Deadpool #1 Review

by Charles Martin on November 20, 2019

Deadpool #1 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Penciller: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Wayne Faucher, Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Jaime Mendoza, Livesay & Victor Olazaba
Colourist: David Curiel
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Deadpool is suffering through a case of the birthday glooms, so he takes a job that would normally be way beneath him because it involves going to Staten Island.

There he finds a monster invasion terrorizing the locals and, infuriatingly, tying up the court system. It's quasi-legal, which explains why the Staten Islanders can't just wait for superheroes to solve everything. 

Except superheroes are already doing exactly that: Wade shares the first-act fight with Elsa Bloodstone. She's come to do what she do and flirt with Wade in a super-low-key (but fun!) way while she does it.

Deadpool kills the king, and according to the immutable laws of monster-dom and storytelling, that makes him the new king. Hail Deadpool, King of the Monsters! (And Staten Island!)

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Like, say, as a core feature of Gerry Duggan's volume, when Deadpool was married to Shiklah and basing out of Monsteropolis.

So it's not the most inventive premise in the world.

"Not the most inventive" is a handy segue into speaking about the art. This is a Chris Bachalo joint, almost painfully so. The tentacle monsters, the scruffy men and gorgeous young women, the meaty inks provided by a gigantic committee, the curious panel blocking that seems to focus just off to the side of the interesting stuff -- it's all classic Chris Bachalo.

Great, if you're a fan. As you can gather from that last paragraph, I am not. I think I can be objective enough to say that this is a solidly-executed example of the artist's signature style. It's polished and confident and clear (as clear as it can be with that focus thing). 

But it's a Chris Bachalo comic first and a Deadpool comic second. Which, I think, is a problem -- particularly if/when he passes the artistic torch off to other creators. This volume has no visual identity of its own yet, just the artist's trademark look which has been shared by a dozen other titles.

I can spare a happy word for colourist David Curiel, who staves off one common problem by brightening up the visuals considerably (outside of a sepia-toned flashback sequence). He follows a strict policy of cranking the colour intensity to the max on the characters while leaving the wintery settings subdued, and that makes them stand out in a wholly positive way.

I should also clarify that Kelly Thompson's script has plenty of interesting ideas to offer. The basic plot set-up may be safe and the pace is rather slow, but Deadpool's wordy introduction to monster-fied Staten Island provides ample opportunity for nuanced characterization. And there are promising relationships to explore in the future, not just with Elsa Bloodstone but also with a promising antagonist introduced on the final page.

Ms. Thompson strikes an interesting balance with Deadpool. This version of the Merc with the Mouth is keenly aware of the ridiculosity of the situations he finds himself in and his life in general. He finds it impossible to take these things seriously, but he's not a clown, actively generating additional absurdity. He is a professional, blowing up the ridiculous stuff when the pay is right and gamely tackling the next plot twist with just a hint of melancholy.

Deadpool's new volume opens up with a grounded take on Wade Wilson: A little lonely, a little angry, focused more on observational humour than the absurdist variety. But this first arc -- slogging through an extremely Chris-Bachalo-y monster invasion on Staten Island -- already seems to be a bit of a drag. This series has promise, but I think it'll take several more issues to realize it fully.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
I'm a big fan of this issue's Gwenpool cameo, which I think steers clear of being indulgent. It's one of the clearest hints that this volume may be excavating a lot of pathos as it goes on.