Today, Michael and Ethan are discussing Deadpool 6, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Michael: Do you prefer read something that’s hit-or-miss but bold? Or something that’s consistently at the high-end of mediocre. I’ve always preferred the former – The Kids in the Hall is one of my favorite shows of all time, but I’ll readily admit to roughly forty percent of the series being unwatchable. If you work too tightly or literally within the genre, everyone’s bored and everything you’ve said been’s said a million times and we hate you. If you play too loosely the structure or assume to much about our shared context, everyone get’s uncomfortable and the word “why” tends to get thrown around. Deadpool #6, the final issue in the arc, mostly hits the sweet spot for an irreverent comedic comic. Brian Posehn falters only when he veers to far into the hyper-referential discombobu-zone, but considering that so many “funny” comics just are criminally lame, even Deadpool’s missteps are a treat!
Michael rouses Deadpool after he got knocked out, informing him that Preston died and that George Washington, using some black magic, has resurrected a zombie to back-up the presidents. First he has to fight off an bloated, grotesque William Howard Taft. Great use of Taft’s tub as a villain-mobile and as well as the repurposed Lincoln head on the ducky. A “this guy joke”? Um, that’s ok, because “It’s bath time!” is sweet sweet nonsense.
Adsit barges in with his mech warrior to help DP finish the job and tell him that other presidents have been disposed of. It doesn’t matter who. This series is great because it really isn’t precious with anything – premise, characters, et al. All that matters is this perfectly macabre panel by Tony Moore of some potuses and horses and mowed down – I’d be proud to hang this in my front hall.
Then Deadpool walks into the pink energy death ball controlled by Washington’s magic. He trips over the dead bodies at the “entrance” and dies for like a minute, but then comes back, because as Washington explains, he’s part dead. But Deadpool’s feeling will not hurt and he destroys Washington. As Washington prepares to die by the sword with honor, Deadpool brutally and hilariously rips off his head.
When the Avengers arrive as back-up, Deadpool rips off Agent Gorman’s mustache for being a dick and vows to get his money. As Deadpool tries to wind down his narrative and day, Michael tries to interrupt to tell him that he could only save Preston by keeping her consciousness in Deadpool’s head (!!!)
There are plenty of instances when comic action seems stock or the humor falls flat – sometimes the parody of the repartee is as tedious as the lame retro repartee. But because it’s interesting, it’s more than forgiven. Unlike typical humor comics (or at least those I stumble upon) run on rails for some reason – they’re comics first, and comedy a distant second. Deadpool doesn’t seem to hesitate to subvert your expectations, because that’s pretty much the source of all comedy. If I’m reading a comic with the express purpose of laughing – on the inside at least – I really don’t care about the protagonists constancy or coolness. Get in, get the laugh, get out.
And that’s what Posehn, a comedian foremost and foremost comedian, does best. If something doesn’t make me laugh, I don’t have to worry about seeing it on the next page or watch it get integrated into the plot in a serious way (I’m looking at you A+X). I wouldn’t go so far as to label the series “unfiltered” as I imagine a lot of scrapped story lines and gags litter the floor of Posehn’s all-analog apartment in my mind. But what you get is that blue-sky weirdo rawness of a writers room stand-up and entertaining, unapologetic missteps.
Ethan: I think you nailed this volume of Deadpool on the head, Michael – Posehn burns through a lot of pretty-ok pages in order to find those moments of brilliance. Taken as a whole, this storyline has come across like a stand-up comedian who doesn’t write his show in advance and just keeps firing the jokes into the crowd knowing that he’ll have to riff for a joke or ten in between each laugh. And if you are the kind of person who is putting aside everything else you could do with your day in order to sit down to read a Deadpool comic, that’s probably just fine.
I have to say though, as fun as Posehn can be, Tony Moore comes out as the star in the end as far as I’m concerned. Check out the scene in the capital where undead-ex-president Washington is making his last stand. The first time I saw this spread, I overlooked the best parts-
Exhibit A: Zombie Washington apparently raised some WWI pilots from the dead, and they’re dogfighting against modern jets:
Exhibit B: Zombie Washington revived some colonial soldiers who are pitted against a D.C. S.W.A.T. team:
If you’re just focusing on the dialogue, or you’re zipping through the issue to see the conclusion, or your eye is just drawn to the big, pink orb in the middle of the page (or you’re reading the issue on your iPhone because you can’t wait long enough to get home to read it on your computer), you might miss these gems in the edges of the scene, but if you did, you’d be missing fully half or more of the greatness of this series.
That said, my favorite moment wasn’t a purely visual one, but the result of the great collaboration we’ve seen from Posehn and Moore throughout. After Wade has dismembered, decapitated, and goal-kicked Zombie-Washington out of the picture, the Avengers show up to make sure Wade knows exactly how much he means to the world.
I admit that when I’m reading – whether it’s a murder mystery or a comic book – I’m gullible to the point of believing that someone OTHER THAN THE BUTLER actually did the killing this time. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as Cap was walking up to Wade, I thought that they were going to have a goofy, touching moment of American-Canadian friendship. Which made the last panel in that excerpt truly classic, as Captain America shoves Wade out of the scene in order to more immediately reach the body of ex-Zombie-ex-president Washington to pay his respects and ensure the former-national-hero’s and former-national-menace’s speedy return to a respectful grave.
Farewell, Deadpool. We’ve had some… times, and they were… they were pretty good. Let’s do it again soon. But maybe not TOO soon.
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?