Way back in 2012 I reviewed a rebooted Deadpool series written by little known (at least by me at the time) writer named Gerry Duggan and comedian Brian Posehn. The fact that Marvel was smart enough to put a stand up comedian and actor on Deadpool seemed like a no brainer move. That first issue sparked an insane plot that involved dead presidents and the introduction of a new S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who is still popping up in Duggan’s Deadpool storylines. This is the first in a series of complete editions collecting the collaboration of Posehn and Duggan and, in many ways, dictated the Deadpool character of today.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Comedy writing partners Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan bring the funny, Deadpool style, in one of the most celebrated eras of the Merc with a Mouth! Wade Wilson must take down an army of dead presidents – and things only get wilder from there! Deadpool is hired by a demon to reclaim damned souls; gets in touch with his feminine side; targets a man with aquatic powers; and teams up with the Superior Spider-Man! Plus, the debut of the fl ashback “inventory issue” tales that Posehn and Duggan made famous, featuring Deadpool’s adventures in yesteryear! Deadpool drowns his sorrows with Iron Man, gets funky with Power Man and Iron Fist, wreaks Kirby-fi ed havoc on a cosmic level, and fights Hitler alongside Cable and Nick Fury! Deadpool has never been more hilarious!
Can I jump in easily?
Psh, duh, it’s volume one.
Reason 1: The plotting is as insane as Deadpool.
Holy crap are the writers pushing Deadpool in one of the most kooky and crazy storylines yet. Not only is Ben Franklin a ghost who helps Deadpool throughout this journey (one of the best jokes in this book has Deadpool reflecting on how Disney might sue since he’s talking to a ghost named Ben), but Deadpool spends most of the first half of this book pumping lead into dead presidents. This allows the creative team to not only make up as many president jokes as they can, but also show how insane these old school leaders were. Through these presidents they also shine a light on America and how things have changed and how these presidents really wouldn’t like what America has become. Witness Deadpool electrocute FDR after he was impaled on an elephant. See Gerald Ford’s head sliced off by a helicopter. There’s so much insanity in this collection and that’s just the first half!
The first half of this comic is crazier than Deadpool.
The second half mostly focuses on a deal Deadpool made with a demon who works for Mephisto. This, amazingly, ties into the dead presidents storyline, which gives the overall narrative nice cohesion. This second story leads to Deadpool fighting a super demon who can change into any hero–and has Deadpool teaming up with Superior Spider-Man and Daredevil–and ends up delivering the best laughs. I mean, there’s a Macho Man visual gag for crying out loud!
There’s also some fantastic flashback stories drawn by Scott Koblish (complete with old weathered paper) that reveal Deadpool once teamed up with Power Man and Iron Fist to stop The White Man, that time Deadpool killed Hitler with Cable and Nick Fury, and that misadventure that had Tony Stark and Deadpool boozing it up (more or less). That doesn’t even bring put the fantastic Deadpool #26 one-shot that explores the insanity of Jack Kirby’s creations as Deadpool perceives them.
Reason 2: You get to see what is inside Deadpool’s head.
Rather early on in this trade paperback Emily Preston, a fantastic character who has a family and a certain edge that riffs of Deadpool very well, ends up inside Deadpool. Wait…not like that! She’s a spirit and ends up walking the halls (literally) of Deadpool’s mind. Duggan and Posehn reveal his mind is as imaginative and strange as Deadpool is on a minute by minute basis. Statues and paintings that talk, strange trophies involving pooping, and dark recesses that hold secrets. I didn’t read most of this run when it came out and I’m glad I read this collection because it reveals a side of Deadpool we used to just assume was batshit insane. The writers were crazy enough to actually show it and it’s impressive. The fact is, I hope Ryan Reynolds loves this collection as much as I do because I want to see the eclectic mansion that Deadpool walks around inside his head.
Reason 3: This is about as adult as Deadpool can get.
God damn is the gore intense in this collection. Tony Moore draws the first portion of issues collected here and boy does he not hold back. We’re talking full page spreads of Deadpool being pierced by an elephant tusk with his intestines spewing out, or in another unnerving shot Deadpool smiling as his rib bones protrude through his back. There are some gnarly images in this book and it does not hold back with the comedic gore.
There’s also a great deal of sex jokes. They aren’t too overt, but if you have half a brain you’ll gather the point Duggan and Posehn are going for. Frankly, that’s a breath of fresh air for this character who in most cases is cartoon silly rather than adult in any way. If you dug the adult nature of the film rest assured this collection captures the crude nature of Deadpool in every way (potty humor included).
The flashback chapters, with their weathered paper look, are excellent.
It was teh
Reasons to be wary?
The humor doesn’t quite pick up and gain steam till the second half of the collection. I figure Duggan and Posehn were getting their legs under them early on and finally reach a full sprint in the second half. There’s certainly a lot of humor in the first half, but most of it is confined to a single panel or a visual gag you might miss (like FDR stealing a wheelchair from a child). Through much of the first half I smirked, but I never laughed out loud like I did while reading the second half.
Not so much a gripe as something I noticed some folks might not like, Deadpool never speaks to himself like he’s known to do. There’s a reason for that midway through, but even before that he’s basically crazy and only talking to the audience rather than speaking to himself like there are two people inside his head.
Is there a rationale to the reasons?
This is an excellent collection and it’s great news that Marvel is going to continue to print complete collections of Posehn and Duggan’s work. This first collection is not only hilarious, but the story matches the insanity of Deadpool himself. You will laugh, gasp, and read an excellent collection of Deadpool stories here.