The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Madrox the Multiple Man
of the X-Men and X-Factor
James "Jamie" Madrox is a mutant super-hero known as "The Muliple Man." He he is somewhat lax about the use of his superhero "codename" and is often known simply by his last name, "Madrox," or as "Madrox the Multiple Man." He has been a member of the super-hero teams the X-Men and X-Factor, and has worked as a sort of mutant private detective.
Jamie Madrox has the mutant power to divide himself into multiple individuals. These separate selves appear identical to the original, and can be later re-incorporated into each other.
There is apparently no limit on the amount of time Madrox's doubles can be separate from him. Some of his doubles have led rather separate lives for considerable amounts of time, sometimes lives which have been quite divergent from the life of the principle Jame Madrox personality. This can make classification of Madrox's religious affiliation complicated.
As depicted in a recent issue of X-Factor, one of the duplicates that Jamie Madrox sent out some years ago to learn about religion became a full-time Episcopalian pastor in Vermont. When the principle Jamie Madrox found this duplicate settled into a happy life with a wife, son, and rewarding calling as the leader of an Episcopalian congregation, Jamie decided to let this duplicate continue its separate existence, although he was actively absorbing all other duplicates. It is probable that the choice of this duplicate to become an ordained clergyman within the Episcopal Church was not happenstance nor was it the result of religious conversion to an unfamiliar denomination: The Episcopal Church is apparently the denomination that Jamie Madrox was raised in. The extent to which Jamie Madrox was religiously active while growing up has not yet been revealed.
One interesting pattern that has emerged in recent years has been the character's interest in Buddhism. With its explicit belief in reincarnation and multiple lives, there is a clear doctrinal affinity between Buddhism and Jamie Madrox's mutant power. The part that this natural affinity has had in Madrox's interest in Buddhistm has not been explicitly explored in the comics.
One of Jamie Madrox's duplicate selves spent many years as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Madrox #1 (2005) depicts Jamie Madrox as a Shaolin priest. Jamie Madrox was not born into Buddhism and the character exhibited little interest in the religion during his many earlier years of existence. Depicting the Multiple Man as at least partially a Buddhist ties in thematically to Jamie Madrox's mutant powers: He can live many lives, just as Buddhists believe that our souls are reincarnated through many lives.
The lone "renegade" duplicate that Jamie Madrox allowed to retain an independent existence is clearly a devout, practicing Episcopalian. But what of the principle Jamie Madrox, the one who is not a duplicate (i.e., "Madrox Prime")? Is Jamie Madrox an Episcopalian or a Buddhist in the same devout, frequently mentioned sense that Nightcrawler is a Catholic or Wolfsbane is a Presbyterian? No. Not at all. The character, long the source of comic relief in the comics he has appeared in, is not associated with intense interest in spirituality or frequent vocalization of his religious faith.
Is it possible that there is a religion other than Episcopalianism or Buddhism that Madrox identifies more strongly with? Possibly. But none has been revealed as far as we know. Jamie Madrox has sent his duplicates (or "dupes", as he calls them) to have many different experiences and learn many things. He has thus earned a law degree, a medical degree, learned to play music, etc. One of the things he chose to do was become a Shaolin Buddhist priest. One might argue that this is just one facet of Madrox's personality. True. But Madrox is not known to have become (personally or via duplicate) a Catholic priest or a Jewish rabbi or a Latter-day Saint missionary. Despite that fact that Madrox does not regularly mention Buddhism or Episcopalianism, it is reasonable to believe that these religions have some significance to him.
From: catalog order page for Madrox #1 on official Marvel Comics website (http://www.marvel.com/catalog/?id=829; viewed 16 June 2006):
MADROX # 1
WRITER: Peter David
X-MEN: RELOAD ANOTHER CLIP! Jamie Madrox, stabbed, staggering off a bus. Jamie Madrox, setting up a detective agency in the heart of Mutant Town. Jamie Madrox, a peaceful Shaolin priest. Which is the real Jamie Madrox? In this noir-esque thriller...
IN STORES: 2004-09-15 [15 September 2004]
From: Chris, "Peter David + Jamie Madrox = Airwolf" (review of Madrox limited series), posted 13 December 2005 on "2 Guys Buying Comics" blog website (http://2guysbuyingcomics.blogspot.com/2005/12/peter-david-jamie-madrox-airwolf.html; viewed 16 June 2006):
Throw into the mix the fact that Jamie's dupes have started having a mind of their own, which means that he's not entirely sure what they're going to be doing at any given point, and add to that the very cool idea that he absorbs the memories and experiences of his multiples back into himself (one early scene shows a Hare-Krishna looking dupe wandering back in after having spent a year learning Buddhism).
