5 out of 5 stars
Story – Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
Art – Tony Moore
Thank God for Deadpool. I love Deadpool. I know he’s contentious. Our very own Jason Cohen has a longstanding hatred for the character, and he has his reasons. Deadpool just isn’t for everyone. But he’s definitely for me. And this premiere issue of the Marvel NOW! Deadpool just encouraged and validated everything I felt about Deadpool in previous stories. Let me start this review by saying that if this comic is as consistently high quality as the first issue, Deadpool will likely become my favorite comic book currently in print. With my normal favorite Amazing Spider-Man being such a revolting piece of shit right now, that might not sound like a lot, but it is, given my recent foray into Batman.
The story here is that a politically-minded magician/necromancer guy casts a spell that summons the spirits of dead American presidents, in the hopes that they will take control of the country and “fix it,” whatever that means to you. Initially, Captain America arrives on the scene, and appears in the paper the next day decapitating Harry Truman. S.H.I.E.L.D. feels that this is terrible PR and they need to find someone else to sweep the problem under the rug quickly and quietly.
Enter Deadpool. As an FDR-possessed dinosaur rampages in New York, we see a sword splitting down its belly, and in a bloody show our hero explodes out yelling, “Here comes, Deadpool!” It’s a fitting entrance for such an absurd, bombastic character. The art in this scene and throughout is playful, colorful, and satisfying. There’s a great panel where Deadpool quickly explains his backstory while stuffing his intestines back in his gut. None of this feels like nasty, gratuitous violence though. The violence (if we can even call it that) is so goofy and ridiculous that it almost can’t even be considered offensive. It’s clearly not being used to shock, but to make us chuckle at its absurdity.
Now let’s talk about the writing. The team working on Deadpool is Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan. Both are comedians, though I’m only familiar with (and a fan of) Posehn. These two are perfect choices for Deadpool. The humor is spot-on here. We get corny one-liners like “You have nothing to fear–except me!” when FDR attacks Deadpool and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and lines that literally made me laugh out loud, like Deadpool’s line, “Yup, I’m your dingleberry. …Is that how that line goes?” Finally, a comic has come along that has been a genuine joy to read. Dan Slott could take a few tips (nay, a full semester course) from Posehn and Duggan on how to write a comic.
What a breath of fresh air. In a comic universe (not just Marvel, but DC and elsewhere) so thoroughly saturated by a mentality of “who can write it darkest” and “let’s make this as gritty and nasty as possible because that’s real, man” or, if they’re being honest, “let’s do what The Dark Knight did because that movie was great so everything should be like that,” it’s refreshing to find a comic that does away with all that dreary glum bullshit and just lets itself have fun. You remember fun, right? Fun used to be, well, fun. People used to read comics to be entertained. To escape. Our good friend and contributor here, Alec Goodwin, recently posted a fascinating and on-point article about how too many comic writers confuse pessimism for realism, and how darkness and sadness have overrun the comic industry. This is absolutely true, for the most part. So thank God for Deadpool. If you’re not reading Deadpool, you need to at least give it a shot. This has to be one of the most imaginative, fun, and entertaining comics in print right now. Definitely pick this one up.