With the bloated 25th anniversary issue out of the way Deadpool would return to business as usual in its eighth outing. This is a series that has been maligned with poorly executed plotlines and barely existent character progression, but with a fresh look and a new storyline the opportunity finally presented itself for all that to change. What a shame it is then that Gerry Duggan let it slip through his hands.
Following on from the tail end of the last issue, Deadpool is on the hunt for Sabretooth as he believes him responsible for the horrific death of his parents. What the fans know, however, is that it was in fact Deadpool himself who burned his parents alive. Still, with his warped mind the way it is that key piece of information eludes him and he has instead placed the blame at the feet of Sabretooth. This premise could have paved the way for a great deal of excitement and action, along with some very telling introspection from the leading man but what Duggan gave readers was something far less impressive.
The hard truth is that there is just nothing to sink your teeth into in this book. The action is incredibly thin on the ground and even when there is some it feels flat, though that is partly due to the poor artwork. A story such as this with a character such as this should move along at a satisfying pace and feature multiple revelations but there is none of that present in this title. It plods along with seemingly no regard for reader interest and there aren’t really any new developments to speak of. This is a clear failure in writing by Duggan and one that leaves this book in danger of being shown the door.
The one intriguing morsel in this comic is the reappearance of Madcap as a figment of Deadpool’s imagination, taunting him as only he can. It stands to reason that he would be there in a time of high street for Wade. After all he did live in the man’s head for a good long while and came close to destroying him just a few issues ago. The potential to have this spectre lurking throughout the episode, mocking Wade seemed too good to pass up on. It would have allowed the long scenes where it was just Deadpool on his own to have more of an entertainment factor and give him something to interact with, potentially furthering the plot that way. Alas that was not to be as Madcap was gone after one short scene and wasn’t heard from again. What a massive waste of a great idea. It isn’t surprising though as that can adequately characterise this entire run, one wasted idea after another.
One thing that is promising to see is the separation of Deadpool and The Mercs for Money. They have their own spinoff now so the main book should be left to the guy in the title, no extras need apply. Okay, so they did feature at the beginning of the book but their scenes were not a part of the main story and it felt more like it was done for the sake of continuity that to actually have them factor into things in any meaningful way.
As mentioned earlier, the art of this book was not good. That role has now been taken over by Matteo Lolli and he is just not up to scratch. Admittedly the art within the book is hugely preferable to the god awful cover but then that really isn’t saying much, is it? The best word to describe Lolli’s work would be blocky. It just feels unnatural and stiff, which could not be said of Mike Hawthorne or Terry Pallot. None of the limited action flows as neatly as it used to, environments feel flat and lifeless, and the characters are largely expressionless. All of this makes for a rather dull book visually which would make sense seen as it is rather dull in every other way too.
Ultimately this issue may prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back and it would not be surprising to see people drop the title from their haul lists in droves. What could have been a return to form for Deadpool may instead be the final nail in its coffin.
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