Deadpool #5 Review

by Charles Martin on June 10, 2020

Deadpool #5 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Penciller: Gerardo Sandoval
Inker: Victor Nava with Gerardo Sandoval
Colourist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Deadpool emerges from his first arc with his King of the Monsters crown intact, and this issue serves as a nice "one and done" example of his day-to-day king-ing.

He dismisses Elsa Bloodstone's complaints about the dangers of his new kaiju buddy Smash Smash, whom he sees mainly as a big, adorable play-pal for Jeff the Land Shark. 

And then the monster heads to Manhattan with explosions on his mind. Dang.

Elsa reconnects with Wade in the city and joins his quest to prevent a civilian-killing, property-damaging rampage. That quest doesn't get an entirely happy ending.

But the way the Wade/Elsa relationship develops along the way is amazing.  

The jewel in Deadpool's crown is a touching speech he makes to Smash Smash. It reveals the well-reasoned kinship Deadpool feels for his monstrous subjects and emphasizes that he's striving to do the right thing with his royal responsibilities.

It lands just as heavily with Elsa as it did with me. Her reactions are terrific. Wade's thoughtful words make her reevaluate both her opinion of him and her instinctively antagonistic relationship with monsters. (A little; she's still Elsa Bloodstone!) 

To carry the visual weight, this issue hands the art duties over to Gerardo Sandoval. I've been underwhelmed by some of his work in the past, but he turns in a rock-solid performance here. Victor Nava's inking assistance gives his big, panel-straining characters a fine level of polish, and Chris Sotomayor's colours harmonize with the lines and lend depth to the characters.

There are a few moments of storytelling confusion during the combative final act, but I think they stem from the inherent difficulties of drawing human-sized fighters assaulting a building-sized monster rather than any errors from the art team.

Mr. Sandoval's style is particularly great at portraying Deadpool there at the end. The hero gets burned alive a little, and Mr. Sandoval's scruffy linework gives Deadpool's battered costume some persistent, realistic texture.

One word of warning: For almost as long as we've had Deadpool, we've had two Deadpools. There's the irrepressible comedian who lives on top of the fourth wall and serves as the jester of the Marvel universe -- the character I've thought of, ever since Gwenpool introduced the phrase, as "LOL Memes Deadpool." And then there's the lonely, broken man who turns to comedy, in a very human way, to mask his tragic pain.

This issue is a strong showing for the latter Deadpool. To me, that's all to the good; Deadpool becomes more engaging the more realistically and flawed he's portrayed.

But I think LOL Memes Deadpool has his fans. (Why else would Marvel queue up four bloody miniseries for him every year?) And those fans might find this rendition a little too touchy-feely for their taste.

If that's you, though, I urge you not to turn away as this volume adds nuance and complexity to the indestructible murder-clown in the red suit. Without tragedy and hurt and feeling, Deadpool is little more than gore and pop culture gags with a short shelf life. 

In other words -- it was adding pain and human weakness to Deadpool that lifted him out of the Liefeldian mediocrity of his origin and made him one of Marvel's greats.

The best Deadpool runs strike a balance between comedic Deadpool and tragic Deadpool. With this issue's moving peek into the jester's heart, this volume stakes a strong claim on another great balancing act. There's still plenty of comedy and the monster-fighting art doesn't disappoint-- but Deadpool #5's strongest suit is its empathic portrayal of its protagonist.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
I liked Jeff better with four legs. Chris Bachalo cut him down to two back in #1, but this issue is where I noticed it.