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In the vein of all the softly relaunched Marvel Legacy titles, Deadpool is going back to his roots. Writer Gerry Duggan takes the Merc with a Mouth on his newest adventure; a return to his original gig as a mercenary. Over the past several years Deadpool shows up as an X-Man, an Avenger, and even in a buddy-book with Spider-Man.
But all that heroic nonsense evidently soured Wade on the straight life, so he’s back to being a hired gun. With art from Scott Koblish and colors by Nick Filardi, this is a fun read of back-to-basics hyper violent shenanigans. In addition, he’s teamed back up (albeit in an adversarial way) with longtime comic foil Cable.
Complete with action, laughs, and promises of adventures yet to come, let’s surmise how far down the well of violence Deadpool can go before coming up for air.
In the always entertaining recap page, we learn that Deadpool is gunning for his old pal Cable. The reasons, as Wade points out, are complicated, involving Cable’s evil twin, time travel, and the time travel authority. Last issue Wade almost finishes the job, but an intervention from the Time Variance Authority robs him of the opportunity.
You see (and this is where it gets complicated); Wade was hired by Stryfe, Cable’s evil clone, to kill Cable. In doing so, the TVA intervenes because they think Cable is Stryfe and arrest him. Fortunately, Deadpool manages to get his hands on Cable’s bionic arm, which just so happens to contain his time travel tech.
The set up is, as with any story involving Cable, convoluted. But that’s why putting him and Wade together always works so well. The insane time travel dynamics and self-seriousness of a soldier like Cable will always be served well by the wise-cracking emotional unpredictability Wade brings to the table.
Duggan knows this, and uses it to tease the story out incrementally. I love a good “he’s coming for you” monologue, and Cable gets to deliver a super entertaining one as the story builds. He sits in time-jail, explaining to his guard how Wade is already killing his way toward their location.
“He’s about to kick in your doors. But what do I know…I’ve only fought Deadpool longer than anyone else.”
And he’s right, of course. Carnage ensues along with some solid one-liners from Wade as he slashes and blasts his way through the time cops. As this occurs we get a little plot service via Wade’s internal monologue in which he muses about how the TVA got the drop on he and Nate’s feud. A minor note that will probably become important, as Duggan correctly keeps the action focused on Deadpool vs. Cable.
An overconfident Wade nearly achieves victory, only to be swiftly taken out by the robot arm that Cable hacks back into. It’s always fun seeing these two bruisers go at it, so props are also in order for the art team in their undertaking.
The art for this book has its ups and downs. On the upside, Koblish and Filardi do great work with Deadpool’s rampage. Severed heads, exploding grenades, and the usual guns n’ katana action are all handled effortlessly. These sort of kinetic, blood spattered scenes are what Wade thrives in as a character, so it’s nice to see that aspect of his storytelling is going strong.
On the other hand there’s the slower portions, and in particular Cable’s character design. The art all stems from a place of character-centric action, so when a main player isn’t doing anything other than talking – the rest of the setting becomes apparent.
And by “apparent” I mean apparently vacant. Aside from a few scant glimpses of doorways and the opening shot of a weird underwater base, our setting isn’t terribly vivid compared to the action happening within. Once Cable’s guard releases him to deal with Deadpool, we’re essentially left with faceless grey backgrounds. It’s fine since the action unfolding is far more interesting, but there’s a laziness to it that’s a bit distracting.
Lastly, Cable’s look. Grizzled and ornery are the character’s main attributes, but here he seems lumbering, uneven, and square-jawed to a point of parody. The man is off balance from missing an arm, I get that, but even walking down a corridor with gun in hand looks like he’s just tripping through the scene.
Still, one doesn’t come to a Deadpool comic for clean nuanced story-telling, they come for the blood. The last page is no exception, as Cable blasts Wade’s face off in order to subdue him for what’s likely to be a frustrating interrogation.
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