REVIEW: Deadpool Annual #1

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In the follow-up to Spider-Man Annual #38, Wade Wilson wreaks his own brand of havoc through an alternate universe in his own #1 Annual. How will Deadpool deal with Death Wish, Brain Dead, Deadeye, Dead Head and the dreaded Death Mask? Find out!

 

DEADPOOL ANNUAL #1: IDENTITY WARS 2 OF 3
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Juan Doe
Colorist: Fabio D’Auria
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Art: Steve McNiven, Mark Morales & Marte Gracia
Assistant Editor: Ellie Pyle
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

“I’m Wade Wilson too. With the same healing factor. Only I’m not holding the bomb right in front of my face.”

Previously, on Identity Wars: Starting in Spider-Man Annual #38, Identity Wars tells the story of Spidey, Deadpool and Bruce Banner’s adventures in an alternate universe, where they are stranded after a mishap at Horizon Labs. In the previous annual, Spider-Man finds that his alternate universe counterpart is well-liked, successful, and has a living Uncle Ben. Only problem is, alternate Spidey has taken Jet Li’s The One to heart and is sucking the power out of other Spider-Men throughout the multiverse. But what’s Deadpool getting up to in the meantime?

I’m not sure why this storyline is taking place over three annuals (Spider-Man Annual #38, this one, and Incredible Hulks Annual #1), rather than just being its own miniseries, but whatever.

A DEADPOOL COMIC WORTH THE WAIT

Deadpool as a character lives or dies by how funny he’s written. And John Layman has written a very funny comic. If you’ve ever wanted to read a “What If…?” issue showcasing a world where Wade Wilson had become Doctor Doom, here it is. Layman deserves credit for the concept alone, but he really pushes to deliver a fun, funny comic and ends creating an enjoyable read. Deadpool’s gotten a bum deal lately, with too much exposure and not enough writers who really get the character. John Layman gets Deadpool. He’s the first writer to employ the dueling split-personality narration boxes that have been (sadly) de rigueur for ‘Pool  without being horrible at it. This Deadpool is crazy and funny but never annoying.

Last issue, Deadpool ran off with his seeming alternate universe counterpart, Death Wish – a green-suited doppelganger that seemed to be different only in sartorial sensibility. However, it is quickly learned that in this universe, Death Wish has no healing factor, largely because he’s not Wade Wilson. That Doctor Doom stand-in with the raccoon circles around his mask? That’s Wade Wilson, and he runs the criminal syndicates, employing a wide range of familiar Marvel villains who have been re-imagined in a Deadpool style. Layman puts plenty of good jokes in the issue and tells a fun romp of a story. It’s just plain good. Layman also creates what might be the greatest and second greatest hugs in the history of the Marvel universe.

LOOKS AS GOOD AS IT READS

Juan Doe (which seems to be a pseudonym for Lee Garbett) employs a cartoony style perfect for Deadpool’s deranged antics. It reminded me somewhat of Ed McGuiness’s work during the Joe Kelly run, which is a good thing. Doe’s Deadpool is expressive, his action is kinetic, and his illustration sells the jokes. His backgrounds are sometimes a little sparse or absent, but on the stuff that really matters, like Spider-Man’s Spidercave (like the Batcave only with more Spider-Man) or the Bad Guy’s Warehouse, Doe delivers.  Fabio D’Auria makes the pages pop and everything looks real nice.

CHECK IT OUT

This annual is good, not-so-clean, fun comics reading. The only people who won’t like this are people who just don’t like Deadpool, but it should appeal to all others. Of the three annuals, I was least interested in the Incredible Hulks one, but the last page reveal got me excited even for that. Layman’s funny, nuanced work on Chew is in a similar vein to this annual, and I’ll be really pleased if he can do more writing for Marvel in the future.

Deadpool Annual #1 contains 6 takakaakas, 3 brakkas, 2 skrasshhs, 2 fwams, 2 knocks, 2 pats, 2 booms, 1 bwoom, 1 bwooom, 1 klang, 1 fffffsh, 1 tcrassk, 1 fwack, 1 krack, 1 scrammm, 1 splutch, 1 scracckkk, 1 skraccck, 1 bam and 1 blam.
There are 8 gunshot wounds, 4 instances of severe cranial trauma, 2 bomb detonations, 2 magic blasts, 2 instances of vandalism, 1 shark attack, 1 lethal immolation and 1 ambulatory severed hand. 4 and a half out of 5 stars. Check it out.

 

Rating: ★★★★½