Let’s finish off Deadpool! At least, the third and fourth issues of the 90s series we started talking about last week. This is the not-so-epic conclusion to the story of Black Tom’s mysterious (re: Macguffin) illness and the burgeoning (went nowhere) relationship between Deadpool and Siryn.
Issue three is really difficult to get out of its bag. It must have heard what I did to the first two issues. Oh well. It’s out now, and ready to go.
The standoff with the Interpol douche (I was wrong last week – he’s still with Interpol, just in an office that looks like it’s out of a Sam Spade knockoff catalog) is resolved in a page. Pages two and three are a big spread of Juggernaut smashing into everything, distracting the goons long enough for Deadpool to get away. Deadpool has done a lot of killing, mostly in issue one, but he never seems to really do any of the things in this comic. They’re done to him. I know that makes for great entertainment, right? Oh, no, it’s the other way around. Sorry.
Oh, and Deadpool somehow knows to the second when Juggernaut will appear. We’re never told how.
The thing that tries to be interesting in this issue is that Siryn considers letting Juggernaut fuck Deadpool up and take him to Black Tom, since Tom is family. This dilemma lasts all of, let’s see, subtract the two page spread ad for the Weird Science TV series, yeah, here we go, six panels. Less than a page. Turn the page (turn it again after staring at the sideways model) and Siryn’s fucking Juggernaut up in an awful panel where it looks like she’s spitting out a green telephoto lens.
One goon escaped the fight in issue one alive, and is nearly killed by Tom for, uh, surviving. But he brought back Deadpool’s severed hand, for which Tom awards him a get out of murder free card. The doctor prepares to use this sudden boon to help save Tom’s life. More on that later.
First Banshee has to realize his friend ditched him to fuck Deadpool over, by noticing, after what’s presumably several hours, that the file on his friend’s desk has all the information he wanted. A woman calls security when she finds Banshee there, because his excuse of “my friend told me to wait’ appears to be bullshit, since said friend led a strike force out of the building “an hour ago.” That is literally what she said. So at least an hour passed, by the comic’s own admission, before Sean Cassidy did any fucking thing other than sit in a chair and look goofy. Hurray.
Also, Banshee’s pursuit out of the building by guards will never matter to the comic again. I’m sure glad that scene happened.
Deadpool bitches at Siryn for above almost-giving-him-to-Juggernaut, they make up, they get shot at by the Intepol dude again, and Deadpool takes a bunch of bullets, Boromir-style, in order to get to the douche and throw him off a building. I shit you not, the guy has a bad 80s cartoon villain fall-off-the-roof-speech, and he gets saved in the middle of it.
Deadpool is all shot up, though, so he sits around like he ran too much in PE class. Siryn asks him to come with when the go to, uh, arrest Black Tom? Kill? Fight with? Have stern words with? There’s nothing like two decades of distance to make one realize that many of one’s favorite childhood comic books didn’t do so well with character motivation, or basic goals. Why in the hell are they going to Tom’s base again? To send him back to jail, basically. OK, good. They can’t call the cops because he’d fry them all with his fire-breathing powers (which he has, by the way). Sure. They’re both in their fucking neon X-Men costumes. Why aren’t they calling in the whole team on this?
Oh, whatever. Deadpool says he’s not coming, Siryn says something about not knowing his name, he says it’s Wade, cut to her flying him into the darkness while he says he won’t live to regret doing this. No transition, no business where we see that this means he’s changed his mind. Revealing one’s real name is also a hell of a way to say goodbye. The comic doesn’t really let us know which he’s going for, we just have to assume.
Oh, and meanwhile, back on Supervillain Ranch? The doctor’s taking too long to set up his equipment, so Black Tom takes an axe, cuts off his hand, and sticks Deadpool’s on the stump. The doctor then proceeds to basically narrate how it’s taking hold. His entire fucking job was to make this transplant happen, and he does literally nothing during the process. What’s he here for, again?
Issue four is the inevitable fucking conclusion. I’m serious when I say that almost nothing happens. I considered doing a page-by-page blow-by-blow of boredom, but I don’t want to, you don’t want me to, let’s all be happy together.
The things that technically do happen are as follows:
- The doctor is the guy who experimented on Deadpool, making him, well, Deadpool.
- Black Tom, Banshee, and Siryn fight.
- Deadpool sort of fights a little sometimes
- During that sometime, Juggernaut takes off Deadpool’s mask, which is totally something one could do accidentally while trying to brutally murder him
- Deadpool freaks the fuck out about that, crying for him give back “my face”
- The good guys win.
- Deadpool and Siryn have one of those “we could date but we won’t because that would have to be coordinated between twenty-five thousand different comics” conversations.
- The Interpol guy swears vengeance in the last panel.
Exciting, huh? I mean, in some sense this is the conclusion of everything that’s gone before, but it should also have been the climax. Why so dull? (I got independent confirmation of this, by the way. TheKittyMeister is a huge Deadpool fan, and while she didn’t hate these comments it was her statement that nothing happens in them that got me thinking about this). Deadpool is pretty much a catalyst for action. Stupid beginnings aside, he is literally an unkillable, but hurtable, deadly buffoon with a gleeful habit of violence and Spider-Man’s relish for banter and fucking with writing conventions (actually, for a while Spider-Man knew he was in a comic, somewhere in the 2000s when he was more consistently with the Avengers – that’s now considered one of Deadpool’s actual superpowers). In this piece his jokes are the most cliched things happening, the fights dwindle off into nothing, which would work if the final fight was a big deal, but it’s not. Deadpool spends a significant portion of that fight threatening the doctor so he’ll help turn Deadpool’s healing factor back up to 11.
The most interesting thing in the issue, and possibly the entire four issues, is that Wade considers his Deadpool mask his face, because, well, his face is so fucked up. And god help me because I have to point this out, but Watchmen did it. Rorschach thinks his weird floaty ink face is his face, and then it’s creepy because A: it’s amorphous and B: his regular face is fine, if covered in grime that would make a homeless dude ashamed.
So Deadpool’s all fucked up looking and thinks his mask is his face. We could still roll with that, but Siryn makes with the touching of the face that all 80s and 90s movies taught us to expect, and then we never speak of it again.
I get the impression this was an attempt to start up the eventually successful Deadpool monthly series. In fact, I always assumed it was simply issues one through four of the series. But it says it’s a limited series, which I guess is 90s-speak for mini-series or something. Either way, the intent could be to deal with Deadpool’s emotional scars later on.
But in the end isn’t that what I’m complaining about here? Some comics running currently are showing, pretty well in fact, that writers can plan for later stories and still have things mean something in the here and now. You don’t have to keep teasing and saving up all your good stuff for later. If you do that, there’s always a later compared to now, and now will never be very satisfying. I had the same problem with those X-Men comics I wrote about. Nothing happens because everyone was convinced that if something happened there wouldn’t be any more comics, as though the static image of two men, crouched to settle an age-old conflict, is good to look at for years straight, without turning the page to see how that works out for them.