Friday, 19 September 2014

Deadpool, Volume 4: Deadpool Vs SHIELD Review (Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn)

Into its fourth volume, Marvel NOW! Deadpool feels like a sitcom that’s been on for a bit too long, with rigidly-defined characters/catchphrases and everything feels a bit stale and predictable.

Deadpool’s after the millions of dollars that rogue SHIELD agent Gorman stiffed from him, but Gorman’s put out a hit on Deadpool to keep him from getting him. Guess how well that works out for Gorman? Meanwhile, Agent Preston is STILL in Deadpool’s head and Brian Posehn/Gerry Duggan are still doing the “fake old Marvel comics starring Deadpool” schtick. Oh, and the script is full of puns galore because they’re so darn funny…

The worst part of this series happened in the last volume, the after-effects of which are still being felt here, which was: Duggan/Posehn tried to make Deadpool into a real character. They made him Sadpool! Which is horrible for various reasons not least though because Duggan/Posehn don’t make the tragedy seem the least bit convincing or meaningful for Wade. 

I won’t go into specifics if you haven’t read it, but it’s a bit like trying to make Bugs Bunny seem more “realistic” – you just shouldn’t do it! Deadpool’s at his best when he’s being the over-the-top cartoon he is. Giving him a tragic backstory and “feelings” is just wrong and I hate that that’s now canon for this character going forward. 

The opening issue of Deadpool on vacay in Wakanda presented in a ‘60s Kirby art style (which is “funny” because Deadpool was created in the ‘90s) was just boring. That gimmick was fresh in the second volume when Deadpool went back to Iron Man’s Demon in a Bottle storyline and wreaked havoc, but every time Duggan/Posehn have gone back to the well with this idea, it’s been increasingly unfunny and dull. At this point I hope they just drop it altogether. But then again, how often do you see Fin Fang Foom in a Marvel comic these days?

The puns REALLY got to me. Puns are the lowest form of humour, they really are. For example, in this book Deadpool’s trying to get Preston out of his head and into a Life Model Decoy from SHIELD but it turns evil and tries to kill him so he beheads it, saying “You won’t beheading into this body”. (Crickets) There’s tons of instances of that kind of annoying “comedy”. It’s like reading a comic scripted by Kevin Smith and Colin Hunt (Charlie Higson’s Fast Show character – check him out on Youtube!).

But there are some funny moments, which is good because the story’s no great shakes. Deadpool literally shoots himself in the head to get out of watching the latest Tyler Perry/Madea movie (a side effect of having a black woman in your mind, I suppose). I love that the actor Scott Adsit is actually in this comic, and the whole Deadpool/Crossbones stuff was really good. Crossbones winds up in a hot air balloon and his odyssey of self-discovery begins. He’s a very different character here from the psychotic badass in Brubaker/Epting’s The Winter Soldier!

It’s strange though that in a Deadpool comic the funniest parts belong to unnamed side characters. A couple of scientists (who reminded me of Thompson/Thomson from Tintin) have a slap-fight over who’s done the most villainous deeds while other lackeys bemoan their career choices that led them to skulking around a SHIELD helicarrier hunting Deadpool. 

I loved these little cut-scenes between the main story - which was Deadpool at his most ninja-est, taking on a helicarrier singlehandedly - as they added some much needed fun to the comic. Also, Deadpool sneaking around in the helicarrier’s air vents allows Duggan/Posehn to go crazy with the Alien references.

Deadpool Vs SHIELD is more of a wrap-up volume of storylines that’ve been going on since the series began, so if you’re jumping in at this point, a lot of stuff’s not going to make sense! For me though, while it’s definitely a step-up from the unbearable and stupid seriousness of the last volume, this one’s still just a so-so book. But I am glad to see the back of this arc and keen to follow Wade on his next whacky adventure, refreshed. Let’s just try to keep things light, ok guys? This is Deadpool we’re talking about!

Deadpool Volume 4: Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.

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