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

The Story: As it turns out, Deadpool went on some very trippy adventures in the 60’s.

The Review: I have a big affection for what some might call the Marvel age of comics, better known as the 60’s. Titles like the old Fantastic Four from Lee and Kirby, or Amazing Spider-Man by Lee and Ditko were full of imagination, with a certain detail for fun that isn’t always present in every comics on the stand. A lot of what we currently enjoy in the Marvel universe comes from these times, which makes them something to be enjoyed.

However, while I do enjoy them tremendously, I can still see a lot of what is wrong with them when being more analytic with modern eyes. A lot of their stories are set in a cold war mindset that pits evil communists as foes, most of the women characters are either useless or damsels to be saved, logic is usually pretty optional. Most of them are rather silly when looked upon.* This, of course, make them rather ripe when it comes to satire, with so many things to make fun of that perhaps a whole mini-series could be dedicated to the subject.

This, of course, is exactly why this issue is, on a basic level, utterly disappointing as both Duggan and Posehn simply don’t seem to understand a lot of the potential for comedy here. A Jack Kirby inspired issue of Deadpool could very well be something beautiful, like an homage and a parody at the same time that could hit all the right notes. However, this issue has but too many flaws to actually be entertaining.

One of the biggest flaw is the humor, which is either forced, repeated multiple times or simply childish in the worst of ways. While Posehn and Duggan push forward some of the more out-there elements of the Kirby lore, like Devil Dinosaur and Mangog, both writers seem to either shoo them away or keep their jokes status far too long. While the dialogue and general concept behind Mangog is funny, pushing him through a third of the issue is a bit too much, as the joke not only wear thing, but also becomes an annoyance as it continues.

Where it also fails is that there seems to be but a first degree joke to some of the Kirby concepts, as Jack Kirby was someone who was never afraid of going big in his stories. While they do put this element of him to the forefront with characters like The Ruler of the Earth, the Watcher and the Cosmic Baby, most of these elements are simply thrown in for the simplest and most obvious of jokes, like how Asgard got his power in the 60’s (because of cosmic poop. Yes, I’m serious.). In terms of humor, it’s not the smartest nor the classiest we’ve come to see from this series.

The story, unfortunately, does not far much better, as while the structure and pacing is derived straight from the 60’s. The way the story is divided in chapters is a smart nod to this previous age of comics, yet the story goes a bit overboard as it tries to include too many elements at the same time, putting the humor in a much bigger importance than the rest. Deadpool goes from Wakanda, Manhattan, China, to more cosmic realms at blinding speed, which doesn’t leave much room for close to anything to leave an impact. When compared to previous reserves issues, this is a rather weak effort.

The art of Scott Koblish doesn’t fare much better, as he unfortunately deals in hyperbole most of the time, which makes him miss the point of some of the greatest 60’s comics in this issue. In most instances, Koblish fills his panels to the brim with either too much characters or too many elements with not enough space to let anything come to focus. While some of the comics of that era were prone to a bit of visual chaos, it was never as bad as this, with just too much at times to look at. As a result, some of the smarter details, like the Kirby-inspired Deadpool or the fact that some of the more intricate and extravagant details of some elements are easily missed. Not everything is bad, though, as the characters are suitably expressive in terms of 60’s comics and they are exaggerated just enough to make believe this is an actual comic from the Marvel age. Despite some efforts from Koblish, it’s just not very good.

The colorization really doesn’t fare much better, though, as the colorization is much too extravagant and unfocused, leaving a certain ugliness all around that makes this issue visually weaker. While the colorization could certainly go overboard in some issues with Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, it just comes as a bit too forced and does not make any actual statement beside being rather ugly. The impossibly high diversity, with bright and extreme colors does not make for something pleasant, putting close to no effort for clear contrasts or anything to the like. Val Staples is usually very good, but this direction doesn’t do much for this issue in terms of quality.

The Conclusion
: It’s not very funny, with most of the jokes missing the mark, with a rushed story and an artistic direction that simply doesn’t even come near the potential it has. All in all, this really isn’t the best reserve issue or even one of the best issue of Deadpool. Not recommended.

Grade: C-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière

* This leaves me the opportunity to once again remind people of the silliness of the Marvel age with another showing of the greatest panel of all time. Yes, I’m shameless like that.