Deadpool is reaching critical mass levels of popularity. He’s got a movie & a video game in the works and is currently being seen all over the Marvel universe in cameo appearances, miniseries, and as a crucial part of team books. Yet still, Daniel Way’s ongoing “Deadpool” series seemed to have been the odd man out, critically and through word-of-mouth. Can new series writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn prove that Deadpool can carry his own series or is this just a matter of a character that is better in small doses?
Written by Gerry Duggan & Brian Posehn
Illustrated by Tony Moore
Dead former United States presidents, from George Washington to Gerald Ford have been resurrected, and that’s BAD. The Marvel heroes can’t be the ones to stop them, someone is needed with the reputation, skills and plausible deniability to take out these com-monsters in chiefs…NOW! is the time for Deadpool… In Wade We Trust!
As the story opens, a necromancer is bringing back the dead presidents of American history one by one. Captain America shows up to stop him as he is wont to do, but after he gets photographed beheading the zombie President Truman, it quickly becomes clear that this is a job for someone else. It’s a job for someone with less of a public presence in the Marvel Universe. Cue Deadpool, who is in the middle of defeating the Godzilla-esque creature from the issue’s cover. All in a day’s work for a comic hero. What follows is what can only be described as a unbelievably fun caper that pits Deadpool against the undead of the oval office’s past.
If there’s one thing that sets Deadpool apart, one thing that you have to get right when writing him, it’s that he’s supposed to be funny. It makes sense, despite a Rob Liefeld’s insistence that they are D-List talent, to hire two comedians with comic book experience in Gerry Duggan & Brian Posehn. It’s a relief to see Marvel go for talent that fits the character in what was possibly the most inspired creative choice in the whole of “Marvel NOW!” Not every joke lands in the finished product, but Deadpool doesn’t become the annoying pest that he easily could be. There’s a lot to chuckle at in this book, but most of it was actually in the details of the art. The visual gags and the actual in-context jokes were much more clever and landed a whole lot better than the Schwarzenegger-esque one liners.
We’ve yet to see just how deep these writers plan on going into the mythos or the internal workings of the character of Deadpool, but the makings of a solid supporting cast are laid down economically in these pages, without skimping on the fast-moving, fast-talking action. Deadpool’s character himself is about as true to our expectations of him as you can get: he’s doing this for a giant bag of money and the madcap enjoyment of it. Duggan & Posehn choose to play him as a motormouth rather than a character who breaks the 4th wall constantly and has multiple sets of metatextual thought bubbles. This is a streamlined, nihilistic Deadpool with no character growth, heavy themes, or brooding in sight and I think that’s just what the character needs.
As for those aforementioned visual gags, what more can I say about Tony Moore’s art other than: this man can do it all. In “Deadpool” he’s using what appears to be just a slightly looser version of what he’s done on books like “Venom” and “Fear Agent” with an emphasis on exaggerated facial expressions. He plays up the comedy here, dropping hidden gags into the background that enrich the issue and reward re-readings. A couple of Avengers cameos are two of the big highlights. Moore clearly enjoyed getting the opportunity to draw a couple of Marvel’s highest profile characters in a couple of “holier-than-thou” appearances. Where he really excels though, is in the detailed but exaggerated page spreads. Deadpool slices through his victims with aplomb and with unapologetically nutso levels of gore. The best pages, however, concern a double page spread of the zombie presidents deciding their next course of action. There is so much to look at on this page. I spent a great deal of time pouring over it and I feel like there’s still jokes and details that I missed. Val Staples’ colors are noticeably strong, as well. The over-the-top gore is playfully bright, befitting of Deadpool’s anarchism. The zombie presidents are enhanced with muted, greying colors that evoke relics of the past. This is a gorgeous art package from start to finish.Continued below
It may be breezy and it may be inconsequential when compared to the rest of Marvel NOW!, but it’s going to be awfully tough to top “Deadpool” #1 when it comes to pure enjoyment. With art this good, the book shouldn’t be missed by anyone. Despite any misgivings about the Deadpool character owning a solo-series, he feels refreshed when written by two guys with a knack for comedy. You may roll your eyes a time or two, but I guarantee that you’ll also chuckle a few times. If you don’t, then what makes you think you’d like “Deadpool” in the first place? This is pure, unadulterated comics. A mix of comedy and mayhem that we just don’t get enough of these days.
Final Verdict: 8.3 – Buy. It’s $%^&ing fun!