In an earlier review of Uncanny X-Force's "Final Execution," I praised Rick Remender's serious take on Deadpool who was trying to improve himself as a person. At the same time, I lamented that Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan did not appear to be going in that direction in the Marvel NOW relaunch. He was seemingly being played for laughs and absurdity with only a handful of attempts to develop Wade's dramatic undertones.
How wrong I was.
The story that involves Cap, Logan and Wade has a lot of depth and man is it disturbing at times. The Weapon Plus trio is abducted and taken to North Korea - Deadpool for genetic experimenting, and Cap and Wolverine as "insurance" because Wade had told them that he was being tailed. It's there that Deadpool learns they've been crafting a series of half-clones meant to take over the world, splicing his DNA with that of other mutants. And it gets worse. Much worse. Deadpool walks away from the experience with emotional scars to match his deformed exterior. Hard to believe this can be so bleak when it's co-written by a comedian.
Which I suppose is as good a time to mention that parts of this book are really ****ing funny.
The path to Wade's tragedy begins much like the story of "Soul Hunter," as the writers pretend they had to dig into the drawer for a previously-unpublished story to fill time when they are in reality introducing elements of the new arc. The editor cheekily points that out, in fact. This time the clock is turned back to the 1970s for a Deadpool team-up with exploitation-era Power Man and Iron Fist. Their villain is an evil, Mandarin-enhanced pimp with colourless skin. His name? "The White Man." I don't think I need to tell you anything more. While the funniest issue comes off the top, the biggest laugh for me takes place in the present. The punchline as Deadpool visits Wolverine at Avengers Mansion is perfect sit-com material. If you keep up with outside stories, it's really funny. If you don't, then it's probably even funnier.
This is the best Deadpool story I've read to date, if you don't count his time in Uncanny X-Force. But I'm about to dip into Joe Kelly's seminal run that made Wade what he is, so we'll see if that status lasts long.