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Deadpool/Cable #26 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #13 [Review]

Full review posted to cxPulp.com.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Death of Dracula #1 [Review]

The Death of Dracula

Written by: Victor Gischler
Penciled by: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Finishes by: Onofrio Catacchio
Colored by: Frank D’Armata
Lettered by: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover Art by: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Marko Djurdjevic
Associate Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Executive Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

I’d seen this image in ads for a couple weeks or so, and assumed–knowing the coming X-Men #1 will have the mutants fighting vampires–that this ‘event’ would be taking place in X-Men #1, setting up that arc. Turns out this is its own separate one-shot, serving as a prologue to the upcoming run. This is one of the few issues where having only seen a couple ads–nothing near enough to get “old” nor “annoying” or otherwise turn me off to the concept–and as a regular cover with the black and reds contrasting handily with the blue and yellow of the The Heroic Age banner across the top I was actually drawn in BY the cover. The issue felt thicker than an average issue, so though I was gritting my teeth and feeling a little dirty for going against my anti-$3.99 principles I bought the issue anyway.

Rather than only 22-30/32 story pages, we have 40 pages of story, which alleviates SOME of the concern with the cover price…this is a special one-shot with more pages than a standard issue of a regular, ongoing series…so the higher than $2.99 price has some merit.

The story is quite detailed, with a lot going on–a lot of setup, context, exposition…and general foundation-building for the new status quo of vampires in the Marvel Universe. We find the sons of Dracula, each part of different vampire factions/families/clans/sects/covens/whatever attending a regular meeting of all these groups–an event that takes place every century or so. One of the sons launches into a savage strike against their father–Dracula, intending to spur change from the status quo for all vampires. Rather than hide behind “the way it’s always been,” he seeks to initiate change to “how things can be, moving forward” (though without the vampires and murder part, sounds like something from a motivational speech for a corporate environment). With Dracula dead (hey, it’s not a spoiler if it’s the title of the one-shot, on the cover!) the vampires have to determine where they’re headed–do they reunite under a single leader, split into two groups to war against each other, or some other option?

I read the few issues of Blade that came out back in ’98 or ’99 shortly after the first Wesley Snipes film, but that’s about the extent of my familiarity with Marvel’s vampires. The way they’re portrayed visually in this issue has a certain air of the familiar…nothing seems like it’s really out of place or should belong elsewhere. The idea of these multiple factions, the occasional reunion, etc. does not seem far-fetched (though it does have a sense of being borrowed from elsewhere). I chalk that up to something fairly standard in literature regarding vampires…a familiar aspect that generally ought to be present unless one is trying to radically reinterpret the very genre.

So I not only have no problem with the art, I like the art…it fits the story very well, and conveys so much of what is necessary to getting things across to the reader in short order, in terms of the differing factions and lifestyles of all the different vampires. They come from all over the world, all walks of life and cultures; the common thread being–wait for it–they’re all vampires.

The story itself is–for what it is–fantastic. Gischler found his way onto my radar with Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth, and though I have no interest in getting back into the X-Men beyond following Second Coming, seeing his name attached to a major X-Men book was encouraging.

What Gischler does in this issue is introduce us to the vampires, lay foundation for who and what they are, where they’ve come from…and set up where they’re going, the new status quo that will allow for them to operate in the open, such that they even could reasonably interact with the X-Men and other general Marvel Universe characters not typically associated with the shadows of the universe. He also manages to avoid the route that I thought he was taking things. keeping to the familiar yet avoiding an exact predictability. And partially for that…I now, thanks to this one issue, have an actual interest in seeing where these characters go.

Though this serves as a prologue, presumably, to the coming X-Men story…it works very well on its own as a single-issue/one-shot. You get a complete story from beginning to end…just that as with virtually any film, the ending is left open such that there “could” be a sequel or continuation from what was laid down here.

