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Deadpool Team-Up #895 [review]

Writer: Christopher Long
Art: Dalibor Talajic
Colors: Tomislav Tikulin
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover: Humberto Ramos
Production: A. Dial & D. Lucchese
Asst Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

More than ever, this Deadpool Team-Up book seems to be the outlet for various creative teams to do one-off tales with Deadpool and various obscure Marvel characters. As with earlier issues…you don’t need to have read any of the previous issues of this series. And also in line with every previous issue…you don’t need to pick up the next issue to get the next part of the story, because this is a done-in-one story with nary a “To Be Continued” in sight.

For whatever reason, and however he does it, Deadpool’s been hired to captain a sub taking the niece of the man who controls “It! The Living Colossus,” who has been in a coma since a long-lost battle with Dr. Doom. The niece thinks that she can revive her uncle by getting him into close proximity with the Colossus he used to control. While the logic is iffy, the results can’t be argued with and–when things invariably go bad with the sub, Deadpool and his ‘client’ find an unexpected result of the uncle’s body being present so close to the statue his mind once controlled.

The story here is amusing enough, but ultimately not all that exciting. While I enjoy one-and-done issues as much as the next guy, as the status quo for this series, it’s just hard to get all that excited knowing nothing picks up from this issue’s events next issue, and to look back at these last few issues and realize that I could’ve skipped any–or all–of them and not be at all “lost” on the latest issue.

The art’s not bad–this is definitely Deadpool…he looks familiar and doesn’t appear out of place any more than he should in the situation he’s got himself mixed up in this issue.

Perhaps that’s the thing–this series is like the classic Ninja Turtles cartoon (or probably any of a number of other ‘classic’ cartoons of the 1980s and such). All you REALLY need to know is the basics of Deadpool. Merc With a Mouth. Healing factor, butt-ugly face…body basically maintained by that healing factor. Loves guns, great with a sword, somewhat crazy, and breaks the “fourth wall.” You can enjoy the entirety of the series as a large, dynamic dose of Deadpool…or you can tune in for any given issue and get a story from start to finish…a story that’s not entirely devoid of formula.

If you like Deadpool, and you have an extra $3 burning a hole in your budget…this is a great issue to get. No crossovers, no tie-ins, no preludes…just a complete Deadpool story all in one issue.

If you’re a bit more picky about your Deadpool stories, and prefer the longer multi-issue arcs, you’d be better served with Merc With a Mouth which is largely following its own continuity in multi-issue arcs, or the main Deadpool title, which follows the mainstream Marvel Universe continuity, in multi-issue arcs.

Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Deadpool Team-Up #899 [Review]

Merc With a Myth

Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Dalibor Talajic
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry
Production: Paul Acerios
Assistant Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Humberto Ramos
Publisher: Marvel Comics

While a THIRD Deadpool title does seem a bit much, this debut issue is great fun. Given that each of the titles so far seems to maintain its own identity or feel and the character himself is somewhat timeless and archetypal, I don’t really have a problem with it. I’m enjoying following all three titles, even though one could really pick and choose which one of the three or any combination and still get a fun “Deadpool experience.”

This issue sees Deadpool teaming up with Hercules. After dreaming about fighting some ultimate opponent, Deadpool soon finds himself trapped in a labyrinth where he meets up with Hercules. It’s soon revealed that the two are dealing with a couple of classic (yet, I never would’ve thought I’d see them teamed up) Marvel villains who have trapped the both and pitted them against their own nightmares. Hercules faces a legion of offspring claiming to be his own children; Deadpool faces an embodiment of the two voices in his head as the entity tries to kill him. Deadpool takes fairly extreme (yet, for him, sorta typical) action to solve the problem, and our ‘heroes’ then face their true foes.

I really like the done-in-one nature of this issue–I assume the series in general will consist of done-in-one issues or at least shorter-than-6-issues arcs. That’s a great selling point for me, as it means that while following the “mainstream Marvel Universe” adventures of Deadpool in the core title and the other adventure in Merc With a Mouth, there are also these full stories coming out that start and resolve quickly.

Unlike most of the comics I follow these days, I’m really not familiar with any of the creative team here. While that’s not something I’m used to, it works to the benefit of the title, I think, as I’m more focused on the character and story without concerning myself with how it stacks against the writer or artist’s previous work. I enjoyed the story, and the art fit the story, making for an overall enjoyable issue whoever’s involved in creating the issue.

“Fun” as the first two titles have been, this seems likely to be the breakout Deadpool title for me. If you’re interested in Deadpool OR Hercules, and don’t want commit from the get-go to lengthy seemingly-structured-for-collected-volumes arcs, this is definitely the issue for you (and for Deadpool in particular, this would be the series for you).

As with Deadpool #900, I actually find some amusement–or at least, appreciate the humour in–the numbering. The irreverence of the numbering lends itself to the timelessness of this title–who cares what the NUMBER is? The specific stories–particularly as one-off issues–should be the draw.

Highly recommended.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 9/10

Deadpool #900 [Review]

Issue Credits

Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Covers: Dave Johnson
Assistant Editor: Jody Leheup
Editor: Axel Alonso
Publisher: Marvel Comics

For $4.99, this issue would have to do quite a bit in order to justify its cost. Thankfully, it more than delivered. While I was really hoping it would be all-original content, my only real frustration at there being a reprint in the back (Deadpool Team-Up featuring Deadpool and Widdle Wade) is that that was one of about a half-dozen Deadpool comics that I already own from the 90s–and which I’d spent several hours just last weekend digging through 18 longboxes to find.

As-is, this is far from the “typical” Deadpool comic–nothing here seems to be in-continuity in the sense of advancing either of the main plots for the first two Deadpool ongoings. However, this faux-anniversary issue is a great “primer” for new fans, and presumably quite a treat for old fans. There may not be any real throughline in the book, but we get seven short stories starring Deadpool, but different creative teams new and old that give the character a chance to shine.

And the number is a nice play on the recent re-numbering Marvel has done with its various titles (I do wonder if Deadpool himself might have appeared in 900 comics through the years, which would me nicely appropriate).  It definite fits the character to play with the numbering–and I surprisingly don’t mind for this one character, as it seems an obvious riff on things rather than a serious numbering bit.

I really enjoyed Liefeld’s art on the Joe Kelly story–there was just something to it, perhaps simply the knowledge that the art’s by the guy that created the character. My favorite story of the bunch was Swierczynski’s riff on a certain tv show about crime scene investigators. Having enjoyed these shorts as I did…if Marvel ever decides to move the Deadpool books to the $3.99 price point, I would hope they’d consider having new original content such as these included after a full-length “main” story.

As these stories are not part of any of the ongoing stuff, if you simply enjoy the Deadpool character or are curious, this is a fantastic single issue to pick up. The original content alone is really worth the cover price (particularly compared against Marvel’s standard-sized $3.99 books!), and you get a reprint of an issue from the 90s that you’d be lucky to find by itself for the price of this issue, these days.

Long-time fan, new fan, or just curious about who the heck Deadpool is…I highly recommend this issue!

Close Encounters of the @*#$ed-Up Kind
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Chris Staggs
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Marte Gracia

This story sees Deadpool beamed onto an alien spacecraft, where he is subjected to the aliens’ probing. However…Deadpool being Deadpool, the tables are quickly turned with a chewed-off arm (his own) and turning the aliens’ machinery against them. Rather than simply delivering a carload of dead guys where he was headed…he delivers a bunch of dead guys and a ship of dead aliens.

This is definitely an over-the-top sorta Deadpool story–the bit with the arm I’m beginning to sense may be a running gag with the character. The art’s not my favorite depiction by any means, but definitely gets stuff across quite well in an indie-comics cartooney sort of way.

Silent But Deadly
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Dalibor Talajic

This story opens with a bang…or rather, if we get technical, a “Boom” as Deadpool’s caught in an explosion. Though his eardrums’re blown out by the explosion, it doesn’t take away from his ability to kick butt, facing 3…well, I actually thought of The Joker’s minions, but that’s a whole other sort of thing. They seem to have some sort of invulnerability, at least to Deadpool’s swords. Once he switches to guns…the fight’s basically over. The “punchline” of the story was rather amusing, and seems typical of the character as well.

The art’s not bad, but not what I typically associate with the character. Still, no complaint with it, really–in a quasi-“anthology” such as this issue, I don’t really expect a consistent visual style nor for every visual interpretation of a character to be my personal ideal.

Deadpool: Shrunken Master
Writer: Mike Benson
Artist: Damion Scott
Colorist: Lee Loughridge

With a couple of “light” stories out of the way, this one goes down a much darker path. Here we see Deadpool at a psychiatrist, having an apparently typical-for-Deadpool session. We see the smart-aleckiness of the character, and it’s actually quite interesting seeing him interacting with someone like this, being analyzed and even doing some self-analyzing. However, there’s a twist toward the end as we see that Deadpool’s motive is not to seek counciling, but rather see some justice done.

