Thus far, I’ve been quite impressed by You Are Deadpool. I like some comics starring the Merc With a Mouth, but whenever creative teams take him seriously I quickly lose interest. Thankfully, the team on this book embraces his wackier side, and places his fourth-wall-breaking in a fun choose-your-own-adventure context. After the last two issues took place in the 1960s and 1970s respectively, the series’ fourth issue takes Wade on an adventure through 1980s Marvel grit. Does You Are Deadpool #4 continue the series’ effective handling of the choose-your-own-adventure concept? Is it good?
My favorite portions of this issue are those where the creative team subverts and otherwise plays with the creative team’s expectations, frequently to a silly effect. From the onset of the issue, there’s a sense that the story is building up to a clash with the Kingpin. When Wade actually confronts the big bad, however, he’s up against the Pin King–possibly the series’ best play on words thus far. A bowling-themed villain might sound silly, but that’s exactly what I expect–and want–from this series. The Punisher also makes an appearance, as expected in an ’80s Marvel riff, but his subplot doesn’t go as expected. Writer Al Ewing’s continuous avoidance of the obvious is a large part of what makes this series so fun to watch unfold.
The art team also contributes heavily to the issue’s success. Paco Diaz is back on pencils, and he delivers great page compositions that help cram a lot of story into a small amount of pages. He also does an effective job channeling the ’80s, from how he styles the fashions of civilians to how well he replicates that decade’s prominent takes on Daredevil and the Punisher. Colorist Guru -eFX continues to deliver solid work with a darker color palette than in past issues. This change in palette immediately brings to mind how ’80s comics began a shift toward grittier visuals than those found in earlier decades. VC’s Joe Sabino also delivers strong, clean lettering as always.
In terms of cons, there’s not much that I actively dislike about this issue so much as certain scenes just fall flat in comparison to others. This issue’s spin on the Grasshopper, for instance, is less amusing than in previous issues. This time around he’s basically just a parody of a bulky, Rob Liefeld-drawn character, and nothing memorable is added to make it more than your standard Liefeld-jabbing. I also wish that more was done with Bullseye; he doesn’t get a chance to shine as brightly as Daredevil or the Pin King.
Art-wise, my main qualm with this issue is with the composition of a breaking-in scene. Wade either sneaks into or bursts through a bar depending on the reader’s decisions. This takes place on a two-page-spread where readers can choose to progress through the bar in a number of different ways depending on what order they go through the various doors. Unfortunately, this spread is overly busy to the point where the scene is just chaotic to look at.
Overall, You Are Deadpool #4 is a good issue. It incorporates ’80s characters and atmosphere in unexpected ways, and the artwork is solid throughout. This issue’s funny moments are among the funniest in the entire series. Unfortunately, there are also some fairly lengthy stretches that fall flat or go a while without great laughs. The bar fight scene also suffers from being visually chaotic in an obstructive way. Nonetheless, this is a solid issue and I’m looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up next week.