrox got more annoying after he died. With the Madrox dupes gone, Kitty suggests to the others that it is time to start cleaning up this mess.

As they begin working, a blue light appears in the room. 'Hey, Kitty...' Magik calls out. 'Back already? You morons forget something?' Kitty mutters, holding a stack of books, before a blast fired from the blue energy portal slams into her. 'Yes...' a voice calls out from inside the portal, before Emperor Madrox's assistant dupe, armed with a large weapon and an army of dupes behind him emerges: 'I forgot how much I hate everyone who isn't me!' the assistant frowns.

Characters Involved: 

Multiple Man
Archangel, Beast, Bishop, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde (all X-Men)
Magik, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane (all Corporate New Mutants)

Fifteen years from now:
Emperor Madrox
Assistant dupe Madrox
Madrox dupe army

Elsewhere and Elsewhen:
Multiple Man
Doctor Stark

(Elsewhere and Elsewhen, again)
Multiple Man
Old Man Hawkeye

(Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still)
Multiple Man
Breakdown, Dominic, Metalhead, Mama Hurricane, Rosa Navarro, Tantrum (all Freakshow)

(Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still again...)
Multiple Man
Boom-Boom, Cable, Cannonball, Rictor (all X-Force)
Punisher, Wonder Man

(And finally, Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still again. Again...)
Multiple Man
Redd & Slym Dayspring
Nathan Dayspring
Askani Clan

(Sixty years in the Elsewhere and Elsewhen future)

(Two years in the Elsewhere and Elsewhen, again future)
Charlie Banner, Otis Banner and others (all Hulk Gang)

(Ten years in the And finally, Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still again. Again... future)
Various Warlocks

(Three months into the Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still future)
Breakdown, Dominic, Metalhead, Mama Hurricane, Rosa Navarro, Tantrum (all Freakshow)

Story Notes: 

The Freakshow team that Multiple Man meets in the “Elsewhere and Elsewhen, still” reality are from the 2099 reality.

The Hulk Madrox lands in the Old Man Logan future.

The Dr Stark future is one of the timelines Tempus accessed in Uncanny X-Men (3rd series) annual #1 / All-New X-Men (1st series) annual # 1.

The beach scenes refer to Marvel’s infamous Swimsuit pin-up issues.

The scenes in the present take place around issue #1 pf this series.

This issue takes place before New Mutants Dead Souls #6.

Written By: