by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn (Writers), Declan Shalvey (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
The Story: Deadpool, after realizing that some people kept picking some of his body parts, decide that he’s had enough of it and try to get help.
The Review: With the constant humorous shenanigans involved within the adventures of the Merc with a mouth, it’s always easy to miss out a very precise point about Deadpool: he’s probably one of the more depressing characters in superhero comics. There may be jokes and he may be goofy at times, yet it’s hard to realize that the character, because of his constantly regenerating cancer cells, is in constant pain. Combine this with the fact that he does a job he feels make him worthless, receive no respect from anyone and always seem to get the only friends he gets in trouble because of his low sanity, which is caused by his aforementioned pain. With these facts known, a lot of what Deadpool does do seem to have some kind of cold logic behind them that allow the character to be much more than a simple clown that utter popular references and jokes all the time.
This issue, it seems, is particularly aware of that aspect of the character as the humor is kept a very low minimum with the writers focusing on the character and the story instead of the silliness here. With such a wild change to a series that had been based on comedy most of the time, does the issue still manage to have a modicum of quality?
Surprisingly, yes, although I suspect some people might not particularly care for this tone in a Deadpool story. There are some jokes used by the character here, but it seems that they aren’t played for laugh here instead as a some sort of safety net from Deadpool, a way to alleviate his spirit from the troubles that always surround him. As if the series had decided to play the humor Deadpool use in a disturbingly straight manner, it actually works in the context of the story that unfolds here. It’s not a classic type of story and the diversity on show here does help show what the character is able to do in terms of storytelling.
The story itself, though, is set up as well as a sobering view on just how some people perceive Deadpool, including himself as he tries to seek help from Wolverine and Captain America for information on Weapon Plus. As the story progress, we not only see the disdain Wolverine has for him and the way he is perceived by Captain America, but what he would actually wish would happen in a way. This is a subtle psychological approach to the character that is not invasive to the story, yet does wonder in showing us another facet of the character that hasn’t always been written by a lot of Deadpool scribes in the previous years.
One of the better aspect of this issue, despite the praise the story is receiving on my part, is Declan Shalvey. His art is clean and he really knows how to use space in his panels, resulting in them being filled with lots of details that only add to the general atmosphere without becoming too jumbled. He knows which elements to add to the backgrounds and what to leave, making him quite economic in his approach to storytelling, which also makes the readers focus more on the characters themselves as a result. The poses are expressive and the action gets only better as a result, yet if there’s a weakness to his characters, it would be the fact that the facial expressions are too minimalist, resulting in the emotions getting solely from the text most of the times instead of both the art and text. Still, it is artistically strong and do promise something good to look at, especially if Shalvey has some pages like the two-page spread in the first few pages of this issue, which is stunningly beautiful to look at.
Jordie Bellaire is no slouch either, as his color work has a sober quality that works quite well with the clean aspect of Shalvey’s lines. He use light and darkness in ways that never feel exaggerated or in the way of the story, instead stylizing the art even further for the readers to enjoy. There are, of course, some key moments where he is simply amazing, like the aforementioned two-page spread where he mostly use two colors to create a simple yet absolutely gorgeous contrast between cold and warm that makes it even prettier to look at.
The Conclusion: It may be a different take on the Merc with a mouth, yet it cannot be said it isn’t an effective one as the serious take on the character and his problems makes for a gripping read nonetheless as the writers delve deeper on who the character is while Shalvey and Bellaire bring in some powerful scenes with their art. Unusual for the character, yet recommended.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière