Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Not One Of Marvel's Dracula's Better Moments

I bought Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet a few weeks back, in single issues. I'd been looking at the collection for awhile, but the price refused to drop, so I went the back issue route.

It was all right, not my favorite Deadpool story Duggan and Posehn wrote, but it worked well enough to get to the point of Deadpool and Shiklah being married. You can see the seeds of the current issues they're having, since they really only got married because Deadpool could not think of any other way to try and throw off Dracula's plan to kill Shiklah as soon as he married her and could claim her holdings as his. Shiklah and Wade had only known each other a few days, she knew no one else in the modern day, and they both enjoy sex and violence. It doesn't really seem like a combination designed for a lasting relationship, even before you get into Wade's shift in priorities with his finding his daughter Eleanor and deciding maybe he doesn't want to kill people as much as he used to.

As to the rest of the story, it felt overlong in places. I don't particularly care about the monster characters Duggan and Salva Espin would use again in Mrs. Deadpool and her Howling Commandos. Jack Russell and the Living Mummy don't interest me. The outright war between Shiklah's followers and Dracula's felt big enough it needed to be its own thing, rather than just a background. Wade calling in the Thunderbolts (that team Red Hulk put together with Elektra, the Punisher, etc.) made sense, but still felt like a needless, if brief distraction. The story got out of control, basically.

My favorite chapter was the one after all the fighting was over, of Wade and Shiklah just enjoying a day out on the town. Reilly Brown drew Shiklah wearing this little boater hat as the two left a Yankees' game that I enjoyed somehow. Then a cabbie nearly hit her and responded scornfully to her yelling. So then we got a panel of the cab upside-down and burning, with Shiklah in full monster form chasing the cabbie, while Wade laughs his ass off in the foreground. Which probably summarizes their relationship remarkably well, and made me laugh. Brown's art is strong throughout (although Scott Koblish has to draw a few pages near the end), and, as with Deadpool & Cable, there are some sequences in there surely designed for the digital format it was originally published in. I imagine the bit where Blade almost slices the top of Wade's head off, and over the course of three panels the cut gradually closes again looked pretty cool. It's still a good sequence as still images.

I was amused how, when Shiklah confronts Dracula (who she was supposed to marry, uniting their kingdoms), and tells him she and Deadpool already got married, thwarting Drac's plans, the vampire complains about being cuckolded by a lunatic. It didn't surprise me to see Dracula whining about that. It seems appropriately petty and stupid for the current iteration of Marvel's Dracula, certainly. He never cared about her, was going to kill her himself, and had already decided to toss even that plan out the window, and just wage open war upon her and her people. But he still can't tolerate the idea she slept with and married some other guy. Just a complete loser, who gets beat by Deadpool stabbing him in the chest with the bones from Wade's own severed hand. A far cry from the Dracula who forced Dr. Strange to use the Darkhold to destroy all vampires everywhere to defeat him.

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