Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Deadpool Reloaded by Fabian Niceieza, Joe Kelly, Daniel Way, et al. (graphic novel review).

July 18, 2018 | By | Reply More

‘The Definitive Deadpool Reloaded’, the ‘Reloaded’ part meaning it’s another collection, so even more ‘Definitive’ then before, is something of a cheat. It should really be called ‘the Definitive Cable’. Sadly for the futuristic, time travelling, funny-eyed son of Cyclops, he’s not as famous as the ‘merc with a mouth’.

So, unless recent hit film ‘Deadpool 2’ implants him on the top echelon of pop culture, he’ll be destined to be playing second fiddle to the red-suited king of the meta. Of course, both Cable and Deadpool have had their fates intertwined since both were introduced at the beginning of the 1990s. With wisecracking Deadpool up against Cable’s dour persona, this is a collection of some of their most infamous team-ups.

We begin with two issues of X-Force # 2 and # 11 respectively, which sees Deadpool, working for the mysterious Mr. Tolliver, battle against both Domino and Cable in stories scripted by Deadpool creators Fabien Niceieza and Rob Liefeld. His art is perhaps typical of early 90s comicbooks in general, a sort of scratchy ugliness full of ripply muscled heroes and anatomy that seems somewhat removed from any sort of reality. It all gives a sense of the excess of the comics of time, as they strove to find a balance between the adult fans who wanted the gritty realism that had sprouted in the mid-80s and the still important teen-age audience who just wanted fights and action.

The story itself is a bit convoluted, partly because the very nature of the collection means it misses out important bits of the narrative but also because this was the era when comics were falling under the weight of their own mythology, even ones that had been going a couple of issues. Deadpool is almost unrecognisable, with none of the meta-references or general snarkiness we’ve come to expect. He’s just another dude in a funny suit. But there are some fun things to pick out, including an extended X-Force ‘training mission’, amongst the 90s chaos.

X-Force # 15 contains more action as Cable and Deadpool face-off but with new artist Greg Capullo at the helm, it at least means their feet are drawn properly. Aah, just google it….

Then we take a leap forward 14 years to the middle of the run of the established Cable & Deadpool. These have a whiff of the more socially conscious comics of the mid-2000s such as ‘The Authority’ as they deal with Cable’s attempt to run a new country on vaguely utopian lines. Of course, the USA is a bit unhappy with this and send in a certain red-suited soldier of fortune to help destabilize this threat to their all-powerful nature. This is still pretty much all action, but the mix between social commentary, set pieces and comedy, Deadpool is at his most familiar and wisecracking here, is much more balanced and becomes a much more easy and enjoyable read that the earlier ‘X-Force’ sections.

We end with the most successful part of the book, the collection of all four parts of the ‘Deadpool vs X-Force Mini-Series’ from 2014. Here Wade Wilson and Cable do battle before they’ve even met for the first time, thanks to Deadpool messing around with history.

This drifts into the realms of the gloriously silly with a flirtation with bad taste with Deadpool becoming a bodyguard for the young Hitler, who constantly has time travellers turning up wanting to kill him. As a self-contained mini-series, this is the most narratively satisfying even with all the twists and turns of the time travel story and there is a great deal of fun seeing Deadpool recklessly mess with history as grim-faced Cable tries to stop him.

Those who are not fans already might find this collection a little hard to get into and the early iterations of Deadpool are almost unrecognisable. But those who like the interplay between Deadpool, with his fluid morality at its most changeable in these stories, and the stoic Cable, then this collection will be for you.

There is also a rather exhaustive written history of Cable and Domino included though, with all the time travel, it will probably make your brain hurt a little bit.

Laurence Boyce

July 2018

(pub: Marvel/Panini. 132 page graphic novel softcover. Price: £17.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84653-898-8)

check out website: www.paninicomics.co.uk/

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Category: Comics, Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Laurence Boyce is a film journalist who likes Bond, Batman and Doctor Who (just to prove the things he enjoys things that don't just start with a 'B'). He is also a film programmer for various film festivals in the UK and abroad.

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