Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Deadpool 1-3, originally released November 7th, 21st, and December 5th 2012, respectively.
Mikyzptlk: Hello fellow Retcon-Punchers! I’m writing about multiple issues for the first time so I’m really hoping this doesn’t turn into a train-wreck. But do you know what isn’t a train-wreck? The first three issues of Deadpool! (Oh no, what a horrible transition…it has begun). Anyway, I’d like to start by giving you all a quick rundown of my history with Wade Wilson AKA Deadpool. I haven’t read too much Deadpool I’m sorry to say. Mainly a few trades here and there from time to time. The only consistent thing about my Deadpool adventures is that they’ve all been scripted by Daniel Way. I’ve enjoyed Way’s version of Deadpool (especially the use of multiple voices). Way’s Deadpool was always good for a laugh and newcomer Brian Posehn (I love this guy!) certainly doesn’t disappoint in that arena. Best of all, Posehn is delivering one of the few Marvel NOW! books that I’ve read that truly feels like a jumping on point for new readers.
But before I get into all of that, let’s do some recaps.
It begins with an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent looking dude. He’s describing how he feels about the current state of the U.S. of A and it’s clear that he’s not too happy about it. He figures who better to fix our country than its greatest leaders. Oh, just one thing though, these leaders have the unfortunate ailment of being dead. Fortunately for them, this guy is a necromancer so it’s totally cool. He decides to bring back Harry S. Truman but the outcome isn’t exactly what our necromancer was looking for.
Fortunately for our misguided necromancer, Captain America swoops in to save the day. You know what? I’ll just let the Daily Bugle fill you in.
That angry dude is an angry S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who considers the whole “dead presidents coming back to life and threatening to destroy the country” thing an embarrassment. He tells Agent Preston to take care of the situation “quietly” and that somehow leads us to Deadpool. Meanwhile in New York, Deadpool comes up against a reanimated (and totally evil) F.D.R. After a hilariously action packed fight scene, Deadpool takes out F.D.R. just in time for Preston and the other agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to show up. She offers Deadpool a mission to seek out and destroy the rest of the undead presidents in exchange for a few million bucks. Later, Deadpool crashes a deadman’s party featuring a slew of ex-presidents. Wade gets a few one-liners in but doesn’t notice evil Lincoln standing behind him. Uh-oh.
Well I was going to recap this issue myself, but to be honest with you, I’ve got a word-count to consider so I’ll just let Li’l Wade get you up to speed! Plus, he’s totally adorbs!
That help comes in the way of none other than Doctor Strange! He tracks down the necromancer who started this whole mess and teleports himself, along with Deadpool and Agent Prescott, to where the undead presidents are hatching some kind of plan. Another brawl ensues but Doc Strange takes our necromancer out for a date to the Astral Plane. Strange finds out that the necromancer is actually Michael ( a quality name), and was born with the ability to bring the dead back from the grave. Back on the Asphalt Plane, Deadpool and Prescott are getting their butts handed to them before Strange returns with a sword, newly infused with a kind of magic, that slices and dices the undead in a most effective way (just ask zombie Nixon). Even with the current battle won, Washington is still on the loose and it turns out he plans on raising even more dead folks in order to overrun the country. It’s a good thing we have Deadpool though right? RIGHT?!?
I’m really enjoying this series so far. Posehn has been one of my absolute favorite comedians for years now and this book is filled to the brim with his humor. Not only are Posehn’s jokes solid, but he has Deadpool making SO MANY pop culture references that it’s an absolute treat. And since Deadpool is a part of the pop culture realm, he’s not immune either. Just check out this scene.
The editors note tells us to “LOOK IT UP,” so I did. And since I’m such a nice guy, I’ll share my findings with you here.
For even more, click here! There are seriously a TON of other things that I’d love to mention here but I just don’t have the time! Instead, I’ll just say that the great thing about Deadpool is that there really isn’t a limit as to how ridiculous you can get with the character both with humor and action. It’s obvious that Posehn knows this as well and it’s making for some good comics. Additionally, it’s clear that Posehn knows funny, but he also knows storytelling. The plot is clear and straightforward and every bit as ridiculous and fun as Deadpool is.
