Deadpool: Suicide Kings #5 – Marvel – $3.99
Don’t let the cover fool you, that’s not Zombie Deadpool’s head that Tombstone is holding. That guy’s only appearing in Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth for now. Instead of guest starring Z-pool, this issue picks up with the guest starring Spider-Man as he and Deadpool square off against the Wrecking Crew. (Side note: One small favor for writers working on the Wrecking Crew going forward, please have them stop mentioning they have fought Thor in every book they appear in. It just gets lame and repetitive, especially after everyone they say it to who isn’t a Norse god kicks their butts. ‘Kay. Thanks. End rant.)
Obviously physically undermatched to take on villains who have tangled with Thor, Spider-Man and Deadpool take a different approach and get by with a little help from the Punisher who has taken using past villains weapons to the extreme in this issue. As ridiculous as the Punisher looks in this issue, it somehow fits with the overall Deadpool tone. Deadpool takes off ahead of Spider-Man and Punisher to face off with Tombstone where he ends up getting his hand bit off Hannibal-style by Tombstone’s viscious pet pigs. From there, Deadpool sets out to prove why he called Tombstone a “Punkass gangsta wannabe”.
This book does a fantastic job of capturing just what people love about the Deadpool character. It is filled with his stereotypical wisecracks and uses the thought balloon conversations he has with himself in happy moderation. There isn’t any overkill from any of the style jokes that sometimes are unbalanced. One of the best “breaking the 4th wall” jokes of the past few years comes in this issue as it isn’t even Deadpool commenting to the reader but instead a reader being told to come down for dinner before it gets too cold. Deadpool also isn’t treated as a complete joke in the issue as well. He shows how intelligent and skilled a fighter he is and doesn’t depend on his wisecracks to get him through the encounter. He proves that he is the second best at what he does to Wolverine.
Again, like the rest of the miniseries, the artwork is the only distraction during it. The combat is well executed and the stories are told great in terms of sequencing and panel layouts but Carlo Barberi’s interesting take on anatomy is a distraction. Proportions are off and muscles change size and shape from frame to frame. It seems the only time he draws bodies realistically is when he is drawing a near naked female, even though her calves are frighteningly large and stick out further than her butt. Though it may be the style he is known for, it is a fairly distracting one.
Deadpool: Suicide Kings comes to a close as a top Deadpool story. It is a must for any fan of the character and will be a great reference for anyone looking to brush up on the character before the (hopefully) upcoming feature film. The book was able to get better as it progressed as well from the first issue to this final one. The added star power from Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Punisher did a great job of making up for the lackluster villain of Tombstone but also didn’t overpower Deadpool’s role as the main character of the series. If you haven’t picked up the series yet, it is a good investment for a fun read to grab the back issues or wait until the trade comes out in a few months.
Lenore #1 – Titan – $3.99
Well now all those creepy little dead girl looking things in the window at Hot Topic make a little more sense. This book was completely not what I was expecting from a character based off the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “Lenore”. This is the second volume of a series about a reanimated little dead girl who is about 100 years old and has a very twisted view on life (or afterlife). This issue actually tells the story of her reanimation from the dead for the first time.
There’s no big twist in how she was brought back either which is one of the funniest and most original parts of the story. Lenore died at ten years old from pneumonia and was brought to the mortician. After pulling out her innards, the mortician begins embalming her only for the little Lenore to just sit up and walk off the table. The incident lead the mortician to go mad and the disgusting amount of embalming fluid that Lenore spit in his mouth kept him alive for the last hundred years to exact his revenge and finish the job he started by embalming the little girl.
The humor is definitely the book’s strong point. The stories, if stripped down, are very basic but the way they are painted over with Roman Dirge’s twisted sense of reality is what makes them jump off the pages of this issue. Much like his work on the disturbing Nicktoon Invader Zim, Dirge’s work is a mix of pop culture references with disturbing imagry and near grotesque shock humor all tied together in a package illustrated in a Saturday morning cartoon style. The interaction between Lenore and her little friend Ragamuffin is also great as he often becomes an inadvertent target of her innocently twisted view. She never intends on hurting him but it still often happens that he often suffers at her hands through mental or physical trauma. Ragamuffin may also be too smart for his own good as he realizes that he is only hurting himself by staying with Lenore but does it anyway. He also somehow has access to the exosuit cargo loader from Aliens which makes a great cameo in the issue.
