Deadpool #11 Review

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‘Deadpool’ has reached the end of its latest arc and it has managed to do so in a very different style than it typically would have done as fans were offered a moment of clarity rather than one of bloodshed. Could such a drastic departure from form still make for a good read?

For the past few months, Deadpool has been at war with Sabretooth due to him mistakenly believing that ‘Tooth killed his parents. It all started back in the 25th anniversary edition of Deadpool and thus marks the longest of Gerry Duggan’s continuous ‘Pool stories. To say that the journey up until this point has been a troubled one would be an understatement as the quality has fluctuated wildly with each passing issue. One week you would get a perfectly good instalment full off off-beat humour and insane violence, the next you would be subjected to the most painfully unfunny jokes and bland action possible. It has to be said though that people do often tend to remember the beginnings and conclusions of arcs without paying a great deal of mind to the murky middle part, so if this issue were to be good then people could realistically look back fondly on this whole story.

That then begs the question, was it good? Well, and this is surprising to write, yes it was. In a move that really broke the series out of its recent slump Duggan brought a great deal to the table. Firstly, there’s the fact that he pumped this issue full of humour and as such it is the truest representation of Deadpool he has put forward so far. There are many moments that can be pointed to from which you will likely get a giggle but this page was a personal favourite.

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Not to rest too heavily on laughs, Duggan also ensured that there was an emotional resonance to his tale and that Deadpool finished the story in a different place to which he started. This Sabretooth arc has always been primarily about Wade’s journey of discovery and self-acceptance and that is exactly what this finale acknowledged. He discovered the truth about who really killed his parents and he didn’t have a breakdown when he realised that it was he who did it. Even Doctor Strange, who popped up for a small role, confirmed for audiences that ‘Pool has gone through tremendous personal growth as he reveals that he has suppressed many of these memories and that Deadpool has rediscovered them before too, only this time is the first that he hasn’t tried to kill Strange upon his remembering.

This almost blissful ending is not without its foreboding though as Madcap popped up once more as a figment of Deadpool’s imagination as served as a signal that the hard times are not over and there is still more baggage for ‘Pool to deal with. The reintroduction of Madcap to the series would be a great move as he is a highly effective villain for ‘Pool to face off with and will switch the tone back to a slightly creepier one, something everyone loves to see.

It appears that Matteo Lolli has really come into his own as an artist as he delivers yet another dynamic issue full off bright images and largely realistic characters. You get a real sense of emotion through his work on facial expressions and even the masked Deadpool conveys feeling with ease. All of this combines with the wonderful colourist, Ruth Redmond, to make a fresh feeling comic.

Between the appearances of Doctor Strange and Magneto, and the massive character progression for Deadpool, this proves to be one of the best issues in this series’ run. It’s not difficult to get hyped for the next arc, although the fact that they’re doing a one issue return to the 2099 arc leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Score: 9.0/10.

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Deadpool #11 Review

Deadpool #10 Review

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In a remarkable turn of events Deadpool improved dramatically in its last instalment. So much so that the series became one to watch for the first time in its entire run. That turnaround meant that this issue found the book at something of a crossroads, it could either continue to gain traction or it could revert back to the sorry state it was in just a few issues back.

Or it could stay steady without getting any worse or any better. Yeah, that’s the one they went with.

As you may have seen as the climax of issue nine, Sabretooth sat in a seedy restaurant and awaited yet another showdown with Deadpool. One would assume that that would mean bullets flying, swords swinging, and claws slicing. But no, Gerry Duggan decided that the most logical way to go just wasn’t for him as this book opened on a more puzzling note.

Sabretooth was indeed sat in the same place when the story began but instead of Deadpool busting in and going to war with his animalistic nemesis yet again he opted to do something a little different… he sat down and shared a meal with him. This was one of those moments that made you question just how Duggan ever made a name for himself in the writing business in the first place. The fans wanted to see these two do battle once more and it would have been the only thing that made sense too considering how Deadpool believes Sabretooth killed his parents but instead they got a rather nondescript bit of conversation. It is hard to even recall any stand out moment from that portion of the book despite having just put it down, that’s how little of an impact Duggan’s writing made in this instance.

