One of the few titles to have fun with the “anything goes” concept of Marvel’s “Secret Wars” event, Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli’s “Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars” continues to insert the Merc with a Mouth into major events in the original 1984 miniseries. The third issue brings the story near the end of the original, as Doom takes the ultimate power from the Beyonder and readers finally catch up to the present carnage that Wade had been travelling through over the last few chapters. Bunn’s script continues to strike a comedic balance between situational humor, character jokes and one-off punchlines, and Matteo Lolli’s expressive art is bolstered by the bright colors of Ruth Redmond’s palette.
Bunn continues to mine Deadpool’s time on the original Battleworld as an opportunity to alter the story ever so slightly in new and entertaining ways. This issue continues the greatest hits tour of the tale, dropping Wade in the middle of the Galactus fight, the battle with Doom and the centerpiece of the issue: the discovery of the alien symbiote that eventually becomes Venom. The strongest comedy comes from the situational humor rather than the random jokes; Deadpool dissecting the Wrecking Crew and Thunderball is entertaining and his adventures with the costume creation machine are highlights. These work best because they come from Bunn’s portrayal of the character as a selfish, id-driven wildcard. It’s a difficult balance to keep the character’s intentions heroic while he still stays true to himself, but Bunn does an able job. When those interests intersect, the book is at its strongest.
Lolli has fun with the costume montage, illustrating Wade with glee on his face as he alters it to his thoughts. All Lolli’s characters are gorgeous throughout and his Deadpool is smashing. The artist’s open style works with the two-tone design of the lead very well; he would be an able replacement, should Deadpool need a fill-in or new permanent artist down the road.
The story is tempered with the more downbeat present as Zsaji sacrifices herself to bring the heroes back to life after Doom has eliminated them. Readers familiar with the original story know that Klaw and the Beyonder used suggestion to force Doom to implement his own downfall and Bunn and editor Jordan D. White use Deadpool as the driving force for that victory, his healing factor allowing him to survive the destruction and bring Zsaji to the scene of the destruction.
Nothing in “Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars” is essential reading to the greater tapestry of the Marvel Universe, but it is one of the few bright spots of what has been a bleak event. Though Marvel produced other comedy books, they have been far from the universe-wide change. It’s an entertaining romp through the publisher’s history that utilizes the “Deadpool” book’s idea of tossing the character into weird old styles and — though Lolli’s layouts are similar to Mike Zeck and Bob Layton’s original work — his style remains his own, a strong choice because it’s already great. This third issue is more fun in the same vein as the rest of the series and covers some of the biggest moments yet.