Monday, May 26, 2008


DEADPOOL #1 – August 1994

If Looks Could Kill!
Credits: Mark Waid (writer), Ian Churchill (penciler), Jason Minor (inks), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering), Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas (colors)

Juggernaut breaks Black Tom out of a prison hospital, taking Dr. Killebrew, the specialist sent to treat Tom, with him. Weeks later, Deadpool is drinking in a bar when a group of armed men attacks him. Deadpool’s healing powers don’t respond as fast as usual, but he’s still able to defend himself until the mercenaries use a freezing device against him. Banshee suddenly appears, using his sonic powers to free Deadpool. They team up against the mercenaries, but Banshee lets one of them go free. Siryn enters and stops the fleeing mercenary, unaware of her father’s plan to trail him and find Black Tom. Deadpool explains to the pair that Black Tom must want him dead after their previous run-in. Siryn agrees to stay with Deadpool while Banshee contacts his Interpol sources. One of the armed men re-appears and has a sword fight with Deadpool. Deadpool guts the man, but not before his own hand is cut off. Deadpool expects his hand to grow back, but instead he passes out.

Continuity Notes
This issue establishes that Banshee and Deadpool have a history together. Deadpool says that Banshee owes him for the “Farouk affair”. This is also the first time Deadpool and Siryn meet, which sets up an unrequited romance that continued in X-Force and the Deadpool regular series.

Approved By The Comics Code Authority
Deadpool stabs someone through the stomach, and then realizes that his hand has been chopped off.

I Love the ‘90s
Deadpool remarks that he’s “too much Nancy, not enough Tonya”. Other outdated pop culture references in this issue include references to L. A. Law’s cancelation, the David Copperfield/Claudia Schiffer romance, and Phil Donahue’s old talk show.

I guess the first Deadpool mini was pretty successful, since he gets a second shot before even Gambit or Sabretooth do. This is an early Marvel job from Mark Waid (maybe his first ever?), even though he was already building his profile at DC. Deadpool doesn’t seem like an ideal fit for a Silver Age revivalist like Waid, but his ability to write non-stop, snappy dialogue suits the character, and it’s probably a major reason why he was chosen for the job. The plot is mainly just setting up the story while leaving room open for some action scenes. The dialogue is usually clever, but I wouldn’t say any of it is laugh-out-loud funny. Ian Churchill continues with his McFarlane-influenced style, which alternates between “tolerable” and “boy, that’s some screwed up anatomy”.

DEADPOOL #2 – September 1994

Luck of the Irish
Credits: Mark Waid (writer), Ian Churchill & Lee Weeks (pencilers), Minor/McLeod/LaRosa (inkers), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering), Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas (colors)

Banshee flashes back to his first meeting with Deadpool. Banshee and fellow Interpol agent Daniel Peyer attempt to arrest a mobster named Almadovar, but Deadpool suddenly appears and kills him. Deadpool tells Banshee that Almadover was about to shoot him, so Banshee owes him his life. In the present, Banshee meets with Peyer, asking for any information Interpol has on Black Tom. Peyer still believes that Deadpool’s interference ruined his career at Interpol. Meanwhile, Black Tom is distressed to learn that Siryn has gotten involved. He orders his men to remove Siryn from the battle and make sure she isn’t harmed. Convinced that Deadpool is the key to curing him of his viral condition, Tom sends Juggernaut to kidnap him. Back in New York, Deadpool wakes up to discover that his hand still hasn’t regenerated. He concentrates and forces his hand to finally grow back. Tom’s men reappear and try to take Siryn away from the battle before Juggernaut arrives, but Deadpool stops them. When Juggernaut does appear, Siryn and Deadpool try to stop him by leading him to a knife manufacturing plant, where they drop blades and molten liquid on him. Their plan doesn’t work, and as they run from Juggernaut, they’re confronted by Peyer and dozens of armed men.

Continuity Note
The flashback establishes that one of Almadovar’s gangland rivals out to kill him is Amahl Farouk. Farouk was an identity of the Shadow King for years. This is presumably the “Farouk affair” referenced last issue, but since Farouk isn’t directly involved with any of this, Almadovar is, it’s odd that Deadpool would have called it that. Maybe Amahl Farouk was originally supposed to play a larger role and someone changed their mind in-between issues.

The plot doesn’t advance an awful lot, but it’s still pretty enjoyable. Just like the first Deadpool miniseries, the story sidesteps Deadpool’s role as a criminal by casting him as the target of another villain. The first mini didn’t introduce the idea that Deadpool might be capable of reforming until the final issue, and so far this series hasn’t gotten into that area at all. Waid has a firm handle on the main characters, and does a nice job with Black Tom’s relationships with Siryn and Juggernaut. He also emphasizes Banshee’s concern for Tom, which is consistent with his previous appearances. Keeping the characterizations and relationships consistent helps to make this feel more like an actual story and not just a shameless exploitation of the X-brand. Lee Weeks draws the opening flashback, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I preferred Churchill to Weeks when I first bought this comic. In my defense, Weeks’ rendition of Deadpool in the splash page really isn’t up to his usual standards (although the rest of his work is fine).

