by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan (Writers), Mike Hawthorne (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist)

The Story: Agent Preston finally gets transferred out of Deadpool. The only thing she needs to do is get out of his head.

The Review: The more you read cape comics, the more you begin to learn to appreciate honest effort from any creative team. While it can be a hard task to differentiate those that actually care from those that only wants a paycheck, there are times when the work is clear-cut in its quality that it is immediately noticeable.

This issue of Deadpool is one of the latter, with both writers actually going around with plenty of elements firmly established from their run as well as previous ones to present not only a definitive version of the character, but one that has plenty of hidden depth to boot.

What Posehn and Duggan does impossibly right is making the character an actual person, one with regrets, feelings and genuine emotions that are both said and unsaid, leaving room for readers to interpret things as well as invest themselves in. With this issue being the culmination of several elements brought up since the first arc, the evolution on display here is superb, with all the horror, the thrills and the actions of Wade Wilson coming back to him, making him not only a sympathetic character, but also one that becomes genuinely likable in many respects. To transform this character from recurring and sometimes annoying joke to an actual person takes skill, which is very commendable for both writers.

What they also accomplished here is giving plenty of supporting characters that are also very likable, with agent Preston, agent Adsit and several others, including the return of Benjamin Franklin, Michael the necromancer to the book. With their inclusion, their general subplots and their persona being very well included in the main conflict of the book, the cast here is lively and interesting. Their inclusion being very well implemented with the main theme of this issue, to see them as not just foil but also integral part of the story is a nice touch.

Where it gets really interesting, though, is how Posehn and Duggan deals with regrets, self-loathing and isolation, with the scenes in Deadpool’s mindscape and how he deals with the information he gained in previous issues is dealt with in a rather intelligent manner. Without deigning to let readers get an issue without a little bit of action, it’s the inclusion of the themes in each and every scenes in a subtle, yet effective manner that makes this issue work very well. The multitude of Deadpool, each incarnating a different era and fighting for Preston to stay despite Wade saying she needs to go is a rather powerful message, one that does resonate with the development and evolution of the character. The mix of super hero tropes with actual problems is done well here, which is a testament to what the team has achieved so far.

Where this book might be a bit off for some, though, is the very low amount of silliness and humor included. While there are some wordplays and some smaller jokes, the very core of this issue is much more serious, making it a bit more akin to ”The good, the bad and the ugly” in terms of tone than some of the first issues of this current volume. Those looking for a bit more comedy in their Deadpool book might be a bit disappointed.

What’s certainly not disappointing, though, is Mike Hawthorne who keeps on showing why he’s a great addition to this book. While he isn’t as great as in some previous issues he worked on, there are some definitive moments of brilliance in terms of conceptualization and design that makes this issue very good visually. The intimate moments, the use of backgrounds and scenery to form credible settings and the general energy found in some pages are especially good, crafting an issue that manages to be hectic, yet ultimately personal with a good panel composition and an emphasis on characters.

Where it’s not as good, though, is when Hawthorne deals with group shots and general chaos. While he tries to mimic several artists and their styles in some panels, he himself shows a certain weakness in trying to present them in a cohesive and distinct fashion, making many of the characters featured a bit jumbled and rougher as a result. While the concept it very neat, the execution is a bit weak, making those few pages not as satisfying as they could have been.

Still, what makes the issue very satisfying in many ways is the colorization of Jordie Bellaire, who shows just why she is a highly sought-after talent in the industry. Using many different techniques she has used in this present volume, Bellaire shows a good range and an excellent sense of balance and contrast in this issue, playing with the panels, perception and with the lines to delivers some very good-looking moments. The throwback to her collaboration with Declan Shalvey, the inside of Deadpool’s head, theu use of backgrounds to serve as a foil to other colors in the forefront and many other nice techniques gets showcased here, pushing forth the visual identity of the book further with her skills.

The Conclusion: With some very strong themes, some solid character work, a very great handle on internal continuity and some very good work from Hawthorne and Bellaire, this issue delivers a solid conclusion to an arc and to a phase in Wade Wilson’s life. Better than it should be, this volume continues to impress.

Grade: A-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière