So far Wolverine and Carnage have had the “Black, White & Blood” treatment, but nobody deals in blood quite like Deadpool. The other guys can get violent, and even revel in the violence, but Deadpool isn’t like that. No, he’s more of a bystander of his own violence, which makes him all the funnier when he does the stabby-stabby. The first issue of Deadpool: Black, White & Blood was a comedic highlight for comic book readers and this week it’s a blend of both comedy and touching sentimentality. No, really!
This anthology comic series opens this week with a story by Maria and David Lapham called “Purple Craze.” It opens with the Purple Man controlling Deadpool in a bowling alley. It seems the Purple Man wants Daredevil dead and he’s going to use Deadpool to do it since any order he gives to others must be followed through on. Joke’s on the Purple Man, though, as the Lapham’s reveal how it’s trickier to control Deadpool since he doesn’t take much seriously. He also requires very clear instructions. The story plays out with a few surprises, some off-color humor, and a satisfying conclusion.
It’s also rendered in a cool way that’s dark in tone and edgy with its use of shadows. This adds to the dangerous situation Deadpool is in and makes you believe the Purple Man has any chance at all.
Following that story is Karla Pacheco and Leonard Kirk’s “Deadpool Party” which features everyone’s favorite Cajun mutant, Gambit. This story is manic as all hell. Pacheco’s voice shines through quite strongly with Deadpool who gives Gambit a run for his money. Lots of blood, shooting, and explosions take place. Pacheco also opens with action in a cool way that pays off by the end thanks to the clever way the story opens in medias res.
Kirk’s art shines through well with less color than the norm — the red color is by Rachelle Rosenberg — and there’s a thicker shading style that adds a cartoony feel. That juxtaposes well with the ultra-violence and monsters that pop up.
Wrapping up the book is a funny, action-packed, and touching story by Daniel Warren Johnson called “Pool of Death???”. It opens with Deadpool fighting Wolverine and Johson sticks Deadpool in a slightly more classic costume particularly with the way the eyes are drawn. It’s kinetic, action-packed, and mind-bendingly cool to look at.
The story shifts to Johnson literally in frame talking to Deadpool about what he should do with the story. As he runs through different fights and ideas, Deadpool is right there with him talking him out of ideas. It’s a clever way to break the fourth wall and you can clearly see Johnson has an affinity for the character.
This all builds towards a rather touching moment that connects to Johnson’s past in a real way. Johnson’s style works really well with the classic superhero costumes, and the moments of him on the couch are just as good as you feel for him. He wants to do Deadpool proud but keeps getting in his own way.
Joe Sabino letters the entire book, and if you’re into lettering you should definitely check out his work here. Anthology comics that use one letterer make it far easier to see how much creativity goes into every word balloon, or how a story can dictate different lettering styles. The way sound effects are used and how words fit into a balloon vary, and it’s all quite strong here.
Deadpool: Black, White & Blood #2 is even better than the first issue. Each story delivers a satisfying tale in different ways, be it the first story’s strong plot, the second story leaning into the chaos, or the third story getting sentimental. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to enjoy Deadpool than with this comic.
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