Highly recommended.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 8.5/10
Overall: 9/10

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #12 [Review]

Writer: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Bong Dazo
Inks: Jose Pimentel
Colors: Matt Mills
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover: Arthur Suydam
Production: Taylor Esposito
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

Deadpool and the gang find themselves in a bit of a race–both literal and figurative–to get back to the chopper and get to the portal so they can go home. While Deadpool’s group deals with their immeediate threat of Zombie Prof. Veronica, the surviving AIM agents plot how to get home, since they need Deadpool as well. When the groups converge, negotiations are had, a deal struck, and things still don’t really go according to plan…but then, Deadpool’s involved. What plan can really be had for things to go according to?

The art has a cartooney yet modern flair to it. The characters are pretty distinct, and it’s not hard to follow the action. Nothing much really stands out, as even the gorier parts fit within the atmosphere of the story. As with any character interpreted by multiple artists across different books, Deadpool’s got a mildly different appearance here than in other books–it in no way takes away from the character, but the style may not entirely fit one’s personal tastes. I do prefer other takes on the character slightly more, but this is not a bad look for the character. The zombies look properly creepy and messaged up…and as a whole, the art does fit itself with the story.

While I referenced above the idea of things not going according to plan where Deadpool’s involved, the writing does show a plan that stretches beyond just a single arc. While there was a distinct split-point, this arc specifically builds on elements from the opening arc. I’m not sure I’d read anything by Gischler a year ago, but he has quickly become my favorite Deadpool writer, capturing the chaotic, whimsical nature of the character (and the multiple voices) while building a relatively long-term story within a couple of smaller arcs.

Though this was begun as an ongoing series and has since been retroactively deemed a 13-issue limited series (something I’m not thrilled with)…this issue actually feels like a penultimate chapter of something big…and taking prior issues along with this, I would hope there’d be an oversized single-volume hardcover for this series.

If you’ve been following the series so far, this is certainly worth picking up. However, at issue 12 of 13, if you’ve not been following along, I’d recommend holding out for a collected volume.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10

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: Merc With a Mouth #8 [Review]

Writer: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Bong Dazo
Art: Jose Pimentel
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover: Arthur Suydam
Production: Damien Lucchese
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

After last issue’s walkabout through several alternate realities (introducing us to Lady Deadpool, the Deadpool Kid, and Major Deadpool), our Deadpool is back on his own Earth, still with Headpool…and facing Dr. Voodoo, the Sorceror Supreme. (And Dr. Betty, and the AIM guys). Voodoo fixes the dimensional portal, and Deadpool takes Headpool through to his home dimension…though the two are followed by Dr. Betty and the AIM guys, who figure it’s safer than in the swamp. Once on the other side and with the portal closed, everyone finds out just how dangerous Headpool’s home dimension really is–having been overrun by super-powered beings who are all now zombies, desperately searching for any non-zombie flesh to be found for consumption. Of course, Deadpool’s prime for that–he won’t die, so they figure they could feast off him long-term. Deadpool does his usual bloody thing, while the others also fight for survival…and some new guests arrive rather unexpectedly on the scene.

This issue’s art is good as usual. No real problem here…things seem as they should for comic art, and nothing’s particularly offensive that isn’t likely intended to be (such as a zombie cut in half, guts ‘n bits spilling around as Deadpool’s sword does its business).

The writing’s not bad, either. The story’s progressing quite well, and keeps in-character with Deadpool as I’d expect. The only real drawback to this issue is that it’s not really connected to the Marvel Universe…sure, it’s set there…but this title doesn’t seem to really be “participating” in the main continuity. In and of itself, though…if you want an ongoing Deadpool story that doesn’t require any real knowledge of that main continuity, isn’t held to whatever boundaries of the continuity, and is still a great read…this is the title for you.

While there’s far more to appreciate having read the prior arc, this is–I believe–the start of a new arc, and not a horrible place to jump in and check things out a bit.

