By Daniel Way (writer), Carlo Barberi (pencils), Juan Vlasco (inks), Marte Gracia (colors) and VC’s Joe Sabino (letters)

The Story: Deadpool heads to Las Vegas in order to avenge a badmouthing at the hands of a casino owner. After arriving though, he finds out (the hard way) that all of the Vegas casino owners have hired a mech-suited warrior called—wait for it—The House to protect them and their earnings. It turns out that The House is piloted by none other than Deadpool’s sometimes friend, sometimes enemy Weasel, and after a brief scuffle Deadpool decides to borrow Weasel’s backup set of armor and go to work with him.

What’s Good: Who kicked Daniel Way in the butt and finally woke him up? All us ‘Pool fans owe that person a huge thank you. True, Way’s Deadpool has consistently been the best written (and, if you ask me, the best take on the character) out of all the Deadpool books available, but this issue is head and shoulders above the bar he’s set for himself. I don’t know if it’s the freshness of a new Marvel ‘era’ in the Heroic Age, the inclusion of a character like Weasel (who has always served Deadpool well) or just that the entire concept of a casino themed Iron Monger-like powered suit is absurdly hilarious, but this issue just works on a level that very few Deadpool stories have worked for a long time.

The plot device that gets Deadpool to Las Vegas works perfectly, and is so quintessentially Deadpool. THIS is exactly how he needs to be written: funny, insane, absurd…but with the flip side of that coin being that he is quite dark, unstable and very, very dangerous. This is a Deadpool who I can buy not just as a schizophrenic clown, but also as one of the most skilled and most in-demand mercenaries working in the Marvel universe. This is a Deadpool I actually want to watch and root for. Even the little moments, like Deadpool escaping from Weasel’s Box with no foreshadowing or explanation, are pitch-perfect. I can understand some readers being bothered by Way glossing over a (fairly important) plot point like how Deadpool escaped, but to be it just reinforced the exact tone of absurdity and ridiculousness that both the character and the book needs.

Three cheers for bringing back Weasel, too. He’s always been a great foil/companion/punching bag for Deadpool, and it’s rather nice to see him get the upper hand (no pun intended) here for a while. Even better is having them working together again; I’m hoping it’s for more than just this arc. A character like this is exactly what Deadpool needs to be at his best, and Way seems to really like Weasel (and writes him very well) to boot. That’s a win for everyone involved. Also, can I just say that “Wildcard” is the single most perfect moniker Way could have come up with for ‘Pools mech-enforcer? Love it!

Barberi’s pencils prove to be a great partner to Way’s script. His isn’t my favorite style personally speaking—I generally prefer more detail and realism—but for this sort of story the slightly sketchy look and exaggerated (but not OVER-exaggerated) poses and facial expressions work very well, and reinforce the equally exaggerated nature of the writing. It’s very nice—and quite rare—to see a creative team that work to complement each other so well.

What’s Not So Good: My main problem with this book is that it’s going to make it that much harder to slog through the rest of the month’s quota of “Deadpool vs. zombies” and “Deadpool (and company)…. IN SPAAAAACE!” Sigh.

Conclusion: The plot is great, the pacing is solid, and the writing is energetic and very funny, and the art complements and brings it all together. I had a wonderful time reading this book and I think anyone who likes the Deadpool character will too.

Grade: B+