Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Arc Review – Deadpool Corps

I’ve been a Deadpool fan for a long time. Long enough that the current Deadpool craze kind of fascinates and infuriates me. I remember telling anyone I knew who read comics at the time that they needed to be reading Cable & Deadpool because it was one of the best books on the stands and that by passing it by they were really missing out. And now that series is regarded as somewhat of a modern classic, with the issues being a little bit more expensive to pick up even before the Deadpool popularity boom and the original trade paperbacks damned near impossible to track down, at least down here in my neck of the woods. While that book was coming out, I was one of its biggest champions, espousing its virtue to every comic fan I knew. But the pervasive culture of comic collecting that centers itself around the importance of continuity and the so-called “big picture” left that book mostly ignored by the general readership of Marvel Comics.

Fast forward to today and that series is getting re-collected into trades, this time with Deadpool’s name taking top billing over Cable and the merc with a mouth has three monthly series going on at once, with one or two mini-series going on at the same time as well. When one ends another starts, so that might as well be another monthly as well. The point is that Marvel is definitely putting some effort into the Wade Wilson division of their publishing. The flagship eponymous title is pretty consistent. In many ways it feels like a spiritual parallel to the series from the nineties. Don’t believe me? Read a couple issues of the old series and then a few of the new series. There are striking similarities, and I’m not going to slam the book for not breaking new ground because it is still constantly entertaining which is the one thing I really look for in a Deadpool book. Deadpool TeamUp is the definition of hit or miss. The quality of that particular book is entirely dependent on both the writer and the guest star of the moment not completely sucking, and getting both to match up seems to be a bit of a problem. Usually only one or the other is on their game.

Then there’s Deadpool Corps, which turned me off before it even launched through the Prelude title which I thought was pretty much unreadable. I don’t know what it was that turned me off, aside from the fact that it just didn’t feel like Deadpool in my opinion. The tone seemed off and something about it left me feeling like the entire mini-series was a misstep. So I initially decided not to read the title that it spawned. I like Vic Gischler’s work, mostly. I don’t think he’s written much that I didn’t like, so I was sad that I didn’t get hooked in with DPC. I didn’t give it much thought after that, because I haven’t given any real thought to any book Rob Liefeld has been on since…well, I guess New Mutants. I know it’s easy to bag on Rob, but I won’t because some people think he’s a great artist. Some people dig his style. He’s supposedly a nice guy. All I know is that his art doesn’t speak to me on any level, and unlike his peers at the time he really hasn’t grown as an artist at all in the time since he rose to prominence. Just about everybody else who founded Image went on to improve leaps and bounds. Except Rob. Rob just stayed Rob. And if he can still move books, I suppose that’s fine. I still think that part of what sealed the deal for me not to pick up the book when it hit stands was his art. The mediocre lead-in was the crux of it, but the thought of forcing myself to stare at his artwork sure as hell didn’t help. If they’d had the art team from Merc With A Mouth or something, I might have been more easily persuaded to give it a try.

So cut to a few months later, I’m at Half Price Books over in Rice Village and I found the issues in the cheap-o bin and picked them up with the sole purpose of forcing myself to read through it and review it for the blog. I hesitated at first because I didn’t think I’d be able to really make any comments beyond the artwork. The thing is, I don’t have much to say about the artwork beyond the fact that it’s everything you would predict it would be. It’s not like you’re going to be surprised by anything anymore when it comes to Rob’s artwork. It simply exists. Do you want me to make a joke about feet? Too bad, it’s all been done and I’d rather focus on something else. I might point out that it looks like everybody’s facial skin has been stretched out around the skull and is slowly being pulled back toward a black hole where the nose should be, but there’s no joke there. Just a consistant oddity to the facial expressions of every character in the book.

But what about the story? What about the book on a whole? There’s more than just pictures to comic books, ya know. When it comes down to it, the book is mostly forgettable. There are some amusing gags here and there, like Lady Deadpool’s instistance that they name the unnamed galactic enemy they’re facing down “Frank” after an ex who she deemed equally destructive. Or the crew’s constant shuffling off of the Lobo-analog champion who keeps hounding them. But these are momentary diversions from the fact that the book is actually pretty dull for a bunch of Deadpools in space. Everything feels generic and uninspired. I feel like Gischler needs a harder edge to make his Deadpool work, as this has none of the gutteral power of Merc with a Mouth. I think that in trying to reach a more general audience and appeal to all the new folks who have latched onto Deadpool as their own, Gischler lost the edge that Deadpool needs.

It’s not the worst Deadpool book on the market. (I couldn’t stomach Wade Wilson’s War) but it doesn’t need to exist. Let Gischler write an arc on DeadpoolMAX where he can really work to his more twisted talent level, with an artist who can make those scenes come alive in vivid detail. Basically go back to what made Merc with a Mouth so damned funny. Because Deadpool needs to be hilarious or it’s just not Deadpool. I think sharing the spotlight among several Deadpools might be the problem. When it comes to Wade, you just need to remember one thing; There can be only one!

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