Over the past month, Marvel has published one of its most creative series in recent memory–You Are Deadpool. This week marks the release of the series’s fifth (and final) issue. The usual creative team is back: Al Ewing (writer), Salva Espin (artist), Guru -eFX (colorist), and VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer). Do they end the series as strongly as they’ve sustained it thus far? Is You Are Deadpool #5 a satisfying conclusion to all the time-hopping madness?
As per usual, You Are Deadpool’s greatest strength is its mixture of a unique narrative structure with humorous twists. Like previous issues, this one relies heavily on decisions regarding time-travel. There are multiple occasions where the reader has to decide which portal to take based upon what date it leads to. None of the dates are instantly recognizable though, so the reader has to take shots in the dark. Upon moving on to the appropriate panels, it’s revealed that Deadpool is visiting historically significant time periods. For instance, one story branch results in Wade burning to death during the famous volcanic eruption at Pompeii. This mixture of instantly recognizable events with an air of mystery to the decision-making is effective as well as the source of the issue’s most memorable comedy.
Unfortunately, the artwork in this issue doesn’t do much to enhance the humor. Salva Espin isn’t a bad artist by any means, but his style doesn’t stand out from other contemporary comic artists in any memorable way. It’s the epitome of “house style”: not offensively bad, but too bland to be riveting. The characters and backgrounds all lack the sort of detail that would make the comic’s world feel three-dimensional, and Wade’s facial structure beneath his mask varies strangely throughout the issue.
Guru -eFX’s colors aren’t at their best in this issue, either. They get the job done, but that’s about it. The relatively flat tones combine with the already relatively generic line-art in a way that makes the final product just look flavorless. Sabino’s lettering is also solid, but nothing to write home about.
With all that said, it’s not just this issue’s visuals that disappoint. While Ewing gets in a fair amount of successful jokes, none of them are laugh-out-loud funny. The series’s plot comes to a rushed conclusion as we meet the main adversary and watch him lose all within less than twenty pages. This issue also has the most disappointing of all the series’s Grasshopper gags, along with the return of…Justice Peace? He is literally the least interesting character who could have come back from previous issues. There is also a disappointingly low amount of choices compared to earlier issues. Thankfully, there are at least some shining moments sprinkled throughout. The best scene by far involves Deadpool (and Ewing) criticizing when comics reboot and undergo…rebirths. Ba dum tss.
Overall, the final issue of You Are Deadpool is also the worst. While there are some funny moments, they’re surrounded by scenes that either veer too heavily into the obvious or that try to do too much with the limited page-time left. The artwork does the disappointing story no favors; the issue never looks terrible but nothing about it is eye-catching either. This series had the potential to go down as one of Deadpool’s greatest ever, but it flubs the landing too hard to ultimately succeed.
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