Deadpool takes on Valentine’s Day, a potentially evil Steve Rogers, and Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies in this collection. Is it good?
Writer: Gerry Duggan, Ian Doescher
Artist: Bruno Oliverira
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This trade collects Deadpool (2015) #26-27 and material from #21, which is two stories from the main Deadpool continuity and then a more one-off story. Overall, these stories are Deadpool being Deadpool, full of random gore and violence. And while each issue itself was mostly funny and enjoyable, the three stories are very disparate and don’t flow well together as a whole. To be fair, I’m not a regular reader of Deadpool, but I am a huge fan of Shakespeare, so when I saw that a trade that featured Deadpool in Shakespeare, I had to check it out. I really enjoyed the Deadpool Killustrated series last year (English major), so I thought this was going to be similar.
#26 is part of what seems to be the ongoing continuity, but themed for Valentine’s Day. Deadpool finds a box of chocolates, but instead of tasty goodness inside, there’s a bloody human heart.
Turns out this is actually a perfect gift for his demon wife. Sadly, she doesn’t get to keep it, and she’s equally angry when Wade leaves her to chase down Madcap and try and prevent him from killing again. As a new reader, I liked Wade’s interaction with the police officer–she and her family were compelling characters–and the small snippet we got of Madcap. I wasn’t nearly as interested in Wade’s demon wife and their interactions. Overall, though, there wasn’t enough here for me to latch onto without the knowledge of the prior story.
#27 was an early hint about Captain America and the reveal of Secret Empire. It’s interesting that this huge hint was published a couple of months before the big Secret Empire drop, and I wonder if the fact that this is a niche book made it possible.
I thought it was interesting that Agent Coulson actually was more the main character of this book than Deadpool. The changing perspectives was a little confusing, but Agent Coulson’s parts were by far the most compelling – that’s a book I would want to read. But again, as a new reader, this issue felt disconnected.
#21 was the was I was waiting for–Deadpool’s dive into Shakespeare. Ian Doescher was a smart choice to write this issue, considering he’s had a lot of practice mixing fandom and Shakespeare. He did a nice job mixing actual dialog from the various plays and writing new lines for Deadpool that fit into iambic pentameter. This is definitely a story that works best for Shakespeare nerds – it’s full of Easter eggs from the various plays they pull from (I got a kick out of the bear from A Winter’s Tale popping in). Deadpool wreaks havoc and mayhem with the various stories, and I liked how he ended up having them all turn on each other.
Overall, the art is solid and straightforward. Bold colors and the standard Deadpool blood and gore from Bruno Oliveira.
So is it worth the $15.99 price tag? I think this one is tricky – if you are a Deadpool fan trying to keep up with the story, then the bulk of this trade is the shorter #26-27. If you are a Shakespeare fan, then you get a lot of filler before the main Shakespeare story. I’m not sure this combo of issues will fully satisfy either type of reader, so it does seem like a high price for what you are getting.