by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan (Writers), Mike Hawthorne (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)
The Story: I am *&/?$ tired of those (*$?%* Deadpool in my ($*$&% heli-carrier killing my (“*/&$ minions!
The Review: Deadpool is a character that had a particularly strange development as a character, both in-universe and out-of-universe. Starting up as a Deadstroke look-alike, he turned into something completely different after writer Joe Kelly cemented a whole new take on the character, turning him into something relatively unique by the time he had his own ongoing. In turn, this made him popular, which made him appear in many other series, receiving mini-series and other ongoing titles at the peak of his popularity, making him appear everywhere akin to popular characters like Batman, Spider-Man and Wolverine. However, while that was going on, not every portrayal of the character was actually decent or even close to what made the character popular to begin with, leaving him to be a rather unappreciated stain when he had been portrayed as a mix of comedy and misery that made him endearing and likable despite the kookiness of his actions and reactions.
Thankfully, it seems that both Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan do understand just what makes the character decent to begin with, with this issue being a splendid example of why. While this volume had its share of up and down, there is something inherently right in the way they handle the Merc with a Mouth that makes this series a delight for long-time fans.
An area where they excel here, in this particular issue, is the juxtaposition of humor and violence without sacrificing the effect of one over the other. In this issue, Wade Wilson deals with a heli-carrier full of henchmen and does so in a way that is brutal, yet also true to the character and to his development in this series. Through all of this, many of the characters reacts to the action, be it the minions themselves, agent Gorman, Coulson, Preston and Deadpool himself. Fine-tuning a balance between hyper-violence and jokes, both Posehn and Duggan adds a certain levity without diminishing the effects or either elements.
One of the aspects that makes this kind of mix work, though, is the characters, with just enough development and actual characterization passing through to make sure there are rhymes and reasons behind all of this. Playing Deadpool as a serious character, his treatment of those minions actually does serve as a reason for him to interact with Preston and show just how he envision the world after recent events. The ongoing process of showing that Wade Wilson is actually a deep character with actual emotions makes this series much better in retrospect, with this issue serving as a nice continuation of what is going on in Deadpool’s head.
An area where things shall ever be subjective, though, is the humor itself. While this series has been hit and miss at times, this particular issue is more of a hit than a miss in terms of timing and actual entertainment. Playing the violence of Deadpool against the normalcy of the minions of U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M., there is an inherent connection to the fact that those minions are actually people. By making this kind of analysis possible and obvious, both writers make a very easy correlation between misery and comedy, which are two elements that work very well together. Their lamentations and the results of their mistake become very hilarious at times, even though this particular setting is used a high number of times in this issue. There are, of course, other jokes in this issue, like a very good one at the very last page that certainly made me chuckle quite a lot, but the comedy in itself will always be subjective for each individual. Still, with an obviously knowledgeable approach to their craft, there are certainly a lot of jokes that should definitely work here.
What works in a way that is perhaps a deal less subjective is the art of Mike Hawthorne, who shows an understanding of depths and the effects of juggling with many elements in an effective way. There are a lot of page here that shows two areas of focalization, with one overshadowing the other without making the other invisible, like the page where Deadpools slaughter people in the background while two minions bickers in a lab. Hawthorne accomplish this by actually cutting things down to the essential minimizing the number of elements to maximize their effects, with a focus on the right elements at time to make the other participate in meaningful ways instead of just occupying space. Pushing empty space with those minimal details, he accomplish a great deal with the focus on the massacre and the interior of the heli-carrier.
Still, the issue would not work as well without his work on characters, with him being surprisingly potent at portraying emotions for characters that have masks over their face. With just the right lines and the right angles, he is able to show a range that is very decent. With also just the right poses and body language, he is able to convey intimidation, violence, terror and a plethora of atmosphere, which shows that he is indeed a talented artist working with people who understand just what he can do.
Jordie Bellaire, in many ways, is in a similar position. Playing with the environment with her colors, she is able to put a heavy focus on certain color temperature without leaving out its opposite in order to create a contrast and an area of focus. Very warm colors hide a small amount of cold colors, darker colors overshadows brightness and the opposite also happens, balancing the issue in terms of colors in order to change the tone fittingly with the script. Not butchering the lines but actually working with Hawthorne, Bellaire does a very solid job here.
The Conclusion: With a very potent balance between action, humor and characterization as well as a very talented artistic team, this issue shows some of the strengths of this volume. A good conclusion to a good arc.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière