(Marvel Comics, 2013)
Review by Shawn Warner
WRITTEN BY: Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan
ARTWORK BY: Declan Shalvey
COLOR ARTWORK BY: Jordie Bellaire
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is on course to be the best Deadpool story ever written. The darker tone that was introduced last issue continues to more deeply define Deadpool as a character. Part two of the arc plays out like a ballet of violence, a tragic ode of Shakespearean degree. Not only have Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn masterfully traversed the chasm separating the comedic from the sublime but they have done so without losing their superb sense of humor. They have added a dimension to Wade Wilson that enhances his humanity in contrast to his mutant abilities giving him a depth of character unlike anything we have seen before. The internal dialogue inside Wade’s head now serves as a high powered microscope used to expose the inner workings of a man alone who longs to be part of something bigger than himself, something outside himself much like when he so desperately wanted to be a member of the X-Men. Wade Wilson wants a family and now in what could very well be the biggest development since his origin; he just might get his heart’s desire.
This issue begins inside Wade’s head where he stands at the head of the table carving the holiday turkey for a surrogate family of crash test dummies; again we see his unrelenting need to be a part of a family. The bizarre yet poignant scene ends with a dejected Deadpool now alone at the head of the table, his head hung in disappointment and disgust as he proclaims another holiday ruined. This scene is strangely heartbreaking as we are afforded a glimpse inside the usually guarded Merc with the Mouth only to see that he is in pain, a pain that is beyond the reach of his healing factor.
We learn much more of the insidious Mr. Butler and Colonel Jong and the twisted experiments that have yielded a malignant team of grotesqueries, a group of disfigured mutants held against their will and bent to do Mr. Butler’s cruel bidding by holding their families hostage. In one of this issue’s many highlights during an exquisitely drawn and composed escape attempt a battered and disoriented Deadpool uses his own bicep as a silencer by pressing the barrel of his gun firmly against the muscle and firing. This sequence is particularly gruesome but Declan Shalvey renders these panels like a pictorial poem. In fact all the action in this issue is illustrated with such dynamic style by Shalvey that I cannot think of any other artist who would fit the bill quite as well as he does. His dark and gritty pencils coupled with his cinematic panel layouts are a perfect counterpart for Duggan and Posehn’s stunning and at times brutal script. The overall tone of this story is one of stark emotion set against a bleak rain swept landscape illuminated periodically by flashes of lightning, reminiscent of Blade Runner. Jordie Bellaire’s use of dark colors adds the finishing touch to this danse macabre.
Although we are only two issues into this arc I can’t help but feel that we are witnessing a definitive era in the history of Deadpool. The tonal change from overtly comedic to darkly introspective has resulted in an intriguing, engrossing emotional tour de force that is destined to forever change the character. Duggan and Posehn have managed to maintain and even hone Deadpool’s rapier wit while treading previously unexplored emotional terrain. In just two issues Deadpool has grown more as a character then in some other writer’s entire runs. This is the type of “trial by fire” that all great comic book characters have gone through only to emerge more focused and dynamic than ever. It happened to Batman, Spider-Man, and most recently Captain America, the list goes on and on. I believe that Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn are elevating Deadpool to the next level as a character. They are adding that catalyst needed to further develop the character, to progress and grow Deadpool into a multi-faceted, fully actualized hero. I can’t wait to see where Wade Wilson is at the end of this arc, one thing is for sure, Deadpool is one bad mother… or should I say father? Hey I know I should leave the jokes to Duggan and Posehn but I couldn’t resist.
Issue 16 is the best issue yet in a series that does not contain a bad issue. The writing is flawless, briskly paced with action to spare and dialogue so sharp you could cut yourself on the pages. Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire turn in some of the most gorgeous pages on the rack this week. The more I see of Shalvey’s work the more I like him. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists, like Sean Murphy and Jeff Lemire his art is dynamic, bristling with emotion. So for the second week in a row I have to give Deadpool a perfect 5. Please, if you don’t already get Deadpool pick up issues 15 and 16 read them and add the title to your pull list. If you are reluctant to do so because of the comedic tone of the first 14 issues, rest assured you are missing something very special if you don’t jump on now. While you are at it you might want to start getting Nova if you don’t already because Gerry Duggan is about to take over the writing duties on that book. So until next time, see you at the comic book store.
Follow Shawn Warner on Twitter: @shawnwarner629