Some of the entertainment factor from the last book was recovered however as the two men engaged in a somewhat epic chase scene on motorbikes. It has to be said that the art was on fine form throughout this sequence as Matteo Lolli managed to inject each static shot with a fluidity of movement that you would have been forgiven for not thinking him capable of capturing. The writing? That was less impressive. The jokes flowed well and that’s where the entertainment comes in but the actual plot devices were idiotic especially as it pertains to the end of said chase. What happened there was that two helicopter collided for no discernable reason other than it being convenient for Duggan. Why work hard when you can hardly work?

From there Deadpool and Sabretooth abandoned their fight to the death and rescued the civilians from the wreckage. Of course, neither of them could resist getting in one a few wise cracks at the injured parties’ expense. In that lies Duggan’s strong suit of excellent characterisation, though it does little to make up for the glaring plot holes.

The real highlight of the issue was the ending, which will not be spoiled here as to do so would be to rob you of the chance to read it yourself and get that little jolt of excitement ahead of issue eleven. Let’s just say that it is nice to see Deadpool being his remorseless self. The stakes definitely got ramped up for Sabretooth.

In the review of the last issue one major sticking point was the art. It was far too cartoonish and didn’t do the book justice whatsoever. That’s seemingly changed overnight though as this really was a deeply enjoyable book on that front. Matteo Lolli may now have found his footing after a shaky start to his Deadpool career and as such he is starting to turn out some gorgeous artwork. Earlier the fluid movement was mentioned but it should also be noted that the expressions on character’s faces as well as their look in general are both vastly improved. Really, Matteo was the high point of this issue which is something that was previously highly unlikely to ever be said. The cover art is still ugly to the point of causing nausea unfortunately.

All things considered, this was not a great issue but it was by no means a bad one either. The current storyline is still very promising and stops you from wanting to drop the title any time soon. That being said it still isn’t living up to its potential and the thought of replacing Duggan as writer is once again at the fore.

Score: 6.8/10

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Deadpool #10 Review

Spider-Man/Deadpool #4 Review

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Spider-Man/Deadpool has been an absolutely ridiculous ride so far and it shows no signs of letting up any time soon in its fourth instalment. This is a series that can best be described in one word and that is ‘fun’. There comes a time however when fun needs to be put to the side and an emotional gut punch delivered in its place. That is what fans got with this book and it marks a massive turning point for both titular characters.

If it weren’t for the shocking ending there really wouldn’t be a massive amount to write about with regards to this issue. Whilst it advanced the character’s relationship to the bromance levels that readers have been wanting for so long now, it did precious little else to warrant being full price. The primary focus of the book was on a prolonged night out where Deadpool and Spidey hit up ‘Pool’s nightclub for a little double date.

The scene, which spans almost the entire issue, is highly entertaining considering the unusually small scope of the narrative which makes up for having so little happen within it. Seeing Deadpool manipulate the situation to force Thor and one of Shiklah’s succubus friend into a mud wrestling match should have provoked a smile from readers at the very least. The subsequent underwear clad dance that he and Parker were forced to perform as recompense will undoubtedly have provided a few more laughs for good measure. And then everything got flipped on its head as the tone changed and Joe Kelly slammed fans with a totally unexpected finale to an otherwise uneventful issue.

Usually such a large spoiler wouldn’t be given in these reviews but since it is all there is to talk about and explore an exception will be made. At the climax of this book the story arc that has been bubbling away in the background for the last three issues came to a sudden, jolting stop as Deadpool shot Peter Parker, seemingly killing the legendary character. It wasn’t a moment full of epic back and forth action or hilarious quips. It didn’t feature a single solitary explosion either, instead it played out in much the same way that one might imagine a real life hit would. Deadpool rang Peter’s doorbell and when Parker answered the door ‘Pool shot him multiple times with a silenced pistol. If that was it then it would have made for one of the most gut wrenching endings in recent memory, made even more jarring due to the lighthearted nature of the previous pages, but Kelly wasn’t content to leave it without one more heart string plucking scene.

