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!

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“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. Continue reading

Life and Death (and Colors!) in Infinity Countdown 2

by Taylor Anderson

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

Life is literally defined by two things: birth and death. Sure, there’s a bunch of stuff that comes between those two milestones, but if you’re looking for something that all living things have in common, birth and death are pretty much it. Unsurprisingly, these two events have taken on a symbolic meaning for us humans. Ideas such as Yin and Yang, Light Side and Dark Side, Good and Evil, all stem from the dichotomy between the giving and extinguishing of life. It’s unsurprising, then, to see these two pillars of life make an appearance in Infinity Countdown 2. The grand scale of narrative presented is ripe for such grand themes as birth and death. Continue reading

Expressive Lettering Fills in the Gaps in Despicable Deadpool 298

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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“All that people care about is the look. There’s figures on this: 70% of what people react to is the look, 20% is how you sound, and only 10% is what you say.”

-Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill

Here’s something that’s true about comics: it’s a medium full of speaking characters that we will never actually hear speaking. By Izzard’s math, that means there’s a full fifth of a character’s essence we’re never really going to get through images and words on the page. As Deadpool pulls out all the stops to finally achieve suicide-by-mercenary, so too does the creative team pull out all the stops to express the height of his desperation. All the usual gears are spinning perfectly: Gerry Duggan’s writing is as simultaneously tight and chaotic as ever, and Mike Hawthorne’s impeccable layouts convey an almost grueling understanding of the setting of this issue-long brawl. But I want to focus on that elusive final 20% — “how you sound” — with Joe Sabino’s excellent lettering in this issue. Continue reading

Analog 1: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

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

Patrick: I listen to a lot of Slate’s Trumpcast. Y’know, because the president has me in a nearly constant state of low-key panic, and I feel utterly powerless to stop our democracy from crumbling, so like, might as well listen to a podcast about it. One of the things that comes up on the show pretty often is the idea that we need to let go of the idea that there is one smoking gun that will implicate the administration and the president himself in collusion with the Russian government. There is no evidence so ironclad that it would force impeachment. Further, impeachment and removal from office would not address the systemic problems with corruption, bigotry, and foreign interference. There’s no “one solution” because there is no “one problem.” Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s Analog 1 takes a very specific speculative high-concept pitch, and gradually reminds the reader of everything else that is intriguing and terrifying about their world — there is no “one problem.” Continue reading

How Camera Angles Raise Stakes in Despicable Deadpool 297

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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Superheroes have an insane amount of mobility. Whether they’re fwipping around on spider webs, or flying through the air, or just brooding on a gargoyle on top of a skyscraper, there’s always a sense that the whole city is laid out before them. Artists can achieve this effect with dynamic camera angles, revealing the city below, and hopefully inducing a touch of vertigo in their readers. Despicable Deadpool 297 shows just how effectively Mike Hawthorne can use those same techniques to sell a change of setting and raise the stakes in Wade’s non-stop-slay-a-thon Continue reading

Culminating Repercussions in Despicable Deadpool 296

by Drew Baumgartner

Deadpool 296

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

Are reverence and irreverence mutually exclusive? Linguistically, we might understand these words as opposites, but practically, we recognize that they coexist all around us. This is especially true in standup comedy, a field that both finds humor in what we take seriously and takes what we find funny very seriously. It’s no coincidence, then, that Gerry Duggan’s Deadpool run has had such a rich mix of reverence and irreverence, adopting some of the “sad clown” stylings of his comedic friends and collaborators, lending an otherwise goofy character real pathos. Indeed, one of the most distinctive features of Duggan’s work with this character was in crafting a tragic (but nonetheless joke-filled) backstory that could lend itself to reverence. With issue 296, Despicable Deadpool aims to cash in on much of that reverence, drawing on everything from Duggan’s earliest work with the character to some of his most recent. Continue reading

Big Embiggens in Infinity Countdown 1

by Taylor Anderson

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

A couple days ago, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary made news when it announced that the word “embiggen” would be added to their tome of actual, real words. It is a shocking move for some because the word owes it’s origins to the The Simpsons and, in part, to Ms. Marvel, both of which are steeped in pop-culture, a force that is sometimes thought of the destroyer of language as opposed to its creator. With this news in hand, it seems fitting that this week Marvel is releasing the first issue of Infinity Countdown, which, if this installment is any indication, embiggens the narrative surrounding the universe’s most sought-after stones.  Continue reading

Disposable Supporting Characters in Despicable Deadpool 295

by Michael DeLaney

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

In the world of popular fiction, there’s a very low risk of the main characters — or the most recognizable ones — dying. We know that our protagonists are safe in any given story, so there’s a higher likelihood that any supporting cast member will meet their end. As entertaining and touching as Despicable Deadpool 295 is, I can’t help but feel that it’s just another story where the characters we like stay safe while the nameless ones die off. Continue reading

Embrace the Immensity of Infinity Countdown Prime 1

By Michael DeLaney

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

With all of the backstory it lays out, Infinity Countdown Prime 1 should probably be renamed “Infinity Countdown Primer.” The book is equal parts past and prologue. Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato Jr. set the stage for Infinity Countdown, cushioned between a Marvel editorial recap of what the Infinity Stones do and what their history is. And while it does throw a lot of information at the reader at once, it feels like one of the more successful starting points for a major comic event in recent memory — especially if you aren’t heavily versed in all things Infinity. Continue reading

Music and Misery in Despicable Deadpool 294

by Michael DeLaney

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

Despicable Deadpool 294 takes a break from Wade’s indentured murder-itude to Stryfe for a Madcap-themed interlude. Madcap has returned to enact terrible vengeance on his former mental roommate Deadpool. But in the wake of Secret Empire, Madcap realizes that Wade Wilson has already ruined his life himself. Continue reading