Sometimes you pick up a graphic novel not knowing what to expect. Other times you reluctantly pick one up knowing you’ll think it’s mediocre and be amazed it’s anything but. I had such an experience with Deadpool: World’s Greatest Vol. 8: ‘Till Death Do Us… which is out this week in comic shops.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
You’ve never seen marital problems like this! It was a whirlwind romance – Deadpool traveled across the world with Shiklah, fighting all sorts of threats at her side, and fi nally married her as a way to thwart the evil vampire lord, Dracula! But the honeymoon is over, and reality has set in. Wade’s bride is a demon succubus and the queen of a monstrous kingdom hidden beneath Manhattan. So when this Monster Metropolis declares war on the surface world, Deadpool’s loyalties are divided between his husbandly duties and the role he’s crafted for himself as a hero. Can Spidey and the Mercs for Money help him decide whose side he is on? Brace yourself for a domestic dispute that’s really going to break some things up!
Why does this matter?
This is a crossover story with Gerry Duggan writing two issues of Deadpool, Christopher Hastings writing two issues of Deadpool & the Mercs for Money, and Joshua Corin writing two issues of Spider-Man/Deadpool. Pound for pound these guys are funny dudes, but also great at crafting well paced stories. We’re in good hands!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Earbuds can kill.
To be perfectly honest I’ve always thought Deadpool having a wife let alone a wife who is queen of the dead was a bit too silly. It took Deadpool from slapstick loud mouth and turned him into some kind of wacky fantasy land character. That said, this volume is quite enjoyable and will win you over quickly. Early on we learn she’s done with Deadpool (she cheats on him incessantly) and as a type of revenge wants to destroy New York City. His wife Shiklah is a character right out of Rocky Horror though she does in fact lord over monsters. As if New York (or really all of the MCU Earth) hasn’t had enough with monsters of late, her plan is to take it over with every monster in her arsenal. This story weaves in Blade, Dracula, and other monsters of many varieties. It gives the title a nice Halloween feel which suits its release timing and makes sure the content is never taken too seriously. It’s a fun book with ridiculousness around every corner (a fun background element is seeing monsters assume normal people roles throughout the city) — which suits Deadpool quite well.
The pace of this book and its plotting keeps your interest all the way through with interesting twists and turns and a agreeable integration of Spider-Man too. Deadpool is in a bit of a pickle having to fight his wife, which the writers riff jokes off of well. I found myself laughing throughout this volume and it even ends on a high note. To make it even stronger the volume isn’t a throwaway story by any means and has ramifications for Deadpool and other characters as well.
That’s pretty funny.
The art by Scott Koblish (he draws four of the 6 issues) and Salva Espin (who draws two of the issues) is strong at landing jokes and looking clean. There’s an excellent comedic layout by Espin that showed up in POP a few months back that shows a nice slice of life from a variety of characters. These panels lead to a payoff which questions Deadpool’s ability to keep his friends safe. Espin’s style has that superhero feel that’s ripe for a future event story while Koblish has a thinner line that’s slightly cartoony. In a hilarious scene, Koblish draws the Mercs for Money pretending to be monsters each of which looks a tad ridiculous. It’s a nice moment that shows even the most hardened character like Domino can look less than formidable. Colorist Nick Filardi takes on four of the six issues with Ruth Redmond on the two Deadpool installments and the color is quite nice for differing reasons. Redmond colors with a brightness that amps up the humor while Filardi colors with a bit more of a grounded feel. It’s the color that separates the art styles the most as far as tone though not in a distracting sort of way.
It can’t be perfect can it?
With any comedy entertainment, not every joke can land with every reader. Ben Franklin shows up at one point (in ghost form) and it’s more a distraction than humorous. Dracula being a mad skilled gamer is silly, but also not the funniest of concepts. You won’t laugh at everything that’s for sure.
The integration of Werewolf-By-Night, Living Mummy, Frankenstein, Marcus, and Invisible Man seems half attempted and simply thrown out by the end. Time is devoted to their part in the story but upon reflecting after it was all over they may as well not have appeared at all.
Is It Good?
This is a funny monster mashup of humor and marital distress in the best of ways. Enjoy this for the madcap craziness but dig in your heels for the strong writing on all levels.