With the deed done, Deadpool phoned his new best buddy to see when they could next hang out. In the next panel you see Peter’s phone light up with a picture of the two men as it lies next to his blood soaked body. It’s a heavy scene that will get a rise out of even the most hardened of comic fans. Yes, everyone is fully aware that they’re not going to kill off Spider-Man but it doesn’t really lessen the impact of seeing him gunned down in such a cold and clinical manner. It also doesn’t change the fact that the door is now open for a major reveal as Deadpool is sure to learn who exactly is under that web lined mask, a moment that will have huge ramifications for both men. No matter how you look at this one thing is for sure, Joe Kelly achieved what he set out to do as he shocked everybody who picked up a copy of this fantastic title.

As is always the case, Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales were on fine form as they drew yet another winner of a book. The playfulness on display in the previously mentioned nightclub scenes really added to the story to an immeasurable extent. The colours for these moments were deep and rich, creating a lively atmosphere befitting of such an energetic setting. When Kelly flipped the script and turned serious, McGuinness and Morales were right there with him as they drew everything in a far more subdued and meaningful manner. A lesser artist would not have been able to pull off such a switch with such grace but this pair delivered it with ease.

The future of this comic is looking very bright indeed as the narrative is now guaranteed to take a massive sidestep into completely foreign territory. There hasn’t been a poor instalment as of yet and this certainly didn’t change that trend, if you haven’t already then you really should consider getting your hands on a copy of all of the issues thus far.

Score: 9.0/10

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Spider-Man/Deadpool #4 Review

Deadpool #9 Review

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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.

Score: 7.5/10

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Deadpool #9 Review

Deadpool #8 Review

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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.

Score: 2.5

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Deadpool #8 Review

Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 review

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Not only is this the best Deadpool title currently available but it is also far more entertaining than ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ as well. So what do you do to improve upon something that’s already good? You add the Mercs for Money of course.

The enjoyability of the first two installments in this limited run series hinged largely on the dynamic being built between Spider-Man and Deadpool. Over the course of the three issues that relationship has gone from being entirely one sided, with Spidey wanting nothing to do with ‘Pool, to a more cohesive one as he begins to realise there is more to ‘Pool that first meets the eye.

Issue three continues to build on that dynamic as Deadpool tries to win the trust of his web-slinging partner through some very contrived means. The action shifts to a poor Bolivian village and it is here that Spidey meets the Mercs for Money. This encounter is very brief but it does give birth to the issues funniest few moments as each member of the group takes turns in giving increasingly insincere compliments regarding their boss. It adds to this sequences that Masacre is the only one who gives a genuinely impassioned response when Spidey cannot understand him as he only speaks in Spanish.

It is a bit of a shame that the Mercs did not feature very much at all after that moment but the entertaining repartee between the titular heroes more than made up for that. Seeing them work together to take down two highly powerful enemies gave readers the impression that they’re on the right track to becoming a genuine partnership.

A final, brilliant touch by Joe Kelly saw Spider-Man fitting Deadpool with a truth detector that electrocuted him each time he was caught in a lie. The comedy that resulted from such an addition should be obvious to even those who did not read the comic but what it also did was allow a more genuine insight into the world of Deadpool both for Spidey and the audience. From this you got a more emotionally resonant character who showed he is more than just an insane killer, he is a real person with real feelings.

This is further compounded when it is Deadpool, not Spider-Man, who concisely explains the difficulties faced by the drug manufacturers found in a Bolivian basement, He explains to his supposedly more moral ally why it is not a black and white situation and why it is that these people are deserving of help, not condemnation. To see such compassion and empathy from him was shocking but also a breath of fresh air as it added yet more dimensions to an already extremely versatile character. The ending moments with his Daughter proved this even further.

