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Cable #150 [Review]

cable_0150_lenticularThe Newer Mutants (Chapter 1)

Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Jon Malin
Colorist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Jon Malin, Federico Blee (Lenticular Cover Artists: Rob Liefeld and Jesus Aburtov (based on New Mutants #87 by Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane)
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Assistant Editor: Chris Robinson
Associate Editor: Mark Basso
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: December 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

I "sampled" the ResurrXion stuff back in the spring, though between the pricing, frequency, "art," quantity of variants, quantity of titles involved, etc. I opted not to follow the various series. I did apparently buy Cable  #1 as I saw it recently while going through other recent-ish stuff for something, but haven’t yet read that, and otherwise figure it’s been at least a couple years since I’ve bought anything with Cable on the cover, though I’d followed the beginning of his post-Messiah CompleX series, and the final several years of his ’90s series into the first couple issues of Soldier X back in the day. I even sampled a couple issues of Cable & Deadpool at the beginning and end of the run (oops…Cable gets no "credit" for that series, as Marvel tossed it entirely into Deadpool‘s…um…pool).

Long complaining of Marvel‘s pricing, variants, stunts, rebooting of numbering, renumbering, event-into-event-into-event churn, etc, I’ve also long avoided most of their "newer" output–certainly over the last half-decade. But there comes a point where "curiosity" gets the better of me, or "nostalgia," or perhaps just "morbid curiosity," and I check out an issue or few. Plus, I can only complain so much while never actually purchasing something–I can grouse about stuff all I want, but I feel I have to occasionally have some hands-on experience, not just 100% taking "everyone else’s word" on stuff.

So I’ve got Cable #150. After all the hubbub on the "lenticular covers," I opted to go for that version…after all, it was available in-person, at cover price, and said cover price being the "regular" $3.99, I figured at least I’m getting a "fancy cover" for the price. Alas, though the cover has the slick, plastic-y feel (and sound!) of DC‘s lenticulars, I really don’t like this at all. It’s supposed to have both the New Mutants #87 cover from 1990 or so with the 2017 re-iteration of the image. But try as I might, I can’t get a clear, non-fuzzy view of either that doesn’t have distinct bleed-in of the alternate image. If it wasn’t for the non-lenticular version presented as the first page, I wouldn’t really even know what the "newer" image truly looks like! And honestly, the best the cover has looked to my eye is the scan I did for the image above…so not even "just" to the naked, human eye as far as looking at the cover in-person!

Simply as an image, I like the thing. I really dig the nostalgia–we go from Cable’s first appearance in a #87 to his own series at #150…full circle and all that. While I like the Liefeld re-do of the original, it works well as the cover, and I’m glad the interior is a different artist. Malin does a good job of giving a clean, sleek design to the characters while capturing the classic look–including Cable’s ridiculously huge gun, a staple of the ’90s. On one hand, I’m quite glad to see the character simply looking like himself; on the other, I’d swear he’s been through more changes and was looking much older. Of course, there’s also flashback stuff to this, so, whatever.

Overall, there doesn’t feel like there’s much story to this issue. Cable’s with Longshot, investigating the death of an External named Candra. Confirming the death (which shouldn’t be able to happen, as she was supposed to be immortal), they proceed to meet up with old Cable-ally Shatterstar, and the group then goes to confront the last remaining External: Selene. The confrontation proves less than ideal, with Selene thinking Cable & Co. are there to kill her, not question her…and ultimately we’re left with a bit of a revelation that screams "retcon" to me, while leaving us as readers none the wiser, really, and stuck waiting for another issue.

I’m not familiar with Brisson offhand, but this isn’t bad. Strictly in and of itself, I enjoyed this issue…just not the fact it’s (as "always") simply 1/6th of a constrained story arc. I get a sense of the nostalgia being gone for with this, but don’t really feel like there’s much context to stuff…while I expect things’ll be clarified in later issues, this feels more like the first chunk of pages of a singular lengthier story, and not a full story in itself. I shouldn’t be surprised–that’s basically standard practice these days, for the last decade or more. There is a brief ~3 page segment with the character’s "origin," rather broad and boiled down, but hitting a few key points (far from all, and basically touching on none of the development(s) since 1993). I don’t know that anything Marvel would publish on that front for this would satisfy me, though…especially as none of the origin was "new" to me. I’m clearly not the target audience for it, though!