This was another story that to me comes across as what I can only really describe as “indie”–it’s not typical/mainstream super-hero fare…or at least, none that I’m used to associating with such. Yet, it really carries the mood quite well, and does exactly what it should. Again, not my favorite depiction, but for very well-suited to this particular story.

Pinky Swear
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Rob Liefeld

This was the story I was most looking forward to for this issue, after having read the Marvel Spotlight: Deadpool issue last week. We find Deadpool in the midst of a battle, with a pretty woman hanging on for dear life. We have some…questionable (but fitting) inner dialogue from Deadpool’s voices. Before long, Deadpool is reminded of a date he’s gotta keep–with an old friend from his school days. The boys had a bet over whether his friend would marry someone in particular by a certain time, and mid-battle (with the battle following him) Deadpool finds the guy, and the bet is settled.

I normally don’t care all that much for Liefeld’s art, but it worked quite well here–likely for nostalgia, knowing this is Deadpool as visualized by the character’s creator. The story itself seems to really fit the character–that even in the middle of a gun battle and with an attractive woman at his side trying to stay alive, Deadpool would keep some childhood promise where other ‘dates’ may not be kept. The bet itself really makes it work, as it seems so trivial, and yet Deadpool makes it into this huge thing.

What Happens in Vegas…
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Shawn Crystal
Colorist: Lee Loughridge

This story quickly becomes a rather obvious riff on the tv show CSI. Deadpool’s very much aware here of the “real world,” and the formula of the tv show. The fact that anyone would pronounce him dead and yet he’s cognitive–both of his surroundings and of where the reader might be looking–is an interesting use of narrative further illustrating the character’s nature. As it turns out, the story itself is Deadpool trying to get a particular reaction from one of the investigators–inserting himself into the “mythology” of the show, given the typical, cheesey one-liners. And of course, not getting the intended reaction, Deadpool reacts violently, before explaining to the reader what he was going for.

Not all that thrilled with the art on this one, but it fits the story. The investigator characters are pretty much recognizeable, knowing who they’re supposed to be…without being actual likenesses of the tv actors/actres. As said earlier, this was my favorite story in this issue…it took me by surprise, but the fact that I’m aware of the show and the bit Deadpool’s going for…I just really enjoyed it. All the more because of the pun Deadpool’s going for being right up my own alley humour-wise (though of course I do not condone the violence!).

Great Balls of Thunder on the Deep Blue Sea
Writer: Victor Gischler
Penciler: Sanford Greene
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Colorist: Dave McCaig

This was a rather amusing short. Basically, Deadpool’s on vacation on a cruise ship, and his typical, violent nature is most assuredly NOT compatible with the typical vacationer. Unfortunately for Deadpool…Dr. Octopus is also present, and does not take kindly to the mercenary’s presence. Deadpool suggests some “vacation code” (typical that he’d have something like that in mind, whether or not anyone else even KNOWS of it or recognizes it). The ending’s darkly amusing, playing with scene transition in a way that works very well in this medium.

The art is very cartooney, but that works well for this story. This actually may be one of the least-violent Deadpool stories I’ve read, and it looks entirely possible that–while severely inconvenienced–no one in the story actually dies. Really just an entertaining story.

One Down
Writer: Charlie Huston
Artist: Kyle Baker

This story has a bit of typical Deadpool as the character ultimately continues to break the “fourth wall” since he’s fully aware that he is a comic character. It also serves as some strong commentary on the current/contemporary nature of comic characters, especially from Marvel and DC. There’s also a hint of Jay & Silent Bob here at the story’s ending…or at least, I thought of that film with the way it ended compared to this.

We see Deadpool conversing with the voices in his head as he gets up and around for the day, going through all the stuff he needs to in order to reach a particular target. The identity of the target is what brings the whole story together. Once again, a rather dark place for the story to go…quite morbid, actually. And yet, it puts a certain depth and seriousness to Deadpool that I think I’d actually be very interested in seeing explored.

I’m not all that familiar with Baker’s art, though he’s one of the view names I recognize amongst the artists for this issue. The style works very well for the story. The visual and written aspects work very well in a way that really wouldn’t work in anything BUT a comic, even while this piece itself comments on comics.

This one wasn’t as “fun” as the CSI riff…but next to that, I think this was my other favorite of the issue.

Deadpool and Widdle Wade

Well…actually, this is a whole separate issue, deserving of its own review. Its inclusion here obviously beefs up Deadpool #900, especially as it was already a special by itself.

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