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Deadpool #4

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Daniel Way
Carlo Barberi, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Marte Gracia
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Deadpool #4 arrives in stores tomorrow, November 19.

With the Secret Invasion tie-in over, Deadpool joins the growing number Americans across the country by settling into unemployment. But not for long. The regenerating degenerate gets a gig from his old friend Zeke to save the man's wife from a mad surgeon and an army of zombies.

Although much of this issue's plot is contrived, Way manages to produce some brilliant scenarios. Paramount among them is the metaphor of the plastic explosive chair. While Deadpool fatuously attempts to get his mind off his income-less financial state, he builds himself a comfy TV chair out of plastic explosives. Way gets a great deal of comedic mileage out of the device.

Yet this comfortable, form-fitting, weapon of mass destruction reflects Way's take on the titular character. He imparts Deadpool with a disarming comic demeanor that lulls the reader into a relaxed state. Suddenly, the mood shifts into baleful horror, where the quipping comedian is drenched in blood and indignity. As Deadpool is freed from a jail cell full of zombies, men who claim to be working for Zeke as well meet him. Suspicious of their intentions, the Merc-with-the-Mouth remains eerily silent as he mows down the lot of them. Despite being as reposeful and comical as his plastic explosive chair, he's also just as deadly and unsettling.

As for art, both Barberi and Medina do a terrific job. Barberi's style already echoes Medina's, but is made even more consistent by Vlasco's strong form defining inks and Gracia's textured coloring. The most notable aspect of this issue is the design of Deadpool's unmasked face. Clayton Crain portrayed Wade Wilson's head as a fleshless skull, while Cable & Deadpool artist Reilly Brown depicted him as modestly scarred. Barberi and Medina give Deadpool a mixture of this gruesome and congenial appeal, without going overboard either way. There are bullet holes and flesh wounds held together by nasty scar tissue, but Deadpool's face retains smoothness and lucid expression. As he steps out into the cold winter air after mowing down the group of Zeke's mercenaries, he emphatically grimaces at the multitude of thoughts in his head. Deadpool #4 is a lively, action-adventure that may seem ordinary but has surprisingly dark moments amidst a cavalcade of gags and one-liners.

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