Deadpool: Black, White & Blood (#2) – Various

3 out of 5

Fun, a little janky and uneven. But it’s the kind of janky and uneven I’d encourage, suggesting this series could have a life like Batman: Black and White, extending beyond one five-issue run.

The Laphams – David & Maria – put Deadpool to task “working” for The Purple Man as a mind-controlled bodyguard against Daredevil. I haven’t seen Pete Woods’ art in a while, so I don’t know how much the required coloring approach for this series informed it, but it has a weird digital edge in the shading and backgrounds that made the layers of the art feel a bit weird, but Pete delivers on really fun, dynamic pages and expressive characters that fit the Deadpool comedic style. The setup and punchline both feel a bit forced, so this is carried moreso on the energy of that art, but it’s not like the text is bereft of pluses – there’s a small emotional undercurrent that’s actually kinda nice, and the balance of comedic violence to story is much appreciated, since the general shtick with ‘Pool – such as in the next entry – is to just go over the top.

As in Karla Pacheco’s Deadpool Party, which has a lot of fun shooting people right up in our faces. And I’d say it is fun, but Pacheco pushes really hard on the ‘Pool meta approach, with him reveling in the violence and its likelihood for censorship, and while the beating-of-the-dead-horse joke regarding doing things en media res eventually pays off once we’re over the hump of its repetition, the first few times we have to hear about it it falls a bit flat. Leonard Kirk’s open, limber style is very energetic, amplified to pinup status by Rachelle Rosenberg’s perfected use of spot (and splashed) colors; however, Pacheco has a rapid-fire approach to the script, and Kirk’s pages are pretty busy, so the timing can feel a little off here and there. Overall, though, it feels like a big swing of momentum, in writing and visuals, so it’s a positive experience.

Pool Of Death??? from Daniel Warren Johnson takes a somewhat typical writing-about-writing setup – the artist is in the strip, talking with Deadpool about what kind of original story he could possibly write on Deadpool – but the heart DWJ often brings to things saves it: he ends on a personal story about when he discovered DP, and it’s honestly endearing. Buffering that, though, and so it’s not all just cutesy-wutesy heart-warming stuff, Johnson plays around with exactly the kind of stereotypical action we’d “expect,” and it’s both awesome – Wolvie versus Deadpool! – and funny. The artist’s purposefully loose application of color looks awesome here – maybe red is just a better pop color than blue, but this far surpasses the color work done on his Superman version of this title.