I have a habit of being enthusiastic about things. My family and friends know that if I like something, I will not shut up. I will mention it again and again and again. For example, do you know how many times my cameo in the graphic novel Revival (volume 8) can be brought up? Quite a lot in fact. Quite a lot indeed. It all started in college when I fell in love with Star Trek TNG. I could not stop talking about the episodes and characters. This is when I truly outed myself as the geek I am. My sweet husband has many of my interests, but I often want to talk about bookish things more at length than he does. That reason was the genesis of this blog, as I wanted to find a community of like minded individuals. So what does this long introduction have to do with this Spider-Man/Deadpool book?
As I stated above, I get enthusiastic about books I like, and when I discovered and fell in love with the horror graphic novel series Locke & Key written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez I mentioned it several times in this blog, and was eventually able to hound Michael, my friend who writes the awesome blog My Comic Relief to read and review it. He felt the review would have a better audience match on his beloved Kalie’s blog Just Dread-full. His response after completing the six book series was to say “Nancy knows what she’s talking about and I should just read everything she suggests.” Damn straight- more people should do what I say (especially my three children)! Anyhoo- to finally get to this book review, I agreed to read a book of Michael’s choosing since he read mine. This book was his choice, as he is a huge Deadpool fan (he wrote a guest post for our blog this summer on guess who?) and although I am a Marvel fan, our blog’s lone Spider-Man review is Kathleen’s.
Both Spider-Man and Deadpool are known for their snappy banter, but it is Deadpool’s endless musings that get real raunchy. That’s why he’s known as the merc with a mouth and he has an obvious crush on the webbed wonder. The book starts out with the two entwined in villain’s Dormammu’s grasp, but of course the two escape after much verbal sparring.
Spider-Man is up to here with Deadpool’s shenanigans, but Deadpool is trying valiantly to impress him and has turned over a new leaf (kind of) since he is now supposedly on the Avenger’s team. However, he’s still a mercenary at heart and isn’t above accepting a kill contract on Peter Parker by another mysterious villian, as he he has been tricked into thinking Parker is evil and deserves to die. Deadpool justifies the contract, not understanding that he has sentenced Spider-Man to die if he goes through with the killing of Spidey’s alter ego.
In the meantime, Spider-Man and Deadpool have crazy bromantic adventures together, with Spidey softening towards Deadpool. A funny dance off between the two men ensue after Lady Thor and a cousin of Deadpool’s wife battle, and the women decide the men must dance for their pleasure to end the fight. During another segment we are introduced to Deadpool’s daughter, and while I wanted more backstory on that, that want will push me to read more stories about her origin and their daddy/daughter relationship.
But hanging over all this, is knowing that Deadpool is planning on killing Peter Parker. While I do want to avoid spoiling what happens, let’s just say nothing goes smoothly for these two heroes to establish a bromance. Knowing that Deadpool’s wife is Shiklah, Queen of the Undead, might give you some clues as to what happens next, but you didn’t hear it from me…
Is the book’s tagline “hijinks and hilarity ensue!” true? Definitely yes! Did the story always make sense? Definitely not! Taken in small doses, I think the dysfunctional “friendship” between these two men is hilarious. I loved the Deadpool movie, and like the cinematic’s most recent Spider-Man, but in the movies the age difference would stand in the way of a bromance. So it’s in print form that their team-ups should continue, for they just make such a cute couple!
My mind is so expanded after reading this story for now I know where to look for inappropriate jokes should I ever need them. Thank you Michael for this suggestion! This book helped me understand you a bit more, and your unique sense of humor. Now if I can just get you (and others!) to read the Revival series next. Don’t forget your own words, when I give you that suggestion 😉
A few weeks ago Nancy did a T5W post about fandoms she no longer considered herself a part of. On the list was Old Man Logan. While still a lover of the original run, Nancy spoke of being upset at his character returning as part of Marvel’s 2015 Secret Wars/Battleworld event. As I considered the topic for my guest post here on Graphic Novelty² this week I realized the answer to both my topic choice and any still-lingering Battleworld woes was the same – DEADPOOL. You see, while the rest of the Marvel Universe was converging on Doom’s Battleworld to fight for the fate of the multiverse, author Cullen Bunn and artist Matteo Lolli brilliantly dropped ol’ Wade Wilson back in the original Secret Wars series that ran from 1984-1985. The resulting tale was a lot of fun and a perfect picture of why Deadpool’s become the omnipresent pop culture force he is.
