The ’90s ruined everything. Greed was no longer good, grunge killed metal and our favorite, childhood superheroes became gun-toting, pocket-covered embellishments of themselves.
The folks who believe this tend to see Deadpool as the vestigial embodiment of that dark, not-so-dearly departed era, shaking their heads at the character’s recent popularity surge and still hoping desperately to keep this strange, Bugs Bunny/Punisher hybrid from infecting their memories.
Those people will not appreciate Deadpool Annual #1.
Deadpool Annual #1 (Marvel Comics)
Because in the first story of this issue, the corrupting influence leans back from the lost decade to finish what he started. No cherished experience is safe, not even Saturday morning cartoons.
And then there’s a gratuitous cameo, a faux-PSA and a story that mashes several different genres together without producing the satisfying taste of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Is It Good?
The regular Deadpool writing team of Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn turn in one of their best done-in-one stories to date, detailing the Merc’s misadventures when he tries to replace Spider-Man in the hearts of his amazing friends, Firestar and Iceman. The bad influence predictably brings the pristine pair down to his level, but the perfect pacing makes the terrible journey intensely palpable, to the point where you’re almost screaming aloud, “No Bobby, don’t impale Octavius with that icicle!”
Deadpool veterans Scott Koblish and Chris Sotomayor show their artistic range by depicting some classic cartoon scenes, and then putting the characters into situations you never would have imagined in elementary school. There’s an intersting color choice for Electro’s costume, but everything else is seamless, even Deadpool’s unlikely immersion into this more 2-dimensional world.
The final story is written and drawn by Adam Warren, and colored by Ryan Kinnaird, and it sadly can’t follow the previous tale’s near-perfection. The dialogue and characters are stylized, but just familiar enough that the reader begins to worry it’s all a reference they’re not quite getting (apparently, it isn’t). There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, but the clash of gothic weirdness and video game mutants just doesn’t click. The middling quality of this story and the two interstitials can’t help but make one just a tiny bit suspicious that they might be included just to pad the page count and justify the $4.99 price tag.
Deadpool Annual #1 delivers just as strongly as you’d hope it would from looking at the cover … and then stumbles while trying to overdeliver. It’s nice to see new voices on Deadpool (and not just the ones from his head), but it’s hard to compare to a creative team that has made the character their own in recent years. Still, Duggan and Posehn’s destructive romp through shattered innocence may be worth the five-spot all on its own.