Graphic Novel Review: Secret Agent Deadpool/Black Panther Vs Deadpool

Secret Agent Deadpool

Secret Agent Deadpool - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Black Panther Vs Deadpool

Black Panther Vs Deadpool - Credit: Archant

The name's Wilson, Wade Wilson…

The Merc with a Mouth is used to wiping out his opponents with reckless abandon, but when he is handed an official licence to kill things take an unexpected turn.

No longer alone, and with a newfound sense of responsibility, it's a very different Wade who assumes the identity of superspy Jace Burns following his untimely demise, but you know what they say about secret agents - they only live twice…

Much more Bond than Bourne, this is a neat little tale which neatly juxtaposes Deadpool's make-it-up-as-you-go work ethics with the more structured approach of a top international spy organisation.

But not only is his mission impossible, it's damn improbable too, as he finds himself working alongside new allies to bring down the nefarious terrorist cabal known as GORGON, and in the process proving that he's more of a man than the arrogant philanderer Burns ever was.

Writer Christopher Hastings is assisted on art by Salva Espin for what is not only a first-rate Deadpool short, but also an on-the-nose spoof of the spy flick genre. Exceptionally well-observed, and also very funny, this is an innovative take on Deadpool which works on many different levels. Recommended.

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His recent Oscar wins give the Black Panther top billing in his team-up clash with 'Pool, which finds Wilson taking a surprisingly altruistic stance in order to save the life of mortally injured postman Willie Lumpkin (as seen in numerous issues of the Fantastic Four dating back to #11 in 1963).

All T'Challa needs to do to avoid conflict is give Deadpool a tiny chunk of Vibranium, the rare mineral found in his homeland of Wakanda, but the Panther has no faith in the Wade's true motives, leading to one of those epic throw-downs which Marvel have been doing so well ever since the Sub-Mariner first fought the Human Torch across 1940s New York (In Marvel Mystery Comics #9, what was comics' first major crossover event fact fans!). And with neither the monarch or the mercenary yielding any quarter, it's not going to be pretty…

The somewhat humourless nature of T'Challa offers a neat contrast to Deadpool's irreverence, but without diminishing the talents of either character. Wilson's chaotic recklessness and the Panther's tunnel-visioned stubbornness are flaws in their nature which resulted in this unnecessary battle, but surprisingly both learn from their experiences and come out of this clash somewhat wiser as a result.

Another dynamic duo of Deadpool tales which prove the character's versatility and range still has a lot to offer.