Written by: Gerry Duggan
Art by: Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot, and Val Staples
Since Marvel is starting their universe over, I’ve been able to read a wealth of stories. A lot of them are good, a few of the important ones are bad, but one universal question I have to keep on asking: Is there a reason to tell this story. Once again I find myself in awe of Gerry Duggan because not only has he managed to tell an engrossing “Deadpool” story for over a year now but now is solely responsible for the relaunch and he seems on track for a repeat because this “Deadpool” #1 kicked ass.
One of the things you may have noticed over the years as Deadpool has gained more traction and popularity is that he’s started showing up everywhere. Well Gerry Duggan noticed that too and he wrote that exact thing into the book. Remember how in the 2000s Wolverine was on four different books and had a solo run? It seemed like there was half a dozen different Wolverines. In “Deadpool” #1 there is half a dozen Deadpools. That’s right, Wade started a Deadpool’s Heroes for Hire and has allowed a couple lesser known heroes to join the franchise provided they stick to the very strict dress code. Not only does this set up one of the funniest cameo appearances by Matt Murdock and Luke Cage but it provides a new and fresh reason to tell a Deadpool story. Back in the day when Gerry Duggan originally started writing Deadpool with Brian Posehn their only parameters was to tell a fun story that was uniquely Deadpool and stay true to the character. Gerry has taken those same parameters and upped the relevance of the story—while still staying completely true to the character!
It’s funny but Gerry Duggan seems to know Deadpool so well that he can pick apart Deadpool into six different aspects and personalities and find the exact characters that reflect those personalities. The first is Solo, a character that reflects Wade’s proficiency as an assassin. The second is Fool Killer, a remorseless killer who shows Wade isn’t scared of a body count. The third is Terror, a superhuman who can survive severe injuries through grotesque ways because Wade has the regenerative cancer thing on lock. The forth is Slapstick which represents Wade’s ridiculous side. The fifth is Madcap, a character that is severely mentally unbalanced, a key trait with Wade. The sixth is Stingray, a super obscure character that was on the Avengers like once but nobody remembers that. See? All of these low rung Marvel throwaways are the zords that fit together to make Voltron—or something, I honestly couldn’t be bothered to Google right now. But my point is that Gerry gets Deadpool, he understands the character, what makes him great, his tragic flaws, and why we as the reader care about him within the new Marvel universe.
Before I robotically slam into comparing the book, I’d like to take an opportunity to talk about the art. First off, it’s stonking great. But more importantly is it’s the perfect balance of cartoonish fun and excessive action that melds well with what is happening in the story. I really have to applaud Mike Hawthorne and Terry Pallot for making some crisp and clean action even when the fight is devolving into a bit of a mess. And Val Staples did a great job making sure all the red and black popped considering there were half a dozen different Deadpools. Sure the panel layout was a bit boring but the worst I can really say about it is I didn’t notice it which is technically part of the job—so kudos? And maybe every page isn’t a poster that can go on some kid’s wall but everything is important and moves the plot forward… even that bit with George Stephanopoulos.
Right, “Invincible” and “Deadpool”… I suppose there was that time when Mark was infected with that virus that stripped him of his powers and he had to hand the mantle over to Bulletproof. Yeah, maybe there weren’t a whole bunch of Invincibles but every time there is it’s usually bad—and ends in cannibalism. Bulletproof had been fighting crime before but he had to fight crime in the way that Invincible would fight crime, to make himself embody the principles that Mark hoped to impart on the world. Okay, Wade didn’t do anything that noble, he’s mostly motivated by money but there’s something to both Invincible and Deadpool that both need to have an authentic presence in our world.