Behold your new doubleshipped miscreant stepchild of the Marvel NOW! reboot. It's bombastic, it's played for laughs, and it focuses on one of the most loved and hated characters in comic history.
And it's satisfactory. I guess.
Daniel Way's Deadpool, running since the Secret Invasion crossover in 2008, captured what many consider to be the essence of the character: a psychotic, self-aware parody who drops into the background of everyone else's Marvel Universe to wreak havoc and eat tacos.
It was violent in the cheesiest extreme, it was nonsensical at times, but it was written with the dark undertones of Wade Wilson's multiple-personality disorder, existential boredom and desire to die. It was gory, it was goofy, and it really hit the nail on the head: Deadpool is a parody. His character is tired of its own subject matter. His existence is a riff on itself.
Enter the “new” Deadpool by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan.
Doubleshipped this first month to bump up publicity, the book retains the nonsense and violence of Way's iteration without any of the subtlety, or (most notably absent) psychotic commentary. In short, what made it a brilliant metafiction has been pulled out, leaving a shell of a story; like a vivisected body without a brain.
In issue #1 we saw Amanda Waller ripoff “Agent Prescott” of S.H.I.E.L.D. put in charge of saving the United States from the evil resurrected dead presidents of the same country when a rogue magician unleashes them. And who should she choose to execute her orders but our beloved wisecracking Wade Wilson! ...with the mouth. But as 'Pool hacks and slashes his way through corpsefied POTUSes and equally flatlined historical puns, an essential part of the charm is gone.
Valiant effort by the authors, and at times I did feel the full swell of the irreverence and insensitivity that made me love the character in the first place. But I expected more than extraneous dialogue, limp one-liners, anemic pop-culture references and displaced guts. I saw a graphic depiction of disembowelment in issue #1, just two weeks ago. It was obnoxious and artless the first time; now it's obnoxious and artless and stale.
On the positive side: the artwork was exuberant. It wasn't necessarily fresh or innovative, but the enjoyable construction and detail of Tony Moore's straightforward pencils are complimented by Val Staples' bold palette, showing a level of simplistic elegance absent from the story's dialogue. The sequence of the story is easy to follow, and tailors itself well to the plot.
Altogether, I wouldn't consider this a complete waste of three dollars... After all, it's not in just any book we can see Deadpool fight a zombified Teddy Roosevelt. In the ranking of nerd fantasy battles I think that sits almost even with Boba Fett vs. Nikolai Tesla. But I'm still going to take a pass on issue #3. Instead, I'll get my monthly dose of Danny Way's Deadpool in the upcoming reboot of Thunderbolts, which, uncultured philistine that I am, I'm sure I'm going to love.
Oh, and cover artist Geoff Darrow can't draw elephants worth a pile of dog poop. But then again, neither can Tony Moore. Cheers.