Even when this series misfires, it still hits its target.
Cullen Bunn and Mark Bagley’s Deadpool: Assassin has been a hit for the merc with the mouth, even eclipsing the main ongoing Deadpool in terms of comedic effect and overall quality. It should come as no surprise, with Cullen Bunn being one of the more prolific Deadpool writers of all time — he’s spent his fair share of time in Wade Wilson’s head. Deadpool: Assassin #3 may be the weakest of the series thus far, but that’s more a testament to the first two issues than a detriment to this release. It’s still a funny, bloody, and ridiculous romp through New Orleans — however, the jokes just don’t land as often and the fights aren’t as tightly paced.
This series has been so hilarious thus far that an issue causing laughter in only two-thirds of its jokes somehow feels like a misstep. Deadpool: Assassin #3 is the least funny of the first three books, but it is no way an un-funny issue. There’s still more than a handful of hilarious one liners, funny imagery, and trademark irreverent humor Deadpool is famous for to make readers laugh six or seven times. The jokes may land slightly less frequently this week, but when they’re on target they’re as funny as ever.
Like the comedic attempts in the dialogue, this issue’s art feels slightly off from what readers may have gotten used to in issues #1 and #2. There are still more great panels than bad panels, but it’s the first issue in the series that the action scenes felt hard to track. The individual panels are still great, but I found it tricky to piece them together and imagine them as a fluid motion in my head. I also didn’t enjoy Threnody’s appearance whatsoever — it felt ripped straight from a ’90s comic. This makes sense, since both Threnody and Deadpool are ’90s characters, but Threnody’s appearance has not been updated whatsoever, making her look out of place in a 2018 comic.
Otherwise, the art is great as ever. Once again, Mark Bagely expertly captures a sense of speed and intensity in the fight scenes without making them feel too chaotic. The individual panels feature some moments that range from brutal, to gory, to hilarious. One page in particular blends all those elements together in one of the better single pages I’ve seen in the last few months, as Deadpool maims a group off assassin’s to the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
This issue’s lone fourth wall break is the first in this series that felt forced. In the first two issues, Deadpool only broke the fourth wall to give vital plot details or contextualize the story. In this instance, however, Deadpool simply laments to the reader in a way reminiscent of the long winded narrations of pre-modern era comics. This fourth wall break just felt unnecessary and sadly gimmicky; like it was only there because this is a Deadpool comic so there has to be a fourth wall break. It happens early enough in the book to not derail the pacing, but it just feels like a Deadpool cliche in action.
A series is really kicking ass when an issue as strong as Deadpool: Assassin #3 somehow feels like a step down from previous issues. Cullen Bunn and Mark Bagley are producing the best Deadpool book on shelves right now, even when they miss the mark a bit. Deadpool: Assassin #3 may not be as tightly drawn or hysterical as the first two issues, but it is still a good read packed with plenty of laughs and glorious, gory action scenes.