Who do you call when a giant space-monster starts vomiting all over Manhattan? Deadpool, apparently.
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Nic Klein
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
What You Need to Know:
Deadpool has set up shop as a mercenary for hire operating out of a suburban NYC strip-mall. Things have been pretty quiet, lately, but all of that is about to change due to the timely arrival of a giant space-monster who can only be stopped by a weapon that has somehow fallen into Deadpool’s dubiously sticky hands — always assuming that he can find it, of course.
What You’ll Find Out:
This issue opens with an unstoppable bang as The Juggernaut runs amok through NYC. Ms. Marvel, Nova, Vivian, and Spider-Man (Miles Morales) are attempting to bring his implacable force to a halt. Viv phases her arm through Juggy’s chest and threatens to resolidify inside of him while Kamala wraps her arms around his head in an attempt to pry away his helmet. The Juggernaut laughs their attack off, drawing Vivian through his body and claiming that her ‘cute little robot magic tricks are no match for the Gem of Cyttorak’ but before he can draw back his arm to punch her, he is distracted by the sudden appearance of an enormous fish-eyed celestial riding on something that looks like the unholy love-child of an asteroid-sized Tonka truck and a ride-on lawnmower.
Miles says that he’s pretty confident in The Champions but, ‘I think we’re gonna need The Avengers on this one. Maybe even the West Coast Avengers. And the Great Lakes ones. Definitely the X-Men. You know what? Call everyone. All the people.’
Kamala says that she’s already tried to reach The Avengers, but they’re in Cronton-on-Hudson. Miles is (understandably) confused by this, but we’re not, since that’s the suburb where Deadpool set up his office.
The next page takes us to the strip-mall. We find Deadpool, eating lunch with a bunch of off-duty fast-food workers. They are arguing about a Ready Player One stand-in novel which was made into a film. Deadpool dismisses it as valid entertainment because it’s basically a loose string of 80’s pop-culture references before looking out of the page, directly at us, and saying, ‘And, yes, I know what you’re thinking. “That’s basically what you are, Deadpool, but with more swords and bullets and pouches.” The irony is not lost on me. Move along.’ This banter comes to a sudden, violent end when a bored, pimply wok-jock badmouths Hugh Grant’s filmography. Deadpool draws his katana, ready to decapitate the boy (as punishment for blasphemy) but he’s interrupted by Captain America, who votes for You’ve Got Mail as the world’s best rom-com. Deadpool swipes at the Cap with his katana and it promptly shatters on his shield. Deadpool complains about his broken sword and the Captain asks him if it was a particularly special weapon. Deadpool admits that it wasn’t, but he liked it, and now it’s broken. Captain America tries to get Deadpool to focus, for thirty seconds, on listening to him, but Deadpool throws the handle of his Katana at his face (bonking the Avenger in the nose) before running away.
Captain America throws his shield at him (still trying to get Deadpool to talk) and it strikes him in the back, smashing him (hard) into Ghost Rider’s souped-up charger. Deadpool draws his guns and turns to face the Captain, only to find himself face to face with the entire Avengers roster who proceed to beat the stuffing out of him. Literally. His intestines are hanging out in sausage-like loops by the end of it.
Carol Danvers blasts a hole in his chest, Black Panther claws his throat out, Iron Man punches him in the face, Thor blasts him with lightning, She-Hulk knees him in the danglers, and Ghost Rider tears his arm off with his chain.
Finally, Captain America gets him to agree to have a basic human conversation and they retreat to DP’s office where the Merc reattaches his arm with some duct tape.
Tony Stark tries his hardest to tell Wade about the celestials nefarious plans, but Deadpool will not focus, so Steve cuts to the chase and tells DP about the weapon that Wade won in a card game. Wade cracks yet another joke about his recent memory-wipe (it doesn’t go over well) and Tony loses patience, shouting at him to hand over the weapon. Wade refuses but instead suggests that they hire him as a mercenary to dispatch the celestial. Tony fires up his blasters, ready to obliterate Wade, but he’s interrupted by a phone call from Nova who is a little overwhelmed at the moment, what with the giant space-monster that is currently vomiting copies of itself all over downtown Manhattan.
This scene cuts back to Deadpool, who agrees to help the Avengers — as a paid mercenary. He keeps insisting that this is the role and they are going to pay him for it, even as they each repeatedly deny that they have hired Wade as a Merc. After a few panels of this, Deadpool gets bored, hurls a smoke-bomb at them, and disappears under the cover of a heavy, smelly fog.
The next page cuts to a shot of Deadpool digging through a Hydra-themed storage facility, seeking out the giant cosmic surfboard he used when he was a herald of Galactus. Yes. That happened. After a bit of a struggle, Deadpool locates the board and flies off in the direction of the giant, fish-eyed vomit-monster. He is wearing a fluffy, pink, unicorn-themed backpack.
Deadpool flies the board up to eye-level, conversing with Groffon the Regurger as he digs through his Unicorn bag until he eventually produces a tiny gun (the weapon of weapons) which he proceeds to point at the monster and pulls the trigger, producing… absolutely no effect whatsoever. The final panel depicts Deadpool standing, utterly dejected, before Groffon’s giant, gaping maw.
What Just Happened:
This second issue was considerably better than the first. The writing was tighter, the jokes were funnier, and the pacing was much more consistent. The art was detailed enough to be worth examining closely. The style was particularly appropriate for the tone of the book, veering between the usual clean Marvel look and Eric Powell-like grotesquery. There were a great many more visual jokes this time around — the humor wasn’t totally dependent on banter — and that was a considerable improvement as background jokes reward attentive readers without distracting from the plot. A lot of the comedy emerged, also, from the juxtaposition of Deadpool’s madness with the seriousness of the other characters. For Deadpool, since he is cursed with self-awareness of his role as a comic book character, nothing is serious. It’s fiction, so there are no ‘real’ consequences. For everyone else, the world they inhabit is real, and the stakes are life and death. We know, as readers, that ultimately Deadpool is right. It’s ‘only’ a comic book. And so the characters reactions to Deadpool’s annoying nonchalance appear overblown and cartoonish. We can laugh about it. From their perspectives, as characters who are unaware of their own fictionality who are dealing with someone as insufferably frustrating as Wade Wilson, the Avengers were admirably restrained.
Deadpool is best, as a character, when the tension between his fourth-wall-breaking self-awareness and the ‘reality’ that the other characters share is kept very high, and that was definitely the case in this issue. This tension is difficult to maintain and it’s easier to do it over the course of 20-22 pages than it is in a double-sized introductory issue.
Deadpool is also at his best when he is played against other characters who can as straight men. He functions best within an ensemble and right now the cast of the book is extremely limited, outside of guest appearances. Negasonic Teenage Warhead hardly qualifies as a voice of sanity (though her sullen humor contrasts nicely with Wade’s wackiness) so it is going to be difficult for Young to maintain the energy and feel of the book from issue to issue unless he introduces a few more permanent characters. Aside from this small proto-problem, this looks like it is developing into a fun, and very interesting run.
Final Thought: Love him or hate him, there’s a lot more to this Merc than obscure pop-culture references and a variety of pouches. There’s also a lot of punching and pretty unicorn-themed accessories.
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