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Deadpool has reached a respectable level of popularity the past few years, getting his own video game and garnering a legion of fans with attention disorders. Unfortunately, and it's time to admit it, the comic hasn't been that good for... a while. It has succumb to the expectations of itself and slid backwards into a tired self parody. The humor devolved from fourth-wall-breaking, self referential wit to LOL RANDOM! bits. If you don't believe me, watch a trailer for the Deadpool game and tell me it isn't a collection of "funny" random nonsense.
But when Marvel NOW came along, Deadpool saw a change in creative teams, getting rid of Daniel Way and bringing in Gerry Duggan and comedian Brian Posehn. With caution I tip toed into this new Deadpool, scared of what awful jokes were around the corner. Much to my horror, the new series began with references for references' sake and grinding "oh that Deadpool!" gags.
Then I got to issue 7. For those not in the know, it lampoons the legendary Iron Man arc Demon in a Bottle, where Tony battles his alcoholism. The plot finds Deadpool in the 80s (AND THE COMIC LOOKS LIKE IT CAME STRAIGHT FROM THE PAST, YOU GUYS) where he has been hired by a literal demon to make sure Tony stays an alcoholic. It's an ingenious and hilarious set up that the Deadpool character was made for. It was in that moment a glimmer of hope appeared in this nerd's eye. Was it a sign of things to come?
To make get you all caught up: Deadpool has been fighting resurrected dead presidents, a demon, and a pimp named The White Man all with a dead SHIELD agent named Preston (who's being played by Shirley from Community in my head) stuck in his head.
Recently, Wade has discovered a secret team has been drugging him and stealing his organs without him know. Or, at least, without his fractured mind realizing it. Uncool with being a guinea pig/endless organ farm, he sets out to find those responsible and put an end to it.
The art in this book has been pretty good, which shouldn't be too surprising. Deadpool is one of Marvel's more popular titles right now. It's gory when it needs to be and stylistically sparse when it wants to be.
The artist, Declan Shalvey, is also skilled at using art as a way to assist the humor. The jokes can be just as visual as they are story-driven.
Much to my delight, Deadpool is becoming less zany madcap adventures and more a story-driven action comedy. I think it works best for the character and the reader. Random humor works best in teeny doses. It's like hot sauce. A little hot sauce can add an extra zip to a tasty dish, but too much ruins the meal. Of course, there are people who love a ton of hot sauce on everything, but those people are the worst.
The best humor in this series so far is when it's actually based around something. When it comes from the story. This might be Posehn's hand at work, as who would understand how comedy works best better than a professional comedian? Teamed up with Duggan's knack for clever plotting, this is shaping up to be one hell of the book.
Also, a note on Preston. It seemed she would be a passing plot device, but it seems she'll be sticking around, at least for a while. I think this is an ingenious idea. Deadpool seems to work best when he's a side character. He was probably used best during his stint on Uncanny X-Force, when he was barely apart of the team. I think this is due to his humor working best in small doses, but also because he needs a straight man. Preston, a sane mind stuck in an insane man's head, is the perfect straight man, er woman. She's always there for Deadpool to bounce his personality off of at a level of intimacy that The Odd Couple couldn't dream of.
A final thought raised by this issue of Deadpool. The character of Deadpool has a fascinating facet that has been touched on briefly in other comics, but seems to be poised for exploration in the upcoming issues of his own title. Insane, morally ambiguous, and always joking Deadpool has very little in the way of friends. He is not accepted really anywhere, even with groups that should know a thing or two about acceptance, a la The X-Men. He doesn't belong.
It's safe to say Deadpool is the lonliest character in the Marvel Universe.
Do I reccomend this issue? Yes! It's the beginning of a new arc with little ties to the last couple, so newbies can jump in without confusion. It's an arc that's shaping up to be Deadpool on a deeper level than what we've seen before. A shame for you to miss it.