Thursday, November 22, 2012

What I Am Reading: Deadpool #1

Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, and Tony Moore

I have a long history with Deadpool.  Between his first appearances in X-Force, through Joe Kelly's legendary solo series up to Fabian Nicieza's Cable & Deadpool buddy book, I've got a lot of Deadpool comics.  Pretty soon after the Cable & Deadpool series ended, Deadpool's popularity exploded, due mostly to his appearance in video games and his introduction to a new generation of nerds who aren't saddled with the prejudice toward Rob Liefeld and general 90's excess characters.  This resulted in a deluge of mediocre or terrible Deadpool comics with no clear purpose or ambition all tying in to the new Deadpool series written by Daniel Way.  I'll just say I'm not a fan of Way's writing and leave it at that.  So, it's been a few years since I've read a Deadpool book.

Well, the wheels have turned and it's now time for a new Deadpool series under Marvel's new reader friendly banner Marvel Now!  The new series is written by comedians Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan.  It's penciled and inked by Tony Moore and colored by Val Staples.

I'm a fan of Posehn's comedy and I'm a huge fan of Tony Moore, so this comic seemed like a safe bet, and it was pretty safe.  The comic was okay.  There wasn't anything offensively bad about the comic, but a lot of the jokes fell flat.  Stronger pacing would have helped this comic a lot.  A lot of the pages had a real stilted flow and suffered from too many panels trying to have punchlines in them.  There wasn't a strong sense of storytelling going on, just a lot of random panels with puns and one liners.   So, I was pretty disappointed with that. 

The story, which involves all of America's dead presidents being brought back to life so that they can destroy, and subsequently rebuild, the country is pretty solid.  Undead Presidents makes for a good visual, and there's plenty of room for comedy involving Deadpool shooting up historical icons. 

Regardless of the weak pacing, the comic looks fantastic.  Moore's cartooning is really strong and he works really well in Deadpool's world.  Harking back to his work on The Walking Dead and The Exterminators, Moore draws a gruesome, bloody, and disgusting Deadpool.  In fact, Deadpool spends most of the issue with his mask off, laughing and joking about his scarred face.  I don't like that modern Deadpool is so gleefully happy to show off his ugly mug, but I guess it's all part of making the character more likable in the vein of Han shooting first or the Hulk never killing civilians.

What I found to be most obtrusive to the reading experience was Marvel's convoluted branding.  It's called Marvel Now! and most all of Marvel's books are relaunching with new #1's with a Marvel Now! logo slapped at the top of the book.  That's fine.  But then, at the bottom of the page, there's another logo proudly proclaiming "Join the ReEvolution".  Next to that is a little "AR" logo and the issue number.  I don't see the purpose of the ReEvolution rally cry or understand what it's supposed to even mean.  ReEvolution implies that it's some kind of reboot, but People at Marvel have gone out of their way to explain that Marvel Now! is not a reboot and is just a convenient jumping on point for new readers.  

Even more confusing is the "AR" logo.  Not only does the "AR" logo appear on the cover next to the numbering, but it is also mysteriously stamped onto the corners of five separate, seemingly random panels inside the comic.  I'm so baffled as to the meaning of the "AR" logo and it's appearance inside the book that I'm left to assume it has some kind of obvious meaning that I'm incapable of seeing.  Needless to say, it took me out of the reading experience.

For being a book designed specifically for new readers, it has the most convoluted and clumsy marketing and branding.  It's a mess.

The last page of the comic is a letter to the readers from the character Deadpool, himself.  There's been a lot of hubub lately about creators rights and a creators place inside the corporate comic system.  This letter seemed like another tool used by Marvel to further separate their intellectual property from the people hired to work on it.  The letter makes it pretty clear, the writers and artists are not working on the character, they are working FOR the character.  Though I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with it, I don't find it appealing.

I might take a look at future issues of this book, though I won't be high on my priorities. 

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