One of the most interesting things about Deadpool is you can write him in a variety of ways. He’s so crazy you don’t need an explanation for why he’s back to killing for money, trying to be a hero, or simply in the wrong place at a weird time. The Marvel Comics Companion series aims to offer every Deadpool appearance in a collected format regardless of how small a part he plays. This second volume contains two major stories and a lot of supporting ones.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Continuing the complete collection of Deadpool comics – including team-ups, guest appearances and gratuitous cameos! Wade Wilson is forced to work with Sabretooth, Bullseye, Juggernaut, Sandman and the Vulture in search of the priceless Identity Disc – and joins Red Hulk’s lethal Code Red alongside Elektra, Punisher and more! Deadpool plays a key role in Black Panther’s war against Dr. Doom, while Necrosha calls for an Undeadpool – but are you ready for the time-traveling Hulkpool?! Plus, Wade swaps quips with Spidey, competes in a bizarre cross-country race against Shang-Chi, meets a dark Ms. Marvel, battles White Tiger and annoys Wolverine!
Why does this matter?
Due to his growing popularity, Deadpool shows up in many side adventures. Marvel has made it easier to read them all without having to buy every Marvel book under the sun, or requiring you to search for ages. This is the book for the Deadpool completist.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There are quite a few stories in this collection–so many it’s a bit schizophrenic–which all are accompanied with editor notes to help you catch up. That’s helpful because a lot can happen in a year at Marvel and these stories were originally published in 2004 through 2010. If you’re familiar with Deadpool’s history over the years you may notice after reading this book how sometimes he talks to himself via captions, other times he’s more of a mercenary, and yet other times he’s trying his best to be a hero. He’s had an eclectic run at Marvel and this book shines a light on that.
The first five issues collected here are part of a miniseries called Identity Disc originally published in 2004. Written by Rob Rodi and drawn by John Higgins, this tale also graces the cover of this collection and has a mercenary version of Deadpool. He takes a job that involves Juggernaut, Vulture, and a whole bunch of others. It’s actually a story with a sweet ending and a good twist, but doesn’t have a ton of Deadpool in it. It is, however, one of the more complete stories in this collection.
Red Hulk makes not one, but two appearances in this collection, first hiring Deadpool to capture Domino and then later during the World War Hulks event. The Red Hulk appearances give the book some cohesion even if the stories are unrelated. The last story in this collection involves Deadpool becoming Hulkpool in a rather hilarious story written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Humberto Ramos. The story takes Hulkpool and Bob (his trusty sidekick over the years) through time “fixing” things while Hulkpool attempts to kill himself. There’s a fun twist that makes all the time traveling worth it and it’s basically an What If story in disguise.
Another major highlight is the X-Force: Annual #1 issue, written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost with art by Carlo Barberi. This story is hilarious, focusing on Deadpool attempting to join the X-Men and sporting his yellow costume. I laughed out loud more than once due to the silliness of the character and also some great visual gags. Another one-shot issue, Amazing Spider-Man #611, is a standout story that’s hilarious. Writer Joe Kelly must have been on a lot of caffeine as the dialogue runs fast and loose and the art style is quite cool from Eric Canete.
It can’t be perfect can it?
A lot of the stories in this book are pretty unimportant or minimally use Deadpool. The opening Identity Disc story uses him well enough, but he’s a supporting character at best. A Ms. Marvel story uses him even less and the story is difficult to truly enjoy since you only get a small chunk of it. The four-part Red Hulk story early on in this collection is rather tepid on its use of Deadpool too. Then you have Doomwar #5 and #6 which has Deadpool here and there, but mostly standing around in the background. A weird addition to be sure. What I’m getting at is, in an attempt to collect all of Deadpool’s appearances, Marvel is scraping the barrel at times with one-off or seriously weak examples of Deadpool being included in stories.
Is it good?
It took until the very end of the book, but I ended up liking this collection. A good half of it is unnecessary since Deadpool is either barely supporting, or almost nonexistent, but there are a few stories I’m glad I read. If it takes 496 pages to discover a few Deadpool gems I’d call this book a win. That may not sound worth it to some, but many will be happy to discover a few stories that may have passed them by.