(Marvel Comics, 2013)
Review by Shawn Warner
WRITTEN BY: Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan
ARTWORK BY: Declan Shalvey
COLOR ARTWORK: Jordie Bellaire
Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have been doing an impressive job on Deadpool from the first issue. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Deadpool particularly the Daniel Way series. I thought we had been blessed with the definitive work on the character and that’s not to discount the work of Joe Kelly, Victor Gischler and Fabian Nicieza, in fact the list of amazing writers to touch Deadpool includes some of the best in the business; Jason Aaron, Cullen Bunn and Jeff Parker to name just a few. In fact the only truly disappointing Deadpool stories usually involve the man who is credited with creating the character, Rob Liefeld but I’m not here to trash anyone let’s just say I’m no fan of his work, visually or as a writer, ’nuff said. So when I heard that Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn were going to be handling the writing duties on a re-launched Deadpool book I was cautiously optimistic the way I am anytime a “Hollywood Type” decides to write comic books. Let’s face it the results have been a pretty mixed bag when rock stars, actors and screenwriters dip their toes in the pool of comicdom. However after reading the first issue my only complaint was, “where’s number two?” I was sold. The writing was top notch, the dialogue was sharp, the quips were smart and funny without being corny and they didn’t beat us over the head with the humor. Was it funny? Hell yes! But it was much more than that, it was a well written, well-constructed story, it was engaging and entertaining, ultimately satisfying and left me wanting more. In short it was off to one heck of a start. Now fourteen issues later Duggan and Posehn have not missed a step. In fact they have only gotten better.
In this issue Duggan and Posehn prove that they are no one trick pony as they branch out into as yet unexplored terrain for them. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” is the first arc that veers away from the overtly humorous material they have cut their teeth on with Deadpool and into a more character driven narrative. And they nail it! This is what great comic books are made of; the witty dialogue and razor sharp quips and one liners are all still there albeit with a slightly diminished frequency. The story is full of elements related to Deadpool’s shadowy past but it doesn’t read like an origin story. There are even some poignant moments between Wade and Captain America of all people. The scene they share is one of the highlights of the book for me. Equally engrossing and enjoyable is the chemistry shared by Deadpool and Wolverine. These two characters have a long and storied history together that the comedic co-writers latch right onto and get wonderful results.
The departure from their more joke-heavy scripts to a somewhat more dramatic narrative is a welcome change, not that they needed to switch gears. They could have gone on for quite a while with the formula they have developed, but that’s the beauty and courageousness of such a change at this time and it pays off in a very big way. Duggan and Posehn have proven that they are willing to step outside their comfort zone and delve into the inner workings of the character. I can’t say enough about this issue. It delivers on so many levels, it has a team-up dynamic at times as well as a mysterious, X-Files like overtone in parts yet maintains that singularity and self-imposed isolation that Deadpool has cultivated over the years in the hands of some extraordinary writers.
Visually Declan Shalvey is more than up to the task of bringing Duggan and Posehn’s script to life. He renders Wade in all his decomposing glory. His attention to intricacies is astounding; he depicts Wade’s skin as a cancerous canvas bedecked with oozing tumors and bleeding opening scars. Deadpool’s unmasked façade is a twisted conglomerate of deeply running disfigurements and wounds, a map of his pain and the terrible experiments visited upon him by the government. Shalvey’s style is a perfect fit for this story. His meticulous detail, his incredible story telling ability and his awareness of panel positioning within a page all shine here. If you are a fan of his work on 28 Days Later, Thunderbolts and Venom it is a safe bet that you are going to love this book as well, particularly with Jordie Bellaire’s stunning colors to finish the deal.
Deadpool is such a great character when he is in the hands of the right creators and that is certainly the case here. Duggan and Posehn have already in just 15 issue left their indelible mark upon the character and with this issue they have quieted any criticism that they could only do funny Deadpool stories. I look forward to what the next four issues have in store for The Merc with the Mouth and to learning more of Deadpool’s past. I love what Duggan and Posehn have done so far and I whole-heartedly believe that the best is yet to come, after reading an issue this good you would have to be a fool not to. Issue 15 is comic book perfection, it’s all there; the over the top action, the moving emotional moments, the clever dialogue, the intriguing mystery and the superb art. How could I give such a work anything less than a flawless 5. I urge anyone not currently reading Deadpool to stop what they are doing, make a return trip to your local comic book shop and do two things; first pick up this issue of Deadpool and any back issues still on the rack, second add the title to your pull list so you don’t miss another tremendous tome of the Regeneratin’ Degenerate. ‘Nuff said. So until next week, see you at the comic book store.
Follow Shawn Warner on Twitter: @shawnwarner629