This review is based off a volume that collects Spider-Man/Deadpool #6-7, 11-12 and 1.MU.
As enjoyable as books chronicling the adventures of the Justice League or Avengers may be, they often don’t get to explore the interpersonal relationships shared between specific superheroes as often as we’d like. But, when you pare it down to two, you’re given a much different kind of team-up comic. Personally, I enjoy seeing the best buddy dynamic offered whenever Batman and Superman join forces or, likewise, whenever the Flash and Green Lantern go back to back. On the other hand, I also get a kick out of the veritable powder keg that is Daredevil and Punisher.
The focus of today’s review, though, Spider-Man/Deadpool, may be in a class of its own. You’ve got a do-gooder in Peter Parker and a mercenary in Wade Wilson, so, logically, they shouldn’t get along. But, when you factor in their respective senses of humor, it’s highly possible that you have a hit on your hands. Animation ace Jeff Matsuda (The Batman, Hulk vs. Wolverine) once described Deadpool as “Spider-Man with guns” and, to be honest, that sort of rings true. Thus, I went in expecting peanut butter and jelly on the printed page.
Despite my being familiar with these characters individually, I’d yet to read their team-up book. So, when the latest collected edition came across my desk, I was more than willing to give it a try. Luckily, this particular volume is laid out as more of an anthology, with various writers and artists contributing to each issue. Given that, one would assume this is very friendly towards new readers, a thought I’ll pick up on later.
The first offering, written by Scott Auckerman and penciled by Reilly Brown, sees D. Piddy finding himself in Hollywood where a movie is being made about him. As expected, it’s very meta-textual and hilarious. The co-headliners gel really well, although Spidey felt a bit more like a guest star. It all culminates with a Scooby-Doo-like unmasking of the Salmon Stuntman – and the Marvel Universe will never be the same again! Sorry. Right now, Wade is rubbing off on me, causing me to sound like whomever writes the taglines for major crossover events.
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On a side note, I’d like to comment on the two leaving a theatre showing “Nighthawk v Hyperion: Yawn of Boredom” at the end of the opening chapter. In a classic case of living in a glass house and throwing stones, this thinly veiled jab at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t sit well with me because they accuse it of being more concerned with setting up numerous solo movies as opposed to focusing on itself. Despite the cameos made by Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg being clumsily handled, they were more so about setting up Justice League. But, if you want to see a movie that complaint can actually be lobbed at, check out Avengers: Age of Ultron, which suffered from so much studio interference that it led to Joss Whedon jumping ship. But I digress.
Next up, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Scott Koblish take us back to the past in what’s dubbed a “lost” issue of Amazing Spider-Man. To their credit, the creative team channeled the Silver Age rather well with corny dialogue and ill-colored visuals. Really, the only thing missing was ending every sentence with an exclamation point. For the most part, it was a good read, barring the ham-fisted political barbs.
Then, Koblish returns with more modern visuals, this time with Penn Jillette in tow, who writes and guest stars in this done-in-one. Basically, Deadpool and Teller are forced to switch places and, while you yourself might end up liking this one, it got way too meta for me. At least Nick Giovannetti, Paul Scheer and Todd Nauck picked things up with the next issue, offering up what was probably the best inclusion in the volume. In short, our heroes had to get creative in order to stop the Roman god Saturn from taking back Christmas. When you read it for yourself, you’ll discover that it’s everything this series should be.
A decent Monsters Unleashed tie-in written by Joshua Corin and illustrated by Tigh Walker brings Spider-Man/Deadpool Vol. 2: Side Pieces to a close, but didn’t make the overall collection any better or worse. Earlier on, I posed the question as to whether this book is new reader friendly and, after reading it cover to cover, I believe that it most assuredly is. To be frank, all that’s required is a basic knowledge of the titular characters, and then you can dive right in. Just know that there’s much more of a Deadpool flavor to it, if you catch my drift.
Although some inclusions are better than others, Side Pieces is a hell of a lot of fun and can be enjoyed by just about any True Believer.