Everyone gets frustrated by their favorite characters from time to time. Whether you thought it was lame of Catwoman to leave Batman at the altar or were confused by why Luke Skywalker tried to kill his own nephew, every fictional character makes choices you might not agree with from time to time. However, 2018's You Are Deadpool by Al Ewing and Salva Espin flipped the script on that idea by letting you make every decision for the Merc With a Mouth.
Joining the ranks of such "choose your own" classics like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and countless "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style books, Deadpool describes You Are Deadpool as an "absurdist comedy gamebook" that pokes fun at the history of comics and gaming, referencing everything from the Satanic Panic around Dungeons and Dragons to the Tekken Bowl mini-game from Tekken Tag Tournament.
HOW DO YOU READ YOU ARE DEADPOOL?
Like most choose-your-own adventure books, You Are Deadpool is not read in chronological order. Instead, you follow branching paths and jump to numbered panels depending on the choices you make and the outcomes of combat. Incidentally, You Are Deadpool is best played using a digital copy, since using the index to navigate to specific panels makes everything flow better.
With regard to combat, You Are Deadpool's fights are waged using six-sided dice, with Deadpool using 2D6. Additionally, each issue of You Are Deadpool has a little mini-game, like sneaking past security cameras or participating in a slam-poetry contest.
You also decide what goes into Deadpool's three pouches as a form of inventory management. Any item smaller than a breadbox that appears in any panel can be stored in these pouches, with items carrying over between issues. Typically, the right item will get you out of a fight, however the usefulness of these items won't be obviously apparent.
Finally, Deadpool has two stats to keep track of: Sadness and Badness. Sadness reflects Deadpool's inner misery, while Badness refers to Deadpool's bad-boy behavior. Both start at zero, however your actions will alter them. For instance, you could use the screwdriver to sneak into a Roxxon facility via sewer pipe, but making Deadpool reenact the ending of The Shawshank Redemption will earn you two Sadness points.
Typically, your Sadness and Badness scores determine which issue of You Are Deadpool you read/play next, which makes sense considering You Are Deadpool's non-sequential plot.
WHAT'S THE HAPPENS IN YOU ARE DEADPOOL?
Whether you were informed via dialogue-delivered exposition or flashbacks, You Are Deadpool starts with Deadpool storming or infiltrating a Roxxon facility to steal the time-traveling Time Helmet for the Tomorrow Man. Activating the McGuffin, Deadpool is thrown through time, enabling you to read You Are Deadpool out of order.
Since items carry over between issues, you get crazy outcomes that only occur with specific reading orders. You'd think that a copy of Secret Empire #0 from 2018 would help defeat Secret Richard Nixon in 1974, but you actually needed the 45 record of Edd Byrnes singing "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)" that you can only get by winning the aforementioned slam-poetry contest in 1961.
Even with the anachronistic motif in tow, be super aware that you shouldn't be taking any of this seriously whatsoever. Each issue tasks you with finding an arbitrary means of powering up the Time Helmet, like searching for *Gems (the asterisk is silent) in a pentagram shaped forest in 1974 or gathering clues to break into the office of Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin, only to discover that the true mastermind villain in 1985 is The Pin-King, Filson Wisk.
HOW DOES YOU ARE DEADPOOL END?
Ultimately the final issue is our favorite, where Deadpool prepares for his final battle against The Tomorrow Man. First, you decide whether Deadpool should visit the past or the future. You choice doesn't matter, since you end up creating two Deadpools, one for each possible outcome. After activating the Time Helmet, Past Deadpool and Future Deadpool go on a wild west adventure. Since there are 41 possible ways for the Deadpools to make it out of this mini-game alive, you wind up with 82 Deadpools.
With your army of Deadpools in tow, you then deploy them throughout history to find Tomorrow Man's lair. Pro-Tip: Mount Vesuvius erupted oo 79AD, so don't send any Deadpools there. That's right, we learned something by reading a Deadpool comic.
Ultimately You Are Deadpool mixes a unique storytelling and gameplay mechanic that lets you interact with the main Marvel Universe in a way nothing else ever has. While the story isn't meant to be serious, like most Deadpool stories, it's still one of the only ways you can put yourself inside of the Marvel Universe.