4 out of 5
I know Stan Sakai has been working on Groo for years, but still – never thought I’d see him doing a Deadpool comic. And I get that I’m bias toward Stan’s goofier sense of humor, that this ‘how Deadpool got his swords” riff doesn’t exactly make sense (because I guess ‘Pool is a time traveler?), but whatever – bias confessed, and I loved it. It’s why I bought the issue, and it’s worth the price alone. Rachelle Rosenberg also rocks the colors, which was totally unneccessary since Stan looks amazing in b&w, but we get things amped up to Tom Luth-levels of awesome, with Rachelle using a whole range of reds to, essentially, fully color the strip, as opposed to the spot color work most takes are using. Maybe my missed out on having ‘Pool give off a death skull, but this entry is perfection anyway.
Working backwards – Stan’s entry is last – Frank Tieri is paired with another amazing artist, Takashi Okazaki, who manages to do a really detailed, shading-heavy look and effects a great comedy timing to Tieri’s script; this is a combo – relative realism + slapstick – that normally flops, but Okazaki pulls it off. Tieri’s writing is a good example of why I enjoy reading his stuff, but can’t necessarily wholly commit to it – Frank’s funny, and inventive, with a twisted sense of humor, but he normally goes just one or two steps over the juvenile line, and that happens here as well. Still, the Deadpool / Bullseye teamup in which they fight through rooms of Bond-villain-esque traps is great fun.
Opener The Worst Convent in the World is the only one that didn’t land for me, maybe also because of bias: I’ve found some of Jay Baruchel’s other comic work to be solid, but he goes with one of the most difficult version of ‘Pool to pull off: the triple-narrative – Deadpool’s speaking voice, his internal monologue, and the meta-narrator. The pacing on that stuff almost never works well, and that’s the case here: it’s too cluttered, and the timing too tough. Paco Medina is a good sport keeping up with it, and their style suits the over-the-top tale, which is pretty good – Deadpool wants to adopt a penguin from some Nazi nuns, as one does – so maybe the burden is on letterer Joe Sabino, trying to find space for the triple-text and make it flow. It’s a bumpy ride.