Infinity Crusade: Madrox was one of 33 characters who were identified as the most religious superheroes in the Marvel Universe in Infinity Crusade (June 1993). In this issue, a powerful being who identified herself as "the Goddess" kidnapped the superheroes she had identified as being the most religious active superheroes at the time. The Goddess was a manifestation of the "benevolent" side of Adam Warlock, and she planned to use these heroes in her crusade to rid the galaxy of evil and usher in a new golden age of peace. After these 33 characters had been kidnapped by the Goddess, the remaining superheroes gathered to try to figure out what was going on. The Vision analyzed data about who had been taken and who had not, and explained his analysis (Infinity Crusade #1, page 32):
Now that the appropriate files have been examined I believe I have sufficient hard data to put forth that theory I mentioned earlier. I feel confident I know why these particular paranormals were abducted. All the missing share a common trait or experience... An event or attitude that might be categorized as religious. Many among the missing hold deeply felt moral stands or intense spiritual belief systems. Those who do not fit that profile have all had after-death experiences... My theory does not hold that these attitudes aided in the missing individual's abduction, only that these traits may have determined who would be taken.
Jamie Madrox's selection as one of the "religious" superheroes by the Goddess during the Infinity Crusade surprised many fans, because Madrox had not generally been regarded as very religious. More than anything, Madrox had been portrayed as comedic relief in the X-Factor stories pubilshed around that time. A distinct possibility is that Madrox was selected by the Goddess not for being noticably religious, but for having had a "religious experience," i.e., an "after-death experience." Jamie Madrox's shared in the consciousness of one of his duplicates who as killed by Proteus, and this had an impact on him. It is possibly that this counted as a "after-death" experience, although for Madrox, simply having a duplicate die hardly seems as if it constitutes an "after-death" experience on the same level as was experienced by other abducted characters, such as Wonder Man.
Alternatively, Madrox really was selected by the Goddess because she was aware of his innate religious nature and the fact that he had studied many religions, including Buddhism. Since Infinity Crusade, this aspect of Madrox's character has been explored more frequently.
From: "X-Men and Religion" forum discussion page, started 21 August 2005, on ComixFan.com website (http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/archive/index.php/t-35318.html):
Aug 21, 2005, 10:59 pm
Jamie Madrox has studied numerous religions, including Buddhism.
From: "Super Hero Religious Preferences" discussion board, started 10 March 2006 (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-113612.html; viewed 24 April 2006):
03-11-2006, 01:59 AM
...[about] Multiple Man being Buddhist, the writer of that piece is really stretching. The point was that Multiple Man recently has been sending his dupes out to have different experiences and learn different skills. One of them was indeed a Shao-Lin monk, but I really don't see "depicting the Multiple Man as at least partially a Buddhist seems increasingly to be the direction that current writers are going."
From: "Religious Beliefs of Marvel Characters" discussion board started 20 October 2004 on Comic-Forum.com website (http://www.comic-forum.com/marvel/Religious_beliefs_of_Marvel_characters_397905.html; viewed 8 June 2006):
Date: 20 Oct 2004 21:55:56
Subject: Religious beliefs of Marvel characters?
Does anybody know the religious beliefs of various characters?
Date: 20 Oct 2004 23:16:20
From: Samy Merchi
Barring any actual solid evidence in the characters' own books, you could always fall back on the Infinity Crusade and see which sides the characters were on in that conflict. Anybody feel like whipping those issues out and checking these specific characters?
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:52:34
From: The Black Guardian
Anyway, here's the list of those who "faithfully served" the Goddess: Captain America, Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man, Jean Grey, Namorita, Silhouette, Spider-Man, Puck, Archangel, the Inhuman Crystal, Firelord, Hercules, Shaman, Talisman, Moondragon, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Silver Surfer, Sersi, the Living Lightning, Thor, the Invisible Woman, USAgent, Moon Knight, Wolfsbane, Doctor Strange, Wonder Man, Daredevil, the Black Knight, Windshear, Sasquatch, Storm, Gamora, Sleepwalker.
IIRC, even if you read the crossover, it's still pretty vague in what religions the heroes believed.
Date: 21 Oct 2004 03:57:48
From: Samy Merchi
In many cases, it [Infinity Crusade] is the strongest canonical reference to many of the characters' religious stance. Some lucky ones have been dealt with at more depth in their own books (DD, Rahne, Storm et al.) but for many characters Infinity Crusade is the biggest canonical reference. If we want to go by canon rather than sheer postulation.
From: "Religion of the X-Men" message board started 15 May 2005 on Comic Book Resources website (http://forums.comicbookresources.com/archive/index.php/t-58362.html; viewed 13 June 2006):
05-15-2005, 05:56 PM
Do you ever wonder what religion an X-Man is? I know they are just characters, but still, just for the fun of it.
I am wondering if you could guess their religion by their character, or what they've said, etc.
05-15-2005, 06:22 PM
A good rule of thumb comes from the Infinity Crusade, where the "best" of the MU's religious heroes were brainwashed. A short list reveals [among X-Men and characters from related titled]:
The Lucky One
05-15-2005, 07:38 PM
Jamie Madrox was one of the most religious heroes? Weird. Offhand, I can't remember his character ever saying or doing a single thing involving any particular religion whatsoever. Nor did I think Archangel was really putting the "P" back in WASP.