Of course, all of the pretense of friendship has a purpose and this issue also edged closer to the eventual, inevitable showdown between the two men as ‘Pool strengthened his resolve to kill Peter Parker and revealed that this entire outing was set up only to see just how tough Spidey really is. The climactic moments of this series should prove to be exhilarating even though it is quite obvious that neither man is going to die.

It was not all perfect however, as one writing problem caused for a slightly disjointed read. At the beginning it is established that Hobie is under the Spidey hood in the hospital scenes but it is never established that Parker takes over once those scenes are done with. Logically one would assume that it must be him for any of the rest of the issue to have the required resonance and impact but it is never explicitly stated and this can easily lead to brief spell of confusion that could so easily have been avoided. It doesn’t ruin the book in the least but it is something that should have been picked up on in the editing process.

Despite that small problem this proved to be yet another superb outing for the unlikely duo. Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales continued to deliver in a big way on the art side of the book whilst Kelly’s writing largely shone on the other side. The last few issues should be even more entertaining as the stakes are likely to get raised higher still as ‘Pool closes in on Parker.

Score: 4 out of 5.

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Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 review

Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 Review

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Everyone loves a good bromance. Be it JD and Turk, Batman and Robin, or Edge and Christian. That is why the pairing of Deadpool and Spider-Man was so tantilising from the start. They kicked the series off on a good note with issue one but could the odd couple keep it together for a second go around?

Joe Kelly set out the titular heroes’ relationship in rather simple terms with the first installment. Deadpool was shown to practically idolise Spidey. He had made it his mission to befriend the iconic web slinger and prove himself to be a worthy hero just as Spider-Man is. Spider-Man found himself at the complete opposite end of the spectrum as he saw ‘Pool as nothing more than an annoyance that he wished to have nothing to do with.

Kelly may have been a tad heavy handed in defining the character roles in the last book but he showed the importance of that in this one. It allowed for a large amount of relationship progression to happen before the reader’s eyes as the two men find themselves on a path to an unlikely alliance.

Even in the early stages of this book you will see Parker and Morales, both donning their Spider-Suits, bullying Wade in quite an unsavory fashion. They don’t see him as an equal to them and, more than that, they seem to believe him to be some kind of villain still, dismissing the idea of him turning over a new leaf.

Deadpool doesn’t let this cut him too deeply though as he uses his cunning and smarts to save the day, solving a mystery that neither Spider was capable of figuring out. Sure he also stole Parker’s Spider-Mobile but hey, you can give the guy one indiscretion, right?

It is through these heroics that he proves himself, at least in part, to Spidey and that sets them on the right course to solidifying their new found friendship. Of course, to simply have them continue to work together against mutual enemies would not make for that compelling of a series and so Kelly has added in another delicious little element… Deadpool wants to kill Peter Parker.

In his defense he is probably being manipulated and definitely doesn’t know that Parker and Spider-Man are one and the same. Still though, it racks up the tension as ‘Pool plots to expose and kill the man he cosying up to. Spidey remains unaware of the potentially hazardous situation sneaking up on him but it can only be a matter of time until the two men butt heads once more. Therein lays the key to the success of this series, it is not going to become a classic by portraying a delightful friendship but it could get there if there’s a showdown for the ages.

The first book has some issues when it came to the drawing of Spidey and the colouring work on a few of the environments. The issues with colouring still linger but they are as minute as they were in the last issue so still don’t have much of a negative impact. Spider-Man looks a lot better as it appears that Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales are becoming more comfortable in their roles on this title. The rest of the book still looks gorgeous and fans are treated to one particularly effective panel where Deadpool turns deadly serious and lightening cracks behind him, the tone achieved is much darker that the rest of the typically vibrant book and it serves to set the scene wonderfully.

A second issue needs to take what worked in the first one and build upon it whilst cutting what didn’t work. Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 did both of these things and what resulted was an even more enjoyable book than the first. It still isn’t totally perfect but a few minor flaws are not going to hold this fantastic story back.

Score: 4.8 out of 5.

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Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 Review