It’s Deadpool vs. Agent Preston with the fate of his daughter hanging in the balance. Who ya got? And is it good?
Well, isn’t this just Deadpool’s shit luck?
The one time he’s actually in Captain America’s good graces, Cap’s actually a sleeper agent for the terrorist organization Hydra. (You know, the impetus behind this whole “Secret Empire” thing that Marvel’s got going on.)
Some of Deadpool’s recent actions however, like snuffing universally beloved Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D., have made him second guess his own actions; and really pissed off his former friends and colleagues. Like Agent Preston, for instance (as you might have inferred from this issue’s cover).
Agent Emily Preston vs. Deadpool for the fate of his daughter: Who ya got?
But first, back to that “Deadpool’s recent actions have made him second guess his actions” statement. If you follow Deadpool, you know he’s a morally grey character that usually tries to do the right thing — which is why this whole ordeal with Hydra has him all mixed up: Does he continue to go along with Captain America because Captain America is normally never wrong and is a hero who Deadpool reveres? Or does he go with his gut and defy his Hydra higher ups because he knows he’s probably fighting for the wrong side?
That’s the story beat writer Gerry Duggan has been skillfully setting up for the last few issues: DP stalling and acting out in passive aggressive fashion, what his Hydra captain woefully describes as “Deadpool only managing to capture the lowest tier of insurgents.”
True, Speedball, 3-D Man and Paste Pot aren’t exactly marquee Marvel names. But remember back to Deadpool #32, where DP discovered the location of a high-ranking resistance base (with an unsuspecting Quicksilver and Hawkeye directly in his riflescope reticle) — ample proof that DP has the knowledge and means to deliver a demoralizing blow to the resistance. Only he hasn’t. And that’s what makes Duggan’s narrative so intriguing. Where is Deadpool going with all this? Is he going to continue to working for Hydra but stall indefinitely? Or does he have an endgame in mind?
The art in this issue is split between pencilers Mateo Lolli and Mike Hawthorne. Lolli handles the scenes in the present, where Deadpool devises a plan with his latest captive, Trapster AKA Paste Pot Pete; as usual his fine harmony of clean lines and cartoony characters charged with detailed, hilarious body language are perfect for the scene that ensues. (The image above, with naked Deadpool dappled in glue-globs, wearing nothing but his mask on his loin parts is ample proof.) And make Hawthorne’s flashback scenes hit all the more like a megaton bomb.
Don’t let the cover to this issue fool you, with Deadpool’s semi-smirk stamped against the material of his red mask. The fight scene between Life-Model Decoy Agent Preston and Deadpool is a lurid one. Bones splinter. Blood spills. And Hawthorne renders it all in such grisly detail you’ll be wincing the entire time.
Is it good?
Deadpool #34 is another excellent Secret Empire-tie-in-issue that adds further gravitas to the harrowing decisions Deadpool must make under the employ of Captain America’s Hydra. Duggan is at the top of his game here and with the help of solid, forceful art from Lolli and Hawthorne delivers a story steeped in humor, pathos and grisly violence.