by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan (Writers), Declan Shalvey (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)

The Story: Deadpool and Agent Preston tries to go away from Butler’s hold as they discover the type of experiments he is doing in his camp.

The Review: It’s not always easy for writers and readers to accept a mood-change. Sometimes, a political book tries to incorporate a bit of action to pepper things up, to disastrous results. Other times, it can be the opposite, as a book change just a bit to let some new ideas flow into it, to freshen things up before it gets repetitive or simply stale.

The latter is what’s happening to Deadpool, who tells a story that is far more character-oriented, with a darker take on things than is usual for the Merc with a Mouth. Humor has always been a regular thing in the book featuring Wade Wilson, yet there is so much pop culture references and poop jokes that can be thrown at the readers before it gets rather tiring. Thankfully, both Posehn and Duggan understand this very well as they focus on some darker ideas, while providing just enough levity to satisfy some of the Deadpool fans.

The opening page actually sums this issue and the very recent take quite well, as Wade tries to cheer himself up, slicing a turkey as if it was a happy family reunion. However, as the page progress, it is revealed to be merely a figment that even his imagination doesn’t seem to accept. His humor is gone, revealed as his way of escape from all his pain and the uncertainty of his life. This take continues toward the issue, as Deadpool himself is unable to continue due to the reveals given to him by Butler himself. Not wishing to go on like this, Agent Preston takes over for him as their interaction and their reaction to what is happening cements the psychological Duggan and Posehn are trying to do.

Going even further down this dark take on things, they even introduce some concepts that really make a lot of sense in a twisted ways with the unnamed country developing super-humans. Considering the large amounts of super-heroes and people with powers in America, it is kind of logical that some countries develop their own based on how they see themselves being threatened. The rather insane and inhumane way these characters and how they are treated makes for a very good addition to this already somber tale as it gives us some particularly dark imagery. The interactions Preston and Deadpool have with the ”Nightcrawler” named Kim makes for a good parallel with Wade’s past life as well as to some of the treatments that could very well be the norm in some other countries. Kim’s story and his addition to the tale makes for a rather chilling vibe coming from the book.

Despite the internal struggle and the dark concepts behind this story, Duggan and Posehn never forget that this is a superhero comics, as they also give some particularly effective action scenes in this issue, reminding the readers that Deadpool is not just a buffoon but a very effective fighter as well. With the lowering humor also come a much more traditional and also horrific take on violence, as it is used to elevate the tension instead of servicing some of the jokes. This is bloody violence that is unafraid to show some of its consequence. It may not be on a Millar level of violence, but it effective nonetheless.

Of course, much of the aforementioned vibes and effects comes through Declan Shalvey and his art, which is as superb as the latest issue. The action is paced very well with each panels, the violence is illustrated brutally in some cases, yet Shalvey never lose sight that this is focusing on the characters themselves despite all that. The facial features may be small, yet the emotions are still conveyed effectively in a minimalistic way, There are no exaggeration traits here, as everything looks clean despite the ugliness of what is presented. Simply told, this is some beautiful art that shows how much Declan Shalvey knows his stuff.

Jordie Bellaire is worthy of the same praise in this issue, as the dark mood is shown perfectly through her colors. The heavy use of dark shadows and deeper colors tones really make some of the interactions between some characters stand out with their colorization. There are even some moments that stand out, like the page where Kin shows how he has been trained with his powers, which use some very simple colors to provide for a powerful moment in terms of visual storytelling. Bellaire is really good here as well.

The Conclusion
: The dark and much more psychological take on the character may not be for everyone, yet the quality of the script, the action and the art cannot be denied as The good, the bad and the ugly continues its excellent take on the Merc with a Mouth.

Grade: A-

Hugo Robberts Larivière