Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Review - Wolverine and Deadpool issues 17 & 18

Wolverine and Deadpool is a monthly comic published here in the UK by Panini. Each issue has a cover price of £2.95 and reprints three US Marvel comics – although #17 is a 100 page special and reprints four comics at no extra cost – and these two issues are the first I have ever bought. In fact, these are probably the first new Wolverine comics I have bought since the 1980s, they are definitely the first Deadpool comics I ever bought, and they are probably the first Deadpool comics I have ever read.

I bought these because I saw W&D #17 in my local branch of WHSmith and noticed that the two Wolverine comics reprinted in that issue – #17 reprints Wolverine: Weapon X issues 1 & 2 and Deadpool issues 11 & 12 – were the first two parts of a multi-part story written by Jason ‘Scalped’ Aaron (with art by Ron Garney), and thought it might be worth checking it out. W&D #18 reprints Wolverine: Weapon X issues 3 & 4 and Deadpool #13 and I bought that issue because I still hadn’t read #17 by the time it came out and hadn’t had a chance to remind myself that I don’t really like characters like Wolverine and Deadpool anymore.

I haven’t read that many comics written by Jason Aaron, but I have read enough to know that he is usually a pretty good writer, but the four issues of Wolverine collected in these two comics weren’t really that great. One problem is that not enough really happened over the course of these four issues, but what did happen didn’t seem all that original either. An organisation called Blackguard, a subsidiary of the Roxxon oil company, had restarted the Weapon X programme and created an army of super soldiers, who all had the same abilities as Wolverine and laser claws, and apart from a lot of fighting, that was about it. My main problem reading this, though, is that I took an almost immediate dislike to Wolverine as a character, which isn’t something I can blame on Jason Aaron alone. I mean, is it just me being a stick-in-the-mud, or is Wolverine just a bit of a dick who should be locked up in a prison somewhere? In W&D #17, he cuts off a mugger’s hand with his claws, which seems a bit harsh – has Wolverine converted to Islam? – and he repeatedly tells us how many people he has killed, as in this little monologue: ‘These fellas ain’t no joke. Lucky for me, I got decades of experience on ‘em. I’ve killed more people than they’ve even met in their lives.’ Now maybe all those people Wolverine killed deserved it, and maybe they didn’t, but even if they did deserve it, shouldn’t Wolverine have at least stood trial for all those killings? Is this really a character who should be appearing – as one of the good guys – in nearly every Marvel comic? Or am I just taking all this too seriously?

I also took a real dislike to Deadpool, the so-called ‘merc with a mouth’, which basically means that he’s a mercenary who makes lots of smart-arse comments while he’s killing people. If he was just an ordinary mercenary, I suppose he’d be one of the bad guys, but the fact that he cracks jokes while he’s on the rampage seems to make him one of the good guys in the modern Marvel Universe. What's next? The serial killer with a smile? The rapist with the rapier wit? I know, I know – I am taking this crap way too seriously, but I do find it very depressing that two of the most popular heroes in comics are basically just glorified murderers. I know that cinema is also full of right-wing characters who go more-than-a-little-bit over the top in their pursuit of justice – if any real-world cops killed as many criminals as ‘Dirty’ Harry Callaghan, they would quite rightly be locked away for life – but in a Marvel comic that is ostensibly aimed at youngish readers, it seems even more dodgy. In the two Deadpool comics reprinted in W&D #17, both written by Daniel Way and pencilled by Paco Medina, Deadpool fights Bullseye (who at this point in time was dressed as Hawkeye and working for Norman Osborn) and some big bald bloke who wears a butcher’s apron and carries a meat cleaver. Annoyingly, Bullseye escapes with his life – remember when Bullseye used to be a cool character? – but Deadpool kills the big butcher bloke by chopping him in the head with his own meat cleaver, which I personally thought was quite a shocking thing to see in a mainstream Marvel comic. The Deadpool story in W&D #18, in which Deadpool becomes a pirate, wasn’t much better, but at least DP didn’t kill anyone here (although I wouldn’t be surprised if he started holding people hostage off the coast of Somalia in the second part of the story, all the while making smart-arse comments to make it okay).

Anyway, in case you haven’t already figured it out, I didn’t really enjoy these comics, I wish I hadn’t bought them, and I won’t be buying the next issue. I could quite happily go the rest of my life without reading another Deadpool comic, but I already have some more recent Jason Aaron Wolverine comics sitting in my read pile – ‘Wolverine Goes to Hell’ – and I’ll be reading them soon to see if his run on the title ever got any more interesting.


  1. Yeah, they're both charmless characters. Wolvie was much more fun when he was on the brink of killing people but didn't want to.

  2. I'm full of shit, really, because I do have a soft spot for the Punisher - or at least some incarnations of the Punisher - and he is hardly a saint. But at least the Punisher is usually portrayed as a right-wing nutter and not really one of the good guys. I mean, it's unlikely that he would ever end up joining the Avengers (and the X-Men, etc.).

  3. You're taking it far too seriously. ;-)

    I can see your point re: both characters and I've read some truly awful stories with each, but I'm quite enjoying the series you mentioned here. I've grown to like Wolverine more over the years. With regard the killing, I look on him as a kind of Clint Eastwood Western character, and when he's written well, I get the same kind of vibe.

    I really expected to hate Daniel Way's Deadpool book but it's so OTT that it's drawn me in. I like the fact that there's such an utterly COMIC character running around in the Marvel Universe - Deadpool could never exist at DC and I've also found Way has given him quite a poignant side at times too. (Which might just show that I'm insane.) I suppose I should worry more about all the killing in these books, and no, they're hardly good role models for kids (which was the problem with the Wolverine movie - they effectively declawed him for a PG audience) but... I dunno, I just don't really care. Maybe I need to take a good long look at myself...

  4. As I said to Paul, I am full of shit, because I do like the Punisher (sometimes), I love a lot of Clint Eastwood films (including at least the first two Dirty Harry films), and although I am not that keen on Wolverine anymore, I could certainly imagine reading a Wolverine comic that I did enjoy - I remember reading and enjoying that Logan mini by Brian K Vaughan and Eduardo Risso a few years ago - and I was looking forward to reading this. I'm not a complete prude, and I do get quite a thrill out of seeing the Punisher machine gun the mafia (for example) but for some reason I just really took against these comics as soon as I started reading them and thought the violence seemed a bit inappropriate (these comics were on the bottom shelf in WHSmith, but then again so is CLiNT in my local branch and that is much more inappropriate). I may have just not been in the mood for them when I read them. As I said, I have some more Jason Aaron Wolverine comics to read - the first five or six issues of the current series, I think - and hopefully I will like them more. I would even read the rest of the Wolverine story that started in the Wolverine and Deadpool comics I reviewed if I saw a cheap copy of the TPB somewhere (it may get more interesting as it goes on) but I don't really want to keep buying this comic.