Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn (Writers), Scott Koblish (Artist), Val Staples (Colorist)

The Story: Deadpool ”works” with Heroes for Hire in order to fight the White Man.

The Review: As we prepare for the next arc, we have the chance to read another ”inventory issue”, featuring a satirical look on a whole generation and age of comic. Like the issue making fun of the 80’s, this one give us a vision that is both filled with humor, yet also with an interesting point-of-view of how the era was in terms of comics and popular culture. With this issue focusing on the 70’s, there is a lot for the duo of writers to cover, however do they manage to strike gold like they did in issue 7?

In some minor ways, they don’t really give us a tale as complete and satisfying as the last ”inventory issue”, yet they do manage to cover a lot of ground on how comics in the seventies were written, complete with a plethora of in-jokes and fourth wall comments.

On the comedic front of things, a lot of what is presented here works rather well, as both Duggan and Posehn use a lot of the blacksploitation that was the butt of the joke and the common theme used in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. Here though, they amp it up to eleven as a lot of the jokes involve racism, the comic code authority, the disco era along with what was popular in the 70’s. With jokes like Deadpimp, the way Iron Fist used his power, the enemy being literally called ”The White Man” and many more, it’s really a diverse selection of comedy gold we have here. However, there are some small weaknesses here and there on that front as some of the jokes are used perhaps too much, like how Luke Cage keeps denying Deadpool the satisfaction of being in his business, the joke about the name of the villain and the fact that some writers usually took way too much time describing how Iron Fist used his powers. It’s all fine, yet it lowers the effectiveness of these jokes in the process.

Something that is really well done and that plays to the strength of such a one-shot is all the 70’s angle that the book has. In many ways, this seems not only like a whole homage to the era, but the writers really made an effort to use narrative and descriptive techniques in the writing to make it feel like an old issue of Power Man and Iron Fist. The dialogue, the way the characters are stereotyped in order to play with the story in a comedic way seems like a meta-commentary on how some of these stories played with these tropes back then, which is really enjoyable in itself. It is, in a sense, a parody of a comic that was already a bit self-aware of what it was doing, which is brilliant in a way. The whole highlight on the expressions, the pacing, the comedy and the inevitable confrontation really does make this seems like a comic straight out of the 70’s.

However, as strong as the feeling of the 70’s is in the comic, one cannot appreciate a comic merely on these factors, as we need something to hold it all together, which is the role the story is here to fill. Sadly, this one just isn’t as strong as the 80’s issue, as here the jokes and the overall satire gets in the way, as there are many segments which don’t really add to the growing conflict. Sure, some of the jokes are integrated smartly into the ongoing plot, yet not all pages contribute to the White Man situation. It grinds the pacing to a halt sometime in order to tell a joke, which is fair and all in some places as it is only for one or two panels, yet sometimes it seems like pages are just there to continue a joke instead of giving a good mix of jokes and plot. When the jokes begins to get a lot more important than the actual story, it can be a bit of a problem as the lack of balance just hurt the product in general.

What really does advantage the book has a whole, though, is Scott Koblish who does his best to reproduce, or at least parody, the general feeling of how we might envision the 70’s. He’s exaggerating close to everything, be it the designs, the poses or the larger spreads full of vivid details and characters, filling them to the brim with nonsense that could very well be associated with to this era. The way he draws afros, the old design of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, the rollers and everything screams parody, which is very fitting with the tone of this book. Although this is a comedic book, he also has a lot of fun himself with the panelling, giving a different and perhaps more experimental feeling to a lot of pages, like the ”love scene”, they way he adds gravitas to Iron Fist using his powers or the first scene with May Parker.

Someone else who adds gravitas and credibility in the vision on this book is Val Staples, who really goes toward the deep ends when it comes to colorization. The bright and psychedelic colors that do not necessarily mesh well together does wonder in setting the tone of this era, creating a chaos on each page as it creates so many disparity and contrasts between each panels that it just adds to the whole 70’S experience.

The Conclusion: While not as successful as the other inventory issue as a whole, this issue does create a good parody of the 70’s despite its lack of focus on the plot thanks to the wonderfully chaotic art and the jokes.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière