Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool

Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool - Credit: Archant

The Merc with a Mouth has a movie coming out...

(Panini Books)

Who would have ever thought that a character created by controversial artist Rob Liefeld (and writer Fabian Nicieza) as a pastiche of the New Teen Titans’ foe Deathstroke would go on to become one of the few new Marvel characters not created in the 1960s or ‘70s to prove successful?

Of course, it’s been a rocky road since Wade Wilson made his debut in New Mutants #98 (1991), with various missteps and cancellations along the way, until we get to the point where the character not only features in a stack of comic books each month, but he will also be starring in his own movie in February, with Ryan Reynolds reprising the role following a previous appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).

Some of the stories charting Wade’s convoluted backstory are included in this volume, but ultimately all you need to know is that he is a hideously disfigured mercenary whose accelerated healing factor means he can survive almost any injury. Aware of his existence as a fictional comic book character, Deadpool frequently breaks the fourth wall to talk to his readers, and his snappy banter and sense of humour has led to him being known as the “Merc with a Mouth”.

The stories included here - one of those greatest hits/primer volumes that Panini does so damn well - are supposed to offer a snapshot look at the character, spanning his career at the hands of various creators, most notably Joe Kelly, who is undoubtedly responsible for shaping the personality and style of writing which has been associated with Wilson since his first solo series.

Read in one dose, the constant witticisms and pop culture slapstick soon become tiring, as at the end of the day Deadpool’s about as deep as a puddle, with a personality just as murky. However, dipping in and out of this volume makes for a refreshing alternative from the usual superhero fare, which has a tendency to take itself far too seriously.

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Unfortunately one of the tics which makes Deadpool’s dialogue so fresh and relevance - namely his continued references to contemporary celebrity culture -swiftly become dated when taken out of context, meaning many of his comments in earlier issues are likely to be lost on a modern readership.

Just as Iron Man was before his movie debut, Deadpool is a character who has little recognition outside comics-reading audiences, and this book should hopefully offer enough extra information to appeal to anyone looking to find out more before the film is released next month.