Think your relationship sucks? Then clearly you need to lower your standards and read Spider-Man/Deadpool #15, the second installment in the “‘Till Death Do Us…” crossover and see what real marital strife looks like.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #15 (Marvel Comics)
Has your wife ever slept with a werewolf? Sent her Queensguard (who she also slept with) to assassinate you? Started a monster invasion of New York City with her newly reassembled Sceptre of the Manticore, ready to wipe out all of humanity?
I didn’t think so. (Although if you answered yes to questions one and two, tell her to give me a call.) But that’s exactly where our boy Wade found himself at the end of TDDU Part One (Deadpool #28) — cuckolded, outnumbered and in deep shit with his wife Shiklah, Queen of the Underworld. The second part of TDDU sees a chance for the Merc with a Mouth to recoup; now that he’s got last installment’s surprise guest star Blade, Vampire Hunter and Spider-Man on his side, everything should be copacetic, right?
Don’t read this issue if you plan on reading E.B. White’s classic Trumpeter of the Swan anytime soon.
If we hadn’t already known this crossover was a six-parter, I would’ve said yes. But we do know, and it’s perhaps because of that fact writer Joshua Corin takes us through a narrative that ultimately doesn’t do much to advance the storyline after Deadpool #28’s enjoyable setup. He does introduce a new character, Camper Van Helsing, an employee in the midst of being fired from Parker Industries for online gaming addiction and according to Blade, “the last scion of the Van Helsing family, [who] may have access to her family’s magic armory.”
Camper is one of the issue’s highlights; she’s a flawed (evident from her decision to play Versus in the first place), somewhat flaky, but talented R&D engineer for Parker Industries and a device she has invented ends up playing an integral role in the issue. There’s also a pretty amusing showdown between Deadpool and the aforementioned unscrupulous werewolf that takes place in a hellish ode to the Mos Eisley Cantina. And a scene where Deadpool does his best Gandalf-impression by riding an enormous falcon into battle (who admits its only reason for acquiescence is because Deadpool is pointing a gun at its head), but the issue’s pacing is bogged down by excessive dialogue and jokes that don’t land. Corin attributes a strangely sanitized sense of humor to Deadpool unbefitting of the character, replete with a “missed me, missed me” joke and a forced gag where Deadpool mistakes a bunch of Deadpool posters for mirrors — which certainly clashes with the more biting, sardonic wit that we’re accustomed to seeing from the character under Kelly or Duggan.
Shiklah’s invasion also underwhelms because the attacking monsters aren’t emphasized in any way where they instill a sense of peril or suspense (are they even hurting any innocent people?), have ambiguous motives sans blindly following Shiklah’s overarching invasion plan and just overall pale in comparison to what we saw in TDDU part one, where they at least had proper names and hierarchy.
Longtime Deadpool artist Scott Koblish at least makes the monster menagerie look interesting; there are Pteranadon-men resembling palette-swapped Saurons from the Savage Land; chubby, red demons wearing pro-wrestling style briefs; amorphous, one-eyed blobs and tricloptic magi that can summon spider-plagues and freeze Deadpool in carbonite Han Solo-style and Koblish’s cartoony lines mixed with realistic anatomies always lend the main characters a striking air. The fight sequence with Shiklah, and just before it, when Koblish depicts a close-up shot of her face in mid-transformation to demon form is particularly impressive and made even moreso by colorist Nick Filardi, who lends an awesome, golden glow of intensifying degrees to her fragmented row of devil-eyes.
Is It Good?
Spider-Man/Deadpool #15 is like a straightforward cover of a song that you really like by a band that’s still green and getting the feel for it; you don’t mind listening for a little bit because you enjoy the sound, but the nuances and discrepancies add up in a way that’ll just have you yearning for the real thing by the end.
Pick this up if you really like monsters and Shiklah, but temper your expectations when it comes to story progression, character motivation and Deadpool jokes.