(Marvel Comics, 2014)
Written by Gerry Duggan
Artwork by Matteo Lolli
Color Artwork by Cris Peter
Gerry Duggan has been methodically carving out a section of the Marvel Universe where inventive storytelling, razor sharp dialog and engrossing plots are the order of the day, of course they are all served with a side of side-splitting humor just to make the whole thing all the more delicious. Alright enough food metaphors, after all this is Deadpool vs. Hawkeye not Gordon Ramsey vs. Bobby Flay, anyway, Duggan has been cleverly crafting narratives that, while certainly full of enough tried and true super hero tropes to satisfy any fanboy’s continuity craving, are also accessible to new readers due in large part to his amazing characterizations and penchant for genuinely believable dialogue. Nowhere has Duggan’s influence been felt more than in his work on Deadpool, here as well as in the monthly series he co-creates with Brian Posehn, Duggan has reshaped the Merc with the Mouth just enough to make his already soaring popularity sky-rocket into the stratosphere.
This issue picks up directly where the zero issue leaves off utilizing both characters ample strengths as equal parts hero and scoundrel from the Han Solo School of Heroing. The action is well underway from the very first page as Wade and Clint are on the trail of a killer who whacked a hacker in possession of some sensitive and secret S.H.I.E.L.D. data. Not much set up is needed in this issue which frees Duggan up to further explore the working relationship between these two rebellious rapscallions. As usual, Duggan’s comedic timing is impeccable; each scene is precisely crafted to progress the plot while providing a punch of action, excitement or hilarity. Barton and Wilson take the “Odd Couple/ Good Cop-Bad Cop” paradigm and like one of Nigel Tufnel’s special edition Marshall amps, turn it up to eleven. Duggan is the perfect writer to handle a pairing of these two characters; he brings the smart, witty humor of Fraction’s Hawkeye as well as his own inspired take on Deadpool and just lets the sparks fly. Every scene is so full of potential they are like powder kegs just waiting to explode and when Kate Bishop is added to this volatile mix the results are ensuing hysterics. However, it’s not just the dialog that is so spot on in this issue, it’s the sight gags as well. One particularly hilarious scene features a trick or treater dressed as Uatu, The Watcher with a bullet hole in his forehead, to which Deadpool comments, “Even I think it is too soon for that costume.” This credit must be shared with artist extraordinaire, Matteao Lolli.
Visually, Lolli nails the physicality of Duggan’s humor. His dynamic staging and kinetic choreography in rendering the action sequences bring a cinematic sensibility that works so well with Duggan’s script. Lolli’s stylized and hip character designs are a melding of equal parts inspiration and imagination, the result is a slick looking modern comic book with all the unrestrained action while maintaining certain old school sensibilities, Lolli truly brings the best of both worlds. His clever use of panel placement and overall page composition never slows down keeping the pages turning at a speed that could easily make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, or close to it. Christiane Peter’s nuanced coloring provides the finishing touch that makes this book a work of art besides one heck of an entertaining read.
Duggan and company keep the pedal to the metal on this high speed thrill ride. The action is big, the characters bigger and the entertainment is huge. I knew from the second I read the preview for this book that it was going to be a winner but somehow it has managed to exceed my high expectations already and I can see no signs of slowing down. (5/5)
Shawn is an aspiring writer/ artist who has been reading, collecting and living comic books for over 30 years. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, their son, lots of cats, dogs and other various finned and furry friends.