The team of David Lapham and Kyle Baker continually produce one of the funniest and best comics Marvel publishes in “Deadpool MAX,” and the seventh issue shows why. The juxtaposition of Baker’s hyperrealistic art and Lapham’s absurd writing creates a tension that drives the book forward. Here, it’s the delusions of Deadpool about being a husband and father, and his wife’s mental breakdown as she shifts from a parody of Domino to a parody of the Black Widow.
The subtle use of the Black Widow iconography by Baker makes for some of the more entertaining aspects of this issue. It works with Lapham’s writing, playing upon the concept of a woman who sleeps with men and then kills them. This new psychotic break for Inez after we’ve seen her take the guise of Domino doesn’t simply poke fun at the Marvel heroine, it creates a situation that plays up Deadpool’s delusions as he continues to push forward with the idea that he’s now a husband and father despite his wife’s obvious mental state and his baby’s obvious plastic, inanimate nature.
Deadpool’s oblivious sincerity drives this issue and is summed up nicely in the first scene where he imagines what being a father will be like. His enthusiasm is remarkable and unimpaired when it’s revealed that Inez lied about the baby and produces a doll that Deadpool immediately treats as real. That Baker plays much of this as seriously as possible in the art only enhances the absurd comedy. It’s like, despite the reality, the art reflects Deadpool’s delusional world where it’s all real.
The subtle emotion that Baker is able to depict in Deadpool is surprising. For a man in a full body suit and mask, Deadpool emotes throughout the issue in a way that wouldn’t be possible if he were drawn by a lesser artist. That skill helps sell the writing where Deadpool’s sincerity and pseudo-maturity are at the center of the issue. After six issues of showing himself to be a mercurial and immature character, his dedication to what he thinks is his family is almost admirable. Sure, he’s insane, but his insanity is well-placed here.