Deadpool is in desperation mode and the only way to fix his problem is to die. It makes this final run by Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne unique and important because for once Deadpool may actually get what he wants. For a character who can be turned into goo and come back again fine one has to imagine it’s an impossibility.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“COLD WAR RELICS,” Part Four The Dead Hand melts down as Vil and Ellis get closer to bringing about the end of the world.
Why does this matter?
Duggan’s long run on this series comes to an end in this collection and based on the cover you can see a lot of history Duggan (with Brian Posehn) created is going to be involved. Imagine this as a definitive last chapter in Duggan’s run, which is remarkable given the character’s powers and history. Most importantly, he succeeds.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This collection has a good plot serving up three different arcs in a larger story. The larger story is all about Deadpool attempting to kill himself for the violent act of killing Agent Coulson during Secret Empire and generally realizing he doesn’t help anyone he’s close to. His goal gives the collection a backbone, first revealing how Deadpool attempts to off himself via bad guys, then good guys, and then finally in his own way.
What’s most interesting about this collection is how Duggan writes Deadpool. He’s still funny and wacky, but there’s a morose nature to him. He’s depressed and not as silly as he is usually. You really get the sense he wants to die. The collection also lives up to the “despicable” title in a few different cases, both clever and hilarious. This may not be a laugh riot of a collection (unless you like puke jokes), but that’s not the point. Duggan goes out with this character in a memorable way because it calls back to the history he laid out and shows us a hero in desperate need of finishing a job he’s certain will bring the happy ending for everyone. Whether Deadpool is right about that or not, by the end you have to admit Duggan does a great job resetting a character for the next writer in a way that is earned and entertaining.
Hawthorne closes out this run with great art and a lot of that desperation in Deadpool comes through in his depiction of the poor bastard. Sight gags work well and the gore flies high at times, reminding us what type of book this is. The vomit thrown about isn’t too gross, though you get the point. There’s also fine detail in anatomy, like a panel of Deadpool pulling a guy by the lip, or when all his bones break after being hit by a car.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a collection to be read by those who have followed Duggan’s run. You can enjoy it enough if you haven’t, but you won’t get the stereotypical Deadpool silly humor nor will you truly understand how the last few pages play out. There are callbacks to previous issues and characters that will fly over your head. This is serial storytelling, so it’s your own fault for not picking up previous collections.
My only big gripe with this book is how Deadpool seems off, but that’s by design. His quips aren’t as enjoyable when he’s also thinking about how awful he is, which can make the journey somewhat sad.
Is it good?
A fitting end to one of the greatest runs on a superhero in recent memory. Duggan wrote a lot of Deadpool comics and you can tell by reading this he put a lot of thought into how he’d go out. It’s the sort of ending every writer covets because it closes out a lot of what Duggan created on his own terms.