Deadpool can take many forms in a story from a completely slapstick goofball to a psychotic who happens to crack wise. There are so many character traits writers can use to make Deadpool their own (like how he talks to himself in captions or openly). Regardless of what version you like the most you have to admit one of the more entertaining flavors of this character is when he’s properly paired with a sidekick. That brings us to Marvel’s latest Deadpool Classic, which collects five different stories with many different sidekick pairings which all work in varying ways.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Deadpool clashes with the X-Men in adventures that give new meaning to the word “classic”! First, a bromance is rekindled as Deadpool and Cable – the Merc with the Mouth and the Soldier with the Shoulders – face a fight for the future! Then, learn the secret shared history of the Regeneratin’ Degenerate and the Ragin’ Cajun as Wade and Gambit take on one last job together! Plus: the murder of Forbush Man sparks fears that someone is targeting Marvel’s funniest characters for death. Deadpool must act before someone bumps off Squirrel Girl, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Ant-Man, Howard the Duck and…the Punisher?!
Can I jump in easily?
This volume collects stories that are relatively new, with many coming out only in the last two years. Each story is self contained and only requires you to know Deadpool’s average schtick. If you’re buying Deadpool Classic Vol. 21 you probably like the character so the answer is yes.
Reason 1: Deadpool and Cable have the most interesting adventures.
After a brief holiday special (with Deadpool teaming up with Hawkeye in a hilarious tale by Gerry Duggan and Danilo S. Beyruth) Deadpool teams up with Cable in the story “Deadpool & Cable: Split Second.” In this three parter (which was included in our Greatest Deadpool Moments of 2016), writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Reilly Brown tell quite a cool time travel story. It’s well plotted and paced and never too confusing (unless it wants to be). It essentially rewrites the Cable/Deadpool backstory, revealing things we never knew. It also ties in a time travel scientist and a big twist at the end. Deadpool isn’t quite as cooky in this one–maybe it’s because Cable grounds him more than anybody else–but he’s still funny enough. It’s nice to see this version of Deadpool because he’s been so over the top with the slapstick over the years it’s easy to forget he can get pretty serious.
10 dollars says this exact shot shows up in Deadpool 2.
Reason 2: A murder mystery wrapped in a team up round robin.
This collection ends with “Deadpool: Too Soon,” written by Joshua Corin with art by Todd Nauck. Originally published as a digital comic, this four part story has Deadpool asking Squirrel Girl, Punisher, Howard the Duck, Forbush Man, Rocket, and Groot to a mysterious mansion. The plotting of this story is quite good, first showcasing how irritated these heroes can get when in a room with Deadpool and then having him team up with each in subsequent issues. Corin writes a solid Deadpool with a flair of comedic genius at times that made me think bits of dialogue would be great in a film. He gets his money’s worth with this supporting cast who are all a bit strange in their own ways (although Punisher is basically a murderer which does seem odd). It’s fun to see how Deadpool can riff off these oddballs and ultimately save the day while he does it.
Reason 3: Gambit and Deadpool go way back.
In one of the more tightly written stories entitled “Deadpool v Gambit: The V Stands for Vs.,” Ben Acker and Ben Blacker write a five part story that reveals that while Gambit and Deadpool have worked together off and on for a while, they just don’t trust other. This leads to double crosses, backstabbing, and Asgardian gods showing up to wrap things up. It’s quite interesting to see how much these writers can stuff into the story from using a somewhat unknown character like Fat Cobra, to giving Deadpool the power of the Iron Fist. There’s a lot going on, but something you’ll never lose sight of is Gambit and Deadpool’s dynamic. They work well together since they are both off and on criminals, but also because they have chips on their shoulders. There is also a great bit involving Spider-Man and Deadpool that kicks things off.
These two have a history. Who knew?! You do now!
Reasons to be wary?
This collection reads at a very fast clip until you get to the “Deadpool: Too Soon?” storyline. It’s not so much boring, but the story reads in a clunky sort of way. You can tell it was originally made for digital reading. The Infinite Comics utilize panels to create motion so there might be a close up of a foot with a bit of dialogue that creates a sense of movement when you flip forward to the next panel. It works great on a tablet, but in the full page comic format it looks a bit stunted and off. The dialogue is good and the story is crazy, but there’s just a hiccup or two in how it reads.
The only other issue I had was how the “Deadpool v Gambit” story ends. It ends in an abrupt way as if there were more issues planned but the arc was cut short. It’s possible this isn’t true, but it still reads like it’s rushing to wrap things up.
Is there a rationale to the reasons?
The truth about Deadpool is he’s a comedic character more often than not and with comedy you can do so many more things in a duo format. Deadpool shines alone, but in a duo he can truly excel and this new collection proves that. Either with the straight man that is Cable, or the ridiculous Squirrel Girl, Deadpool can riff and be humorous in different ways. He’s also infinitely more interesting when other characters are reflecting on his bizarre behaviors.
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