Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan (Writers), Declan Shalvey (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
The Story: With Captain America and Wolverine now rescued, it’s time for them to get out of there, but not without causing a whole lot of damage before they go.
The Review: It was too good to be true. A Deadpool arc which features a more serious take on the character, focusing on his psyche and just how dark the character truly is could not keep the excellence forever. The psychological take on the character and the way his legacy was twisted up, despite his best attempts at not making it so was just too much for its own good, as the arrival of Captain America and Wolverine detracts from all of that.
Now, before I go too far in the negative intro to this review, I wouldn’t say that this is a bad comic. There are several aspects of the issue that were handled with obvious care and an obvious desire for fun, like the action. The big battle that Captain America, Wolverine, Deadpool and the captive of the meta human camp is actually filled with all the violence, gore and bombastic hyperbole of super heroic action that one could very much expect from a book featuring the Merc with a Mouth. The pacing is also well kept as there is enough variety in the action to allow it to be properly exciting throughout the issue.
What’s much less exciting is how the story and the whole take on Deadpool seems to return to utter goofiness. While the crazed take on Wade Wilson can be easily explained through the fact that this is the way he acts around those he respects in some weird way, it still feels a bit too fast as Poshen and Duggan abandon the introspective take on the character almost completely in favour of the action. The plot progression is also affected by all this, as this issue mostly revolves around the action and not on the direct conflict with Butler and the mystery of what he said to Deadpool. It’s a bit strange to say, yet it feels like the inclusion of Captain America and Wolverine, two popular characters, didn’t do much good in this particular story except provide more material for super hero action.
At the very least, both Posehn and Duggan do lightly touch upon the subject of how meta humans are treated and seen outside the U.S.A, although not in a way that is as effective as the latest issue. With the action of the genetically modified meta humans and how they help in the fight against their oppressor, there is a certain imagery as to how a nation can be threatened by others, leading to some of the action shown in the issue. It’s not as explicit or as smart as the training montage with Kim the ”Nightcrawler”, yet it does show how far a country is willing to go in terms of technology and sacrifice of its people to be ahead of competition.
What is as great and is also way ahead of most of the competition is Declan Shalvey, who really shows that he can bring action to life in the pages of this issue. The actions of such characters as Deadpool, Captain America and Wolverine and the refugees are as awe-inspiring as they are brutal, showing a side of meta human combat that is rarely shown. There is energy, chaos and a good flow to the action that really makes it stand out on the page as he mixes super hero sensibilities to R-rated action movies one. Where he falters a little bit, though, is with the facial expressions. Simply put, his struggle with very small details do play against him severely as the expressions on the characters face are too minimal to be fully perceptible. Still, the poses are evocative enough to work through that weakness, rendering the emotions through the actions rather than the faces themselves. As far as action and mixes of styles go, Shalvey does a very good job here.
Jordie Bellaire also does her part commendably, as she do make a fine job at meshing the darkness of some of the themes with the violence of the action, as dark and warm colors commonly mix together in both the backgrounds and the various elements in the forefront. The heavy use of sharp contrast with some of the costume and other elements against the background do a good amount of the work when it comes to the tone, as the white and grey colorization of some of the refugees do clash against the darker guards and the grim-looking camp they are in. The use of white panels is restricted, but in a way that truly accentuate the outlandish elements, like Captain America’s shield and the brighter and more colorful elements. Just like Shalvey, Bellaire is in her elements and it shows here.
The Conclusion: While the shifting focus on action rather than the character development and plot progression may be disappointing for some, there is no denying that the enjoyable action and stunning artwork from Shalvey and Bellaire do make this issue rather entertaining. Not on the same level as the other issues in this arc, but fun nonetheless.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière