Sunday, March 13, 2016

Comic Book review: Deadpool vs. X-Force

A prequel of sorts to the original meeting of Deadpool and Cable in the mid-1990s, Deadpool vs. X-Force is a bizarre romp through American history, as the X-Force members seek to course-correct all of the problems Deadpool has left in his wake. Deadpool appears to be working for some mysterious benefactor, and has been assigned particular targets, as per his mercenary title. But he doesn’t seem to mind increasing the body count exponentially, shooting up and cutting down any confused soldier from the American Revolutionary or Civil Wars that gets in his way. Armed with an absurdly large arsenal including modern firearms and futuristic laser weaponry, Deadpool has a clear advantage in practically every scenario.

That is, until the X-Force begin pursuing him through time. And while they too have a host of future-tech and incredible powers at their disposal, their lack of familiarity with Deadpool at this point means that their approach is more cautious, with Cable ordering them to flank around Deadpool’s hiding spot in a manor and adopt a tactical strategy. However, the soldiers caught in the middle of this scuffle are nothing shy of confused and terrified, and so they end up firing upon Cable and the other members of X-Force, adding another layer of chaos to the entire ordeal.

The story moves along at a rather brisk pace, and as a result, the humor is sprinkled in at appropriate junctures or breaks in the action. Readers seeking a constant spout of jokes may not find this release as satisfying. But Deadpool vs. X-Force does well to balance the two portrayals of Deadpool most commonly witnessed in his comics – wacky, self-referential, lovable idiot, and borderline-psychotic murderer who gets a rise out of his bloody line of work. The majority of the jokes that are delivered in this collection are at the expense of Cable, his audience (with Deadpool refusing to offer any recaps on events, and suggesting that readers read the previous issues), and his creators (asking if perhaps they could paint black ‘X’s on the eyes of anyone he’s already killed, to make it easier for him to keep track of who is left standing).

Given its nature as a prequel, Deadpool vs. X-Force does not have much wiggle room with regards to its ending. It’s a conclusion that many will see coming, and despite it not being a wondrous finale, it’s acceptable. It would have been nice to see the other X-Force members be more active participants in this collection – Cannonball and Boom Boom take to the fight for a few key moments, while Warpath has a couple panels worth of fighting, and Domino seems to just be along for the ride. Perhaps my feelings toward Deadpool vs. X-Force would have been more positive had the series run another issue or two in length – it could have helped draw out the pacing a bit, and even added another backdrop or two for Deadpool and Cable to bring their duel to. Still, it’s a decent Deadpool story – certainly not the best outing the merc with the mouth has had, but far from the worst.

My rating: 7 (out of 10)

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