Tony Moore is the artist of the series and I really don’t think a better artist could have been chosen to match Posehn’s scripting. His style is so perfectly suited for Deadpool’s high humor and insane action. Not only that, but Moore’s level of detail is so incredible that I found myself scanning each panel just in case I missed something. The best example of this is the following where Deadpool has just taken down NOT-Godzilla.
Many panels later, after Deadpool has taken down a dead prez, we get this scene.
It’s so subtle that I almost missed it, but I laughed out loud when I saw it. Those scenes were taken from the first issue and they really helped to establish what kind of book this would be. For long time fans of Deadpool it may be obvious that his book would be a comedy, but for readers who may be picking it up for this first time, scenes like this make it clear what to expect. Which leads me to my final point. Out of all of the Marvel NOW! books I’ve read so far, Brian Posehn has written one of the most accessible books of the bunch. Many of the other Marvel NOW! titles rely heavily on past events, such as the recent AVX, that I wonder how effective this “not-a-reboot” really is. I know that Marvel NOW! is not intended to be a reboot like DC’s The New 52, however it’s clear that the initiative was intended to be a jumping-on point for new readers. In that sense, I feel that Posehn’s and Moore’s Deadpool may just be the most successful.
Drew, even though I tried not to, I still managed to go beyond my allotted word-count and used WAY more pics than I was supposed to but, the thing is, I just couldn’t help myself! There are so many great panels in these issues though, that I’m sure you have your favorites too. Unless, of course, you weren’t a fan. So, what say you Drew? Did you get as much out of this as I did or do Posehn’s jokes fall flat for you? Lastly, did you think this was a good jumping-on point, like I did, or did my previous knowledge of Deadpool just make me think that it was?
Drew: Mik, you’re absolutely right about this being a great introduction to Wade. Of course, the way Posehn and co-writer Gerry Duggan have been approaching the character, any of these issues would serve this purpose. There’s a kind of classic, “you only need the three-sentence, pre-title intro to know what’s going on” vibe to this title, which gives each issue an sense of fun frivolity, which totally matches the character and his situation.
Hearing the premise of this arc — that Wade would be hunting down and killing the resurrected corpses of all of the dead presidents — was silly enough to pique my interest, but that tongue-in-cheek approach defines this title from the top-down. Wade himself doesn’t take anything too seriously, and at times is spouting jokes every panel.
They’re not always good jokes, but Wade’s persistence is kind of endearing — I’m totally willing to accept that he would tell a LOT of bad jokes while fighting. That lends Posehn and Duggan an air of ironic detachment from the really bad jokes, but it also makes it feel more okay to laugh at them.
Of course, many of the jokes are good, and — as Mik pointed out — quite clever. By issue three, those clever bits have begun to cohere into a strong through-line for this arc. Take, for example, the setting of the Presidents’ first scene in issue 3. In the previous issue, Washington was burned, and cried out about his wooden teeth. This title has the cartoonish, Wile E. Coyote flexibility for nobody to ever mention it again (as they do for the duration of issue 2), but look at where the Presidents find themselves plotting their next move:
Never mind the additional Deliverance reference of the name of the Dentist’s office — this is a title willing to spin its jokes into plot-points. It reminds me of The Venture Bros. in the way it reveals its affection for its characters in its commitment to even it’s goofiest one-off jokes. (I’m sure the presence of Doctor Strange, acting with all the grandiose pompousness of Dr. Orpheus — a character designed as a send-up of Doctor Strange — helps solidify this in my mind).
It’s that affection that really makes this title a gem. It would be too easy to make fun of Wade for being kind of an idiot who cracks bad jokes all the time, but it’s clear that Posehn and Duggan don’t want to just take pot-shots. More importantly, this doesn’t feel like its meant to make fun of the people who actually enjoy it (a danger whenever irony is added to the equation). As dumb as this title gets, it’s never disdainful of that dumbness, and routinely rewards our patience with it. This title is not for everyone — perhaps the best metric is if two Ghostbusters references in three issues sounds like too many or just right — but I’m enjoying the heck out of it.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?