As usual for a Marvel issue of late…the Marvel brand itself is damaged as far as my feelings towards ’em on so many points, and while by no means a bad issue, this issue is not enough to leave me interested in planning on getting the next issue…and Marvel‘s pricing doesn’t leave me all that expectant of being highly inclined to even bother with the collected edition once it comes out.

Though this brings in some ’90s elements and looks like a familiar-ish iteration of Cable himself, this issue by itself does not stand out as anything overly special, either as part of Marvel Legacy or as a 150th issue. With the screwy numbering and not really being a standalone issue, I’d say wait for the collected edition if anything, if this didn’t already draw you in on nostalgia, number, or cover image(s) alone.

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Spawn #200 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Prelude to Deadpool Corps #1 [Review]

Killer Queen

Writer: Victor Gischler
Art: Rob Liefeld
Colors: Matt Yackey
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: Liefeld & Yackey
Asst. Editor: Sebastian Girner
Editor: Axel Alonso
Published by: Marvel Comics

I’ve waffled over whether or not to pick this issue–this series–up as singles. This is sure to be a single-volume graphic novel in short order, as a singular companion to the debut of the actual Deadpool Corps series. And of course, this is a $3.99 issue…which I’ve just paged through and determined has a mere 22 pages of story…and an overly-lengthy “extra” section regarding the creation of the covers for this series…including full-page color images OF those covers…basically “filler” material to get extra pages TECHNICALLY relevant to the series to add to the issue’s thickness and APPARENT quasi-validity at the price point (aside from special issues, virtually every Deadpool comic of the last couple years has kept to the $2.99 price).

This issue focuses on Lady Deadpool, picking up on one of her adventures some time after Merc With a Mouth #7’s dimension-hopping adventure. Having joined up with the “rebels,” Lady Deadpool comes into conflict with General America (armed with a cybernetic…well…arm) and finds him quite the opponent. Before things go too far in favor of either combatant, “our” Deadpool makes an entrance, officially on a recruitment drive…and a rematch is to be had.

The story here starts off well. We get mostly a full issue focusing on Lady Deadpool–delving into a bit of motivation for the character, and setup for who/what she is overall. We get Deadpool himself, of course, and the beginnings of groundwork being put out as to how this Deadpool Corps is going to be assembled (I can’t help but think of something like Exiles, though I never read more than the occasional issue of that book).

The art by Liefeld is decent, but not my favorite by any means. I’ve tended to enjoy his depiction of Deadpool, but there is a certain anatomical consistency that seems to be lacking in various panels throughout this issue. As it gets the story across with no real hassle, I don’t take too much issue with it.

Overall, a solid first issue to a mini-series that itself as a whole sets up the first issue of another series. I don’t recall if every issue carries the $3.99 price point–but I’m going to have a real problem if it does, as the “extra” material is incidental at best and is not material I’d pay for (wouldn’t object to its inclusion in a $2.99 issue as TRUE “bonus” material, mind you).

This is a weekly mini, which means a big story told in a single month…but combined with the other 3 already ongoing titles for Deadpool, this may put a strain on fans’ wallets should one be the sort to try to snag the entirety of Deadpool’s current titles. It’s interesting to find myself in the midst of a true “family” of titles around one main character, when just a few months ago there were only two Deadpool titles, and 3 seemed to push it…but this fourth adds a whole new “dimension” to things.

I recommend this for those who are a definite fan of Deadpool, don’t mind the $3.99 or Liefeld art, enjoy Gischler‘s writing in particular, and mostly anyone who want a regular dose of Deadpool-related action.

On the whole, this seems unnecessary in relation to the main Deadpool title, so one’s probably equally safe to ignore this without missing out on anything deeply impacting ongoing continuity. Similarly, one can enjoy this while ignoring and not missing out on anything from the other books.

Story: 8/10
Art: 5/10
Overall: 6.5/10

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 #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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