He’s been an X-Man, an Avenger, the King of Monsters (no really!) but this winter the Merc with the Mouth is going to play “host” to a whole new level of “carnage.” When Wade gets hired to assassinate a high-profile villain, whose moniker rhymes with Rock Chalk, he finds himself the unwitting captive of a lesser-known but far more alluring villain called the Harrower, with designs on exploiting Wade’s regenerative abilities. You could probably guess where this is going, despite my very subtle hints.
While this is not exactly groundbreaking in terms of Deadpool stories, it features a level of fun that is not always easy to capture. Writer Alyssa Wong takes what could have been a fairly straightforward story and shreds the narrative into a nonlinear format that immediately recalls the character’s first film outing. It’s a smart approach that allows for a plenty of expository narration and flashbacks while keeping a steady pace. Wong has a great handle on Deadpool’s voice and manages to fire jokes at a rapid pace without ever going overboard.
Likewise, Harrower is an intriguing addition to Deadpool’s cast, whose motivations paint her as a more sadistic Poison Ivy, but with magical abilities? She’s a little all over the place but definitely makes for a good villain. In addition, we are introduced to a whole new cabal of villain types with the Atelier, the mysterious group that hires our hero, as well as a potential new love interest. While their page-time is limited, one can expect these characters to play a larger role as the arc moves forward.
The artistic team absolutely delivers on this new volume’s exciting premise. Artist Martin Coccolo depicts the title character at his most Deadpooliest(?) with a design that is equally modern and classic. Along with color artist Neeraj Menon, the team seems to channel classic takes on the character, with certain scenes designed as apparent homages to the work of past DP artists Ed McGuinness and Rob Liefeld. There are a few moments during the issue’s big action scene where the sequence of events isn’t always clear, such as Deadpool being eaten in one panel and emerging unscathed in the next but these hiccups fail to lessen the enjoyment of the book.
With tongue firmly planted in-cheek, Wong and co deliver a strong start to what could be a very compelling new volume of Deadpool and his ongoing adventures. While it’s too soon to tell where this story fares when compared to legendary runs by Joe Kelley, Daniel Way, and even the more recent series by Kelly Thompson, it’s fair to say our villainous hero is in very good hands.