Of course a character associated with that master jokesmith, Deadpool would have an “ongoing” series that lasts less than half a year. Hold on, there’s more meta where that came from in Foolkiller #5, the volume’s final issue. Is it good?
Foolkiller #5 (Marvel Comics)
Shut up, fool, Greg Salinger don’t wanna hear no jibber jabber. You’re not the one pulling the strings here. The Hood makes Greg an offer he THINKS he can’t refuse, but will the real Foolkiller give up and make the same deal with a different devil?
The choice is literally a matter of life and death, for if Greg declines, a well-connected snitch will dime him out to a soulless, relentless retribution machine that will hunt Foolkiller down wherever he is and no matter what he does to court redemption. How did we get here? Have we missed anyone?
Is It Good?
And with subject matter so serious, should we be joking around so much? Probably, sure, considering that Max Bemis is the writer of Foolkiller #5, a spin-off from the self-aware Deadpool and the the Mercs for Money title. But as Salinger is chastised by the Hood for upending the story’s normal progression, you can’t help but think you’ve seen it all before. In fact you have seen much more nuanced and less hackneyed trope-busting, in the first three issues of this very book. Foolkiller #5 might be something of a pop culture milestone — the official moment when pointing out that something has jumped the shark itself officially jumped the shark.
You probably can’t blame Bemis too much for what Foolkiller #5 turned out to be. He was promised an ongoing, even though the hyperfast story progression suggested he knew he’d only get a limited run. That breakneck pace worked at first, but it just can’t capture the prolonged agony of waiting around for death to knock on your door. The implied similarities between Salinger and his would-be executioner similarly fall flat when the reader is force-fed a narrated, hurried Foolkiller backstory. The whole issue reads like the intended second story arc was crammed into seven pages, which might not be far from the truth.
The saddest part of Foolkiller‘s rushed conclusion is that the art team of penciler Dalibor Talajić and colorist Miroslav Mrva seem to have finally hit their stride in issue #5. Talajić’s facial expressions are on point and even the hand gestures he draws help to communicate thought and emotion. Mrva’s purples have a place in the darkened opening scene, and unlike in previous issues, he’s able to enhance the most ominous moments, rather than detracting from them.
Foolkiller #5 is a bittersweet ending to what could have been a truly standout series. The accelerated pace that helped make the book’s first three issues special actually serves to rob the climax of its due emotional weight. Bemis still continues to show writing guile beyond his limited experience, though, and one can only hope, through the grace of scheduling and sales gods, he’ll one day be granted a lengthy run on a Marvel property so we can all see what he’s really capable of. And while we’re appealing to pulpy divinity, how about landing the newly fine-tuned art team of Talajić and Mrva on another book? It would be a shame for them to work so hard to mesh only to never cross paths again once they hit the sweet spot.