Last week Marvel published the debut issue of one of its most innovative series ever–You Are Deadpool. I’ve never been a fan of choose-your-own-adventure stories, but the creative team did such a good job that they made me believe in the potential of a genre I had previously written off. This week, You Are Deadpool is back with issue #2, which is a comedic romp through 1960s art and comic books. Most of the first issue’s creative team (writer Al Ewing, colorist Guru -eFX, and letterer Joe Sabino) is back, though this issue features a new artist (Paco Diaz). Does this issue deliver the same sort of structural innovation and effective comedy that made the series’ debut so memorable? Is You Are Deadpool #2 good?
As far as this issue’s focus on the 1960s goes, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the setting allows the creative team to parody some of Marvel’s own Silver Age comics. Depending on their decisions, readers can find themselves face-to-face with either the Fantastic Four or the Hulk. Ewing incorporates these branching paths in a way that makes narrative sense, and not just like he had to haphazardly cram them in. On the downside, these segments of the issue are also its least enjoyable. Nothing much of note is added by the creative team’s utilization of these classic characters. Their inclusion makes sense, but they have the potential to generate much more memorable comedy than we get here.
Fortunately, the issue’s more niche references are also more successful. This series continues to be a love letter to the Grasshopper of Great Lakes Avengers fame (infamy? obscurity?). Grasshopper takes the place of Spider-Man in several classic panels and covers, and it’s fun to see such absurd homages to the webslinger’s greatest moments. My personal favorite of these moments is when Wade sees a comic book entitled Voyage Into Oddity, which features Grasshopper swinging across the foreground in a clear nod to Amazing Fantasy #15.
Even more niche is the presence of the Coffee A Go-Go, a coffee shop heralding back to 1960s X-Men comics (before Uncanny got added to the title or Wolverine debuted, much less became synonymous with the brand). Even the X-Men’s old pal, Bernard the Poet, is present! This scene also features the issue’s most memorable new addition, a poetry mini-game. There are also segments in which Deadpool finds himself at the mercy of other characters who break the fourth wall, which puts him on the other end of reality-questioning for a change. Unexpected choices like these are my favorite aspect of the issue.
Unfortunately, the rest of this issue lacks the same punch that made #1 such a fun time. As I previously mentioned, the Hulk and Fantastic Four segments are less creative and amusing. These scenes take up a significant amount of page-time, so their disappointing quality level is a fairly big deal. There is also an occasion where the progression route from one panel to the next is unclear, and this occurs at a pivotal junction between choices. As a result, it took me going back and scanning every single panel in the issue to figure out how to access certain story paths.
Visually, this issue is solid. The page layouts continue to do a great job fitting in disparate story paths in a way that feels like fun exploration rather than overwhelming chaos. Diaz’s line-work and Sabino’s lettering are both solid; I have no significant qualms with either of their contributions to the issue. My biggest gripe is with the issue’s coloration. Guru -eFX uses a muted color palette throughout the issue in what is clearly a nod to the ’60s comics the issue spoofs, but this hinders my enjoyment of the issue rather than enjoys it. The fade effect doesn’t actually mimic the look of old comics very effectively; it feels more like a basic filter than a fully-realized artistic decision.
Overall, You Are Deadpool #2 is a decent issue, but it disappoints after the series’ superior debut last week. The creative team continues to impress with how much content they can jam into an issue, but the actual content here is a mixed bag. Some of the ’60s references are satisfying deep cuts, while others are forgettable and expected. Nonetheless, I’m still excited for the series’ next issue.
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