Deadpool 2 has come and gone with astounding box office numbers and near universal praise. The popularity of the film franchise is so robust that it’s hard to picture anyone other than Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with a Mouth. The problem when it comes to the comics is Ryan Reynolds isn’t Deadpool- he can’t save an issue from a poor script with his undefinable wit and charm. Deadpool #2 is plagued by a poor script, with jokes that simply don’t work in comic format and a story that feels too grandiose for the supposed “return to basics” this new series is suppose to produce.
After reading issue #1 of Marvel’s “fresh start” for Deadpool, it was clear an attempt was being made to blur the lines between comic and film with the characters, gore, and script style. Issue #2 eases off, but not really for the better. Whereas #1 had jokes that still managed to land #2 is mostly devoid of any real laughs.
The script feels bland, like it was written with the thought of Ryan Reynolds delivering each line rather than a reader following along on their couch. I could see how some of these jokes, scenarios, and scenes could be comical if played out in live action by the existing actors, but as a comic book script everything just feels mundane. Maybe two or three written jokes actually succeed in eliciting a small chuckle from me, but, for the most part, they’re simply not very funny. The worst is this weird, three-months-too-late rant against Ready Player One that simply makes Deadpool look like a douche rather than funny.
It’s not just the dialogue either, the entire story direction of this issue and, so far, the series as a whole fails to capture any sense of freshness nor does it really return Deadpool to his merc roots as promised. Gerry Duggan’s run on Deadpool is one of the best, if not the best, in the character’s nearly 30 year history, elevating Deadpool to a new status as true hero of the Marvel Universe who was vital in stopping world-ending threats. That being said, the thought of Wade Wilson returning to the merc life, as this new series claimed he would, was a welcome one.
Unfortunately, this issue throws Deadpool right back into the middle of another world-ending struggle that, for whatever reason, he is only capable of resolving. The narrative feels so grandiose and over the top for a character who wiped his own memory to get back to the basics and quit playing hero just two issues ago.
Sure, Deadpool forcing the Avengers to pay him to save the world felt like a true Deadpool move, but it’s still squeezed into yet another world ending scenario where the heroes will definitely come out on top. There’s simply no real stakes to this conflict and there isn’t an entertaining enough script behind it to really hook readers in.
Readers may, however, get hooked on the art from Nic Klein. Klein’s visual presentation and ability to make genuinely funny moments without words save this book from being outright terrible. One particular scene shows the Avengers savagely beat Deadpool to a pulp that is equal parts shocking and comical. Comic readers rarely get to see superhero powers unleashed in an R-rated setting but Klein exquisitely details an Avengers attack on the invincible Deadpool in a few gory, glorious pages. Even when there isn’t gore, Klein’s unique style manages to blend an element of realism and comedic effect in a way that other artists would fail miserably at.
This series is only two issues in, so fans of the regenerating degenerate shouldn’t give up just yet- there’s plenty of time for things to turn around. After a lackluster first issue and an even more disappointing second issue, I’m cautiously optimistic, at best, about the future of this series. Deadpool #2 may be very well drawn, but that is not enough to save it from a poor script better suited for live action and a narrative with little to no stakes. As it stands, Deadpool fans should stick with Cullen Bunn’s Deadpool: Assassin for their Wade Wilson fix.