Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet Review (Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn)


Deadpool is hired by Dracula to bring his undead bride Shiklah back to New Yawk to marry and unite the Monster Kingdom! The only problem? Deadpool! 

Dracula's Gauntlet is officially my favourite Deadpool book. It’s this meandering odyssey through Europe covered with Marvel goodness and culminating in the kind of madcap chaos only Deadpool can pull off. AND it’s genuinely funny! 

There are cameos from Blade, Hydra Bob, MODOK, Werewolf by Night, AIM, the Thunderbolts, and the Frightful Four including a Centaur Werewolf Symbiote Warrior (who has diabeetus). Characters from the main Deadpool title by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan appear for the big finale and Wade falls in lurve. It definitely earns four stars for the entertaining, imaginative story and the way it weaves in the extensive colourful cast. 

But what really pushes this over the top for me to the full five stars was the format. This is an Infinite Comic which is Marvel’s digital comics line that’s designed to be read on screens - I read this via Comixology on my iPad and that is absolutely the best, nay, ONLY way to read Dracula's Gauntlet. Seriously, if you can make it happen, read this digitally! 

What that means is that this is a strange hybrid between animation and comics that totally works. Backgrounds remain static while characters within it move, dialogue balloons appear and disappear, action happens within the frame like it’s really moving - oh, it’s so good! 

For example, the Bond-style action opening in London segues perfectly into a Bond-style title sequence, Deadpool-ified! The effects of seeing characters that BAMF! (teleport) look amazing, and the jokes are improved by the placement, ie. controlling what the reader sees in sequence. There’s this bizarre and hilarious joke about Mustafa, the runaway zebra, who makes a break for freedom in Greece - tap the screen for the next “page” and the screen moves back to show Deadpool on a moped trying to catch Mustafa, then tap next again and - y’know what, I’m not gonna spoil that, the surprise is what makes it funnee! 

Deadpool’s a very action-heavy character and it’s like this format was designed for him. Seeing him move within the frame, emptying bullets into HYDRA goons, slashing up enemies and the panels, is ideal on a moving screen. I love reading comics the old fashioned way but there’s definitely something to be said for using technology to produce a refreshing and stylish experience like this to add variety to the medium. 

If you’re reading the Brian Posehn/Gerry Duggan Deadpool run you should probably read Dracula's Gauntlet after Volume 4 and before Volume 5 because the latter is the book where he ties the knot with the special lady he meets in this story. If you’re not though, this also works as a great standalone, self-contained Deadpool book, and I’d recommend it to Deadpool fans, old and new, for a fantastic, super-fun read (try to read it on a screen to see what I’m raving about!). 

Deadpool’s movie is also out this week and I’m gonna grab me a chimichanga, couple beers and go watch dat film! Enjoy that, enjoy this! Yeah, ‘POOL PARTY!

Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet

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