The books innocent style of artwork contrasted with the amount of death and gore in it further adds to the humor of the series. Even with the dismal black and white colors of the main characters, their choice of bright balloon animal accessories and parachute pants adds to the absurdity of the already insane story unfolding before the reader. Lenore is an interesting twist on the comics world. Definitely an indie feel to it, Lenore has a niche that is has carved out for itself with the Hot Topic crowd with its bleak but happy contrasting tones and its disturbing but funny way of storytelling. If you are looking for a twisted book that has lightly lost touch with reality and has dark physical humor, this should definitely be a direction for you to look.
X-Men Legacy #227 – Marvel – $2.99
Finally the begrudgingly long story of Rouge, Gambit and Danger’s return to the X-Men is complete and it couldn’t come soon enough. As much as some people love Rogue and Remy, they are best given in small doses as part of a larger team. The last half dozen issues featuring the pair have been a trudge to make it through. This also suffers terribly from event fatigue. Instead of an organic way to link Rogue, Gambit and Danger back in to the X-Men, they are forced in to the ever disinteresting “Utopia” storyline. This book does nothing to further the story of “Utopia” or elevate the story in any way either. Even the cover of the issue is misleading as it shows Rogue facing off with Ares, which happened last issue and doesn’t take place anywhere in this one.
As riots tear through the streets of San Francisco, Rogue, Gambit and Danger make their way to a young injured mutant called Trance whose powers have screwed up her teleportation back to the X-Men’s base. In addition, her powers are going so haywire that it looks like she might die if someone doesn’t help her in time. When they reach her, Rogue thinks she has a plan that can save the girl but is interrupted by the Dark Avenger’s Ms. Marvel who is still angry with Rogue dropping a roof on her head in the last issue. The battle ensues between the two in what is supposed to be some sort of ironic nod to Rogue fans as she got a majority of her permanent powers by absorbing them from the original Ms. Marvel. The action sequences are the highlight of the scene as the overall story feels somewhat generic and uninteresting.
When left as a pair, it becomes very hard to get behind Rogue and Gambit the way they are currently being represented, especially since Gambit’s last real representation before Professor X recently ran across him was when he turned on the X-Men to become one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen. How Gambit and Sunfire healed themselves from that has still never been revealed either which leaves a huge question mark over the character since the event happened. Danger itself is also a very hard character to get behind. Just a few issues ago it was in the Australian Outback trying to kill Rogue and Professor X and now they have adopted it on to the team with next to no hesitation. The combination of a runway, a turncoat and a formally homicidal robot as the leading players in this book just doesn’t draw the reader in.
As mentioned earlier, Dustin Weaver’s pencils are the highlight of the book along with Terry Dodson’s cover. Dodson does a fantastic job on Rogue on the cover taking it to the God of War. Inside, Weaver’s eye for detail and the emotions he gets out of the characters’ faces are a great fit for this book, even if the story isn’t. And of course like all other artists who have worked on the new Ms. Marvel, Weaver includes the gratuitous crotch of the Dark Avenger which is starting to get old.
Since changing directions (and the title) of the book, X-Men Legacy has drifted further and further away from what made the title so good years ago. Although, the same could be said for all the X-Men main titles in that same timeframe since Whedon’s departure from Astonishing and the recent flop of “Utopia” focused on in Uncanny. Hopefully once this crossover ends, the X-Men can get back to what made the titles great. Instead, for your X-fix, head over to Detroit and the not so distant future with X-Factor as it is probably the best X-title on shelves right now since it has avoided any of the negative post-“Messiah Complex” storylines that have brought down so many of these other titles.