Irreconcilable Differences: a “Deadpool” #18 (Review)

deadpool-18-1-600x911Deadpool #18
Marvel

Writer: Gerry Duggan
Pencilers: Mike Hawthorne & Brian Level
Inker: Terry Pallot
Colorists: Jordie Bellaire & Rachelle Rosenberg

Deadpool #18 continues the ongoing trend of being a Marvel book branded as being part of Civil War II, but only touches on the ongoing event via a small number of references in dialog or monologue inside the covers. Regardless, this issue maintains the less schizophrenic-than-normal Deadpool charm that won the series a spot on my recurring pull-list. I like this take, where Deadpool is not solely about bombastic, bawdy escapades, but includes other elements of being an adventurer into the story lines. In this issue, Duggan takes us down the somber, melancholy lane of self-pity. And it works. Oh, but so incredibly well.

Duggan has certainly taken this version of Deadpool and rendered him into a character that I actually like. Again, I point to a world wherein Deadpool is on my recurring monthly pull-list. The loud, boisterous, ridiculously over-the-top DP…I usually cannot stand that for more than 2 or 3 pages. When you write a book where he is like that all of the time…it’s boring, and that’s when I become disinterested and check out. But Duggan is doing a great job of swinging the series about from one theme and pattern to the next. Refreshing.

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The art here is fine. But it does not give me the same degree of spark that I get when commenting on the story. TheĀ  team of Hawthorne and Level do an excellent job in the fight choreography.deadpool-18-5-600x911 It is a tough bit of work, as the marital spat between Deadpool and his demon-wife stretches across several different locales throughout New York City. It is basically a Hulk-sized fight in terms of scale and distance, and it could have easily been a disjointed bit of storytelling, but these guys get it right. My only gripe on the fight is that Deadpool seems to use the two-footed double-kick too frequently so that the fight felt repetitive in just that one sequence.

The best panels in the book are the ones featuring the MadCap side-story, which is a few pages of him waging murderous mayhem in some office building. I suspect this is where the work-load split occurred, that maybe Level did that art, and Hawthorne did the rest, because the pencils seem to be stylistically different than the rest of the book.

deadpool-2015-018-008My biggest detraction from the art is that faces are inconsistent from panel-to-panel. Often the characters look different enough that they seem like two different people, especially Rogue and Deadpool’s wife. At one point, Shiklah’s face becomes so contorted…it is way over the top in its effort to communicate her em emotion at the time and I was confused as to whether or not it was intentional or a misstep. The best panel in the book is a full-page portrait of Deadpool on top of the old Unity Squad HQ, now mostly rubble, standing on a small sliver of rooftop that is still together, lamenting the current state of his life. Bellaire’s colors are perfect as always.

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Duggan weaves an excellent tale here, scripting Deadpool into less of a caricature and more so humanizing him than other writers have. The scenes with ‘Pool and Rogue are excellent, Deadpool revealing his daughter to Rogue and asking her to look out for the kid should something ever happen to him. The book’s high points are mostly in these quiet scenes between the two. I have rarely even liked a Deadpool comic, much less been left fiending for the next issue. Keep it up, guys, this is great stuff!

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