posted Oct 22, 2009, 6:13 PM by Jeff Brandt
updated Feb 6, 2010, 10:54 PM
This month has seen Marvel Comics' release of the epic "900th issue" of Deadpool. And for those of you completely unfamiliar with comics (who might not want to continue reading this review anyway (unless you're open to checking out new things, which is fine by me (and liking comics does NOT make you a nerd (OK, I lied, it kind of does (but being nerdy is tren
dy these days, right?))))) I put that in quotes because, of course, no Marvel title has anywhere near 900 issues yet. Amazing Spider-Man just passed 600 a couple months ago.
But I'm guessing that this fat book of seven new stories (including one penciled by Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefield) and issue one of the first volume of Deadpool Team-Up (volume 2 begins next month) comes to us because Deadpool, a.k.a. Wade Wilson, a.k.a. the Merc with a Mouth, is, like, totally hot right now.
Even if you've never picked up a comic book in your life, you may know the character from this summer's Wolverine movie. If that's the case, I'm sorry. Because that movie sucked. Hard. In fact, you can find my review of it here. In retrospect, even giving it two stars is vastly overrating it. If that's the only way you know him, I pity you. Please buy Deadpool #900 now and discover that Wade Wilson cannot teleport or shoot lazer beams. In actuality, he's basically just a badass assassin, apt with swords and guns; he can regenerate arms, legs, chest, head . . . basically everything . . . he's unkillable; and, his best power of all, a bottomless repertoire of quick-witted jokes.
In a way, Deadpool is like the ruthless, schizophrenic, unstable version of Spider-Man. As late 90s Deadpool writer Joe Kelly says in this month's issue of Marvel Spotlight, both Spidey and 'Pool are quick to joke in the heat of battle, both annoy their allies and foes alike with endless chatter, both have dark pasts that are sources of perpetual pain, and (most obviously) both sport red-and-black spandex suits.
But back to the issue at hand. In some ways, #900 is a rarity. No, not in that it contains multiple stories in one issue. Plenty of other titles are having double, triple, even quadruple-sized annuals or special issues each month. And it's not that the editors reprint a classic issue in the back. That's pretty common as well. What makes Deadpool #900 great is its consistent, top-notch quality and humor. It's not every day I read something so funny, so clever, I actually laugh out loud, but this issue had me LOLing every few pages. And none of the stories suck. Don't get me wrong; I love Spider-Man. He will always hold a special place in my heart for bringing me to comics in the first place . . . but he seems to be losing his game. At least his writers do. The milestone Amazing Spider-Man #600 and the brand new Web of Spider-Man #1 both have multiple stories, all of which are hit or miss. Even when the art is passable, the plots can be predictable and the dialogues are extra-cheesy. With ample pop culture references, two voices arguing about trivialities in his head, awesome fight sequences, and frequent breaking of the fourth wall (Deadpool acknowledging to readers that he's a superhero in a comic book), Deadpool books are almost never dull.
Just to give you a taste of what's inside, here's a summary of the plots in this issue:
Close Encounters of the ****ed up Kind -- Driving a station wagon full of dead Russians, Deadpool is suddenly abducted up to an alien space ship. When he decides being anally probed by a giant metal drill isn't his thing, he chews off his own arm and goes on a rampage.
- Silent But Deadly -- Deadpool encounters a trio of mimes armed only with "psychomorph transistors." Basically, they can just point their fingers, pretend to have guns, and their thoughts become real. There are so many reasons to buy this issue (which costs $4.99 at your friendly neighborhood comic shop), but deadly mimes should be reason enough.
- Deadpool: Shrunken Master -- 'Pool visits a shrink to confront his problem with schizophrenia. The good doctor seems quick to point out his shortcomings . . . until Deadpool points out an episode in his life that he would much rather forget. Justice in Deadpool is sweet -- and almost always bloody.
- Pinky Swear -- In my opinion, this is the best story in the book. This 11-pager is a joint effort by writer Joe Kelly and artist Rob Liefield, two men who know about all there is to know about Mr. Wilson. Deadpool is fending off a legion of baddies when a watch he bought as a seven-year-old goes off to remind him of a promise he made twenty years before in middle school. In detention hall, the two made a bet about whether Lloyd would marry the sci-fi TV star of his dreams. If he doesn't, Lloyd has to perform a number of bleeped-out sex acts on horses. If he does, Wade must surrender a year's worth of vintage nudie mags. While fighting, Deadpool reminds him of the bet; meanwhile, various parts of Lloyd's house explode, his dog, Peepoo, becomes a weapon, and Deadpool's hot scientist love interest of the day goes crazy after having pint after pint of blood and guts splashed on her. If Marvel's forthcoming Deadpool movie is half as hilarious, absurd, and just plain bizarre as this half-length comic, it will be a massive success.
- What Happens in Vegas -- Deadpool sets up a crime scene in Las Vegas motel where he's the "victim" and waits for the inept investigators to arrive. Writer Duane Swierczynski riffs nicely on the stereotyped, one-dimensional characters in crime dramas who always seem to come up with off-the-wall crime analyses rather than obvious ones. Random chickens ensue.
- Great Balls of Thunder on the Deep Blue Sea -- Victor Gischler, who writes the new, ongoing Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth series, pens a lighthearted piece on what it's like when Deadpool goes on vacation. After pissing off pretty much everyone on the cruise ship for being a poor sport at volleyball and shuffleboard, a classic Spider-Man villain reveals himself and challenges 'Pool to a game of ping pong. One hint: think Elton John with quadruple the arms.
- One Down -- Certainly the most morbid entry in this collection, we have a chance to put the daily bane of Deadpool's existence into perspective. His problem? He couldn't die even if he wanted to. And he does want to. Here, the voices in his head are more annoying than comic. Despite being in great shape, his body looks like one big, mean scab -- his skin blisters like overcooked cheese pizza. The juxtaposition of digital effects and old-stylie color saturation make "One Down" look downright sickly. There's humor here, but it's dark. To be honest, this story actually made me a little sad -- which has got to be 20 times rarer than comics that make me laugh.
OK, at this point I'm past 1300 words and need to quit. But you get the idea. Deadpool is awesome, and you should buy this book, even though $5 seems like a big chunk of change to spend on a comic. But as you can see, this issue is loaded. You may even be tempted to read all of the stories in one sitting, which I advise against. I came close to doing that and felt like I had eaten too much candy. Sometimes your brain can only handle so much of a good thing at a time.
- Deadpool Team-Up #1: Turning Japanese -- Evidently, even before he was a Weapon X experiment, Wade Wilson was a sumo wrestler. Big, fat, living in Japan, and everything. A mission sends him back into this forgotten territory, and our protagonist finds himself face to face with old friends and unfinished business. Plus he gets to fight a clone of himself who's less than half his height. The little guy is so cute you kind of want to squeeze his cheeks. Except, you get the feeling that if you did that, before you could finish saying "coochie coo," your skull would be cut up, gooey slices flopping to the ground like an upset plate of flapjacks.