Deadpool 5 Sacrifices Character for Laughs

by Michael DeLaney

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

Every creator has their own take on a character — it’s why we keep returning to the same stories of caped mystery men and women after all this time. Working within the familiar realm of the Marvel Universe, they can forego some of the basic elements of a character’s world. However, there are times where creators might rely on that familiarity a little too much, neglecting to fully establish their version of the character/world. Such is the case with Deadpool 5.

Deadpool 5 is a curious setup: it’s a Halloween issue where a bunch of elderly mall-walkers are transformed into zombies. With its Halloween-y nature and self-contained story, this issue read more like a traditional “annual” for me, but why? The short answer is because in his 5 issues thus far, Skottie Young hasn’t done a whole lot of establishing his version of Wade Wilson’s World. There was the initial three issue arc, followed by a strange diversion into Weird World and now this Dawn of the Dead riff.

The new status quo Young has been trying to establish isn’t familiar enough for us to understand the context of Deadpool hanging out in a mall, placing bets on mall walkers. The recap page reminds us that Wade is working out of a mall office — which you could be forgiven for forgetting — but by Scott Hepburn drawing his mall pals in Halloween costumes, that idea gets lost in the noise. Which leaves us with the visual of Deadpool just hanging out in the mall with a bunch of randos.

The influence of Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool on this series has been pretty evident from the get-go, however I feel like that’s not always a good thing. Deadpool doesn’t need to BE anything, but the premise of Deadpool just doing random crap in a mall feels like the movies influencing the book in the worst ways.

Since we don’t really know who any of these characters are besides Deadpool — which you could argue makes sense because of his recent mind wipe — there’s not a whole lot at stake here. Deadpool is making bets and trading yucks with a man name Kostas, and before you can even process the thought “wait, who is Kostas?” the dude gets zombie-killed.

Similarly there is an air of wanton cruelty and disregard present in Deadpool 5. Characters exist for expositing, quipping, and dying. The one time it looks as if a character is going to have a meaningful interaction with Deadpool he is killed off for laughs.

Again, Deadpool doesn’t need to be one particular thing or another — the character is so wild and weird that there is room for interpretation. But Young hasn’t laid the foundation of characters or context to give anything on the page. While comic book readers can take a lot of things in good faith, you can only run on that credit for so long.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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