Deadpool is on the run now that his enemies know he lost his healing factor. What the hell kind of super power is “healing factor”? I’ve got a “healing factor”. It’s a factor of one—I heal at a normal rate. That’s like saying that this is a “quality” issue of Deadpool. Would that be high quality or low quality? Find out as we review Deadpool #60.
Previously in Deadpool: Everyone’s favorite wacky mercenary finally got his (death) wish and lost his healing factor, meaning that he can be killed. In a moment of clarity, Deadpool realized that he had things to live for after all and tried to figure out how to survive as a (slightly more) normal person. Unfortunately, as soon as word got around that Deadpool was vulnerable, his old foes came out of the woodwork to get their revenge.
INTRODUCING THE HUMAN FLAMETHROWER
This issue picks up directly from last issue with Deadpool unarmed and pinned down in a gas station by Black Tom Cassidy and Black Box (in an attack helicopter). Deadpool responds by improvising a weaponized fart joke, which was not exactly to my taste, but what do you expect from a Deadpool comic?
Well, I’ll tell you what I expect from a Deadpool comic: absurd contrasts. When the character works, you get a mix of “grim and gritty” and slapstick. If you only do the dark half, you get Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, which was a joyless mess that made me suspect that Wertham may have been right. The current issue is what happens when you go to far the other way and make Deadpool a joke. And only one joke at that.
The first half of the story is fart joke (FYI-gas pumps don’t work that way), and villains being easily defeated. There’s no feeling of real danger and worse, no witty banter. Black Tom has no lines, and the couple lines Black Box has are him speaking to himself. Even the voices in Deadpool’s head are mostly quiet. Some readers hate those voices, but I find that their bickering can produce the laugh-out-loud funniest dialog in any Marvel book. But not this month.
The second half of the story is Deadpool talking to Black Swan, which is even less exciting than it sounds. It’s all exposition, with no jokes or even quips. Black Swan explains why Deadpool’s vulnerability will go back to being a secret, suggests a team-up and Deadpool is just hostile. I’m not saying that ‘Pool has to be crazy all the time, but in a way he should be like Jerry Lewis: when he’s silly it’s funny, but when he’s serious it’s still funny because even when serious the underlying crazy bleeds through. Here, Deadpool and Black Swan could be any two macho guys having an argument. I couldn’t even tell who won.
BABY GOT BACK
The art in this issue is slightly cartoony, which would support the jokes if they were there. The coloring effects and shading remind me of current TV animation and frequently made me think “Hey, that was done with a computer.” Most of the pages used big panels and even full-page or 2-page spreads. This speeds the timing of the story but is an odd choice when there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on. It made the issue feel a lot shorter than most others with the same number of pages.
There are a few really nice images, particularly a nice 2-page collage showing Deadpool having a mental breakdown, but there’s also an awful lot of art showcasing the hero’s butt. There’s a lot of talk that comic books feature too much super-heroine T&A and not enough man-ass, but this is not the answer. A visual joke about how silly Deadpool looks with his posterior stuck out is fine, but I don’t need the same joke five times. It’s not fun. It’s not funny. It’s not even titillating.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t judge the character by this issue
You might have gotten the impression that I didn’t care for this issue. While I have enjoyed Daniel Way’s Deadpool stories in the past, lately I’ve felt he might be coasting. Deadpool is set to be relaunched with comedians Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan writing and I have hope that their comedy sensibilities will allow them to better balance the stories. For now, I give Deadpool #60 1 star—It didn’t actually hurt me to read it, but it didn’t give me any of the things that I look for in a Deadpool book.