Everyone may be totally different because of AXIS, but that's not stopping Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn from staying true to this book's tone and making the twists work. This one isn't heavy on emotion, but it has an absurdly fun battle and there's some solid developments. These two writers seem to love teasing important plot points way in advance (remember we saw Zenpool a long time ago?) and we get another one of those teasers in this chapter. Here's hoping it's something that's addressed in the next story, because I definitely want to know more.
As expected, Deadpool becoming Zenpool means his relationship with Shiklah isn't going so well. After all, Shiklah married Deadpool, so that means she's full accepting and loves who he is. Zenpool's the polar opposite of that man, so the chemistry just isn't there and she's pretty blunt about it. Luckily for us, Duggan and Posehn illustrate this point in a very funny way instead of making it feel like overly serious drama. Sure, you feel bad for Wade, but the way it's handled is sure to make you smile or crack up.
Wow, Mike Hawthorne really went all-out with this issue. The entire sequence in the Danger Room spills across double page spreads and it does a terrific job following all of the action. When there's a big fight between two teams, it can often seem like a mess and we just chime in on little moments -- it rarely does the mayhem justice. There's a punch here, a kick there, so on and so on. The way it's handled in this issue manages to highlight all of the excitement and it's a really entertaining time. There's one especially creative development and it kept me staring at the double page spread for at least a full minute or so. Along with Ruth Redmond (colorist) and Terry Pallot's (inker) work, the entire sequence looks great. Whether it's a nerve strike or a mutant power being used, it's packed with energy and catches your attention. I love the more comedic design of the dark wizard, too. Also, it would be blasphemy not to mention that Mark Brooks' nod to UNCANNY X-MEN #210 is an awesome cover.
AXIS is a bit of a double-edged sword for DEADPOOL. On one hand, Duggan and Posehn do a fun job working it into the plot with the FauX-Men. Even though it's a blast and has a touch of emotion in the very end, the material with them wasn't packing as much heart as you'd expected it to. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was such a powerful story that really packed a ton of emotion. The previous issues did a solid job following-up with these characters (most notably Kim), but this one kind of felt like it was focused purely on fun action and not giving these characters any more depth or heartfelt moments. There's a touching bit with "Colossus" that shows how much it takes to earn these characters' trust, but I can't help but feel like these characters deserve a little more weight to their story. Hopefully that changes soon! Also, being connected to the big event means they need to, you know, connect to it as much as possible. That means the final sequence may be pretty random for some people, but there's a lot of history between those two characters, so I'm interested in seeing how it'll play out. Plus, the way Duggan and Posehn had Wade explain why he had to leave was brilliant, so that makes up for the seemingly random development.
DEADPOOL #38 isn't all that compelling, but several things make up for that. The artwork is consistently excellent and, when it comes to the script, there's a nice mesh of well-written comedy and plot developments which will more than likely earn your curiosity. The dynamic with Shiklah still isn't getting that much of the spotlight, but it's building up and definitely seems like that relationship is going to explode really soon. I also hope we'll get more substantial material with the FauX-Men in the future, but for now, DEADPOOL continues to prove it's a really, really fun series and definitely worth your time if you like the merc with a mouth. Yeah, Zenpool's the complete opposite of the Deadpool we know and love, but with these two writing, it's still full of great humor and exciting stories.