Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool, Deadpool and even more Deadpool!

Spider-Man/Deadpool: Arms Race

Spider-Man/Deadpool: Arms Race - Credit: Archant

Given this latest glut of Deadpool books, anyone would think there was a new movie out…

Deadpool Vs Old Man Logan

Deadpool Vs Old Man Logan - Credit: Archant

Deadpool Vs Old Man Logan

Spider-Man/Deadpool: Arms Race

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool Reloaded

The Despicable Deadpool: Bucket List

The Despicable Deadpool: Bucket List

The Despicable Deadpool: Bucket List - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Whereas the Reloaded book is a second greatest hits collection from the Marvel Platinum line (more of which later), our other three titles are very much set in the post-Secret Empire world of the Despicable Deadpool, with Wade Wilson on the run from just about everybody after being duped into assassinating SHIELD agent Phil Coulson by a fascist version of Captain America.

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The latest in an unconnected series of Vs books (after ‘Pool took on Gambit, Carnage and the Punisher), this time the Merc with a Mouth runs up against the post-apocalyptic, elder version of his old foe Wolverine, aka Old Man Logan, who is on the trail of Maddie, a teenage girl who may just be one of the most powerful mutants of all time.

This being a grudge match between two characters with remarkable healing factors, it mainly consists of five issues of violent throw-downs between Logan and Wilson, as they seek to outmatch each other’s regenerative abilities with savage abandon, at times forgetting the reason they’re fighting in the first place.

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool Reloaded

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool Reloaded - Credit: Archant

Unfortunately missing the snappy dialogue which usually makes a Deadpool book so entertaining, it also lacks an emotional hook, something regular writer Gerry Duggan always manages to achieve amongst the carnage. Writer Declan Shalvey is better known for his artistic career, and this formative foray into scripting sadly doesn’t deliver, despite exceptional visuals from Mike Henderson.

In contrast, the stakes are raised in the latest instalment of S-M/DP, although the bromance which characterised previous volumes has notably turned sour after Wade took out all-round good egg Coulson. Although Spidey is determined that he should answer for his crimes, Deadpool is otherwise occupied by his pursuit of abandoned SHIELD tech hidden in caches across the globe, but reckoned without being impersonated by a classic Silver Age supervillain…

Then in a one-issue interval, we take a look at what the septuagenarian Deadpool and Spider-Man are doing in their dotage as residents of an old people’s home, a narrative which will apparently play out in a major storyline further down the line. This single instalment sets up the wrinkly webslinger’s return to costumed crimefighting, and the role Wade plays in bringing him out of retirement.

The ongoing themes of this series have always been friendship and redemption, which means recent events have ultimately had a devastating effect on the bond which had started to develop between Wilson and Parker, leaving a sense of remorse over what has transpired between our scarlet-clad protagonists…

Having made a deadly pact with clone terrorist Stryfe to save his daughter Ellie, Deadpool is forced to eliminate a series of targets in Bucket List, including reporter Irene Merryweather and Genesis (Evan Sabahnur), on the way clashing with former teammates Rogue and the real Captain America.

As this series heads towards its imminent conclusion, it has increasingly become a study in tragedy, as Deadpool is forced to abandon his achievements as a hero and father in the wake of events beyond his control. There’s still plenty of humour, sure, but it’s balanced out by a real sense of pathos, and you can’t help but feel sorry for Wade as his inexorable downfall continues.

Finally, we explore the partnership between Deadpool and time-travelling cyborg soldier Nathan “Cable” Summers in the latest Marvel Platinum volume, which collects various key issues pairing the two protagonists, including the complete Deadpool Vs X-Force epic.

Writers and artists featured include the likes of Fabian Nicieza, Joe Kelly, Rob Liefeld, Christopher Priest, Joe Madureira, Paco Medina and Daniel Way, which might not be the greatest line-up of modern day creators, but it isn’t bad.

True to form for the Marvel Platinum line, Reloaded is an intelligently compiled book of stories, which bounce off Josh Brolin’s appearance as Cable in Deadpool 2 for any new readers wanting to further explore his relationship with Wade Wilson, while also offering a fascinating volume of themed comics which will also attract more seasoned collectors.