Stillanerd Reviews: Spider-Man/Deadpool #19 review


For the first issue post-Joe Kelly and Ed McGunniess, Spider-Man and Deadpool [sort of] team up with Slapstick in a story [rightfully] claimed to be not funny.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #19

“No Laughing Matter”

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Writer: Joshua Corin

Artist: Will Robson

Color Artist: Jordan Boyd

Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

Cover: Will Robson and Richard Isanvoe

Recap Page Art: Ed McGuinness and Jason Keith

Have you ever seen those “Try Not to Laugh Challenge” YouTube videos? If you only just discovered the internet, they’re a series of video clips of an increasingly outrageous nature, mostly involving cats, bad dancing, overweight persons, or overweight dancing cats. The object when watching, of course, is to not laugh, or even smile or grin. Well, I have a “try not to laugh” challenge, too, and it’s very easy to win. Read Spider-Man/Deadpool #19. I promise you won’t even laugh once.

All right, perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. I don’t envy Joshua Corin’s position. He, along with artist Will Robson and colorist Jordan Boyd, is crafting a two-part story fresh from a previous team of creators — Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, and Jason Keith’s. For Corin, it was always going to be a tough act to follow.

Likewise, comedy is difficult to master, even for those who are naturally funny. There’s a reason why there are so few professional stand-up comedians. Some people just have a harder time telling a good joke than others. In fact, it’s those who try their hardest at being funny who wind up being the least funny. Thus, it’s more than a touch ironic that one of the least funny issues of Spider-Man/Deadpool is one where it promises not to be funny.

Credit: Will Robson and Jordan Boyd (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Man/Deadpool #19

Being predictable is death to both mystery and comedy, but it takes real talent pulling off the double storytelling homicide that Corin commits [in Spider-Man/Deadpool #19].

It does start with a decent enough premise, however. A wealthy widow approaches Peter Parker claiming her husband’s death is Spider-Man’s fault. It seems during the first time Spidey fought the Vulture (in Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #2), a driver distracted by the fight accidentally ran the husband over. Since Peter took the photographs of this battle for the Daily Bugle, she believes his negatives could corroborate her story. Guilt-stricken Peter agrees he’ll help her.

Unfortunately, the negatives are locked up at the Bugle’s morgue file in Hoboken, New Jersey. Moreover, the widow also hired Deadpool to steal the negatives. Appalled by the Merc with a Mouth making light of such a “serious” situation, Spidey makes him promise they’ll both stop making wisecracks for the duration of the mission. Both the mission and their vow become complicated when Slapstick, the living cartoon, appears, hired by a mysterious New Jersey mob boss named el Tenor to also steal the negatives.

Credit: Will Robson and Jordan Boyd (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Man/Deadpool #19

No doubt you’ve realized this story’s obvious running gag, just as you’ve probably also deduced the identity of el Tenor.  Being predictable is death to both mystery and comedy, but it takes real talent pulling off the double storytelling homicide that Corin commits here. It also doesn’t help there’s two other running gags, as well — one about how much New Jersey sucks, and other involving Slapstick’s “nether regions,” or lack thereof.

But even as recurring joke, the basis behind Spidey’s vow doesn’t make sense either. Peter does tend towards feeling guilt over things clearly not his fault. It’s a stretch that the apparent death of someone he never even knew would make him feel his telling wisecracks was being too “insensitive.” This, and Spidey behaving more upset over Deadpool making jokes about almost shooting someone than Deadpool actually almost shooting someone are what’s wrong. These elements reek of Corin making an oft used and unoriginal critique about political correctness than actual character building.

Spider-Man also tells Deadpool they could save more lives if they weren’t trying to be clever all the time. Yet one reason Spider-Man makes jokes is to draw criminals’ attention to himself and away from innocent people. It’s his being clever that helps save lives. It would be one thing if his telling jokes is what distracted the driver. However, it’s clear it was the fight with the Vulture that was the distraction.

