When Marvel announced all-new number ones for the majority of their big titles, I groaned. I saw the move away from legacy numbering back to number ones as nothing more than another thinly veiled cashing in on the profitability of new number ones. Thankfully, these “fresh start” issues have kicked ass!… Except for Deadpool. I had high hopes for this new run on Deadpool, but the first three issues have been plagued by the same problems- poor dialogue that just isn’t that funny and an overly ambitious story that meanders along and abruptly ends in #3 with an unceremonious thud.
There’s not much to say about Deadpool #3 that hasn’t been said about the first two issues in Skottie Young and Nic Klein’s run. There’s nothing noticeably better or worse about this issue that makes it really stand out against the opening issues. Readers who’re enjoying this run will likely enjoy #3. Readers who’ve been unsatisfied, like me, may begin question whether it’s time to take Deadpool off their pull list and just stick with the far superior Deadpool: Assassin series that is running concurrently.
As has been the problem in every issue, the vast majority of the jokes simply don’t land. This incarnation of Deadpool reads like a half hearted attempt at mimicking Ryan Reynold’s vulgar wit mixed with the childish corniness of the Disney XD version of Deadpool that showed up in random Spider-Man episodes.
There’s a heavy reliance on using swearing for comedic effect- but the comedy in vulgarity is completely nullified when every swear word is translated into randomized symbols. Other jokes that don’t rely on vulgarity are simply too wordy, bland, or uninspired to really cause any reaction. I will say, however, that Skottie Young writes one of my favorite Tony Stark burns ever in this issue. Sadly, that one great line is not nearly enough to make up for all the misses.
The dialogue isn’t saved by a grand story, either. Issue #3 presents an unexpected conclusion to Deadpool‘s first arc, an arc that feels completely rushed and, by the end of this issue, pretty meaningless. I’ve read this issue multiple times and I am still trying to figure out what the point was, and I am not coming up with anything substantial. This story simply exists, but for no real reason.
At the end of this issue, Wade Wilson is in the same spot he was at the beginning of the series- hated by most of the heroes and back in the mercenary business- except for maybe with more brand exposure. This is Deadpool, though, he doesn’t need to pull of an elaborate stunt to get his merc name out there, so why did he hire a space demon to attack Earth so he could save the day? I really don’t know.
Oh, one more thing: the whole “puke covering all of NYC” schtick was much funnier when Gerry Duggan did it in May.
The way the story flows in this issue makes it all the more off putting. There’s multiple pages and panels that simply don’t mesh together, like the opening pages where Deadpool tumbles from the sky but suddenly appears unscathed with no explanation or when Tony Stark randomly appears in a panel out of thin air. These moments completely disrupt the flow of the story and will cause many readers to look at previous pages to see if they missed something.
For the first time in years, I can’t honestly recommend the ongoing Deadpool series to curious readers. It’s a damn shame too- the character is at peak popularity and the Deadpool ongoing title had been one of Marvel’s best for the better part of the last decade. I was hoping Deadpool #3 might be the issue that gave me hope for the series, but it’s plagued with the same poor jokes and bad narrative that soured me on the first two issues. I really have no idea where this series is going from here, but I can’t imagine it gets any worse.