Recommended.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10

Deadpool Team-Up #896 [Review]

Writer: Stuart Moore
Art: Shawn Crystal
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover: Humberto Ramos
Production: Taylor Esposito
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

This issue gets much more to the silly side of things, though it’s a rather dark silly. The issue opens with a trucker picking up Deadpool’s antics on the CB…and and before long, a raccoon is squished along the road, prompting a rather militaristic response from some of the squished raccoon’s buddies. A flashback shows us how Deadpool came to be driving a truck with this U.S. Ace, and see the two deal with an important delivery while being attacked by angry, gun-toting raccoons.

I’m not familiar with Crystal‘s art offhand, but the visuals do work pretty well for this issue. Nothing spectacular, unfortunately–but there’s nothing that seemed wrong or particularly “off.” This is solid work, that gets the story across with the visuals presented, and doesn’t hold back–we get some on-panel raccoon-squishage, for example.

The story isn’t bad, though it definitely fits the one-off format of this title, presenting an entire “adventure” of the title character from start to finish in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I have to buy the next issue to get “the rest of the story.” (Similarly, one doesn’t need to have read any previous issues to enjoy this). I have no prior recollection of this U.S. Ace character, so had no expectation there coming in. I’d heard of Rocket Raccoon, but haven’t read anything with him in it thus far–but knowing the character exists kept the shock out of my thoughts seeing the raccoons in this issue organize and go after Deadpool and Ace.

For some, the high point of this issue may be the raccoons. For me, it was probably Deadpool’s goofiness messing with the CB…I definitely got that “This is so cool…I’ve always wanted to do this/say that!” vibe off the character.

If you’re looking for quick, fun Deadpool stories, this seems to be the series for that. Deadpool seems to be Deadpool involved in the main Marvel Universe stuff–the events and whatnot; Merc With a Mouth is weaving its own longform continuity in multi-issue arcs; this series gives us one-offs each month with different guest stars and creative teams. Don’t like a writer or artist, or the character team-up one month? Skip it. Next issue’ll probably have a different creative team, and Deadpool paired with some other character (probably obscure) from Marvel‘s vast character library.

Story: 6/10
Art: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth #7 [Review]

Writer: Victor Gischler
Art: Bong Dazo, Jose Pimentel, Matt Milla, Kyle Baker, Rob Liefeld, Das Pastoras
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Cover: Arthur Suydam
Production: Rev. Paul Acerios
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso

Since the announcement of the Deadpool Corps mini-event some time back, I’ve looked forward to this issue, as it promised to set things up for that, introducing (in particular) Lady Deadpool. Does it measure up to expectation? Hate to say it, but…nope.

Issue 6 pretty much wrapped up the first arc, as a dimensional portal was open, and Deadpool was set to follow “Headpool” to see that the zombie head was returned “home.” This issue follows the two on their journey (leaving Dr. Betty behind). First, the duo meats “Major Deadpool,” that reality’s Deadpool. Of course, fighting ensues, particularly when Deadpool discovers this counterpart is NOT scarred and in general the ugly specimen he is. Leaving that world behind, Deadpool and Headpool next make the acquaintance of Lady Deadpool–obviously a female counterpart. After a fairly disturbing scene, we’re off to yet another world–where a Western feel is to be had, and The Deadpool Kid is encountered. Finally, the journey concludes with the arrival of someone whose presence signifies something big about to go down.

The art for this extra-sized issue is shared, with different creative talent covering each “world.” The art for the Major Deadpool segment is decent, but something sorta out there about it–it simply LOOKS like it was computer-edited, with a combination of art styles being forced together. The Lady Deadpool segment features art by Liefeld, and gives off mixed vibes. Deadpool and Lady Deadpool–in costume–work quite well here visually. The other characters…well, the visual style doesn’t work quite so well for me. The Deadpool Kid segment reminds me of early issues of the current Cable series, and while it isn’t bad, also somehow doesn’t seem to quite “fit.” The framing sequence seems to be the best of the book, visually, and seems the most “traditional” in style.

