Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not At All Impressed: Blocky Animation And Lame Wisecracks Characterize Deadpool Classic - Volume 2

The Good: Moments of humor, Ends well with the Daredevil/Typhoid Mary plot
The Bad: Drawing style, Lack of genuine character development, Annoying repetitive feel.
The Basics: Deadpool Classic - Volume 2 is a series of misadventures wherein the mercenaric Deadpool attempts to reform, but ends up getting violent in several different locales.

For those unfamiliar with my reviews, every year, I pick a new-to-me graphic novel series to immerse myself in to better learn about the genre and the cultural mythos surrounding super heroes. This year, I have gotten off to an admittedly slow start with my Daredevil Year and I am only just now getting back on track with it. So far, I have only managed to get in and read Guardian Devil (reviewed here!) and The Essential Daredevil Volume 1 (reviewed here!). So, it might seem strange that my next exploration for my Daredevil Year is Deadpool Classic - Volume 2. And yet, when I tried to get in all my local library could of Daredevil, this is a volume that came up, arguably because of the final story in the anthology.

Deadpool is not a character I had any particular interest in or any extensive knowledge of before I sat down to read Deadpool Classic - Volume 2. In fact, all of my information about him came from the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine where Deadpool and Wade Wilson had a supporting role. Had I known at the outset how little interest I would end up having in Deadpool, I probably would have let this volume slip past in my Daredevil Year.

More than most trade paperback anthologies that I have read of late, Deadpool Classic - Volume 2 feels like exactly what it is, an anthology of comic books. This book is a collection of Deadpool comics from 1997 - issues 2 through 8 with the special -1 issue and the Daredevil/Deadpool Annual from 1997 thrown in as well. The book is mildly serialized, but cuts in and out and there are portions missing from some of the more interesting stories, most notably the Typhoid Mary storyline.

My formal introduction to Deadpool came in the first story in the volume which has Deadpool stalking Siryn before being forced to rescue Weasel, his one friend in the world, from the Taskmaster. The Taskmaster proves to be a pretty witless adversary and soon Deadpool is whisking around the globe with Siryn and Doctor Killbrew to solve the mystery of why Deadpool's healing factor has not kicked in to regrow his amputated middle finger. Dr. Killbrew tells Deadpool a pretty convincing story; that he is losing his abilities and even if the degeneration of Deadpool's body can be stopped, it would not stop the cancer that had once been killing the mercenary from ravaging his body again.

Dr. Killbrew's solution to Deadpool's health problems is to expose Deadpool to the blood of someone who has also been bombarded with Gamma radation, so Deadpool has a pretty serious fight with Hulk on a secluded island. The fight allows Deadpool to survive, but it puts him in a position where he has the chance to get revenge on Dr. Killbrew, the scientist who tormented and created him. The conflict reaches a peak which forces Deadpool to decide between revenge and love when Siryn refuses to leave him to his revenge killing.

From there, a flashback occurs while Deadpool's origins are explored. While a doctor attempts to make sure Deadpool stays eligible for the Weapon X program, she learns about Wade Wilson's romantic past. The book culminates in a series of deadly encounters wherein Deadpool rescues Mary from an insane asylum only to discover that she set out bounties both for her rescue and her own assassination. In throwing her out a window, Deadpool eliminates her disparate personalities and leaves only Typhoid Mary in place. The bounty hunter then accompanies the villain on her killing spree whose main target is Daredevil!

The main problems with Daredevil Classic - Volume 2 is that the stories do not seem to go anywhere and the protagonist is not a terribly compelling one. Deadpool is the classic antihero in search of redemption, but his story is pretty fragmented and it is supported by a series of lousy villains. The Taskmaster is a particularly lame villain whose methods are easily understood and, thus, easy for Deadpool to overcome. Similarly, one of Deadpool's regular antagonists in his mercenary club is T-Ray a villain with no particular powers or skills other than bearing the brunt of Deadpool's anger.

Beyond that, the book has Wade Wilson making one long string of particularly lame wisecracks and while it might have worked in small doses with Ryan Reynolds in the movies, it quickly gets old in the pages of this book. Add to that, the artwork is almost homogeneously bad. While the colors are bold and vibrant, the pencils are blockish and the panels feature almost no movement. The book has a very strong sense of being exactly what it is, a comic book. There is a static sense to the artwork which is stifling; the panels feel like looking at photographs, as opposed to frames in a film and the result is the fights are boring and often fragmented and the verbal nature of Wade Wilson often overwhelms the panels.

In the anthology form, Deadpool Classic - Volume 2 features a cover gallery and a translated page for readers. There is, unfortunately, nothing particularly compelling in this story and, ironically, the biggest character moments come for Daredevil, not Deadpool. While the climax of the book is interesting, it is hardly enough to justify the listless nature of the rest of the volume.

For other graphic novel reviews, please check out:
Brightest Day Volume 1
Final Crisis
Jesus Hates Zombies Featuring Lincoln Hates Werewolves Volume 1


For other graphic novel and book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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