Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars

Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars

Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars - Credit: Archant

A hilarious and irreverent look back at Deadpool’s retconned role in the original Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars...

(Panini Books)

Away from the serious business of the end of reality itself, as seen in the current Secret Wars series and its associated spin-offs, we have this outstanding celebration of the original Battleworld epic from 1984, which offers a retconned view of loudmouthed mercenary Deadpool’s involvement in the narrative.

Because he was created in 1991, there was no way that Wade Wilson’s gun-toting alter ego could have appeared in the earlier series, but that doesn’t stop writer Cullen Bunn from inserting him into the original proceedings, with genuinely hilarious results.

As someone who finds Deadpool something of a hit-or-miss character, it’s a relief to read a story in which he is genuinely funny, something that undoubtedly works here because of the somewhat po-faced and worthy nature of ‘eighties Marvel. A character who regularly breaks the fourth wall, and is aware of his nature as a comic book protagonist, Deadpool can pick holes in huge dumps of exposition, laugh off continuity glitches and even reference the ridiculous shield accessories featured alongside the Secret Wars action figures line.

The line-up of heroes and villains featured in the original Secret Wars are also largely “classic” interpretations of the characters free from later personality twists, costume changes or the influence of Marvel Studios, and it’s certainly entertaining to see them here in what amounts to a refreshingly simplistic battle of good versus evil.

Of course, readers who haven’t read the 1984 Secret Wars are unlikely to get the most out of a story like this, but it’s readily available in collected format so there’s no excuses for not taking a look beforehand (and the first of 12 issues is included here for comparison as well).

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Personally, this reader prefers to see Deadpool occupying a role of industry satirist, poking fun in the eccentricities and foibles of superhero comics, rather than attempting to act as a commentator of popular culture, which soon becomes dated.