DEADPOOL #3 – October 1994

Deadpool Sandwich
Credits: Mark Waid (writer), Ian Churchill & Ken Lashley (pencilers), Bud LaRosa (inker), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering), Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas (colors)

Daniel Peyer and his men are disrupted by a rampaging Juggernaut. Deadpool and Siryn escape to the rafters, but Juggernaut finds them. As he advances towards Deadpool, he explains that Black Tom needs Deadpool to cure him of the viral infection that is turning his body into wood. When Siryn hears this, she considers letting Juggernaut take Deadpool, but finally decides to save him. Inside Peyer’s office, Banshee discovers that Peyer already had the info he needed and that he’s left to get revenge on Deadpool. Siryn and Deadpool talk and grow closer while Deadpool tries to recover from his wounds. Peyer returns with his men and continues the fight. Banshee saves Peyer after Deadpool knocks him off a rooftop, and then leaves to find Black Tom. After hesitating, Deadpool finally agrees to join Siryn and follow Banshee. Meanwhile, one of Black Tom’s men brings him Deadpool’s severed hand. Dr. Killebrew explains his plan to graft Deadpool’s regenerative cells to Tom’s degenerative limbs in order to stop the infection. Tom cuts off his own hand and forces the doctor to attach Deadpool’s.

Creative Differences
The scene towards the end where Banshee saves Peyer and Deadpool agrees to follow Siryn is obviously not computer lettered, and it isn't in Starkings’ personal style either. I don’t know if this was the result of an editorial rewrite or some problems with Comicraft (the only noticeable disconnect would be Banshee given Deadpool’s unique balloon style for one panel).

For the first time, the mini briefly introduces the idea that Deadpool might be able to change. Siryn tells him that he’s “not the rogue” people make him out to be, based on the way he’s looked out for her. This is a bit of a stretch, considering that she’s held her own so far and is actually the one protecting Deadpool at this point. Plus, she’s witnessed him kill several people so far, which presumably wouldn’t endear himself to her that much. There’s really no implication that she’s actually attracted to him, but even building a friendship out of this seems forced to me. At any rate, this isn’t much different from the other issues. Lots of fighting and running around with a couple of amusing wisecracks.

DEADPOOL #4 – November 1994

Mano @ Mano
Credits: Mark Waid (writer), Ian Churchill & Ken Lashley (pencilers), Bud LaRosa & Tom Wegryzn with Philip Moy & W.C. Carani (inkers), Starkings/Comicraft (lettering), Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas (colors)

Deadpool, Banshee, and Siryn track Black Tom to his secret headquarters. After splitting up, Tom attacks Banshee and Siryn, while Deadpool finds Dr. Killebrew. Deadpool recognizes the doctor because Killebrew was the man responsible for developing his regenerative process. He demands that Killebrew fix his waning healing factor, but has to leave him in order to save Siryn and Banshee from Black Tom. After Deadpool leads Tom to the roof, Daniel Peyer suddenly appears. Deadpool encourages Peyer to leave him alone and go after Black Tom, which leads to Tom blasting Peyer in the face. Juggernaut then arrives and attacks Deadpool. During the fight, Deadpool loses his mask, causing him to act erratically. Siryn destroys the roof under Juggernaut and returns the mask to Deadpool. Black Tom confronts Killebrew about the operation, which has left him near death. Deadpool has an opportunity to kill Tom, but doesn’t take it. He convinces Juggernaut to stop the fight so that Killebrew can save Tom’s life. Killebrew sets up a device to stabilize Tom’s condition while Banshee returns him to jail. Deadpool escapes with Killebrew, who promises to restore his healing factor. Deadpool says goodbye to Siryn, as an injured Daniel Peyer watches and plans his revenge.

I Love the ‘90s
Deadpool tells Siryn that they’re “a regular Michael and Lisa Marie”.

Unfortunately, this is the weakest issue of the miniseries. The Juggernaut chases are getting tedious by now, and new plot elements like Black Tom’s reaction to the surgery aren’t very clear (what exactly is supposed to be wrong with him?). Why exactly Deadpool’s healing power has gone away isn’t explained either. Daniel Peyer returns for no real reason, even though he doesn’t have anything to add to the story at this point. Peyer’s really an underdeveloped character, and setting him up as a recurring villain at the end just doesn’t work. The rest of the story isn’t that bad, though. Waid tries to humanize Deadpool by revealing that he’s extremely afraid of having his face being exposed. This is an element later writers totally ignored; his regular series even had Deadpool out in public wearing only baseball hats. Subsequent stories have also shown that he’s perfectly willing to expose his face just to gross someone out. I actually prefer Waid’s idea, since giving Deadpool a realistic insecurity helps to make him more relatable. In the final pages, Deadpool decides to spare Black Tom’s life, which is portrayed as some sort of major turning point in his life. The scene doesn’t work that badly, but it’s hard to read it and not think about the inconsistent ways Deadpool’s conscious will be played in the coming years. Overall, it’s an enjoyable mini, held back by inconsistent artwork and a disappointing climax.


Teebore said...

I too remember much preferring Churchill's art to Weeks's back then. The sins of youth, right :)

Anonymous said...

You know, I distinctly remember when Deadpool loses his mask, he screams out "My face! Give me back my face!" which he also screams out in one of the early issues of his solo series.

Rorschach, to the best of my memory, also screams something if not exactly the same very similar when he is finally unmasked in Watchmen. It's entirely possible that Waid and Kelly were trying to draw a parallel between them both, Rorschach and Deadpool being monsters who claim to crusade for greater good.

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