What happens when the two greatest zinger slingers in the Marvel Universe team up? If you said slapstick hilarity wish a dash of murder and mayhem, you’d be talking about the craziest masked team-up in Marvel history, Spider-Man and Deadpool. Their fourth collected volume covers two stories, both hilarious and destructive in their own way. Strap in kids, this team-up is a rocket.
Can we have a full book of gentlemanly banter between Spider-Man and Deadpool while they sit in armchairs sipping brandy? Each issue in this volume starts that way and, while not the best part of the books, would certainly make for excellent reading material or a new Netlflix series.
The first half of the volume reintroduces audiences to the only villain who could possibly top a Spider-Man/Deadpool team-up in ridiculousness, the horrible harlequin, Slapstick. Both the eclectic electroplastic clown and our two heroes have been hired to find negatives in the Daily Bugle archives that might show the last moments of the life of one Ferraro Colon, husband of real estate mogul Valeria Colon, who was killed during Spider-Man’s first fight with Vulture. Honestly, the story part doesn’t really matter. It’s all a backdrop for Wade & Peter trying to not crack wise while fighting an immortal-ish clown creature with no genitalia. Worth every penny.
Doing away with Slapstick, the second story arc seems to return a bit to formula. Spider-Man wakes up in Murderworld, a twisted game show run by the murderous Arcade. Arcade invites Deadpool over for tea, hoping that the merc will take over for him running the game when he passes on from the cancer or looking like a mix between Jackie Earle Haley from Preacher and a tiny Lex Luthor clone. Spider-Man is tossed into the game with a number of selfish louts and a little girl and tries valiantly to save them all. Arcade’s final tricks are saved for last when he shows the duo exactly what his latest upgrades can do.
The comic is exactly what it needs to be. It’s funny, fast-paced, and light on the deep thinking. The art on Slapstick by Will Robson in particular is pitch-perfect and the writing by both Joshua Corin and Elliott Kalan catches the heroes at their best. With no real long-term implications, this series is free to continue to do what it does best: deliver the funny action with a minimum of actual consequences.