I used to look forward to the Spider-Man/Deadpool annuals every year, and was pretty excited when I heard that Marvel was announcing doing a comic of it. It’s one of the more entertaining dynamics in Marvel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the dynamic is typically as follows: Deadpool is (somewhat inexplicably from our point of view, though I’m sure he could list reasons for the next hundred years or so) unreasonably obsessed with Spider-Man. So, being Deadpool, he ends up stalking him. Spider-Man wants to avoid him, but his sense of moralistic responsibility causes him to realize that if he can just keep an eye on Deadpool he can make sure Deadpool uses his extraordinary abilities for good and not kill anyone. In the old annuals, the reality usually worked out to being a sort of short-term damage control, though in this comic run it’s ended up being more like… well, long-term damage control.
This issue deals with the end of an arc where Arcade, a mild to moderately threatening villain, has kidnapped some moderately to severely amoral CEO-types and taken them to a place he calls “Murderworld.” Murderworld is, of course, exactly what it sounds like: a theme park designed to murder people. The issue is entertaining, with the sort of funny, laugh out-loud dialogue that one expects for a Spider-Man/Deadpool comic. Of course, any comic with an in-depth discussion of how Star Wars has way more cyborgs than you think it does (it does, think about it), is going to instantly win me over, but this issue, like any good Deadpool media, makes a variety of great references.
This issue also goes a step beyond just being entertaining, it shows Deadpool doing the right thing, even when it’s hard, proof that his long-term exposure to Spider-Man actually has improved his morality… at least, a little bit. And if you’re wondering about whether this moral improvement is linked directly to Spider-Man, we have proof: he looked at his “What Would Spider-Man Do?” right before he decided to save people. So there. He’s learning. Sure, it could be argued he’s only learning to keep Spider-Man around because Spider-Man will leave if he thinks Wade’s a lost cause, and that he doesn’t have a conscience of his own, but that is a debate for philosophers and priests.
The art is pretty good, honestly I’d say above average for Marvel lines, and, as I’ve stated, the dialogue is great and the story makes a lot of sense. To any fan of Deadpool, these comics are a must, as they serve to develop his… complicated relationship with Spider-Man, an increasingly important part of his character in the last five years or so. Personally, I enjoy them more than usual Spider-Man comics, but if you’re looking for the “slice of life”/soap opera elements that are usually prominent in the life of the web-slinging hero, you will probably be disappointed. This line focuses more on humor than anything else, which for Marvel, I find to be a refreshing change of pace.
Rating: 4.8 Stars
Art: 4.5 Stars
Dialogue: 5 Stars
Plot/Story: 5 Stars
(W) Elliott Kalan (A) Todd Nauck (CA) Will Robson