Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool World’s Greatest: ‘Til Death Do Us…;Deadpool 2099; Deadpool World’s Greatest: Deadpool in Space; Spider-Man/Deadpool: Itsy Bitsy

Deadpool: World's Greatest - 'Til Death Do Us...

Deadpool: World's Greatest - 'Til Death Do Us... - Credit: Archant

Get yerself some Deadpool...

Deadpool 2099

Deadpool 2099 - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

The Deadpool onslaught continues, with another slew of volumes starring the Merc with the Mouth to bulk out the “D” section on my bookshelves.

We kick things off with the (perhaps) inevitable break-up of the marriage between Wade Wilson and his monster queen wife Shiklah, ruler of a macabre underworld beneath Manhattan.

Fed up with hubbie’s commitments to the Avengers, Mercs for Money and buddy Spider-Man, and his ongoing bid for redemption, Shiklah has already hooked up with Jack Russell (aka the Werewolf By Night), and now she’s seeking revenge for the unfortunate death of one of her subjects at the hands of New Yorkers.

Spider-Man/Deadpool: Itsy Bitsy

Spider-Man/Deadpool: Itsy Bitsy - Credit: Archant

The subsequent invasion of Manhattan by her monstrous hoards is the premise behind this crossover between the three Deadpool series, but the story is actually about Wade and Shiklah’s relationship, and her subsequent betrayal and siding with vampire lord Dracula.

It marks a major change in DP’s status quo, and the beginning of the end for his heroic persona is just around the corner in the Secret Empire event. Once again ongoing writer Gerry Duggan does a fantastic job blending action, humour and extreme violence with rich characterisation and well-crafted narrative.

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Meanwhile, the Deadpool of 2099 is a futuristic inheritor of the title with an unexpected connection to Wade Wilson himself, while also paying homage to the Marvel imprint of the 1990s.

The 2099 line of books focused on a cyberpunk dystopia ruled as a police state by mega-corporations, which suddenly witnessed the emergence of high-tech versions of contemporary Marvel characters including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Hulk, Ghost Rider and the Punisher. Its main incarnation lasted from 1993-1997, although has occasionally featured across different titles in the 20 years since.

Deadpool: World's Greatest - Deadpool in Space

Deadpool: World's Greatest - Deadpool in Space - Credit: Archant

Quite why Marvel thought the world needed a Deadpool 2099 is anybody’s guess, but here she is: Warda Wilson, daughter of Wade and his ex-wife Shiklah, who is keeping her father prisoner in a bid to find out the long-lost location of her mother.

She is pursued by his adopted daughter Ellie, clad in his old “Zenpool” costume, who plans to reclaim the Deadpool name and free her father… although not necessarily in that order. Despite its futuristic setting, this is a storyline with direct links to what’s been going on in Wilson’s main series, as he is once again forced to deal with the homicidal hilarity of the unkillable Madcap, and works best when read in conjunction with that run.

In fact, the ongoing battle between Deadpool and his old foe has escalated in recent months, culminating in a direct attack on Wade’s loved ones which has forced him to take drastic action in a bid to stop the menace once and for all. Convinced his only chance of terminating Madcap lies beyond Earth, Deadpool heads off into space on a quest for a suitable weapon…

Using a 3D printer to mock up a fake of the Ultimate Nullifier, a device which could wipe out reality, he crashes the Knowhere trading outpost and uses his bogus nullifier to stir up the hornet’s nest in a search for the biggest and baddest gun…

It’s a quick read, but no less entertaining as a result, and makes a change to see DP out of his usual stomping ground and exploring brave new worlds with his usual irreverence. Not sure about the supporting story though – did we really need to see a collected edition of Deadpool’s journey through the “cover-verse”?

Wrapping up a long-running storyline in the Spidey/Deadpool team-up book, Itsy Bitsy pits the mismatched duo against a deadly female fusion of their powers and attributes, who combats crime through increasingly bloodthirsty measures.

Suffering the consequences of his recent trip to Hell, Spider-Man’s moral compass is wildly off course, leading him to consider taking a dark path to prevent Itsy’s lethal rampage. With Wade attempting to turn over a new leaf without killing, will he be willing to sacrifice his redemption for the sake of Peter Parker’s soul?

What could have been little more than a cynical cash cow has actually become one of the stand-out titles in Deadpool’s long history, as the developing bromance between Wade and Pete adds greater depth to both their characters. Drawing on continuity from both of their histories and using it to the benefit of the narrative makes for great comics, and writer Joe Kelly certainly knows his stuff.

These four volumes combine to offer a top rate collection of Deadpool loveliness, and continue this reader’s newfound regard for the character. Highly recommended.