"I don't like the new Deadpool series. It's nothing but jokes and random references."
If you're one of those people, you should be happy to know co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have apparently heard your cries and this is the start of a storyline where character and narrative overshadow a constant stream of laughs and gore. Don't get me wrong, there's still a fair amount of the latter, but Duggan and Posehn are clearly aiming to craft their most elaborate and detailed story yet. They've done a superb job pacing this first issue and there's still four more to go. Unlike the undead Presidents story, I sincerely doubt this one is going to have a repetitive formula (not that I'm complaining -- I dug that story a good deal). Honestly, I'll be pretty surprised if I don't see some M. Night Shyamalan memes in the comments after you all read this one.
Diving into the elements of Deadpool's past and focusing on who is he and where he belongs is a rich opportunity for them to show us a more compelling side of the character. We've witnessed bits and pieces of Wade's depth here and there, but this story appears to be going full steam ahead and upping the quality with the overall plot. Him opening up (kind of) to Captain America was an interesting scene and some quality time between Wade and Logan never gets old, either.
Declan Shalvey is tasked with illustrated all of the chaotic things the co-writers come up with, and if you've read VENOM, you know Shalvey can illustrate the hell out of some twisted scenes. He does a killer job with Wade's skin and the close ups of his leg and face are legitimately disgusting. It's one of those situations where you desperately want to look away but you just can't. There really is an impressive amount of detail put into Wade's features and the artist's style definitely makes a good fit for the book. It's rough and atypical, just like Wade.The opening scene is particularly haunting and the strong contrasts of Wade's pink and bloody body against the cold white of the environment throws you right into the harsh moment. The action scene with Captain America gives colorist Jordie Bellaire a chance to shine as well, filling the desert atmosphere with bright lasers, and a variety of standout costumes.
I love Shalvey's artwork, but there's one large panel of Wolverine which stood out to me -- it almost looks like he's a hunchback. Minor gripe, I know, but it's really noticeable when every other example of Wolverine is impressive.
"The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" is off to a great start and is easily the most promising story from this volume yet. With four more chapters at their disposal, I'm really excited to see the road co-writers Duggan and Posehn will take from here. As seen in every other review, I obviously have a great time with the joke heavy issues, but this is a very welcome tonal shift. They still deliver a few decent chuckles ("Bye, Storm"), but this one is all about bringing us a far more serious approach to the book and I'm absolutely a fan. Throw in Shalvey's illustrations and I'm even more impressed.
Oh, and Marvel, can we please get a plushie of the version of Deadpool on the opening page? Seriously, it's ridiculously adorable.