Book O’ The Week: Deadpool #61

Story: Daniel Way. Art:Salva Espin. Colours: Rod Reis.

(Comics were late, therefore my post is late. THAT is the circle of life, Elton John!)

After reading Teen Titans #0 I immediately felt the need to share my thoughts, but I also wanted to write on Deadpool #61, because Daniel Way has been doing such a damn fine job of breaking every previously-rule-breaking element that there is to Deadpool. And the book is wrapping up with issue #63 So I’ve decided all of my thoughts surrounding this week’s Teen Titans #0 and last week’s Red Hood and The Outlaws #0 will get their own post, about sidekicks. Deadpool it is…

SPOILER ALER- Dammit, too late… Yes, that’s Hit-Monkey.

Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is a character created during a period of design absurdity. The 90’s popularised high definition body shapes, elaborate pouch-and-harness arrangements, and Rob Liefeld’s penchant for all the above whilst also not drawing feet (I’m not even kidding). Arguably, the one good thing that 90’s gave us was genre in-joke Deadpool. Looking like a militant version of Spider-man, Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza’s fourth-wall breaking, damage-regenerating lunatic quickly established a reputation as the quirkiest character in comics, whilst also being an extremely effective anti-hero.

Daniel Way has been writing the book for the last 61 issues, and after quickly displaying a deft grasp of the character’s insanity, has now taken Deadpool down an unexpected path. After decades of stories with the anti-hero casually falling back on his unsurpassed healing factor to see him through stupidly backfiring plans, Way removed this power and effectively cleaned DP up: no healing factor, no facial disfigurement, and a new lease of life. Now seeing himself as a force of good, we’ve been led on a ridiculous journey as he tries to prove his place as a hero.

This isn’t the first time the character has tried such a tact. To have such a mercenary character switch sides is not so difficult to go with – he’d previously done good simply for the money. But now he does so without the Looney Tunes-style crutch of the unfailing healing factor, and a sense of right and wrong. The permanent loss of a finger was a wake up call that served to shake the series up ever so slightly, but reinforced Wilson’s new path.

And that brings us up to this week’s issue. Why have I given you Deadpool 101? Simple – this issue brings us to the end of the “blacklist” storyline, where various super-villains with ‘Black” in their name have been attempting to silence DP once and for all. For the most part, the book is a flashback to Wilson’s darker days, and serves as a horrific reminder of where the character was. From the original (and now horridly dated) Liefeldian costume, to the callousness with which he carries out his job, it’s a very different Wade Wilson. Whilst the opening and closing of the book give us the reformed ‘Pool, the contrast with the main story is startling and almost devoid of humour – a very telling detail.

The art is clean, the story is face-paced and punchy – oddly enough, the stand out scenes are those not within the flashback, but rather the bookends. This is due to the adversary Deadpool is paired off against (no spoilers!), but also because it showcases just how far the character has come. In a stand-off against a fellow hitman, he now uses reasoning and understanding to defuse the situation. Whilst this may sound high-road, I can assure you it’s still a very Deadpool activity – but anymore details would be spoiling.

So, for his mammoth run of what will be 63 issues when he bow’s out, and for taking this book down a path that is oft-travelled yet keeping it fresh and amusing (and decidedly Deadpool), thank you, Mr Way. It’s been a blast.

RATING: 3.5 Chimichangas Out Of 5

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~ by nick on October 1, 2012.

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