In Spider-Man/Deadpool #13, things get weird. Yes, even weirder than the time Spidey and DP squared off against their genetically engineered, blue-skinned, six-armed, sexual innuendo spouting, opposite-sex clone — Itsy Bitsy — and had their asses handed to them back in Spider-Man/Deadpool #10.
What could be weirder than that you ask?
Spider-Man/Deadpool #13 (Marvel Comics)
How about Weirdworld? Spidey and DP are stranded in the twisted fantasy realm after a teleporter malfunction from their Itsy Bitsy fight and oh wait, here comes one of Weirdworld’s “fine” denizens lumbering our way now:
You ugly. You yo daddy’s son.
A uh, halfway-fused, conjoined twin/rejected amalgam looking version of Spider-Man and Deadpool. With oily, slime-slug things (with skeleton chunks floating around inside of them) slithering along its arms, legs and neck.
As unnerving an image that mishmashed Spider-Pool creature might be, it serves as an apt symbol for the fickle nature of our heroes’ relationship: though they might finally be friends, their exciting union hasn’t come without an alarming set of repercussions. Most glaringly, an unanticipated about-face in character alignment: Deadpool respects Spider-Man’s unerring heroism; he wants to do right (you can’t help but “D’aww” at Wade nursing Spider-Man back to health in the book’s first act); he wants to emulate Spider-Man’s famous “With great power comes great responsibility” mantra; crack-wise with his idol while haymakering bank robbers and leaving affable little notes for the authorities. Unfortunately, Deadpool’s less than scrupulous demeanor has rubbed off on Spider-Man just as much if not more so.
“I… will do what’s necessary… to keep people safe… I decide what happens next. No one else,” Spider-Man says, clutching his ribcage after dispatching a group of subterranean mole-men, a lingering injury from the two’s battle with Itsy Bitsy.
“… What’s happening to you, man?” Deadpool replies, to which the Wall-Crawler has no answer.
The circumstances are cleverly reminiscent of writer Joe Kelly’s first run with Deadpool, in his “We Don’t Need Another Hero” story arc, one that saw Deadpool, in his efforts to go from anti-hero to full blown hero, attempt to “cure” murderous Typhoid Mary. “If a guy like me can change, why not you?” was the underlying notion of that story arc, but in Spider-Man/Deadpool, faced with a seemingly unstoppable enemy, the question has become, “What other choice do we have but to cross that line?”
Writer Joe Kelly deftly (and hilariously) explores these character metamorphoses while subjecting our heroes to a wide assortment of grotesqueries, fantasy analogues, and eldritch horrors that are intriguing even for a place like Weirdworld — and per usual, the art team of Ed McGuinness and colorist Jason Keith are there to render everything Kelly throws their way in magnificent form. From the shambling Spider-Pool mentioned above to the puke-green, befouled air that looms omnipresent over Weirdworld’s expanse to the final battle featuring a chimeric, Lovecraftian creature whose vastness consumes entire pages — Spider-Man/Deadpool #13 is a good looking book from start to finish. And just wait until you see what World of Warcraft Grim Batol-inspired endeavor Team SpideyPool undergoes after they face off against Morgan le Fay.
What, you didn’t think our boys would face down Weirdworld’s de facto ruler? Admittedly, McGuinness’ pencils of le Fay seemed a little rushed compared to how she’s looked in the past (and compared to pretty much every other curious visual concoction he provides in this issue alone), but that’s consistent with the fact that Spider-Man both treats her presence as a nuisance/and takes her out in near-trivial fashion.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #13 is done-in-one filler, but the best kind of filler — cognizant of the fact (there are several funny lampshades throughout), necessary and full of character development. Although the enemies our heroes face in Weirdworld are of seemingly very little consequence to the overarching narrative, Joe Kelly’s poignant characterization makes the stakes of the two’s upcoming showdown with Itsy Bitsy absolutely intriguing and what could very well be the defining moments of the series thus far. (That “Hannibal Lecter if he had web fluid” ending is unnerving as hell.)
That and we’re only one issue into 2017 and already we have a qualifier for best Deadpool quote of the year: “I haven’t pulled that much metal out of someone since I lifted ol’ Grammy Wilson’s gold fillings to buy my first gun.”