Monday, July 15, 2013

Review # 21: "Deadpool: Dead Presidents"

Deadpool's popularity is an unlikely success story. Invented by Rob Liefeld (with patches galore and very few shots of his feet! Derp), Wade Wilson didn't hit his stride until Joe Kelly took the character over in his solo series. Constantly faced with the prospect of cancellation (which did happen,) Kelly really went for it, using the situation as a carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. Deadpool broke the fourth wall, had dueling description boxes and relentlessly mocked Marvel's own properties. Still waiting patiently for a Joe Kelly omnibus (which - announced last week - will be out in the new year,) I'd been a little reluctant to dip into the pool, pun intended. I picked up the Liefeld-drawn "Deadpool Corps" on a whim which was less than stellar and have been back to playing the waiting game ever since, except for the brief time I played "Hungry Hungry Hippos."

Here's why I've been careful: while Deadpool was great in "Messiah War" and used incredibly well by Rick Remender in "Uncanny X-Force," there's a reason for that: he was not at front-and-centre. Nowadays Deadpool is best in small doses, and since the title's no longer innovative I feel like each purchase of his exploits needs to be a calculated risk.

If there was ever a time for a calculated risk, though, it's at the start of Marvel NOW. With Daniel Way stepping aside, a new creative team of Gerry Duggan and comedian Brian Posehn takes over. Posehn's name may not be recognizable, but he's a total "Oh, right! THAT guy!" if you do an image search. Hiring a legitimate comedian to write Deadpool is a masterstroke. All it needs is a hook.

And Deadpool dressing in drag as Marilyn Monroe to kill an undead JFK IS that hook.

A misguided necromancer disgusted with what America has become decides to resurrect all of the dead presidents. There's just one problem: none of their humanity came back with them. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. can't have Captain America duking it out with Thomas Jefferson, they hire Wade Wilson to do their dirty work. Wade jumps into his new role, fighting a wheelchair-bound FDR in the streets, a bathtub-ridden Taft, a nuke-happy Ronald Reagan in space and Abraham Lincoln in a cage. All of the dead presidents meet a humourous end (Gerald Ford's demise is particularly brilliant) and there is a tinge of irony to the entire event as Deadpool heavily professes that he's Canadian (which is up for debate.)

It's laugh-a-minute stuff without degenerating too far into getting cheap which this series has been wont to do in the past. There isn't exactly anything in the way of depth, but if you're looking for that in a Deadpool comic then you're barking up the wrong bush.

(That would be a great play on words to close out on if George H.W. or George W. was dead. But they aren't.)


Rating: 7/10

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