Deadpool #1

This is a Deadpool that makes sense. With Wade Wilson's popularity rising significantly and a Ryan Reynolds movie on the horizon, Marvel has tried to find a balance between the character's bloodthirsty roots and his more approachable mass market persona. Gerry Duggan uses the new series to go meta and address both concerns, establishing Deadpool as a movie-level star in continuity while struggling with his instincts to pull triggers instead of ask questions. It's a clever use of Deadpool, who is self-aware of his status as a comic book character, and Duggan's script does well balancing both sides of the mercenary. Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot and Val Staples also return from the previous volume, trying out some interesting page layouts and fine-tuning their character work.

Now the sole writer, Duggan has grown as a storyteller over the last few years. The dialogue is tighter and as funny as it has been in the past, with a focus on character-driven jokes rather than action-stopping gags and punchlines. To capitalize on his newfound popularity, Deadpool has recruited a team of D-list Marvel characters to wear his uniform and be him where he cannot, drafting off a similar idea from "Amazing Spider-Man." This is the character with which to do that, though; as a character, Deadpool simultaneously gets to serve as commentary on the current direction of Marvel books while still being a major player in his own plotlines. Longtime Marvel fans will get a kick out of seeing forgotten characters like Terror, Inc. and Solo make appearances and Duggan makes the most of the long leash he's been given with them.

Hawthorne and Pallot polish their look from the previous volume in this issue. Many of their pages are tighter and better choreographed and they have nailed down how to get emotions and facial acting out of a masked character. They open big with a breathtaking theft told across six double-page spreads. It makes the action feel bigger right out of the gate and is a clever use of Solo -- a character with a striking resemblance to Ryan Reynolds -- as well as a chance to display why he's a D-level character. There are fun POV shots, like the page where we first see the real Deadpool through a camcorder lens that tumbles and falls as the cameraperson is chopped down. Mogul Deadpool, in a double breasted suit with a cowl, is an awesome visual and should be a cosplay immediately. Throughout, Staples balances the invasion of red on the pages with cooler hues which don't overload a reader's eye with too-similar color choices.

The creative team gets a lot done in the first issue of this new volume of "Deadpool." While establishing several different plot elements and reestablishing old ties, the book is a perfect introduction to the character for new fans and gives returning fans some stuff to chew on. The ending of the issue proves Deadpool isn't all the way on the side of the angels and readers may leave many wondering if Wade Wilson's actions will stand in the way of his own success. It's a meta story about a meta character with a filthy mouth and it's fun as f*&#.

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