Although the Zack Snyder jab and Captain Marvel’s Brie Larson shoutout have received the most attention, the most important element in “Spider-Man/Deadpool” #12 isn’t a pop-culture reference but instead an upgrade to the often one-sided relationship between the wall-crawler and the Merc With a Mouth.
They’re now “besties,” of sorts, complete with matching ugly sweaters.
Considering the issue is a holiday special by a guest creative team (writers Nick Giovannetti and Paul Scheer and artist Todd Nauck), the development may have no longer of a shelf life than the story’s nods to Tony Robbins and Uwe Boll. However, Wade Wilson will undoubtedly treasure it while it lasts.
It’s been a long time coming — the pair first met nearly 20 years ago — this important next step in their relationship has, unsurprisingly, been complicated and sabotaged at every turn by Deadpool, who’s admired and ardently (heck, amorously) pursued Spider-Man even as he’s hated and abused Peter Parker. Well, “abused” may be a bit of an understatement, considering Wade kicked off “Spider-Man/Deadpool” by accepting a contract to kill the living crap out of Peter, and fulfilling it. Twice. How’s that for Parker luck?
Spider-Man had insisted that he and Deadpool weren’t friends, a sentiment that not even a night of dancing and placement on Wade’s “free pass” list — at No. 5, behind Hillary Clinton, Thor (“if he ever becomes a girl”), Hellcat and Zombea Arthur — could seemingly change. But oh, what a difference a handful of issues, and a pair of matching sweaters, make.
In fairness to Spider-Man, the change of heart in Issue 12 arrives at the end of a roller-coaster night that begins with not being invited to Deadpool’s unofficial Avengers Christmas party, and then takes a dark yet seasonal turn as the god Saturn seeks to reclaim his holy day by beheading a Salvation Army Santa, lighting a horse carriage and driver on fire, destroying a nativity scene, and generally wreaking havoc. But it’s when Saturn accepts Deadpool’s wager that eating, drinking and giving presents on Christmas is every bit as fun as celebrating Saturnalia that things really go south for Spidey.
Instead of boozing it up, ol’ Web-Head downs some Pool Fuel energy drink, which in addition to caffeine, ginseng and gingko biloba, includes “horny goat weed.” We can probably credit that last ingredient with Spider-Man dancing with the Rockettes, marveling at a light and roulette wheel, and asking, “Guys, you ever just touch stuff?”
However, it’s something else entirely that leads Spider-Man to not even flinch when Deadpool refers to them as friends. Indeed, the wall-crawler even uses the term himself. Seeking clarification, Wade asks, “Are we becoming best friends?” Peter replies, “We’re not not becoming best friends.”
It’s a change in status cemented with the exchange of presents — the customary “Bad Boys”-inspired matching Christmas sweaters — and the declaration that they’re “Bad besties for life!”
If the sentiment doesn’t last, Spider-Man can always chalk it up to the Pool Fuel. Or the Saturnalia spirit.
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