The Inevitable in Despicable Deadpool 299

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!


“Always do this. Tell the audience what you’re going to do. Do it. And then tell them it has been done.”

Stan Laurel via Jerry Lewis via Conan O’Brien on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show

Conan went on to explain, “If anyone knows what the hell he’s talking about, please tell me, because it’s been ringing in my head for years.” It’s a strange piece of advice, especially to be passed down through a line of comedians. Comedy is based on the unexpected, right? But there’s another kind of humor that comes from obviously broadcasting what’s about to happen and then delivering on it. It’s a kind of dramatic irony — the audience knows what’s going to happen only because of their superpower of being an audience. Despicable Deadpool plays into the dramatic irony of the title “The Marvel Universe Kills Deadpool,” and quietly asserts that the creative team intends to deliver on everything it’s been setting up for the last three issues.

Writer Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Hawthorne demonstrate this “tell, do, tell again” philosophy in the first two pages. Linda, a decommissioned S.H.I.E.L.D. technician mopes around the house while her husband berates her for not looking for a job. Then Captain America knocks and the door and offers her a job.

And just like that — Duggan has established that whatever payoff we’re getting is going to be telegraphed by the set-up. Actually, the pay-off here dovetails nicely with the set-up of the issue-spanning “tell, do, tell again” cycle: the return of Agent Preston.

Cap is forthright with Linda — he needs her to repair “a pretty severely damaged Life-Model Decoy” to “help bring Deadpool down.” Hawthorne and Duggan may play with shadows and just-off-panel-speakers at the end of the issue, but like, the identity of this LMD ain’t exactly a mystery. They’re telling the audience that they’re bringing back LMD Agent Emily Preston, and then they deliver on it.

Which, of course, has me excited for the next issue, a conclusion to both this arc and Gerry Duggan’s career-making, character defying run on Deadpool and Despicable Deadpool. This sets the expectation that we’ve already been told what the conclusion is going to be. Now it’s just time to do it.


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