The comic book industry has come a long ways since the days of Saturday morning cartoons, Richard Donner movies, and campy TV shows starring Adam West. There have been periods of growth, thanks to the tireless efforts of Sam Raimi and Christopher Nolan. There have been periods of darkness, thanks to the more forgettable efforts of Joel Shumacher and Brett Ratner. In the era of billion-dollar blockbusters and post-credits teasers, there have been very few constants. One of them is the irreverent humor of Deadpool.
Spider-Man may grow up, get married, get unmarried, and run his own company. Superman may wear red underwear, marry Lois Lane, have his marriage to Lois Lane undone, and date Wonder Woman. Gwen Stacy might become relevant again, despite being dead since the disco era. Deadpool, however, remains committed to the same deranged, bombastic persona that has given Ryan Reynolds a chance to redeem himself after the Green Lantern movie. It’s almost hard to imagine that Deadpool was once labeled a Deathstroke rip-off.
With a movie version recently released and a growing to-do list in the comics, Deadpool #7 offers a giant-sized plate of chimichangas to those who have come to appreciate his not-so-unique brand of humor. Like Seth MacFarlane, Deadpool built his career on telling the kinds of jokes that got most kids sent to the principal’s office in grade school. That humor might be labeled as immature by those who eat their chimichangas plain with no guacamole on the side, but Deadpool always found a way to appeal to the inner eight-year-old in us all.
Deadpool #7 does plenty to cater this appeal while offering plenty of bonus material in the process. Most of that bonus material is somewhat forgettable, but it doesn’t take away from the overall entertainment value of the finished product. Deadpool is described by some of his own fellow mercs as “an unfocused, impatient, chaos monkey”. In terms of an over-arching narrative, there couldn’t be a more appropriate description of Deadpool without including taco meat and spent bullet casings.
There’s no way around it. The story that unfolds in Deadpool #7 is chaotic and unfocused. For any other character in any other medium, this would seriously undermine the story. For Deadpool, however, it’s entirely appropriate. In fact, it embodies the primary appeal about Deadpool. In the same way the Michael Bay movies gratuitously exploit CGI and Megan Fox’s sex appeal, Deadpool exploits the chaotic violence around him with an irreverent humor that has undeniable entertainment value.
Nobody is going to mistake the story that unfolds for Watchman or Saga. That said, there is an actual story within the circus-like chaos that is Deadpool’s life. His profile is rising in the Marvel universe and not because of anything Reynolds is doing. He’s expanded beyond being a one-man mercenary operation and assembled a team called the Merc for Money. On the surface, they look like cos-players who are the complete antithesis of Ocean’s 11, but their colorful, cartoonish presence is entirely fitting for Deadpool.
Despite being the founder, leader, and visionary behind the Mercs for Money, Deadpool spends most of the main story in Deadpool #7 being distracted. It’s not the kind of distraction caused by excessive sugar or a not enough Adderall, either. Deadpool, like every other character that tried to leech off of Wolverine’s popularity, has a fragmented memory. Unlike Wolverine though, Deadpool has a sense of humor about it and that sense of humor creates the bulk of the entertainment value.
Deadpool goes about his reckless and destructive business with a casual bravado that never feels arrogant or egotistical. He’ll casually sit back in a car and chat about his issues while the Mercs for Money get into a gun fight with Hydra. He’ll stop shooting his machine guns into an army of Hand ninjas in order to ask a few questions, even though he has an axe lodged in his skull. Such an overly casual approach to such violence might not win him any allies at local PTA meetings, but it will make for plenty of entertaining moments for the rest of us.
These moments aren’t well-organized, nor should they be in a story that reflects the living chaos that is Deadpool. There are times when they’re difficult to follow, even if they are appropriate within the context of a Deadpool story. There’s a cohesive theme in the end that helps tie the chaos together, albeit barely. It helps set up Deadpool’s next mission in a way that promises more gratuitous violence. If that’s the primary measure by which all Deadpool stories are judged, then this one certainly qualifies.
The main story in Deadpool #7 acts as a testament of sorts to the entertainment value of Deadpool’s narrative. As a means of justifying the $9.99 price tag, it also comes with a number of bonus stories that explore stories from other members of the Mercs for Money. Some of these bonus stories are more entertaining than others. Most are fairly forgettable, but they do at least add some extra depth to Deadpool’s team.
None of them are as colorfully deranged as Deadpool himself, but that might be for the best. The Marvel universe can barely contain one Deadpool and Reynolds can only capture the essence of one non-Van Wilder character at a time. These other characters certainly have potential and personality. They just aren’t going to inspire the same level of creative cos-playing that Deadpool inspires at every comic con.
Deadpool’s story is still the primary selling point in Deadpool #7 and that story checks all the necessary boxes. The forgettable bonus stories don’t detract from this selling point in any way, but they aren’t going to make anyone feel better about the bloated price. It’s still an entertaining Deadpool story, complete with obscene violence and unrepentant immaturity. As the failure of Wolverine Origins definitively proved, we wouldn’t have Deadpool any other way.