This would be forgivable if it also weren’t for the gaping plot holes. Peter opts for stealing his own negatives to avoid the bureaucratic hassle put in place by J. Jonah Jameson. Yet shouldn’t Peter, as a former Daily Bugle employee, have an easier time obtaining permission than most? Why not just call up Robbie Robertson and ask his help as a favor? Besides, Jonah no longer even owns the Daily Bugle, so shouldn’t there be even less red tape? More to the point, why does a New York newspaper have its archives in not just a different city, but a different state?

Credit: Will Robson and Jordan Boyd (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Man/Deadpool #19

Since Slapstick is, by nature, a literal cartoon with exaggerated features, it doesn’t help by having the other characters also have exaggerated features, too.

At least Corin manages at keeping Spidey, Deadpool and Slapstick’s voices distinctive. After all, he’s dealing with three characters which have a penchant for running their mouths off. Another bright spot, of course, is the art by Will Robson. Given that he has illustrated for more humor-based superhero stories, his style fits with the tone the comic tries to achieve. He also does what I think is some of the most meticulous looking web-patterns on Spider-Man’s costume I’ve ever seen.

But what would otherwise work artistically in another comic doesn’t really work here because of Slapstick’s presence. Since he is, by nature, a literal cartoon with exaggerated features, it doesn’t help by having the other characters also have exaggerated features. Had this comic used an artist with a more realist style, the contrast between them and Slapstick would be that much stronger. Otherwise, the work is decent, colorful, but not outstanding.

Perhaps some think I’m being a bit sour what with Kelly, McGuinness and Keith off the series, but I assure you this isn’t the case.  I also acknowledge some have different ideas of what count as funny and what doesn’t. It’s just that Spider-Man/Deadpool #19 didn’t do it for me, not just in its attempt at humor, but also in general, despite the talent which into it. Then again, maybe I’m the one without a sense of humor. I could always see if that’s true by watching a “Try not to laugh” challenge video, I suppose.

Stillanerd’s Score: 2 out of 5

Next: Stillanerd Reviews: Spider-Man/Deadpool #18 review

Stillanerd’s Nerdy Nitpicks (possible spoilers)

Credit: Will Robson and Jordan Boyd (Marvel Comics); from Spider-Man/Deadpool #19

You know what would’ve been a better cover than a One More Day gag? How about a “Spider-Man: No More” gag? It already has two of the three words in “No More Jokes.”

“Uncle Ben … Gwen Stacy …” What about Gwen’s dad, Pete? Didn’t he die because of you too?

Given Marvel’s sliding timescale, I’m surprised Peter Parker still took pictures on film ten years ago.

Hey, Pete? Maybe you shouldn’t be talking to yourself out loud about what you’re planning to do as Spider-Man in the middle of a crowded street? You remember what thought balloons are, right?

You’d think the cops on the ferry would step in and stop that creep from making such blatant unwanted advances on a woman, as opposed to a katana-wielding, pistol-packing nut job like Deadpool?

By the way, why aren’t the ferry cops detaining Deadpool?

  • “Hanging upside down like this …” But, Wade, although you’re hanging upside down, you’re looking up at Spidey’s face looking down on you. Therefore, Spidey’s face should look right-side up, not upside down.
  • “Let me count the ways …” Then Slapstick doesn’t actually list off the reasons he hates Deadpool other than criticize having “dead” in his name.

    Why would Slapstick, as a living cartoon — meaning he can’t be killed — be scared into confessing because of Deadpool pointing a gun at him? Moreover, how can he whistle while grinning? And how can he, as a cartoon, still susceptible to knock out gas? What are the rules for cartoon characters anyway?

  • Oh, I get it … the New Jersey mob boss is called “The Tenor.” Just like how The Sopranos involved New Jersey mobsters.
  • Somehow, I think that webbed-up grenade would’ve still done a lot more damage than exploding Deadpool’s hand.

    And Spidey and Deadpool didn’t check to see if they had the right film before seeing Valeria Colon because …?