By: Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn (Writers), Mike Hawtorne (Artist), Val Staples (Colorist)

The Story: Deadpool tries his very best to help Michael as he has to deal with Vetis and the fact that he has to kill several people for him.

The Review: Color me surprised. I was not expecting so serious an issue of this title, one that had always managed to balance the funny and serious bits in a way that made sense with the titular character himself. We could always expect a good number of jokes during the more serious moments, which were not the most striking moment, to lower down some of the more dramatic tone of the story and the character itself.

Here, though, it seems that this is a much more serious issue of Deadpool, as the more dramatic side of the book has much more focus on than usual. Sure, there are still some jokes here and there, but there is a bigger spotlight on just how Deadpool perceives himself, the others and his seemingly twisted and almost pessimistic approach to life. It is first shown in the beginning pages of this issue, as we see Preston exploring the head of Deadpool, as we see just how he perceives himself and the hidden depth that are within the regenerate degenerate. In contrast to the playroom that he had shown to Preston, here we see a big mighty room with references to works of art as we see hints of deeper characterization both Posehn and Duggan might very well take advantage of in the near future.

While these first pages does give us some more insight on the character, it is his actions that define him more, as we get to see him help Michael with his problem as the trio of Deadpool, Michael himself and the ghost of Benjamin Franklin tries to locate a secret library that was owned by the Ancient One (as in, Doctor Strange mentor). The manner in which they actually accomplish this is quite funny, involving Michael creating himself a criminal record to enter Ryker’s island, the place where the library is situated. In these scenes, we get a good look at the relation between Deadpool and the other two, as we get some good jokes out of their wandering in Ryker’s and the library inside. We even get to see a classic Deadpool trope that is always hidden in most quality stories featuring the merc with a mouth: him being a jerk to those that befriend him.

Here, we see a lot of Deadpool’s psychology being interpreted, as we get to see a thing that is abundantly clear when reading many stories with him a character: he hates himself. Deadpool has a severely bad outlook on what he does, how he interacts with others and how the world perceives him. Throughout his dialogue and the early scenes, it is indicated, yet not in so obvious a way, that Deadpool does not think he deserves much in life. Having grown accustomed to the fact that he will never get respect, he even tell it inside of his mind as he has begun to grow the idea that saving the U.S.A from zombies should have made people a little bit more respectful toward him.

Even in his actions, he hates himself, as the fight against the obvious Aquaman satire brings out more the fact that he seems to have an obligation and a curse that make him do stuff no one else might want to do. As he sees that he has to kill a genuinely nice and good-hearted person, he does so with great anger against himself, which can be seen in the scene featuring Vetis the demon after the fight. While I do appreciate the fact that Duggan and Posehn are trying to show that the character is more than just jokes and violence, it is perhaps a little bit too much during this issue, as the second-half rapidly get very dark, almost in a too heavy manner.

What not too heavy, though, is Mike Hawtorne on art duty, as he draws the book in a very efficient manner. The characters are expressive throughout their face and their poses; he works well with the jokes and the action, his backgrounds are very well done and his pacing is top notch. Although he might not have the exaggerated style of Tony Moore, I do have to say that his storytelling capabilities are pretty on par with the previous artist. Of course, he does benefit from the fact that Val Staples is the colorist here, as he does get his expertise in bringing the more devious elements from the script in a bigger effect. I do have to say that Staples will always impress me with his lighting and shadow work, as he just seems to get the proper degradation and tone of colors that change when under light, as the scene in the library and on the beach clearly indicates so.

The Conclusion: While the book does show a too great change in tone after the first half of the book, it would be hard not to like such an earnest attempt at deeper characterization on this title. With Hawtorne and Staples bringing their talent in the mix, it makes it doubly harder not to appreciate what the title is able to show.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière