by Patrick Ehlers
This article containers SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk.
While reading All-New Wolverine 31, I realized that I have been measuring Deadpool team-ups by how good of a foil the other character is for the Merc with the Mouth. I like Deadpool with Captain America because their differences are obvious and legion. I like Deadpool with Logan, because while they’re both immortal murder machines, Logan sees the tragedy in his existence, while Wade somehow twists that into comedy. I like Deadpool with Spider-Man because there’s a sort of one-ups-manship there: “you think that’s goofy, Pete? WATCH THIS.” All-New Wolverine 31 presents a new kind of pairing: Deadpool and a character who is excited to learn from his example. Gabby’s not a foil, but their relationship is basically perfect.
And when I say “perfect,” I suppose I have to couch it in the admission that Deadpool is feeding into Gabby’s more impulsive, destructive tendencies. The issue starts with Gabby (and Jonathan) being punished for ruining a bird statue. Actually, this is something I had a question about: artist Marco Failla does not make the speaker in these first two panels totally clear, so I’m not able to read just how upset Laura is at the destruction on her dumb bird statue.
Is Gabby screaming NOOOOOOOOO!!! because she knows she’s going to be in trouble or is Laura screaming because she’s mad about Penagos? There’s no real way to know, and there may not be much of a difference. Either way, the link between non-destructive discipline and Laura is clear. So when Gabby encounters an opportunity to leverage some of her more violent tendencies for good, there’s only one person she can call for back-up.
Once Deadpool is on the scene, things get silly fast. Writer Tom Taylor makes hay of some routine chloroforming, delights in Jonathan’s intensely violent relationship with Wade, and ultimately turns the issue into a small-animals-are-zombies slaughterama. In short, this is a fun adventure, with no tough moral questions to quibble over. Of course, that kind of instant-righteousness that Gabby needs at this point in her journey.
In the final pages, our heroes set fire to the lab, and bask in the beauty of the destruction. Gabby says “Wow… catharsis is pretty,” but I’m not sure that’s totally complete. Gabby was fighting for a good cause, sure, but the scale of what she’s accomplished here is dwarfed by everything that’s come before in this series — I mean, just compare it to what we discussed in the previous issue. Maybe we’re marveling at the instant-catharsis of a satisfying smash-em-up with our chaotic friend Wade Wilson. Perfect team-up.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?
I’m pretty sure Gabby is mad, as her love of the Pelican statue has been a feature of previous issues. Though, of course, Laura’s mothering of her by making her responsible is there to contextualise Gabby’s choice to call Deadpool and reflect the differences in Gabby’s morality that lead her to calling Deadpool.
Honestly, I wish there was less Laura in this comic. Feels like it would have been stornger if she didn’t reappear half way through and we could focus on Gabby and Wade. The best parts of the comic are when we get to see how Gabby’s innocence contrasts with her more Deadpooly elements. It gives us a window into her character and let’s us see her develop her own ethical code free from Laura’s overwhelming influence, and havign Laura turn up hurts that. THe emotional climax of the issue, Gabby apologising to Laura, happens far too early, and when Laura’s there, Wade just fades into the background and everythign feels generic.
I wish Laura arrived as Gabby and Wade walked away from the burning building, and we had a scene with the apology there. I think it would have created a stronger story
I really enjoyed this isssue, I like the Gabby Deadpool dynamic and the artwork was striking. All around a solid issue to my mind.