Despite the overall not-so-thrilled sentiment regarding the book’s visuals, I do like the conceit. Rather than simply having a myriad of talent on the book, having each creative team cover a specific alternate reality allows the differences in art styles to give each reality a distinction from the others.

Story-wise, this seems little more than an excuse to introduce the alternate Deadpools–the issue both starts and finishes at the same point, albeit the addition of the character appearing on the last page. While those characters are introduced, the story itself is not moved forward in any meaningful way. The introduction of three new characters AND their surroundings doesn’t allow for a whole lot of depth–but there’s a lot of potential here…especially with knowledge that these characters are slated to star in the Deadpool Corps stuff in a couple months.

This issue is “extra sized”–don’t let yourself be fooled by any claims that it is “double sized.” The issue is also $3.99 compared to the usual $2.99 for this series, accounting for the extra pages…but I’m not convinced it was worth it.

On the whole, a rather disappointing issue, that I really can’t recommend to new readers, or those planning to dive into the Deadpool Corps stuff, as this likely is basically a prologue or prequel or whatever that comes before the actual series.

Story: 4/10
Art: 6/10
Overall: 5/10

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: Merc With a Mouth #4 [Review]

Writer: Victor Gischler
Pencils: Bong Dazo
Inks: Jose Pimentel
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: Jeff Eckleberry
Production: Rev. Paul Acerios
Asst Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Cover: Arthur Suydam
Publisher: Marvel Comcis

Though not what I’d typical consider my usual fare for comics…there’s something about the over-the-top situation and visuals the character winds up in that just makes this a fun read. Though the story takes place pretty much in context of a current Marvel Universe, it sits on an edge just slightly off from most of the other books.

Whether it’s something outrageous like a zombie Tyrannosaur, to the cheesecake Dr. Betty, to the wisecracking Deadpool himself, this story takes established characters and concepts (AIM, Hydra, etc.) and sets them just on the other side of “fantastic” from “comic book realistic.”

The cover scheme for this book has also been fun–rather than just another logo or standard cover design, the title’s been presented in different fonts, as the covers have been “Deadpool-ization” of other classic images in our popular culture (much the same way Suydam’s original Marvel Zombies covers were “zombified” takes on classic Marvel covers. Even the intro/recap page for this title has been fun, changing things up a bit.

We continue following Deadpool, Dr. Betty, and zombie-Deadpool’s head as AIM and Hydra vie for the “bioweapon” the head represents by way of the zombie virus. One needn’t even be all that familiar with these fictional organizations…just that both involve loads of generic footsoldiers, goofy costumes, and all that…with the smarter folks at the head of the organization. Deadpool deals with the zombified Tyrannosaur, and has what I consider a classic slapstick sorta response in one panel that put me immediately in mind of old cartoons I used to watch as a kid. It was predictable, I totally saw it coming…and while predictable isn’t always good, it felt just right as it was used here.

The issue’s art has a nice balance wherein it’s not terribly realistic (too much realism would totally spoil the feel of the story) and yet it avoids feeling too “cartooney.” The art seems a great fit for the story…and the way Deadpool saw the Tyrannosaur was quite amusing.

The cover is labeled with a “parental advisory,” for good reason. The violence and gore, and PG-13 clothing on Dr. Betty, and a bit of coarse language certainly make this something to avoid providing to the younger crowd.

I have near-zero interest in any of the rest of the Marvel Universe these days…but this little “family” of titles focusing on Deadpool have been reminding me that it’s not the characters or the universe that disinterests me as much as a lack of genuinely enjoyable and amusing stories.

While the main Deadpool title has been very good, this just carries a different level of fun and adventure that makes it my favorite of the two titles…at least for now. (And it remains to be seen how Deadpool Team-Up will hold against the main title and this one).

You don’t need to be reading any other titles to follow what’s going on here–you don’t even have to be following the main Deadpool title. That has its story rooted within current Marvel Event Continuity, while this title has its own self-contained story set in the Marvel Universe but not hampered by the ongoing Event Continuity.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

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