Let's talk some comics, since this blog is still ostensibly about those. It's the last of the books I got last month, 4 whole issues of Deadpool. Kind of nice to have a major chunk of a story, including the conclusion to review like this.
Deadpool #22-25.Now, by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan (writers), Mike Hawthorne (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), Joe Sabino (letterer) - Holy crap, all 4 issues are by the exact same group of creators! Look, it's a lot more impressive when you remember Deadpool's coming out basically bi-weekly by this point. Also, there was absolutely no way I was posting the cover for issue #23. Because I love you, my dear audience, too much to inflict that on you.
It's the final 4 chapters of "Deadpool vs. SHIELD", though it'd be more accurate to say "Deadpool vs. that Cheap Back-Stabbing Weasel Agent Gorman", but that's really long and not as catchy. Not content to refuse to pay Deadpool for killing all those undead Presidents, Gorman has sent the Agent Preston LMD he was using for gun-running and leaf raking after Wade. When that doesn't pan out, here comes the Horde of 1,000 Second-Rate Killers. Sorry, Batroc, it's true.
The problem for Gorman is that after recent events, Wade is well an truly through with being jerked around, tricked, and betrayed. He lets Paladin live (what's he doing taking assassination gigs anyway?), Batroc (thank you), and Paste Pot Pete?! Oh come on, Deadpool! That guy is terrible! Just feed him his stupid paste gun and pull the trigger till he bloats up and explodes. With the help of Agent Coulson, our heroes chase Gorman to his new hideaway, a helicarrier run by ULTIMATUM. Coulson tells Wade to disable its cloak and weapons so he can go get SHIELD's helicarrier and blast it out of the sky. Deadpool, however, is in no mood to wait for others to do their part, and simply takes care of the helicarrier himself. By killing everyone of those poor saps in their white jackets and snazzy black berets. Gorman escapes, though he's wounded in the process.
While SHIELD tries to track him, it's time to get Agent Preston in her new LMD body. But Wade doesn't want her to go. Well, parts of him don't, and it turns into a real mess with Wade trying to defend Preston from different versions of himself so she can be uploaded into the LMD. Incidentally, I have to wonder if things wouldn't have gone better if that SHIELD doc hadn't put Wade to sleep so she could read a New Yorker during the procedure. Way to care about your job, doc. At least Dr. Strange and the Ghost of Ben Franklin were there to help, but Wade, happy as he is for Preston, can't stand to see another person leaving him, and he departs to find a bar and drink.
Just as he's finding out there's still a Preston in his head - which Wade takes to mean the procedure failed - Crossbones comes in looking for revenge after being dumped in a hot air balloon. It's a brutal, ugly, though comical at times, fight. Wade doesn't really want to fight, but Crossbones is seriously pissed, and Wade is tired of people thinking they can come after him with no consequences. So he nearly beats Crossbones to death. In fact, he beats him so badly Sabretooth comes around the corner, believing Wade to be an wounded, easy target at the moment, takes one look at what's happening, and immediately turns around and leaves. Which was hilarious, and effectively scary. What's perhaps more concerning is the Preston is Wade's head, instead of arguing against excessive violence, urges him on. Wade pulls back from killing Crossbones, but not that idiot Gorman, who thought it'd be a good idea to try and kill both guys at once. He wound up in the back of a garbage truck.
About this time, Preston, Michael, Adsit, and Ben Franklin show up. Wade is glad to see Preston back in physical form, and Adsit has his money, in a big pillowcase with a "$" on the side, which is the proper way to receive large sums of cash. And yet, Wade is still kind of sad, hurting, and tired. He takes some of the cash, asks Preston to hold onto the rest, and goes to France, I think, to be alone and try to get away from it all. I don't think it's going to work, because it looks like some vampire douchebag in England has plans for him. Gad, it's that terrible, Final Fantasy-esque version of Dracula isn't it? I know Wade needs a break from violence, but it sure would mean a lot to me if he kills that ass.
This was an outstanding arc, because it gets at a lot of what makes Deadpool the character he is. The previous arc did it a little more forcefully, but here again we see people thinking they can just use Deadpool for whatever dirty work they need and then toss him aside. For some reason, Wade's life is full of people who simply don't regard him as a person, only a tool. Is it because he's a mercenary, someone who does things for money, or did he become a merc because people treated him like that, so he might as well make some money off the assholes?
Also, the whole thing with Preston. Wade wants her to be reunited with her family, it's what he's been working towards since the end of the first arc. He likes Preston, knows she tried to do right by him, and he wants to do the same for her, which is a good impulse. But when the time comes for it to actually happen, he doesn't want her to go. Maybe because he knows she's a moderating influence on him. He killed a lot of people in this arc, and maimed the ones he didn't kill. Preston's a SHIELD agent, but even she found it excessive, and I think that helped Wade realize how skewed the way he views things is. He thinks of killing people who wrong him as relatively no big deal, but maybe that's no such a good idea. Question is, can wade rein himself in without her? And there's the simple fact Wade doesn't want to be alone again. One of the other recurring themes of his life is that nobody sticks around very long. Sometimes he drives them off with his self-destructive behavior, sometimes they leave. Very few of them seem happy to see him the next time. Wade doesn't want to lose someone who actually cares about him, even though letting her go is the right thing to do. So he ends up at war with himself, which is Deadpool perfectly encapsulated. A guy who knows what the right thing to do is, but a lot of times he can't make himself do it. He wants to do what's best for him instead. Not this time, though I can't help being concerned about that creepy hooded Deadpool in the black and grey outfit that brought mental projection Preston her arm. was that really whatever part of her the arm represented? Was he one of the worse version of Wade he warned 'Pool about, playing some long con?
Mike Hawthorne draws all 4 issues, and you can tell the crunch got to him a bit near the end. Mostly in #24. Some of the faces, Michael's and Dr. Strange's looked quite a bit rougher, as though Hawthorne leaned more heavily on the inks to compensate there. Some of that might be that they're meant to be older, more weary characters, but they just look less finished than in other places. But he plays the comedy bits well. Sabretooth turning around and trying to walk away nonchalantly. Issue 23 is this weird thing where Deadpool is just slaughtering these hapless ULTIMATUM guys, but it's done in a way that repeatedly makes me laugh. The slap fight between biological weapons' makers, the one soldier stopping to think about ways they can tell who is who. My favorite part is Coulson commenting that Namor will be pissed about dumping a helicarrier in the ocean, and Wade dismissively replies, 'Ooh, I hope he doesn't ride a manatee out of that giant toilet below and flutter his ankle wings aggressively at us.' while lifting one leg into the air and waving his hands in a mock-terrified manner. Sure, Namor could tear Wade in half and jam the pieces back together in a horrifying fashion, but he's still eminently mockable.
One other bit Hawthorne drew I liked from #23: When Wade is advancing on Gorman, and all you can see are 'Pool's legs and the two swords he's holding, the tips dragging across the floor. There's something really badass about that, but also kind of scary. Maybe the fact it draws your attention to their sharpness, makes you think about what they'd do to a human body? Like in Jurassic Park, when the raptor's claw taps on the linoleum, a reminder of what awaits. Also, there's a sense when the swords are down that way that the wielder isn't thinking about defense. They aren't worried about blocking or protecting themselves, only killing their target.