Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 (1975): 1st Madrox!

Nobody is fooled by Ben’s fur trenchcoat, purple pants, and high heels.

Why is he dressed like a pimp?

It’s a nice twist on the “trenchcoat disguise” though. And it seems to work–like he’s hiding in plain sight. He rides the subway and…

…seems to be successfully incognito.

But he and Alicia’s ride is interrupted. “He’d expected a juvenile delinquent…”

But he never expected Madrox!

Madrox the Multiple Man started as kind of a joke, as the villain in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4. Not that the joke isn’t funny. Here’s what happens when Madrox is slapped at birth…

The team struggles against Madrox.

Which is ridiculous. Those punches shouldn’t hurt Ben at all–Madrox doesn’t have super strength.

This is a group that has beaten scores of Skrulls and giant cosmic men in purple “G” underwear. Madrox really shouldn’t be an issue.

And yet they struggle until the cavalry arrives on a helicopter tractor beam.

Professor X saves the day with mind control, renewing my question: If he’s willing to do this, then there should never be any problems in the world. He can do it all the time. (You do have to love that picture showing him with an egghead using his powers by raising his eyebrows!)

Why did a regular future member of several X-teams get his debut in an issue of Fantastic Four?  Why, because Len and Chris wrote the issue!

Fortunately, Peter David got Madrox into X-Factor and turned him into a noir-ish fellow tormented by his own fracturing psyche. Madrox, when written by David, is probably one of the most complex and intricately developed characters in the Marvel Universe.

Fun fact: According to the great CBSBG site, he started out as “Zerrox the Multiple Man” before Xerox threatened litigation.

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