(Marvel Comics 2014)
Writers - Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn
Pencils - Mike Hawthorne and Mirko Colak
Colors - Ruth Redmond
This is the final Axis tie-in issue of Deadpool so not surprisingly there are lots of resolved plot lines to be found, however not all of them are directly related to the Axis event. Deadpool has been a very busy young man; there’s his recent marriage, his newly discovered daughter and his rescued North Korean friends, the mutant/clone Faux Men all vying for his time and attention. So as you can see the effects of the inversion spell and his subsequent re-emergence on the scene as Zenpool is just one item on a laundry list of life altering events for our mouthy Merc to contend with. Series co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have taken the character into uncharted areas and explored the darker recesses of Deadpool’s psyche to great fan and critical acclaim; they have delved into the more human depths of the character to fuel some of the most poignant Deadpool story arcs ever written without turning their backs on the raucous humorous side that has endeared The Merc with the Mouth to legions of fans. This arc has been indicative of the kind of chemistry they have developed over their stint as writers on this consistently satisfying and entertaining title; the action, the humor and the heart are all here in varying degrees working in concert to further develop and explore the complex character that Deadpool has become.
I would recommend reading Avengers/X-Men: Axis #9 before diving into issue #39 of Deadpool as it goes a long way in explaining the early events of this issue. The story begins with Wade still very much feeling the effects of the inversion spell, hence he is still donning the now familiar black and white Zenpool colors as well as subscribing to a more philosophical and far less violent mindset, much to the chagrin of his wife Shiklah. This is a kinder, gentler Deadpool, to say the least. After reuniting his once severed head with his body, due in large part to the assistance of his young friend, the teen-aged clone of big baddie Apocalypse, Evan, the two make their way deep into the realm of the Monster underground. Once there, Evan is given a somewhat less than warm reception due to the inhabitants hatred for the real Apocalypse. This facilitates a bit of a hasty retreat, however before departing the domain of monsters Deadpool learns that his friend Michael has discovered a way of growing new body parts to replace the failing organs of the North Korean Faux-Men. Things take on a decidedly happier tone at this point in the narrative and Evan is taken to the perceived safety of a quiet home in the neighborhood of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Preston but, things are not as quiet as they seem. Even with his wife back in his life, his North Korean friends apparently cured, the return of his infamous red and black uniform and the attitude that comes with it replacing the inner quietude of Zenpool, by the final page of this issue we see that all is not well in the world of Mr. Wade Wilson.
Duggan and Posehn have once again written an engaging and complex narrative that on the surface appears to be a riotous foray into an action packed world of guns, fights and severed limbs; although all of those tried and true DP tropes are present in this arc there is much more here. These co-writers have further developed Deadpool’s character, now an unhappily married man and absentee father; Deadpool’s perspective is skewed in ways that he has yet to come to grips with. Duggan and Posehn have become the definitive Deadpool writers, I’m not discounting the work of Way, Gischler or Bunn at all but no other writers have done more to fully actualize Wade Wilson than these guys and stories like this are the result of that deeper characterization.
Mike Hawthorne and Mirko Colak team-up for the penciling chores on this issue to dynamic results. The pages are explosive, the action is big and kinetic and the interspersed scenes of quiet calm appear like lulls in a tumultuous storm, giving scale and contrast to the bombastic events taking place around them. The exhaustively detailed images are vibrantly colored by Ruth Redmond, whose expert use of electric hues adds a surreal sense to the entire work. This is an exquisite issue full of all the elements that make this the Deadpool of choice and these guys the creative team to make it all possible. So if you haven’t been reading Deadpool in 2014 make it your New Year’s resolution to start in 2015. (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.