First, full disclosure, I love Cullen Bunn. I think he’s one of the best Deadpool writers Marvel has. His stories ooze pop culture references, meta/self-aware humor, inappropriateness, and he balances that with real emotional depth and a surprising (yet totally welcome!) social awareness. He drops all of it in the wild blender of Deadpool and it results in some of the most consistently solid, entertaining, and engaging Deadpool stories around. With a character like Deadpool who is EVERYWHERE, it’s nice to find authors whose take on the character you trust and always enjoy. For me, that’s Cullen Bunn. From Night Of The Living Deadpool to Return Of The Living Deadpool to Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe to Deadpool Killustrated toDeadpool Kills Deadpoolto Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, I’ve yet to be disappointed with his work…and, as you can see, I read a lot of it :). Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars is another fantastic example of why I love Bunn’s vision of Deadpool so much!
The opening title card page, the now-common insert in all comics that’s meant to describe the Secret Wars event, is scribbled over in read with “Wrong Secret Wars!!!” written on the side. It then says, “Back in 1984, all the big heroes were taken to space for a SECRET WAR – and here’s what REALLY happened!” Following a running gag started in Gerry Duggan and Brian Posen’s run on Deadpool (at least I think it started there…I can’t remember reading it before them), Cullen Bunn has taken us back to see some of what Deadpool did before his first appearance in 1991’s New Mutants #98. It turns out, Deadpool was always around! Duggan and Posen have shown us Deadpool in the 70’s and 80’s when he hangs with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, helps Tony Stark get sober, and vacations in Wakanda. Bunn takes this idea to a new height by revealing Wade’s roll in one of the most iconic Marvel miniseries of all time.
As soon as Deadpool appears on the scene, the brilliance begins. Deadpool’s banter, in Bunn’s hands, reads like a rapid-fire run of jokes and asides. It really feels like he just won’t quit talking. For Deadpool, that’s important. Wade Wilson does pause, in moments of reflection or pain. But when Wade’s ready and rolling he never shuts up. That’s part of what makes Deadpool, Deadpool! He’s something of a self-indulgent attention whore – but in the best possible way! I absolutely love that about him (annnnd if I’m being honest it’s something I see of myself in him too (I can also be one for casual swearing, inappropriate sexual humor, pop culture references, and while I can’t use it I do have a katana hanging on my wall (hmm, this may not speak well of my state of mind…))). Of all the writers I’ve read, Bunn’s Deadpool just feels the most…uh, well Deadpooly to me.
As the story begins, in a hilarious twist, none of the heroes know who Deadpool is. This gives us Deadpool at his best, just to the outside of what’s going on. In this position he’s the perfect character to lampoon anything (such as another Secret Wars…) while simultaneously being the character who speaks in a very real way to what it feels like to be an outsider looking in. Right out of the gate Deadpool begins trying to establish his good guy credentials. This is another hallmark of his character, underneath his innuendo and inappropriateness he is someone who desperately wants to belong and to be like his heroes. Yes, Deadpool has an unstoppable healing factor that makes him essentially immortal. Yes, he’s great with his katanas and his guns. And sure, he’s gone toe-to-toe with everyone from Taskmaster to Thanos. But Deadpool still looks up to all the Marvel heroes. He wants to be like them and to be liked by them. There’s a universality there, something that allows us all to see a little bit of ourselves in Deadpool.
The whole graphic novel is filled with wonderful 80’s references too. You have some obligatory Cold War humor. There’s talk of the standard banter that comes with the macho male action movies of the decade. And of course he touches on the difficulties in acquiring Cabbage Patch Kids too. The series’ BIG meta moment comes with the nod to the Secret War toy line! When Marvel released Secret Wars in the 80’s Mattel released a corresponding Marvel Secret Wars toy line (*cough* of course *cough*). Well, each superhero came with a “Secret Shield” accessory that had a “lenticular disc” you could put inside the shield that flashed between images as you angled it differently. It showed scenes from the hero’s life as well as an image of their secret identity. Well, as Deadpool scuffles with Spidey in the comic, Spider-Man knocks Deadpool into a wall filled with all those shields. Of course Deadpool finds his own making for a wonderful meta-toy goof.
