In drama, there are always up moments and down moments. The flow of any story requires it, and this entire issue is down moments. The cover begins with a whole lot of promise, with an appearance of the OG X-Men, Beast and Iceman, at the time members of X-Factor. The promise isn’t quite met as we don’t even see them in the costumes we see on the cover. And as always with these, spoilers aplenty.
All that said, it’s a key issue in the series as it covers a whole lot of ground and really gets us in a position for the following issues. It also strikes me as the issue that seems as if they wanted this to be more than just an 8 issue mini-series but as an ongoing series. By this point in the 80s, the X-Men were pretty different, heck the original team had grown up to become the aforementioned X-Factor. They tried a lot to launch a younger group similar to the New Mutants or the original X-Men, but with early 90s attitude a full 4 years before the 90s. By the 90s they’d perfectly nail that attitude, but that’s a Retro Review for another day.
In the story, we find Multiple Man (Multiple Men really), Sunspot, Warlock, and Gomi (the crab boy) in the Vanisher’s Island of Misfit toys-like home for runaway teens. It’s very much the foot-clan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s the fantasy of being the bad kid that really started with Oliver Twist. This is a very 1980s version of a band of mutant pic pockets. The meta-1980s female character Ariel is kind of into Multiple Man and we get a handful of good jokes. Overall, this series handles Multiple Man really well. We’ll return to him in a bit.
In the previous issue, Ariel used her power, which is to make any door a portal, to create said portal through the door of a seafood restaurant. Multiple Man, the real one, the other ones are dupes, and Siryn find themselves in that seafood restaurant. An angry Siryn nearly blows the roof of the place but Multiple Man covers it by getting cute.
We then get some great insight into the damage and complexity of Jamie Madrox. I am a huge fan of Peter David and specifically his runs on X-Factor. His first run defined the early 90s for me and the second, about 10 years ago, got me back into comics. This isn’t that level of depth, but Jo Duffy touches on what Peter David would later explore gloriously in much more depth later.
We get a lot more filler, such as Gomi’s super weird backstory (he’s the kid who talks to crabs or lobsters or something). First, we learn that Gomi is Japanese for garbage, so there’s that. Gomi’s brother Ramon and his buddy Fujita are robotics experts who made those lobsters into super-intelligent cyborgs. Which they also later do to Gomi, in an effort to recreate the original Marvel Girl. It’s weird and involves a Menudo joke.
After lots of backstories and catching up, we finally get on with the story as promised to us by the cover and X-Factor shows up! Sort of.
Iceman and Beast do some lab work and are bothered by Boom-Boom. They chase her off and Ariel opens a portal and she joins the Fallen Angels. Who I believe she already knew. That’s it. We don’t even get any real action other than the chase.
This pretty much brings us to a close with a really flat ending in an equally flat issue. Multiple Man and Gomi’s origin story aside, you could really just look at the cover and get a sense of the story, and honestly, as much as I overall love this series, with this particular issue, the cover is better.
I’ll see you next issue. It’ll get better. I think.