January 23, 2010 2 Comments
Deadpool has sorta been around almost as long as I have. He was the lovechild – wait, sorry, he was STOLEN by Liefield and appropriated by Fabian.
I should backtrack some and warn readers: this is going to be one of those posts that require a heavy prerequisite of comic book knowledge and understanding. You don’t need to know of things at an intimate level, but you at least need to have a shallow understanding such that the things I reference can be understood. This post is also, more or less, a review of Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7 with a bit of history and hype thrown into a mix of criticism of the contemporary Deadpool character as handled by Marvel.
AND SO WE BEGIN.Deadpool should remind readers of Deathstroke, and with good reason. There’s little doubt that Liefield stole the design from DC and, well, Deathstrokes civilian name is Slade Wilson and Deadpool’s is Wade Wilson. I only mention this because it outlines that Deadpool started with very little credibility. Deadpool was also very nineties. Very, very nineties. He was the crazed sociopath with guns and swords and pouches and Liefield. He was ENTIRELY the nineties.
He crept into early popularity and got an on-going quicksmart. The on-going was pretty good – nay, brilliant – for a fair 80 or so issues. Joe Kelly kicked it off to a great start and Gail Simone wrapped it up on a perfect one. But then the on-going stopped. Deadpool struggled with obscurity, I think, and ended up being brought back in Agent X. Agent X being, as far as I can tell, an attempt to revitalize or replace the Deadpool character. Agent X is basically not even seen anymore, and for the most part I miss the Agent X status quo, even with the addition of Deadpool. But I digress. Deadpool was brought into the pages of Cable and Deadpool – another fantastic Deadpool on-going that was canceled ahead of it’s time.
Deadpool was popular, for all of this time, but he was never Spider-Man popular. He had two on-goings canceled in ten years, but that mightn’t have been wholly the fault of sales. Simone killed him and continued the story in Agent X and Fabian had Cable stolen from him by the Messiah Complex story. He couldn’t exactly continue writing Cable and Deadpool without Cable. (He tried for a while, though).
Deadpool was shifted over into Wolverine: Origins under Way for a few issues and then ended up with a new on-going. This is last year. Way’s Deadpool started right up inside a Secret Invasion tie-in, so Deadpool got quite a bit of publicity from that. Then he showed up in Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man and practically any other book you can mention.
Oh, and he was in the Wolverine movie.
Deadpool’s population exploded. We had Deadpool #900, then we had Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth and now we have Deadpool Team-Up. That’s three on-goings, all new within the last year and a bit. That’s ridiculous.
Way’s Deadpool started off okay, and even had some great stories involving Deadpool as a pirate, and old favourite Bob from Hydra, but now it’s fallen to shit. It’s like Loeb’s Hulk – it doesn’t need to be good. Because sales aren’t the same as quality. But Joe Q thinks that they are. So, if Red Hulk sells comics – because he does – that must mean it’s a well-written comic. Same for Deadpool.
Once upon a time, Deadpool had to be well-written to keep sales – because he wasn’t selling like hotcakes. Now, that’s not the case. Now the whole thing can be bad but because it will still sell, it can stay bad. Way’s Deadpool has become horribly contrived and the humour is now just completely missing. It’s disgusting. And that’s not to even mention how bad Deadpool Team-Up is currently – the best thing from those books are the self-referential humour; such as Wade pointing out that he’s over exposed so much more than Spider-Man ever was.
But this brings us to Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth under Victor Gischler. This is a mixed of quality Deadpool humour and the same current contrivances. But it’s the best of the three and the only that I recommend. It’s the diamond in the rough, as it were. I wholeheartedly recommend that you go pick up #7 – and the rest if you can. It kicks off with Deadpool being hired by AIM to go find a weapon – and the weapon turns out as being Deadpool’s Head from the Marvel Zombies-verse. Deadpool works really well in a buddy story (See: Cable and Deadpool) and when his buddy is his head, well, it turns out very funny.
We’re now at the point where Deadpool is trying to get the Zombie Head back to his reality, but for whatever reason this leads to pandimensional hi-jinx. Major Deadpool, Deadpool the Kid and Lady Deadpool – the forthcoming Deadpool Corps. This is fantastic, original and funny. Unlike Deadpool and Team Up. I mean, Way was writing Domino and Wolverine as comic relief to Deadpool. NO THANK YOU. I appreciate that Way writes Deadpool as the anti-hero, with a degree of talent, but it’s lost to the contrived humour. And, frankly, Deadpool Team Up is totally un-readable.
Over exposure is killing Deadpool. We’re slowly losing the dark humour that Joe Kelly gave us early on – the great departure from the boring gritty gun-toting sociopath that Liefield wanted us all to love – and we’re slowly losing the character development that Simone gave us, and that Fabian gave us. Deadpool is turning into a nothing. He is becoming less a character and more a joke.
The character is still there in Way’s writing, but he’s becoming harder to see. As fun as Merc With a Mouth is, it shows us a very shallow Wade. And, again, that’s not to mention how horrible Team Up has turned out. Wade wants so badly to be the hero: the Mithras stuff in early Deadpool, Deadpool signing the Superhuman Registration Act &c. We see this much in Way’s Deadpool with him wanting to join the X-Men – but it denigrates to a gunfest with Wolverine snikt-ing and with Domino suddenly having bigger boobs than Emma Frost. We see it more in Merc With a Mouth as we’re given a Wade who – amongst the ADD – wants to save the planet from a zombie outbreak. And even other worlds, as he removed an infected Captain America-arm from an alt. reality from that alt. reality. The anti-hero is there, but I wonder for how long?
Deadpool is at the point where he helps sell Spider-Man comics. That’s scary. But you wanna know what the scariest thing is? Lady Deadpool. Drawn by Rob Liefield. That’s terrifying.