The 80’s connections don’t stop there though. During the battle Deadpool finds himself physically healed. Under his costume his body no longer bears the scars he always carries. He becomes the picture of a macho 1980’s heartthrob – mustache, sideburns, shaggy mullet hair, and rippling muscles. (Tom Sellek eat your heart out!) In his new “supermodel” body, Deadpool also experiments with a costume makeover. He finds the machine ultimately responsible for giving Spider-Man the black, alien symbiote costume he wore in the 80’s (that eventually becomes Venom) and Deadpool wears the alien first…and kinda messes up the symbiote’s mind in the process :). Whelp, that’ll be awkward for Spidey…but it’s classic Deadpool.
As the story moves to its conclusion Bunn ventures into the sort of deeply emotional territory he does so well with Wade Wilson as he explains why Deadpool isn’t part of the “official” record of the Secret Wars. I won’t go into any details here (and, in fact, I’ve tried to be as vague as I can with the details so far) because I don’t want to ruin anything. This is a hilarious, moving, fun, and wonderfully creative story and my outlining plot specifics totally spoils it for you. Trust me, it’s better if you experience it for yourself. I will add that, in addition to a moving ending, Bunn also lets the reader sit with Deadpool’s outsider status. With deep authenticity, we feel what it’s like for Deadpool on the margins. For a character who makes as many jokes as quickly as Deadpool always does (I literally laughed out loud multiple times when I read this volume) there is a sadness at his core. No matter what he does, Deadpool can’t seem to find a way to be included among the other superheroes. Part of what makes Cullen Bunn such a master at writing Deadpool is he delivers both sides of Deadpool fluidly and flawlessly. We see Deadpool the goofball hero (as he presents himself to the world) but we also see the Deadpool who is hurting (as he often is inside).
For all his attempts at heroics, Wade Wilson is so often rejected by those he deeply admires for all manner of reasons – his violent methods, his appearance, his odor, his endless stream of banter many of the other heroes find so annoying. Essentially, Deadpool just wants to be like the heroes he looks up to but he can never find his place among them. We, as readers, can completely understand where he’s coming from. On the one hand, we all look to our superheroes to inspire us. While we read comics for fun and entertainment, I think we all have that little kid inside us that gets a rush seeing these heroes do things we all want to believe we can do too. Superheroes speak to our potential. On the other hand, we’ve all had experiences of wanting to belong when we feel like we don’t (or can’t) fit in. Deadpool speaks to every time we’ve ever felt excluded, left alone and lost on the margins. He shares our feelings of inadequacy, of wanting to belong and being rejected, of never fitting in how we wish we could. This makes Deadpool an incredibly important character.
Yes, Wade Wilson began his career in the Marvel Universe as a villain and rode the huge tide of antihero popularity in the 90’s that moved characters like the Punisher and Venom into the spotlight too. But over the last twenty years as his character’s developed and he’s moved from dark antihero to aspiring superhero, his popularity has exploded. In part that’s because of how hilarious, wildly inappropriate, and meta his books can be. But it’s also because he speaks to a universal human experience. We all want to belong. As human beings we are literally, evolutionarily, biologically made for community. By nature we all seek acceptance, love, and inclusion. Wade often struggles to find that among his superhero role models but he never lets that stop him. Reading Deadpool comics we feel the pain of exclusion with him…but he still keeps us laughing through it all. As we laugh with Deadpool we learn about perseverance too. No matter how many times he’s written off, Deadpool never stops trying to be who he dreams he can be. We all need his model, encouragement, optimism and drive to keep making ourselves better and brighter so we can make the world better and brighter too. Deadpool, for all his wild antics and innuendo-laced humor, shows us how to do just that. He’s hilarious and inappropriate while simultaneously being the poster child for never giving up.
Deadpool speaks to something deep within all of us, something insecure and fragile that wants to be transformed as we reach for our highest potential. Deadpool makes us laugh out loud while also speaking to our hearts. He reminds us of how important it is to be aware of those on the margins and, when we feel as though we’re isolated on the margins ourselves, he reminds us we’ll survive as long as we keep laughing and moving forward. I want to thank Nancy and Kathleen for letting me take over Graphic Novelty² today! Their site was one of the very first I found as I took my tentative baby steps into the world of blogging last year and I’ve come to admire their work second only to how much I value their friendship. So it’s very exciting for me to get to share the spotlight with these lovely ladies! I wanted to make this post count, to share an important message. Who would’ve ever thought that message would be – Be like Deadpool?!? But I think we’d all be better off if we followed Deadpool’s lead from time to time.
