Remember how hilarious Deadpool’s roaring rampage of revenge was in the movie? Well, it’s time for another revenge-based warpath, and this time… well, it’s more than a bit more serious.
For those who haven’t been keeping up with Gerry Duggan’s run on the comic, you’ve been missing out. He’s done an amazing job at combining the hi-jinx of the Merc with a Mouth with real solid character work, delving into the hero and peeling back the layers. The series has built a strong supporting cast, shaken them up, torn down and rebuilt everything that makes Deadpool who he is, and still managed to give us plenty of humor and wanton violence along the way.
This issue is, in many ways, the culmination of all that. It marks the end of a high-stakes arc, where Madcap’s revenge is carried out and puts those closest to the titular character in grave danger. In the last issue, we saw Deadpool make a deal with Strife, the evil clone of Deadpool’s time-traveling bromantic bestie, Cable. This one cleverly saves the exact terms for the end, once the action and tension has settled, and it perfectly sets the tone for the conclusion.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; let’s look at the rest of the issue first. With the disease killing Preston’s family (and Deadpool’s daughter) taken care of, the Merc with a Mouth and Preston take the fight to Madcap and his Hydra goons. And it’s more than a little brutal.
Deadpool is not the type to hold back when there’s generic masked bad guys to shoot, but it goes beyond merciless this time. No time for surrender, just cold-blooded killing until he gets his revenge. And if you thought Preston was going to keep him in check, you’ve got another thing coming – the most chilling moment comes from Agent Preston putting her fist through a surrendering Hydra goon, and that’s after she dropped through the roof to kill two at once, in rather gory detail.
The violence is both engaging and shocking at the same time, and I don’t mean in a “Oh no, blood and violence, how shocking!” kind of way. We cheer for Deadpool and Preston because we know what they’ve endured, and we know the people they kill have it coming. At the same time, however, the cold, quick way in which they dispense of the minions in the middle of surrender gives cause for pause, and shows just how serious they are. All in all, it’s very powerful stuff.
One question in previous issues was the matter of whose body Madcap was attached to. After growing back from near-total disintegration, Madcap is more or less a living tumor, forcing some poor soul to do his bidding. And the poor soul in question is a perfect choice as it’s someone well-connected to Deadpool and a logical target for Madcap.
Ready for some spoilers?
It’s Bob, Agent of Hydra.
Yes, good ol’ Bob, originally introduced in Cable & Deadpool and the Merc’s sidekick/lackey/friend (sometimes). He’s the perfect choice in many ways – not only is he someone who knows Deadpool well, and who Deadpool sometimes cares about (it varies, depending on the writer), but it also makes sense for Madcap to target him.
An earlier Deadpool Annual by Duggan revealed that when the hero had two voices in his head (his usual yellow thought bubbles and a white text box) one of them was Madcap, due to an unfortunate regeneration/healing factor error; that’s what drove Madcap to hate Deadpool with the intensity that he does. During that time, Bob was a big part of many of Deadpool’s adventures, which means Madcap knew exactly who he is, how to find him, and how easy he’d be to control. One telling little line was Bob stating his disappointment that it wasn’t cancer growing on him. Perhaps he was thinking he could become like Deadpool if it were?
And then we get to the actual showdown between the two. It’s not really a fight, though – although there is still a fair amount of that. Rather, the most important part comes from Deadpool just talking to Madcap and telling him “I know more about you than you do” and that the life Madcap thought he knew was never real.
Longtime readers may recall that Deadpool himself was struck with a similar truth bomb earlier in his run, where it was claimed that he was never really Wade Wilson and that his past was a lie. (Whether or not that’s true has been the subject of much debate, before Deadpool concluded “it varies by writer, but who cares?”) This moment is a great callback to that and its effects are clear.
Aside from that, the issue itself looks gorgeous. Matteo Lolli does an excellent job with the artwork, accompanied by Christian Della Vecchio’s inking and Guru-eFX on the coloring. The characters all look great, too, with solid detailing and shading that really brings them out. Even the masked ones show wonderful emotion, thanks to the little details in the creases of their masks and outlines of their faces. Madcap in particular looks properly grotesque and insane, like the living tumor he is.
During the showdown, the lighting looks excellent. The shadows cast over Deadpool and Preston as they look up at Bob and Madcap, and the way the explosions illuminate the area while keeping the characters silhouetted, they’re all great shots. And finally, the way the scene goes grey, save for the color red, when we see Deadpool flashing back to his meeting with Stryfe, is a nice touch
This Deadpool story arc may be over, but there’s so much more yet to come and we can’t wait to see where the creative team takes us next.
Deadpool #24 is an emotional and powerful ending to the story arc, with fantastic artwork throughout.