Secret Empire has been one of the most serious and downright depressing event series I’ve ever read so when Deadpool came around to lighten the mood I was excited. Then Gerry Duggan made the series incredibly serious–with a bit of humor too–and I was in shock with how much I loved it. Not because you can’t write Deadpool in a serious way, but because I thought I was overloaded on serious. I guess not. The story of Deadpool going against his herodom continues this week and boy, is it good.
So what’s it about?
Why does this book matter?
Duggan has been writing an almost impossibly good series so far as he explores a story that pushes Deadpool to do the wrong thing when deep down he knows he should be doing the opposite. The issue also explains what has been going on with characters like Agent Coulson and has been pretty funny to boot.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
New readers are going to have a breeze jumping on here if they feel so inclined as the first two pages recap what happened, but also reveal a meeting we didn’t know about involving Cap and Deadpool (back when Cap was old). It’s a reminder of why Duggan is so good at writing comics these days because he can make each and every issue accessible, but also entertaining in a self-contained way. This issue is no different. After the recap, it dives right into Deadpool dealing with Ellie’s school issues (she beats up other kids). Much of this issue takes place in a flashback following Preston just after the events in Manhattan. Since Preston doesn’t know what’s going on she serves as the everyman the reader can gravitate to and journey with. Then the shit hits the fan.
Along the way, Deadpool continues to appear reluctant to join the Hydra way even if he doesn’t want to let Cap down. The issue also continues to show the snatch and grab missions Deadpool goes on to capture heroes on the run and progresses Ellie’s part in it all too. By the end, it’s very clear the shoe has dropped for Deadpool — he just needs to act on it.
Matteo Lolli and Mike Hawthorne draw this issue in a reserved and always understandable way. I say that because subtle emotional cues are required to make the humor work, but also the touching nature of Deadpool with Ellie when he’s being over the top, but parental. There are some really awesome panels in the Preston scenes too, like a panel showing Preston sneering in the reflection of a goon’s sunglasses and the hurt Deadpool is feeling about what he did. The use of red in these scenes is quite nice too, at once reminding us it’s a flashback, but also highlighting the bad things with red.
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It can’t be perfect can it?
My only gripe with this issue is not really understanding where it’s going with the cliffhanger. One might make some guesses, but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat or really caring about a certain character revealed because there’s no rhyme or reason to it. It’s safe to say it’ll make sense next issue, but I was left wanting.
Is It Good?
Another solid issue from the surprise must-read tie-in from the Secret Empire event. Deadpool has managed to be funny, relevant to the bigger story, and heartfelt in its depiction of the merc with the mouth.