Today, Ethan and Mikyzptlk are discussing Deadpool 5, originally released February 20th, 2013.
Ethan: As we’ve discussed before, Volume 4 of Deadpool is a wild, absurd, hilarious ride, and #5 doesn’t disappoint. Jokes are cracked, villains are disemboweled, our titular hero suffers excessive bodily harm, etc etc. That said, if you were beginning to wonder how long this cycle could continue on a purely frivolous level, issue #5 answers this question with a bang, proving the old adage that “it’s all fun & games until the villains kill the main character’s friend.”
But let’s begin at the beginning: following his fight with Lincoln, Wade & Ghost Ben Franklin run into Agent Preston & the pesky necromancer, the latter of whom informs them that Zombie Reagan has commandeered a Soviet-era space weapons platform. Michael The Necromancer teleports Deadpool onto the space station, directly into a room of cosmonaut monkeys. As Wade goes to work dismembering the chimps (always impressed at the number of ways this volume finds to shatter political correctness), Zombie Reagan triggers the launch sequence for the onboard nukes, with America as the target. Wade manages to fight his way to Reagan in the control room just in time for the ex-movie-star ex-living ex-president to rip the control panel out of the floor. A goofy and short altercation ensues, complete with jelly bean references and (yesssss) intestines. Wade wins and, grabbing a convenient joystick, pilots the station down into the atmosphere to prevent the launch of the nukes.
We cut to Shield’s helicarrier where Wade – inconceivably no worse for the wear – is being debriefed. They are joined by Ghost Ben & Michael, who are immediately followed by Zombies Lyndon Johnson & Washington. ZLBJ keeps Wade busy while Washington snaps Agent Preston’s neck. Agent Preston’s murder sends Wade over the edge, fueling a rage that allows him to quickly dispatch Zombie Johnson. Perhaps blinded by his own wrath, Wade misses Zombie Washington seizing hold of the two swords on Wade’s back and unsheathing them to cut both of the merc’s jugulars. Michael beams himself, Deadpool & the quite-dead Agent Preston down to solid ground, and the issue closes on his frantic efforts to revive them both.
So. Let’s follow the issue’s lead, starting with the light and ending with the dark. For the bulk of the issue, Brian Posehn & Gerry Duggan continue to feed great, funny dialogue to Wade, and artist Tony Moore continues to drop his own comedy in between the lines. Considering the former, my hands-down favorite line of the episode comes during Wade’s fight against the spacesuited chimps. As the pre-Perestroika primates weightlessly fling themselves onto Wade from all directions, he protests with: “Hey! No more monkeying around, guys! I’m trying to save the Earth! So that you guys can grow up and one day knock over the statue of liberty and rule the planet. Think of the big picture here.” With that setup out of the way, he proceeds to drop this gem:
This line definitely made the issue for me, whether this is because I imagined Wade doing his best Charleton Heston impression while hollering the line, or because the fact that he claims to say it all the time is entirely plausible, I’m not sure. Knowing Wade, I’m thinking that he probably says the line just as much out of the midst of combat as in it – say, while being crowded by fellow patrons at a street vendor. If they have street vendors in Canada? Maybe ice cream vendors. Or flavored permafrost, or whatever it is that they vend up there.
Yes, the creatives do a great job in the amusement department again, as always. As mentioned in the recap though, this issue diverts from the volume’s standard all-silly-all-the-time flight plan and dips into the clouds at the end with the death of Agent Preston. Preston isn’t exactly a beloved sibling-figure like Patroclus (cf. The Iliad) nor is she an innocent-doe-eyed-flower-peddlar-cum-messiah like Aerith (cf. Final Fantasy VII), but Preston’s death definitely hit home for me ‘n Wade. Especially given that Deadpool is such a no-holds-barred, bizarre, rollicking, goofy, Dadaist journey, the shift in tone occasioned by the death of a friend is severe.
In his current incarnation, we know Wade as The Guy Who Survives Everything. Godzilla eats him, zombies shoot him in the head and smash him to a pulp, he jumps off bridges and tears himself in half just to deliver a joke. No matter what happens, he pulls himself back together (figuratively or literally), and wins the day while rattling off whatever one-liner comes to mind. It’s only when someone else comes to harm – someone without his turbo-charged healing factor – that he is brought up short. For Wade, the equation is simple: sticks and stones may break his bones, and he really doesn’t have a problem with that, as long as you don’t mind him giving back as good as he gets. Like any masked hero, his enemies bring more than the normal about of destructive force to the table, and he responds with an even more excessive ability to weather their assaults (that, and he responds with a whole lot of bullets). For Wade, when the bad guys come knocking, they’re just picking on someone their own size. But when the bad guys hurt someone who can’t magically stitch themselves back together (while gurgling their way through a horrible pun), the calculus is off. All the more so when the victim in question is someone he calls a friend.
What do you think, Mikyzptlk: is this just a blip on the radar, and we’ll be back to happy days in no time? Do you find Wade’s reaction understandable, or is this sentiment odd coming from a guy who brutally murders everything in the room just for a paycheck? How do you think Zombie Reagan measured up against his fellow undead?
Mikyzptlk: I’ve got to say that Zombie Reagan did an absolutely bang-up job in this issue, it might even have been my favorite Deadpool vs. ZPOTUS fight so far. It was brimming with humor and action, and was appropriately disgusting. It also showcased just how clever a fighter Deadpool is. Wade had to deal with pissed off, man-eating space monkey’s, an undead President, and a potential nuclear strike. He took care of all three issues with aplomb, but I especially enjoyed how he dispatched Reagan.
He shoots through Reagan knowing full well that while the bullets wouldn’t take him out directly, the suction of the bullet holes would. That shows a level of foresight and strategy that I’m not sure many people would expect from Wade. That, combined with everything else that was going on in that crazed spaceship, made for some excellent entertainment.
As for the death of Agent Preston, I have…mixed feelings on the subject. First of all, I’m not quite convinced that Deadpool really grew to care for her all that much. The issue attempts to make the point that Deadpool doesn’t have the opportunity to make many friends, and that the death of Preston drives him to kill dead Presidents…which is what he’s been doing anyway. My problem with this is that, before her death (obvs), Preston makes the following statement:
She says it herself; Deadpool is merely an asset to exploit. Sure, she thanks him for a job well done in another panel but I’m not so sure that means they are “friends.” Granted, it’s possible that these relatively kind words are rarely ever given to Deadpool and, because of that, he sees this as a true friendship. To me, however, I can only think that it’s just sad that the closest thing Wade has to a friend is a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who constantly puts him in deadly situations in order to get the job done. Because of that fact, Preston’s death doesn’t quite compel me as I think it should and therefore made Deadpool’s rage a bit impotent in my eyes.
Another problem I had with Preston’s death is that she is yet another female character to suffer from being “Stuffed into the Fridge.” Is this really the only way writers can come up with to get our heroes off of their outside-underwear covered asses? If this death sticks (I’ll get to that in a second) then it just strikes me as lazy storytelling. That, combined with the point I mentioned above, derailed the end of this issue for me emotionally. That said, it didn’t kill the issue for me entirely and I am still interested in seeing the conclusion to this arc. Zombie Washington has proven to be one bad-ass opponent, and it should be fairly satisfying to see Deadpool kick his ass back to the 19th century.
Wait a minute…Agent Preston is dead. Isn’t Michael a Necromancer? Hmm…
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