(We would like to thank Michael for contributing this epic post to our blog! When Nancy knew she’d be on vacation and we still wanted to keep up our usual posting schedule, we knew if we asked him to write a review he would gladly do so, and he did not disappoint! Not only that but he gave us the longest word count ever post to our blog! If you are not already familiar with Michael’s work- please check out his blog My Comic Relief. He shares amazing reviews on comics and movies, plus he writes a heartfelt series New American Resistance about challenges our nation is facing. If that’s not enough, he and his beloved Kalie write genre mash-ups together on both of their blogs. Prepare to laugh, think, and then laugh again when you read his blog!)
So me and my boyfriend did what any comic nerd couple would have done this Valentine’s day: we went to the theater and saw Deadpool. We were both really excited for it, but he was wayyy more excited than me. It was actually really cute XD
I’m more of a DC girl (as is probably obvious by now), so I didn’t know much about Deadpool going into the movie. I just went out to have a good time. And boy, did it deliver. I knew from the moment my boyfriend lost it when a Green Lantern Easter egg showed up during the opening credits that this movie would be awesome.
Wade Wilson is a guy who roughs up other guys for fun and money – specifically, guys who bother girls. He meets Vanessa Carlysle in his best friend Weasel’s bar and starts dating her, and they fall in love. The night he proposes marriage to her, he faints and collapses. He is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Devastated and unsure of what to do, Wade accepts the offer of a recruiter from a secret agency who promises to cure his cancer in exchange for his service as a superhero. He does this without Vanessa’s knowledge, because the only alternative is for her to watch him wither away and die.
Strapped down to a hospital bed, Wade is wheeled into the laboratory and introduced to Ajax and Angel Dust. They inject him with a serum that should awaken any mutant genes inside him – the only catch is, they have to torture Wade and place his body under extreme stress in order for the serum to work. This goes on until Wade discovers Ajax’s true name: Francis Freeman. The subsequent mockery from Wade is enough for Ajax to leave him in a machine that keeps him near asphyxiation for an entire weekend. Before he leaves, Ajax reveals that the program is not to create superheroes, but super slaves.
Wade’s mutant genes awaken while he’s in the machine, and he manages to break out and escape after a fight with Ajax that burns the lab down. His cancer is cured, but he has become horribly scarred as a result. Feeling he can’t go back to Vanessa because of his looks, he instead sets out to track down Ajax and force him to fix his face. He creates the mask and suit, naming himself “Deadpool.”
Eventually, Deadpool corners Ajax on a bridge after taking down his entire convoy. He’s moving in for the kill when Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead show up, wanting to recruit him for the X-Men. Ajax escapes while Deadpool is distracted, leading to what is arguably the funniest part of the film: an enraged Deadpool trying to fight Colossus (seriously, do NOT have popcorn in your mouth while watching this scene. Your chances of choking on it are at least doubled).
Deadpool evades the X-Men’s attempts to bring him in by cutting his own hand off to get out of the handcuffs, and goes back to the apartment he shares with Blind Al to heal. Ajax and Angel Dust, meanwhile, have found out about Vanessa from Weasel. Wade goes to the strip club where she works to warn her, but Ajax got there first. Knowing he needs help, Deadpool convinces Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead to help him, and together they go to the scrapyard where Ajax and Angel Dust are waiting.
Can Deadpool defeat Ajax? Can Wade finally reveal himself to Vanessa? And will he finally get the chance to be a hero?
The obvious strong point: this movie is HILARIOUS. You will not stop laughing. There are plenty of raunchy and bad taste jokes to keep it moving. Deadpool breaks the fourth wall often to address the audience. That’s something that can be overdone, but the amount of usage was just right.
That’s not the only reason it’s rated R. There are sexual scenes and scenes that are quite violent. There is a part where Ajax impales Wade with a steel pipe, in addition to the hand removal and the usual gun and fist fights. If you’re squeamish like me, make sure to bring a buddy to hide behind at those parts.
If you’re looking to have a good time, look no further. Deadpool is a hilarious movie basically about one man’s quest to fix his face so his girlfriend will love him again. If that’s not a noble quest, I don’t know what is!