How do you finally kill Deadpool? Like, for good?
In the much-hyped final issue (at least for a little while) of Deadpool we get the answer. Will our boy Wade Winston Wilson go out in a blaze of glory? While committing some noble sacrifice? In some brutal George R.R. Martin-inspired fashion?
Deadpool #45/250. Esta bien?
Deadpool #45 (Marvel Comics)
U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. (Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind) has a new leader/Flag-Smasher named Carl and unlike his predecessor he’s got no qualms sending his entire army of beret-sporting terrorists after Deadpool to snuff him out once and for all. In true super-villain fashion, ULTIMATUM ambushes Wade’s friends and surrogate family first, just to get back at him for blowing up their Helicarrier with everyone in it.
Writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn carve an interesting narrative with plenty of build-up towards a surprisingly epic showdown. Those of you worried ULTIMATUM was too farcical to fulfill any sort of meaningful final confrontation, fret not; Deadpool #45 is violent, action-packed, explosion-riddled and stunts Deadpool’s destructive capabilities in impressive order.
Panels like the following really do a great job of getting us inside Deadpool’s head as he lays waste to the different tiers of ULTIMATUM drones and eventually equates his modus operandi to getting hammered at the bar:
As far as Deadpool’s death itself? Kinda lackluster. At face value, anyways. You’d figure with a guy as hard to kill as Deadpool, Duggan and Posehn would drag him through some Rasputinian Death Sequence shitshow to rival all Rasputinian Death Sequence shitshows but it’s clear (and a relief) why they didn’t. Namely, how would that be different from any other day in Deadpool’s life?
Also, that’s exactly what Deadpool wants. To finally find reprieve through death. That’s why Deadpool’s demise can’t be prolonged physical torture or something as morbidly theatrical as Oswald Cobblepot’s penguin-aided “burial at sewer-sea” while coughing up black tar-bile in Batman Returns or some ostensibly clever disassembly like… being encased in adamantium. Deadpool’s a character that doesn’t know what it’s like to be truly content; one who’s never been surrounded by people who he loves that actually reciprocate that feeling; that’s why it’s fitting that Deadpool dies the way he does in this issue. The ending feels a bit rushed and anticlimactic given all the hype building towards it, but as far as ways for him to die goes, it’s not as bad as everyone’s making it out to be.
The glaring problem with Deadpool’s death ends up being that it comes out of nowhere and there’s absolutely no aftermath nor a moment of reflection to speak of. Duggan and Posehn make references to his figurative death during the big battle scene but those too feel artificial and strained given the fact that Deadpool has done worse and faced enemies with a much deeper personal connection than ULTIMATUM.
Which brings us to the “Roast of Deadpool,” hosted by Howard the Duck. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by how consistently clever and hilarious Duggan and Posehn’s run has been on Deadpool; maybe my hopes were set too high by the omnipresent hype leading up to this issue; maybe the fact that Posehn was hilarious at the Roast of Bob Saget had me craving more of the same; unfortunately the majority of the Deadpool roast jokes just end up sorta… milquetoast and ho-hum. Even when Deadpool himself takes the podium. Sure, there were a couple of zingers, but nothing laugh out loud like we’ve had even in the past few issues featuring Omega Red. Instead, the Roast ends up serving as an overall commentary on Deadpool’s life — like the eulogy we never got from the main story. It’s well-written, but not as funny as you’d expect from a Roast and too reiterant of what we’ve heard so many times before: Deadpool’s a loner and nobody understands him. He’s a sad clown like Pagliacci. Nobody knows the pain he knows. The premise lingers too long in the pit of self-pity and deprecation, especially given the fact that Deadpool has the Infinity Gauntlet in his possession. I never thought I’d say this, but would it be so bad to see Wade a little less emo and a little more light-hearted?
Is It Good?
Deadpool #45 is a decent final issue whose main storyline is weakened and rushed by the onset of the Secret Wars crossover. Deadpool’s final confrontation with ULTIMATUM is well-crafted and entertaining, but the last few pages feel tacked on in hasty fashion.
The “Roast of Deadpool” at the end has an awesome premise, an interesting exchange with Thanos and myriad guest-stars but ultimately feels underwhelming. The brief backup stories featuring ancillary characters like Shiklah and the ghost of Benjamin Franklin are worth a quick glance but ultimately the $10 price tag is going to come down to how much you want to see Deadpool’s “final” death and what other characters have to say about him in the Roast.
On a final note, thank you to everyone who contributed to this run of Deadpool, particularly writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn. You two magnificent bastards explored all facets of the Deadpool character and explored them well. And had me grinning the entire time you did it. (Well, maybe not for the body pit parts during “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”) Cheers.