Marvel Comics is on a roll with their oversized Treasury Editions, and a new one is getting added to comic shops this week with Deadpool: Black, White & Blood. At just $30, readers get 136 pages of some of the coolest art over twelve stories. The Wolverine and Carnage Treasury Editions didn’t disappoint and, frankly, it’s a surprise Deadpool didn’t get the Black, White & Blood treatment sooner.
The first story is titled “Red All Over” and is by Tom Taylor, Phil Noto, and Joe Sabino. The first page reveals Deadpool is in need of help, but with most turning him down he’s onto Honey Badger!
Noto and Taylor work well together, capturing the zany nature of Deadpool and Honey Badger’s inability to be grossed out or even weirded out by Deadpool. It makes them a good pair, especially since they’re on a mission Honey Badger would totally get behind. Deadpool is quite funny in this one, with some good zingers to cling to.
The second story titled “Hotline to Heaven” is by Ed Brisson, Whilce Portacio, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino. Per the title, this is all about Deadpool trying to find a copy of Hotline to Heaven, a Bea Arthur movie he will stop at nothing to find. Portacio’s art is great, with a gritty ’90s style that leans into the inks. The use of red is used mostly in Deadpool’s costume but it allows the sound effects to lift off the page well, too.
Wrapping up the first issue is James Stokoe’s “Born in the Uszorsusr” which has Wade encounter a new nation within Canada’s borders. This is possibly the silliest story of the bunch as one might guess from the choice of hat and tank in the preview. Stokoe uses red quite a bit as shading and sky cover, giving the story a dystopian feel. The hyper detailing works quite well with the level of chaos at work in the tale. It also has some fun jokes at the expense of Canada. Now that’s a win!
Next up is Maria and David Lapham’s story “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 in 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 ultraviolence and monsters that pop up.
Wrapping up the second issue 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 in 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 them. 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.
Stories by comics legend Stand Sakai, Christopher Yost, Michael Allred, and Jay Baruchel wrap up the second half of the book. It’s an eclectic mix of stories from Sakai putting Deadpool in a samurai outfit and kicking ass, having Deadpool fight a Kool-Aid wannabe, and going full manga style in Sanshiro Kasama and Hikaru Uesugi’s story. Closing out the collection is Michael and Laura Allred’s incredibly clean story “Operation Payback” that embodies their endearing style of storytelling.
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.
If you like comics art, do yourself a favor and pick this Treasury Edition as the larger format allows you to soak up the lines better than the conventional single issues ever could. This collection also features some of comics’ greatest creators with each story delivering a satisfying tale in different ways.
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