Let me just say that Skullpoopl was not my first exposure to Deadpool. While not an avid fan, his material has surfaced in my collection time and again, and the movie was very much looked forward to. Much like Spiderman, he was the rare witty comic hero who allowed the writers to shine. But he does something Spiderman can’t: as an anti-hero, he can explore the darker sides to costumed vigilantism with impunity: the costume malfunctions, the bloodstains, and yes, absolutely the sexual difficulties. Best of all, he lets other characters explore it with him. There’s a running joke in here about Iron Fist getting excited and not being able to release his chi. *snicker* Of course, it’s all DP’s fault.
What I’m trying to say is, I’m not new to this pony show, oh jumpers of bandwagons with your transient banjo playing. Damn hobos.
But the film really brought me back to the source material, as they do. And I’ve been missing it, the banter, the chimichangas, the casual disregard for superhero convention. So I picked up Deadpool: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly last week to check in with the Merc with a Mouth. Yes, it came out in 2014. But it was the one most depleted on the shelf, so I took that route.
And what’s up is a two-part teamup, the first a 70’s throwback featuring Luke Cage and the Iron Fist, wherein we are introduced to Wade’s one-time love interest who literally throws up when she sees what he looks like. Then, it’s back to the future with a super-soldier team-up featuring Wolverine without his healing factor, and my homeboy Captain America. Still America’s favorite son, after all these years.
First things first: this is NOT classic Deadpool. The jokes are still there, of course, but Wade Wilson is a bona-fide character now. He’s got backstory, he’s got a past he cares about, he’s vulnerable. And that’s a nice transition from the movie, so I would definitely recommend it as a jumping point for new fans.
But jumping into this collection is a little disorienting at first. The 70’s arc is fun, but with a glaring problem: the time matches up in a very uncomfortable way. Even granted the extreme limits of 70’s culture, say, 1979, that would make Deadpool, Luke Cage and Iron Fist in their fifties, more likely their sixties. That’s a little hard to stomach, granted Luke has a grade schooler and Danny Rand hangs around the same. Ironically only Deadpool is acting his age as a dirty old man, both in this arc and the 2014 arc to follow. The 70’s are a brilliant setting for Wade: campy and violent, allowing him to sneer at both the racism and pimp culture at the time. This piece sets up what’s to come, also.
Then, back to 2014, we see Wade actually following through on a logical plan with the lives of his fellow Avengers on the line. It’s jarring, but it’s a very well-done bit of character growth within the confines of a time skip. As usual he does it with his trademark inappropriate, devil-may-care frat boy charm, but this comic showcases the decent per
son inside very well. It’s also funny in a way Deadpool doesn’t usually do: he walks in on Wolverine after he’s slept with Storm. They know him; he’s THAT friend. And this time, THAT friend comes through for them, especially when they’re all dealing with personally uncomfortable memories. It’s a bro’s night out for the super-soldiers, and everybody has the feels. Very cool.
The art is also refreshing for DP. They used some dot shading techniques to make the comics feel more 70’s in the first arc, and even the sex scene is raunchy like 70’s porno. Tastefully, we don’t actually see the action- just like 70’s porno. When we get back to 2014, the lines have a tight economy to them, and sometimes the colors feel very Mignola. Even the gore is verging on beautifully impressionist, the way its done. There’s also a bit where Deadpool goes full-on Frankenstein’s Monster, and I was genuinely terrified of the thing that’s usually hidden by dick jokes.
I was very satisfied with buying DP: TG,TB,TU. I can’t actually point to any problems that aren’t constrained by canon and the comic book structure, and they aren’t very jarring. The worst that can be said is it wasn’t epic or monumental in Wade’s history, but Deadpool isn’t meant to be. And it wasn’t classic Deadpool funny, in that the events do matter in the character’s life. But it’s a direction Ryan Reynolds is brilliantly steering the character. If you’ve seen the film, you know the writers were the real heroes here. 8 out of 10 chimichangas.