By Ivan Brandon (writer), Sanford Greene (art), Nathan Massengill, John Rauch (colors) and Jeff Eckleberry (letters)
The Story: Our favorite Mouthy Merc is hired to kill famous vigilante Frank Castle— the Punisher— in order to avenge the death of an innocent man killed in Punisher’s crossfire. Deadpool gets far, far more than he bargained for when he follows Punisher’s trail down into the sewer and discovers that his prey is already dead, but still moving about. And worse yet, it has friends…
What’s Good: What can we say about our poor, overused Deadpool? He can be written, drawn and utilized in any number of ways, and that leaves him wide open for abuse and mischaracterization. Fortunately, things don’t go so badly for him here. Although none of his lines or antics are particularly good, they aren’t awful by any stretch, and will almost certainly give you a chuckle or two. Sadly, when it comes to these Deadpool spinoffs, that seems to be about the best one can hope for.
The story itself is actually one of the most creative ones that this series has seen so far. The problems Deadpool has to solve are interesting, and the trouble he gets himself into is (at least mildly) unexpected. Greene does a great job bringing this madcap story to life, and his take on Frankencastle’s monster posse are the highlight of the book. It’s a lot of fun just to look at the different designs and poses he has for them. His more human-centric art doesn’t fare quite as well— Deadpool’s proportions, especially his head, seem rather off and inconsistent, and the panels are often over-cluttered. Still, it gets the job done and tells the story effectively enough.
What’s Not So Good: Deadpool is a very easy character to write. He’s just a very, very difficult character to write well. That’s the pit that Brandon falls into here. He gets Deadpool’s voice and goofiness right, but fails to give him anything truly funny or interesting to say. For a serious character this isn’t a book-killer, but for Deadpool? If he’s not funny, chances are the book isn’t going to be a very good one, even if the story is decent.
I’m also confused as to why they call this book Team-Up. It made sense for the first couple issues— you know, when ‘Pool actually teamed up with his guest star of the month. Then he started just fighting his guest star… and now we don’t even see the guest star at all until the last half of the book—and even then, they spend all their fighting. No teaming, no time to play off each other at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is a great concept for a series and could work really well. It plays directly to Deadpool’s major strength, which is the way he interacts with other characters. Creating a book specifically to highlight that is brilliant (if they actually wrote the book with that as a goal). For now, it seems much more like “Deadpool Lite” than anything unique or entertaining.
Conclusion: If you’re a Deadpool fan or collector, you won’t feel scammed paying $2.99 for this issue. Anyone else, feel free to give it a pass. Nothing special here.