4 out of 5
Yeah, these people get it.
So, me: the guy who’s going to say that there’s a “right” way to write Deadpool, and who’s going to completely slag off some classic writers – y’know, formative, landmark runs, those types – as not doing it the right way. But let me add some color to that ridiculous take: I think there are some shticks – Deadpool being a 4th-wall breaking, crass, snarkster – that get better with time. For sure, when they first land and are successful, it’s not solely because they’re new; I enjoyed those formative, landmark runs, and there are quality gags and stories therein. Also, though, it should follow that others who pick up the torch figure out new ways to run with it, and sometimes, those ways are going to be superior, with the benefit of the experiences of those who came before to iterate upon. So we don’t get here – a perfect distillation of ‘Pool’s self-aware chatter and blood-soaked antics – without the there, and I’m just tweaking that by saying I don’t need to read the Theres any longer, with such perfect Heres.
Such examples are still rare, however. People love those original torch-bearers and so will copy them ad nauseam, and then you have the way Deadpool has leaned into the modern era’s meme-happy, wink-at-the-camera style humor making for some less inventive takes on the character – more predictable.
But Tom Taylor, Ed Brisson, and James Stokoe? Yeah. They get it.
First: Taylor’s ‘Red All Over,’ arted with slick gusto by Phil Noto, reminds me of what made me love some of the writer’s work from several years back: he’s a damned funny dude. His comic timing in the script can be phenomenal – and creative! – and when he has someone skilled like Noto to underline that, it’s gold. Zombie zebras. No hesitation in slaughtering animals. It’s a great strip.
Brisson’s Hotline to Heaven is admittedly my least fave of the bunch, as Whilce Portacio’s gutsy art style is probably too heavy for Ed’s wordy script and pacing, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg has to go very spotty with the colors in order to balance Whilce, making the visuals jam-packed but then also somewhat bland, and not flow very well. However, the energy of the story still ultimately works, and though I’m tired of Bea Arthur jokes, I do love that Brisson went hard on a VHS obsession throughout the story.
And James Stokoe. I love Stokoe; he is why I bought the issue, and it’s likely that I was going to give his bit thumbs up no matter what it was, but the stupidity he executes here is grand comedy guignol. Whatever that word soup actually says, I intend it to mean that ‘Born in the Uszorsusr’ is amazing, featuring hilarious Canada jokes, a justification for that “acronym,” and pairing Omega Red in an odd couple with Ursa Major. Every page of this – every panel – was a joy, and Stokoe rocked the richest take on the colors, using red like a lens filter, and getting tons of gradients out of it.