Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Matteo Lolli, Ruth Redmond & Jacobo Camagni
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 20th

This is a SECRET WARS: WARZONES tie-in

Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Matteo Lolli proudly present the Deadpool Secret Wars tie in an entire 30 years in the making. You may have read the original event once or one hundred times, but I bet you never realized that Wade Wilson played an important role in the event. Finally, The Merc With A Mouth’s story is revealed, and it’s pretty darn entertaining.

Of course, Deadpool wouldn’t be created for another several years following the conclusion of the original Secret Wars, but inserting him into the events of the series carries on the tradition of Bunn sticking the character where he doesn’t belong, interacting with characters you’d never imagine him interacting with, and making ridiculous comments along the the way. When I say insert him into the events of the original I mean that very literally. The addition of Deadpool does change some things, but so much of the issue consists of recreated panels, or conversations from the original with Deadpool commenting on them to either other characters or the reader. With that said, how much you will enjoy this issue depends on two things. First, and foremost is how much you like Deadpool. There’s no arguing that the character has become one of the most popular characters in the Marvel stable over the last decade, but just like John Cena in the WWE, the most popular are also the most polarizing. The second is your familiarity with the original Secret Wars. The more familiar you are with the series the more you will enjoy it. In fact, if you came into the current Secret Wars looking for that taste of nostalgia this is the book you want to buy.

The only problem is I’m not sure how many readers will fall into both camps and enjoy this book to the fullest. I know there are some of you out there, and you are the people that will eat this book up. If you are just a fan of Deadpool some of the jokes may go over your head a bit, but there is enough vintage cracks and fourth wall breaking that not knowing the original shouldn’t be too much of a hinderance. Old school Secret Wars fans should still get enough out of the scene recreations, and some of the dialogue lifted straight from the 1984 series that even if they don’t usually enjoy Deadpool they will appreciate him here. There’s something inherently funny about placing Deadpool in places he doesn’t belong, and watching him break the fourth wall making fun of everything around him. Wade cracks on everything from how much text is crammed into word balloons to the big Professor X wheelchair continuity error, and subsequent explanation from the original. Wade inserts himself into the action quite substantially, and watching him interact with the mid 80s versions of The Wasp, Professor X, Wolverine (who has a great line about his healing factor), Magneto, and even Kang is a lot of fun.

What helps bring this all together is the art of Matteo Lolli and color artist Ruth Redmond. The 1980s have never looked better on the comics page. Lolli has a clean, simple feel to his work that feels modern, but fits right at home with the retro settings. He does a bang up job in recreating scenes from the original series, but adapting them to modern sensibilities, and adding in Deadpool. He also doesn’t hold back on the costumes. Wolverine is decked out in his brown costume, Rogue, Wasp and She Hulk in their ridiculous looking green costumes (green was quite popular), and Storm in all her mohawk glory. Granted these are exactly what the characters wore in 1984, but seeing them leap off the page in a 2015 comic is a real joy. A big reason why the art works so well in this issue are the colors of Ruth Redmond. The color work on the 80s costumes really look vibrant and make the pages pop. This is an all around strong effort on the art side, and knowing the direction the story heads it will be fun to see what this art team has up their sleeves next.

There is an extra backup story called Bonus Round featuring art by Jacobo Camagni. Instead of Secret Wars Deadpool shows up at Contest of Champions all bummed out he didn’t get picked to play. Everything about this backup tale is solid. The concept of the actual Contest of Champions being compared to selecting teams on a schoolyard, to the characters Deadpool finds himself in company with, to the solution to appease Deadpool are all clever and make for an amusing little story. The nature of this story makes it far less dependent on being familiar with the original material, and instead features Deadpool and two popular characters getting to shine on their own. Camagni gets some fun material to play with and does a solid job. I’m not the biggest backup story fan, but if Marvel can turn out stories like this and the one in this week’s issue of Planet Hulk, I will find myself changing my opinion on that matter quickly.

This is a hard review to quantify. I don’t love Deadpool, but I like his character when used correctly, and I feel he is here. I am also familiar with the original Secret Wars. Add that up and you get an absolutely glowing review from me. In today’s comic market I don’t expect many people overall to have read a 30 year old story. While I think the issue could still be enjoyed without having read the original it does lower the score a bit. A great way to read this issue for everyone is to have the original story pulled up on Marvel Unlimited as you’re reading. This allows you to make immediate visual connections that will heighten the experience. I honestly didn’t know what to expect with this series, but once again I was pleasantly surprised at a Secret Wars book. That’s starting to become a trend around here. If you haven’t read the 1984 original you can take a half of point off my score below, and even then that still makes it a solid comic.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

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