Panels From Beyond the Grave #27

Guess who's back?  Bob!  That's right, kids...part-time Random Reviews contributor Bob Ignizio returns to help out in the comic book department.  Personally, I'm not terribly familiar with Deadpool, but cripes golly, that cover is badass!  I may have to pick up a copy.  As always, I will advise you to click HERE to check out Bob's movie-oriented website.  Take it away, daddy-o!

DEADPOOL (#1, November 2012)

Deadpool is one of those comic book characters that I never really bothered with in the past. I read a few issues of Daniel Way's run of the character and thought they were okay, but even with having access to the series for free at my local library, I didn't bother sticking with it. Before all you fans jump down my throat, I'm not saying the book was bad; it just didn't grab me personally. However, when I heard that comedians Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan would be writing the first issue of Deadpool for its "Marvel Now" relaunch (with original Walking Dead artist Tony Moore handling the illustrations), I figured I'd give the book another chance. As it turns out, I'm reasonably glad I did.

No familiarity with Deadpool's previous exploits is necessary to jump right in with Deadpool #1. Duggan, Posehn and Moore follow the old axiom of "show - don't tell," laying out the basic premise of the “merc with a mouth” in a sequence teaming Deadpool (a.k.a. Wade Wilson) with Thor to dispatch some hapless Godzilla wannabe in gleefully gory fashion. With just a few panels, you get an understanding of Deadpool's personality (smart ass), powers (healing factor) and weaknesses (permanently disfigured and slightly insane), as well as where he stands in the larger Marvel universe (not exactly Mr. Popular) without a single panel wasted on bland exposition. That's how it should be with a first issue starring an already established character.

The story proper concerns a necromancer unhappy with the current state of America who decides to resurrect all the dead presidents, which sounds almost rational compared to some of the things Republicans have been saying and doing since Mitt Romney lost the election. Anyway, Captain America is on the scene and manages to take out zombie Harry S. Truman, but it's decided that it just doesn't look good having America's most patriotic superhero decapitating her former leaders. The job of putting the undead presidents back in the ground needs to go to someone not directly connected to the government, someone whose actions can be plausibly disavowed when things get ugly. Someone like Deadpool.

Deadpool is a character who has always walked a fine line between comedy and more straight-forward comic book action, with the character especially known for his habit of “breaking the fourth wall” and addressing the reader directly. The issues by Daniel Way that I read tended to tilt more to the latter than the former. Duggan and Posehn, as their background in comedy would indicate, take the opposite approach. The general tone here is like an early Peter Jackson film or maybe something from Troma if Troma had budgets and decent scripts (in other words, there's a lot of violent, tasteless humor).

Moore's artwork further accentuates that approach by utilizing a more overtly cartoony style than generally found in mainstream superhero books. It all adds up to a fun, if not exactly essential, read. Basically if you're looking for a comic book that offers superhero action, laughs and gross-outs in about equal measures (and you've already read Garth Ennis's far superior and more overtly satirical The Boys, which recently came to an end), Deadpool #1 is worth checking out.

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