It is fair to say that Deadpool has been less than impressive thus far in its current run. In fact, it is a contender for the title of the worst AN-AD title, beaten out by the atrocious AN-AD Avengers book. With that in mind it is without much hope that many will have trudged into issue nine of this much beleaguered title. What a surprise it will have been then to find that this series finally seems to be on the right track despite having the worst cover art around.
The biggest problem that caused the most fan headaches in the past eight issues has been that nothing ever seems to be all that serious. Even when Wade is staring down Madcap, a man who’s healing factor is better than Wade’s, it all feels quite light and more like a blip on ‘Pool’s radar than a potentially fatal situation. Yes, Deadpool is a fairly jovial character with a twisted sense of humour and occasional happy go lucky approach to life but he is at his very best when all of that is mixed in with the appropriate level of sadness and tragedy. At long last that has finally happened as Gerry Duggan has upped his game and delivered a book that is worthy of the $3.99 price tag.
From the off it is clear that everything has been amped up a little in order to better fit with the Deadpool you all know and love. This is no more apparent than in the prolonged fight sequence between Deadpool and Sabretooth where the over the top violence is expertly mixed with some genuinely funny moments to make something that outshines all that has come before it. The scene that pops into mind is when both men stop fighting in order to ensure that a passing school bus does not witness the carnage. Their efforts are for naught though as ‘Pool has a katana sticking through his thorax, Sabretooth has been slashed to ribbons, and there is blood absolutely saturating the surrounding area. It provided a nice little break in the battle and showed how easy it is to get Deadpool right when you really try.
The evolving plot between these two unkillable characters is proving to be an engaging one, capable of potentially drawing back a few jaded fans if it continues on in the same manner that is has started. To see two broken men battling it out for a shot at redemption is something that has delighted and enthralled audiences of all types of media for years and it exactly what you get with Deadpool vs. Sabretooth. Each has their own vastly disparate motivations and personalities but in bringing them together for a common goal, Duggan may have stumbled upon a winning formula. The battles are intense but there should be no doubt that the back and forth between them once they inevitably pair up will be wildly entertaining as Sabretooth plays the straight man to Deadpool’s juvenile joker.
There is still a way to go before this series redeems itself and it is still far from perfect as the criticism now switches from the writing to the art. Whilst it is not offensively bad it still deserves no praise from even the most generous of readers. The most glaring problem is that the style is too cartoony so as to take away from the weight of certain sections. It is hard to buy into a fight to the death when it is presented in a colourful and playful manner. This tone might have suited one or two earlier issues in the series but it most certainly does not do Deadpool justice now.
It was not entirely doom and gloom on the artistic front as the subdued, eerie colours used in the flashback sequence to Deadpool being brainwashed were brilliantly done and added tremendously to the foreboding tone of the scenes. It is a shame that the same effect wasn’t used on the flashback to the childhood of Sabretooth as doing so would have established a running theme for the book and provided a sense of continuity between scenes that Matteo Lolli and Ruth Redmond have otherwise lacked.
So yes, the art work, particularly the cover, is really rather poor but the story has come on in leaps and bounds. The dynamic between Deadpool and Sabretooth is something that should continue to grow and entertain over the course of the next few books as will the increasingly brutal nature of the titular merc. Should Duggan continue in this upwards trajectory then fans could finally receive the Deadpool title that they have deserved for the last couple of months.
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