Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pull List: Deadpool's The Art of War #1 Review

You know, I think Deadpool walks around with Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" playing in the background at all times. That's what I kept hearing as I was reading the first issue of the new Deadpool miniseries, at least. He keeps getting these grand ideas - agreeing to help Dracula with a "package," killing the Marvel universe and then the famous literary heroes that inspired the writers of the Marvel universe, joining up with Brute Force (and a mecha-orca), etc. - and, so far, things haven't always worked out like he thought. But hey, that's what keeps bringing readers back, am I right?
Via Comic Vine
Spoilers ahead, kids, so if you'd rather start reading blind, you can turn back now. Or ... just don't click on the "read more" thingy.
I'm actually kind of a late-comer to the Deadpool party, although I'm becoming a pretty dedicated fan, partly because of panels like this one:
Deadpool's The Art of War, Issue #1
Courtesy of Marvel
Having a character be aware that he is, indeed, a creation inside a comic book was a stroke of genius that, really, has yet to get old. I'm still not sold on him getting his own movie - although the Powers That Be at Marvel seem to be going ahead with this idea for 2016 - but I could warm up to the idea if the studio takes The Art of War as a primer. Plus, it would be a lot of fun to see the Marvel universe and its current creators lampooned, like in the above jab at Matt Fraction. God, how many jokes could they make about Joss Whedon??? Okay, I may be on board now.

But anyway, it's kind of pointless to delve too deeply into the plot of Deadpool's The Art of War because, as I've mentioned and you may have noticed the title, this does happen to be a Deadpool comic, so obviously, it's going to get convoluted with its inside jokes and cameos and should-be-death experiences. All you really need to know is that Wade wants to write his own survivalist version - because there have already been so many books based on Sun Tzu's original work - of The Art of War, but, in order to convince the publisher that it would be a big seller, he starts a war between gods, namely Loki and his brother, Thor.

The battle scenes are stellar and beautifully done, but what really stood out to me was the comedy. I felt like, in Deadpool Killustrated, they went into some pretty dark places for Wade Wilson and kind of lingered there, but that's not the case for this miniseries. There's a whole sequence inspired by the "Who's on First" sketch, where Loki confuses Deadpool with the word "aye," and had I just been reading the words, it would have been a mediocre delivery at best. But the artwork by Scott Koblish really makes it effective. I would have to say that Koblish is the main reason that this book works as well as it does. For example:
Deadpool's The Art of War, Issue #1
Courtesy of Marvel
It's classic 1980s-style action movie fare, but the emotionless delivery from Koblish's literary agent made me laugh aloud, which is what I really want from any Deadpool book, honestly.

If there's any big beef that I have with this first issue is that it moves just a tad bit slow in the beginning. For a long-running series, I don't really care, but since this is a limited issue one, it's all the more important to get straight to the action. Take the first season of Orphan Black, where within the first five minutes, we see a clone of our main character, Sarah, kill herself by jumping in front of a subway train. That was an attention-getter if there ever was one. But here, for the first three or four pages, we watch as Sun Tzu retells a story, and then, after Deadpool reads the original scrolls of The Art of War, he has his explosive argument with the publisher for several pages. Sure, they're funny, but I'm much more interested in seeing how the story actually becomes Deadpool's The Art of War.

The issue does improve exponentially when the story finally gets going and Deadpool convinces Loki to start a war against Thor, and that definitely convinced me to pick up the next issue. I may or may not buy the trade - right now, I'm just reading these on my lunch breaks - depending on how the remaining issues go. So for now, Deadpool's The Art of War will remain in my read pile but not in my buy pile.
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