05-16-2005, 01:44 PM
...As for Jamie being religious: like Michael said, some of them were chosen because they had a death/near-death experience. Jamie was in the head of one of his dupes when Proteus killed him, so that should count.
From: Doug Tonks, "A Higher Power", posted 22 October 2006 on "All New! All Different! Howling Curmudgeons: Two-Fisted Comics Commentary and Criticism!" blog website (http://www.whiterose.org/howlingcurmudgeons/archives/009995.html; viewed 25 April 2007):
The never-identified but usually heeded "they" claim that there are two topics you should never talk about: religion and politics. But since Mike already brought up religion... I'll follow it up with a link to this page [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html], which lists the religious affiliations of various comic book characters...
Posted by Doug at October 22, 2006 7:12 PM
[Comments posted by readers of this page:]
...For that matter, since when was Jamie Madrox -- Multiple Man -- a Buddhist? Since he was introduced in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 as having grown up somewhere in Kansas-Nebraska-Smallville country, shouldn't he be given the same relgious affiliation, even former, as Superman?...
Posted by: Ron Dingman at October 23, 2006 1:57 AM
They listed Madrox as a Buddhist because in the Madrox mini-series, one of the dupes he had sent out to learn stuff came back from a monestary. Dunno how much of the religious stuff took, but he used some of the meditation techniques later in the series to get out of a jam.
Posted by: Rick at October 23, 2006 1:19 PM
Jamie Madrox, especially the one from the current run, would HAVE to be Unitarian-Universalist. I mean, c'mon! :-)
Posted by: fil at October 24, 2006 7:40 AM
From: Visconde Carlo Vergara, "The Faith of Heroes (Superhero Religious Trivia)", posted 14 May 2006 on "Carver's House" blog website (http://carverhouse.blogspot.com/2006/05/sony-buys-us-rights-to-iranian-comic.html; viewed 15 May 2007):
...Rogue is Southern Baptist, Multiple Man is Buddhist, and the Thing is Jewish... The site also cites the comics issues where the religious affiliations were suggested or revealed.
More heroes are presented in a table on this page [link to: http://adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html]. If you want pictures, look through this other page [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_collage.html].
From: "OT: Religious superteams" forum discussion, started 13 February 2007 on "Soap Operus" website (http://www.gossiping.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=167&view=previous&sid=98473f5c220e5dd12ab4c10df9d53477&mforum=so; viewed 29 June 2007):
Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:15 pm
Religious superteams: Your favorite superheroes, sorted by faith. [link to: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_collage.html]
Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:55 pm
That was kinda cool. People have written entire essays on the religious denominations of various super-powered folks...
Posted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:32 am
I'll repeat my criticisms of this list as I've done every time it's posted...
The "Jamie Madrox is Buddhist"-thing is also a stretch. He sent out one dupe to be a Buddhist priest, yes. But his main reason was because he wanted to learn the Shao-Lin martial arts...
[Editor of Adherents.com website responds to poster Dizzy D's comment: I agree. It is a stretch. I do not think that Jamie Madrox tells people he is a Buddhist. I don't think he has a statue of the Buddha prominently displayed on a shelf in his bedroom. On the other hand, his dupe, which now a part of him, really did become a Buddhist priest. As far as we know, his dupes didn't become clergy in every religion or many religions. But one became a Shaolin Buddhist priest. Was this study for the martial arts? Yes. But can one separate Shaolin martial arts from the spiritual discipline and philosophy behind it? Hmm... Perhaps we would have to ask a Shaolin priest the answer to that question. Perhaps one could ask Jamie Madrox himself.
Jamie Madrox is certainly not only a Buddhist. He is also an Episcopalian. Jamie Madrox is pictured in both the Buddhist super-heroes graphic and the Anglican/Episcopalian super-heroes graphic. That's something you can do with "Madrox the Multiple Man." A major element of Jamie's portrayal in the X-Factor series being written by Peter David is that Jamie's power and disposition allows him to be many things simultaneously. There are advantages to this, but this indecisiveness is sometimes to his detrement. If it were not for the fact that Jamie Madrox's powers and personality dovetail so nicely with Buddhist teachings of reincarnation and multiple lives, we might not list him as a Buddhist. But there's great harmony there, to the extent that we think Jamie can be said, at least one some level, to be a Buddhist: literally (because of his experience as a Shaolin Buddhist priest) and thematically as well. And for the life of me, that looks like a Buddhist neclace he's wearing in that picture of him on our graphical collage page.]
Webpage created 31 December 2005. Last modified 29 May 2007.
We are always striving to increase the accuracy and usefulness of our website. We are happy to hear from you. Please submit questions, suggestions, comments, corrections, etc. to: firstname.lastname@example.org.