Deadpool’s gon’ die in the issue after this one. What? That’s no spoiler, homies; Marvel’s been advertising the fact for months now to coincide with the upcoming Secret Wars crossover and issue #45 marking the milestone 250th issue overall for the regeneratin’ degenerate.
Before he gets ready to bite it though, Deadpool has to figure out what the deal is with those mysterious glass sarcophogi deep underneath Al Waziribad for his succubus queen wife, Shiklah. Oh yeah, there’s that final showdown with Omega Red we’ve been building towards for three issues now, too.
Is it good?
Deadpool #44 (Marvel Comics)
Deadpool decides to peek inside one of the glass sarcophogi using the “careful” and “respectful” excavation method of smashing it open with his fist. Before he can even finish his classy, necrophilic joke about hooking up with whoever/whatever’s inside (in his defense, he did find his current wife the exact same way) though, he’s cornered by Omega Red.
Finally. After last month’s misleading cover and enough pre-fight taunting to make Vince McMahon pitch a tent, we get the deciding round of the Deadpool/Omega Red throwdown we’ve been waiting for. Unlike the fast-paced slugfest from issue #42, this bout’s over fairly quickly and in one-sided fashion. It also takes a surprising turn midway through when Deadpool decides to spare Omega Red’s life and come to a truce, based on their similar lines of work and more importantly, their similar experiences as governmental guinea-pigs. As ‘Pool puts it: “They poked us. They prodded us. They turned us into animal for their own designs… Everything changed for me after I made the realization that I wasn’t the animal. The doctors that made us are the animals.” It’s a display of empathy made all the more touching by Omega Red’s incredulity: “Why are you helping me?” and another example of impressive character development under Duggan and Posehn’s run that shows Deadpool is of substance greater than just clowning (though we love him for that too).
I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but Salvador Espin’s art style is a conflation of clean, cartoonish figures with realistic anatomies that fits the mood of the comic like a (red and black) glove. He dials up the detail for close-ups and splash pages with consummate skill and his impressive range of facial expressions are always on point. The coloring by Val Staples is top notch as well, bringing nuances such as torch glares, Deadpool’s variegated/boiled skin and the texture of Shiklah’s purple bodysuit leaping off the page with an animated quality.
Shiklah and Deadpool once again demonstrate impressive synergy. Their impromptu nookie session atop a “sacred burial ground” is both hilarious and proves the beauty of Deadpool actually being in a relationship to a former nonbeliever like myself. It’ll be interesting to see how hard Shiklah takes Deadpool’s death when the time comes or if they’ll ever be reunited — but this issue only reinforces the fact that she’s a bad-ass, independent character that’ll be just fine on her own without Deadpool at her side.
Is It Good?
Another strong issue full of action, surprising pathos, hilarity and nookie as we continue the march towards Deadpool’s dirtnap. Duggan and Posehn have earned the admiration of this longtime Deadpool fan — I’ll look back fondly on their run, miss them when they’re gone and for the time being — look forward to the giant-sized final issue.
Besides… Deadpool can’t really die for good? Can he?