So far, Marvel’s You Are Deadpool has stood out as one of the company’s most innovative series of the last decade, if not of all time. Al Ewing writes the series, Guru -eFX colors, VC’s Joe Sabino letters, and there have been multiple artists. For You Are Deadpool #3, Salva Espin returns after having drawn the debut issue. After last week’s romp through the ’60s, this issue tackles the ’70s. With references aplenty to Marvel stories of that era, we get to see Man-Thing, Ghost Rider, and…the Grasshopper?! This issue has plenty of love for the characters of yesteryear, but is it good?
Part of what makes this choose-your-own-adventure series successful is the large amount of choices available. The creative team packs a surprising amount of content into every single issue. The reading experience is even more enjoyable in issue #3 than it was in previous installments because one can go through a larger amount of story paths in each sitting before having to start over. This is accomplished by tying six broad plots into each read-through, with the order of reading and the outcomes of smaller paths up to the reader. I appreciate how each individual read-through is lengthened as a result, so that one doesn’t work their way to an ending within five minutes.
Fortunately, the contents of the lengthened stories are enjoyable. Ewing includes nods to obscure Marvel history in all of his comics, and this issue is no exception. There are references to plots that I had never even heard of before, such as the time Jesus Christ appeared in a ’70s Ghost Rider issue. Man-Thing also stars in an enjoyable story route that plays with the nature of his fear-burning powers. My favorite obscure callback in this issue is a two-in-one reference to both the Great Lakes Avengers’ Grasshopper and Captain America’s stint as Nomad. I’m a big GLA fan, so You Are Deadpool’s frequent Grasshopper references are perhaps my favorite detail in the series.
As I previously mentioned, Silva is back on line-art, for which I am thankful. The art in issue #2 wasn’t bad, but it didn’t contribute as successfully to comedic moments as Silva’s work does. Guru and Sabino also contribute to the issue’s success with strong work. I don’t have any major qualms with this issue; most of its weaker moments are just good as opposed to great. The Nick Fury subplot, for instance, could have been more successful had it received more page-time. There are also a few predictable jokes throughout the issue that break up the otherwise witty and unexpected humor. The only downright boring part of the issue is a plot line referencing violent ’70s British comics. This segment lacks strong laughs, and none of its characters are memorable.
Overall, You Are Deadpool #3 is a return to the high quality of the series’ first issue. The artwork is solid, the narrative structure is impressive, and the ’70s Marvel references are as funny as they are obscure. While some scenes suffer from a comparative lack of laughs, no portion of this issue is downright bad. I would recommend this issue to both Deadpool fans and hardcore continuity aficionados.