Marvel Pick Of The Week – June 1, 2016


Pick Of The Week goes to a 4-part crossover that makes Deadpool funnier than he’s been in years!

Spoilers ahead!

Pick Of The Week: Deadpool #13, by Gerry Duggan, Charles Soule, David Walker, Jacopo Camagni, Guillermo Sanna, Elmo Bondoc, and Paco Diaz

When Deadpool got his first solo series, I remember loving it, the way he pushed through his pain to try to become a hero, but his habitual violence and impulsivity led him to ultimately lose. But after he blew it, future writers pushed hard to make him a clown. He broke the Fourth Wall a lot, developed clinically inaccurate mental illness, and did so many awful jokes that I gave up. I tried again every time the writer changed, and I never made it very far before I just couldn’t handle the failed attempts at humor. Even the current Gerry Duggan run on the character hasn’t made me smile. That’s why I loved the Ryan Reynolds movie this spring – Deadpool was finally funny, instead of everyone yelling how funny he is while he’s got a sword hilt-deep in some guy’s eyeball.

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Turns out, the trick to making Deadpool funny is to work as a team.

Deadpool #13 is a four-part story, big enough for an Annual, that pits Deadpool against a few factions of Marvel’s organized crime to defend a sleazy bro who had poorly invested assets for a lot of powerful crime bosses. To protect his client, Deadpool has to join up with Daredevil, Power Man, and Iron Fist, and these chapters are written by the writers of those ongoing series. Each of the tie-in pieces even has its own cover and artist to give this book the feel of reading a stack of comics your friend loaned you. The story holds together and makes very logical arguments for why the guest stars have shown up, and it’s light enough that as a four-week crossover event, I would have forgotten the premise, so reading it one sitting helps. The violence is cartoony but doesn’t distract from the movement of the plot.

And it’s really funny.

It turns out, Charles Soule can write a wonderful Deadpool by bouncing this mouthy mercenary off his stern District Attorney, Matt Murdock, and Matt’s alter ego, Daredevil. When Deadpool is insensitive to Matt’s disability, it comes across as satire of our culture more than mockery of the blind, and when Deadpool later goes blind from injury and will not stop sanctimoniously lecturing everyone, the satire evolves into something The Onion would have published.

When Power Man And Iron Fist scribe David Walker takes his turn, he focuses on his strength, the wonderful bromance of his main characters, and Deadpool’s antics in the background become charming improvements to the page rather than the trying-too-hard that turns me off of his solo title so often.

And with main Deadpool writer Duggan on the first and last chapters, the book gains a grounding I haven’t seen in any of the other issues he’s written. He’s reined in by the responsibility to his writing partners, and this down-to-Earth Deadpool has real charm and a surprising vulnerability by the close of the adventure.

Marvel’s experiment in format, putting all the issues of a crossover into one oversized magazine, is a success so far. I look forward to seeing more collections like this.

Honorable Mentions:

X-Men ’92 #4, for this scene of Dead Girl’s journey through an 8-bit cyberspace where she hits the Darkhold Dwarf as a Non-Playable Character. This book is so much more than fan service, but it is also really good fan service.

A-Force #6, for this page that completely nails the characterizations of the women on this team. Of course Dazzler would tease Medusa in the midst of battle. And of course Singularity would be too excited by the wonder of a Hulked-out Jennifer Walters to recognize danger. This book is great.

All-New All-Different Avengers #10, for taking the potential drama of shoe-horning in a movie version of The Wasp (adapted as Hank Pym’s secret daughter from his first wife) to a world that already has a Wasp by having Janet Van Dyne be the casually coolest step-mom in history.

Amazing Spider-Man #13, because watching Spider-Man and Iron Man argue about how best to mentor Miles Morales makes me beg for an alternate reality where they are a pair of divorced gay dads struggling to co-parent. Write this, Marvel. Hey, I’d write this.

Catch up on previous Marvel Picks of the Week here!