Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Deadpool 16, originally released September 11th, 2013.
Scott: It’s nice when someone surprises you with their depth- when you see something that wasn’t there before. It happens a lot with comedic actors taking on dramatic roles. Think of Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love or Jamie Foxx in Ray. Robin Williams and Jim Carrey are masters of this trick. You’ve always enjoyed them but then, suddenly, they do something that makes you take them seriously. This is that moment for Deadpool. Writers Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan have taken a title known for its crude jokes and it writers’ resumes, and turned it into something so much more. The wit is still there, but the darker side of Deadpool they’ve been hinting at is now out in the open, and they’re pulling it off better than you could have expected. You’ll never look at this title the same way.
Deadpool is being held in suspended animation in Butler’s research facility, which, it turns out, is funded by the North Korean government. The device Deadpool implanted in his leg goes off, injecting adrenaline into his system, allowing him to bust out of his tank, take out the guards and escape the facility- out into rural North Korea.
Butler stops Wade and leads him to the other specimens at the camp- all Weapon X experiments who are beneficiaries of Deadpool’s organ donations. Wade prepares to kill Butler, but Butler warns him that he will never see his family again- the family he started when he impregnated Carmelita Camacho- then promptly shoots Wade in the head. Wade wakes up several days later, and is rescued by Kim, another captive/experiment, who is planning to escape that night while also rescuing his family from a separate camp. Wade agrees to help, thinking that his daughter may be held at the camp and, with Agent Preston calling the shots, the plan goes off without a hitch. They enter the second camp, only to find Wolverine and Captain America being held captive!
It’s safe to say Posehn and Duggan are continuing down the darker path they started with Deadpool 15. To give you an idea of what I mean, consider this: Wade Wilson has always been something of a tragic character, having no real family or friends and getting rejected by every hero he tries to team up with, but he’s always brushed it off and continued on (mostly) unbothered. In this issue, there’s a moment where Wade is content to remain dead- he’s completely given up after getting shot by Butler and refuses to respond to Agent Preston for days (speaking of which, putting Preston into Wade’s head continues to be a brilliant device for Posehn and Duggan. This time, we see her pleading for Wade to wake up over complete darkness- emphasizing his complete lack of responsiveness AND making the job a little easier for the artistic team).
If that’s not dark enough for you, there are a series of reveals in this issue that set a serious tone with truly horrific implications. The idea that Butler has been using Wade’s DNA to create a fleet of super-soldiers for the North Koreans is as scary as it is darkly funny. I’ll admit, I laughed at the giant Kim Jong Il statue directly over the entrance to the secret lab, but seeing the rest of Butler’s experiments- basically Weapon Plus members with Wade’s complexion- made me feel sick.
The other big surprise is that Wade apparently has a daughter. For those who don’t remember, Carmelita Camacho was featured way back in the Deadpool 13 throwback issue, and she and Wade got it on! It didn’t seem like a significant event at the time, but we should know by now that every seemingly minor character in Deadpool might come back to play a major role later on. Carmelita has been completely forgotten about for a couple issues now, but the way she’s integrated back into the plot is rather interesting. Wade’s memory has been wiped repeatedly over the years by Butler’s team, so he doesn’t remember their first encounter, and Preston is very skeptical that Butler is telling the truth about the existence of his daughter. But Wade does remember Carmelita coming to him looking for child support years later, setting the stage for the most tragic moment of the issue: Wade doesn’t believe the child is his because Carmelita is too beautiful to ever have been with him. Poor guy…
I can’t write about this issue without mentioning Declan Shalvey’s art. Shalvey continues to nail the darker tone that Posehn and Duggan are striving for, capturing a grittier side of Deadpool than we’ve seen before. He’s also great with action, and this proves to be one of the most badass issues of Deadpool, or any other comic for that matter, that I’ve seen in a while. Wade’s initial escape from his tank is full of awe-inspiring moments, from Wade ripping out a man’s throat to using his own bicep as a gun silencer. But my favorite artistic sequence comes as Wade fights his way into the second camp; through heavy rain, Wade single-handedly takes out two armed guards. And it looks incredible. I’ll give you a small sample, but you should check out the full version for yourself.
So Mikyzptlk, what do you make of Deadpool‘s descent into darkness? Knowing that Butler is working for North Korea, does that make you more or less afraid of what he’s up to? And does learning that Wade fathered a child with Carmelita carry any weight for you, considering she was only a minor character from several issues ago? There’s plenty to write about, so don’t feel obligated to respond to any of these questions specifically, except this one: how much more badass does Deadpool look when he’s fighting without a costume on??
Mikyzptlk: First of all, I need to admit something. I actually stopped reading Deadpool quite a few issues back. I read the previous issue in order to prepare for this one and after reading the the first two issues of this arc, I’m left with only one conclusion: I’m an idiot. I should have never stopped reading this book, and I’m not quite sure why I did in the first place. Regardless, the creative team has taken Deadpool to a level that I was not expecting from them, and it’s fantastic.
This arc has been incredible so far, and the reveal of Cap and Wolvy at the end of this issue really had my jaw on the floor. Posehn and Duggan don’t waste a single panel it seems. I assumed that Wolverine and Captain America were long gone, and that their presence in issue 15 was just for shits and giggles. I even remember being slightly disappointed that Cap was barely used at all. I expected that Cap and Wolvy were finished in their roles as guest-stars, so when I saw them at the end of issue 16 like this:
Well, let’s just say that I love it when a plan comes together. It’s not often that a last page reveal really gets me excited for the next issue, but Posehn and Duggan knock this reveal out of the park. It was such a great surprise, but more importantly, it really helps to shape where the creative team is going with this arc. I mean, if you are going to be battling against the forces and consequences of the Weapon Plus program, wouldn’t you want these super-soldiers on your team?
Now Scott, on to some of those questions you asked me. What do I think of Deadpool’s darkness descent? Besides the fact that that sounds like a kick-ass amusement park ride, I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ll tell you this though, it’s certainly a lot more violent than I remember it being. And if it sounds like I’m complaining, well…I’m NOT.
The increase in violence definitely helps to sell the fact that the creative team is going dark for this arc. It also helps to sell just how serious a situation our heroes find themselves in. Oh, it’s also incredibly awesome and creative in its brutality.
As for Deadpool’s liaison with Carmelita, I actually missed the issue where that occurred, but I still found myself surprised about the potential of Deadpool having a daughter. I think that speaks to the strength of that particular plot point, and the arc as a whole. I’ve been away from Deadpool for a while now, but Posehn and Duggan have succeeded in pulling me back in with just two issues. Bravo fellas.
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?