Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan (Writers), Declan Shalvey (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
The Story: Cap, Wolverine and Deadpool infiltrates the main camp in order to save the family of the metahumans in custody of the North Korean government.
The Review: There is a lot to like when one looks at the current Deadpool ongoing. With a good balance between action, humor and some tiny bit of darkness, both Posehn and Duggan have captured a bit of the Joe Kelly era of the character, the most iconic of them all. However, with the current arc called The good, the bad and the ugly, both writers seemed to be able to surprise readers with a voluntary twist in how things are usually done with the characters, giving something different for the Merc with a Mouth.
While the previous issue wasn’t as great an example of where this arc succeeds at showing the many nuances of Deadpool as a character, this issue is a shining example of how the character can be efficiently handled. They do so by creating a crescendo of real horror, letting the super heroics fade away until the ending hits both the character and the readers like a gut punch. By letting the rather darker and much more miserable side of the character be on the page, they are able to put forward a more nuanced take on Wade Wilson that makes him more enjoyable to read. Duggan and Posehn treats the titular character like a three-dimensional being, which really do help this arc so far.
Both writers do also seem to make a better use of Captain America and Wolverine in this issue, showcasing their history and how it can be compared with Deadpool’s own. While Captain America is left on the side in terms of introspection, Wolverine is more present in this issue as Duggan and Posehn seems to understand how he works and how he sees himself. The interaction he has with Deadpool along with the mutated refugees are pretty well done, as they are able to show the compassion and the tragedy in a man that is quite intimate with violence and all that it entails.
However, those that seem to steal the show from everyone except Deadpool are the mutated heroes fighting alongside them, as the writers are able to show the inhumanity of their treatments. By making them noble despite how they were treated and how they look, they create a rather sharp contrast that allows them to be rather sympathetic, even tragic figures as the plot advances forward. The comparison between those they mimic along with what they do shine some of the stronger human aspects that could prove this storyline to be memorable down the line when people start talking about Duggan and Posehn’s run on Deadpool.
What is also memorable would be the plot in itself, as the writers provide a twist near the ending that make a smart use of the rather weak ”White Man” issues. The twist makes for a smart use of what could have been perceived a throwaway scene and render the last scene even more tragic as a result. Still, there is more to like here than just the plot twist, as there is a good mix of character moments and action, with some of them merging together to create something more as a result. The story possess a good sense of pacing and balance, as nothing is too long or too short, with every scene passing along their intended message without hurting the flow.
What also doesn’t hurt is Declan Shalvey on the book as the artist, as his simple and clean lines are able to convey a lot of the tragedy and the action in an immensely apt manner. He knows when to focus on the characters or on the action, putting emotions and entertainment in shifting importance with each scenes. There is a certain mix of utterly minimal and beautiful in the backgrounds, with some of them being very detailed while others are simply shown as some mere lines, but both of them works as they are put in the proper context, building up to something along the way. The action and the characters are also well done, albeit the expressions on some characters could be done a bit better, with some like Captain America coming off as being uncharacteristically cold in some scenes based on his visuals. Still as it may, it is a very strong showing for Shalvey in this issue.
Jordie Bellaire is also great here, using some of very sharp contrast with clearer and brighter colors in some scenes while dealing with darker and duller colors in others. Those in the camp are grey, brown with a good deal of outlandish colors used for powers, explosions and the like while the panels and pages with Butler are much cleaner. An effect that is especially nice, however is a subtle darker colorization during the final pages which seems to go even further in that line as the tragedy and the drama of the situation completely hits the readers and Deadpool as well. Bellaire is doing some terrific work as well here, which is all the better for the issue as a whole.
The Conclusion: The great balance between humor, action and drama along with the clean and deceptively simple work from Bellaire and Shalvey makes this issue a great chapter in this satisfying arc from Duggan and Posehn.
Hugo Robberts Larivière