Monday, May 24, 2010

Deadpool #23 - Viva Las Vegas!

Even though the Marvel Universe has been going through catastrophic shifts that are making many shit bricks on a weekly basis, the Deadpool series has been an island of stable awesome. It really doesn't matter what's going on around this series, Deadpool will still carry himself with the same level of entertaining awesome that makes every comic such a joy to read. Deadpool #23 continues that tradition and does it Las Vegas style!

With Dark Reign over there's a party going on and everybody is celebrating. There seems to be some extra 4th wall breaking from random characters commenting on how the grim and gritty nature of recent comics is finally lifting. It's almost as if the artists rendered critical fans and gave them a few lines to unload on the Marvel writing staff. Naturally, they have them taking potshots at characters like the Punisher and Deadpool. As Marvel's grimmest and grittiest, they rightfully epitomize this nature that can have fanboys arguing for days on end.

Skipping whether the arguments are valid or not, this is where Deadpool comes in. Even though the comment was made off-hand, the man was watching and as we all know Deadpool has a calm, reasonable way of dealing with such critics. He blows them the fuck up.

This sets the tone for the comic, throwing the usual wit before the explosions begin. For once the exchanges are a little dry. Usually, Deadpool is able to throw some pretty memorable one-liners before he blows it all to hell. This time it was a little flat. But the pace doesn't slow down. Deadpool quickly gets into the spirit of Las Vegas and begins carrying himself as a high roller. For all the antics he's been privy too in the past, it seems so fitting. He's the kind of eccentric guy any Las Vegas veteran would recognize. You know, the guy who hovers over the craps or roulette table and draws a crowd of beautiful women and potential cocaine dealers while he's on a winning streak. He's the kind of guy casual gamblers either love or hate and it's hard not to hate Deadpool (if he's not in the process of killing you). Of course, that's a lot easier for the casino who are getting bilked by his winning streak.

Now if the movie "Casino" has taught society anything it's that Casino's hate it when people start winning big and if someone starts winning too much, Robert Dinero will call Joe Pesci to hunt you down and beat your winnings out of you with a baseball bat or whatever heavy object may be in the immediate area. The casino heads in this issue would make Michael Bay weep with joy because they don't just summon the usual thugs. They do what most greedy assholes do in comics. They get giant robots to do the work for them.

Now the next scene poses another difficult question. How do you get a guy like Deadpool away from the tables when he's winning big? The answer is simple. You exploit his greatest weakness: Bea Arther. A quick announcement about a Bea Arther look-alike contest goes out and Deadpool drops everything, grabs his winnings and runs out to partake. It's not the first time his love for Bea Arther has been a theme, but it is the first time someone has used it against him. And wouldn't you know it? The scheme worked like a charm. Deadpool arrives outside only to be confronted by a robot called "The House." Considering it's on the verge of copyright infringement for the much cooler "Dr. House" it's not the best name nor design for a robot. But it gets the job done. Deadpool gets beat to a pulp.

After the fight, the big revelation of the issue comes next. Who could be behind a robot of this power that uses the greed of Casino's for profit? No it isn't Whiplash or Justin Hammer. It's Deadpool's old friend Weasel. Now if you'll recall, Weasel hasn't always been on the good side of Deadpool's schemes. In his last appearance with this series he got dressed up in a bird costume and used as a side-kick to Deadpool's pirate scheme. And no, I'm not making that up and that's not a cute metaphor. That really happened. This is Deadpool we're talking about. That kind of shit is par for the course.

Now thankfully, Weasel doesn't turn out to be a complete douche-bag. After some witty exchanges, Deadpool slips out of his confinement and confronts Weasel. You would think a guy like him would shit his pants and tremble as was the case in the Pirate arc, but here he's pretty calm and collected. That doesn't seem to fall in line with the usual themes of a Deadpool comic and it's kind of disappointing to the reader. What isn't disappointing is the deal Deadpool proposes. Because even when he's had the shit beat out of him, Deadpool still finds a way to get his kicks and when giant robots are involved you know he's going to have some fun with it.

He strikes a deal with Weasel and they hatch a scheme. They employ the services of Grizzly to bust into a casino and cause a little havoc. It's no Oceans 11 and the action is not ball bustingly awesome, but it serves it's purpose. The casino summons their hero to deal with it and this time he brings along a sidekick named Wildcard, which without a doubt is a much cooler name for a robot.

More fighting ensues. Deadpool, who is operating the Wildcard robot, enjoys his newfound status and reeks all sorts of destruction. Can you honestly blame the guy? This is a casino that wrongfully besmirched the name of Bea Arther. Of course he's going to make them pay! While it seems he's on Weasel's side and that of the casino, there is a deeper purpose to the battle. Deadpool goes onto grab Grizzly and fly him up over the skies of Las Vegas for a little chit chat. There they can discuss their next plan for mayhem without the casinos listening in. It sets things up nicely for the next issue.

I've said it once and I'll keep saying it until it's no longer valid. Deadpool is one of the most consistently entertaining comics Marvel is churning out right now. He offers a much needed break from the gloom and doom of other Marvel characters who can't help but go from one fuck up to the inevitable redemption that comes later. Not that I'm against those stories, but every fan needs an outlet that will just make them laugh in the glow of sheer awesome. Deadpool delivers this outlet better than any other series.

As for this issue in general, the quality isn't up to par with recent issues. As great as the setting of Las Vegas is, there remains a noticeable lack of the usual wit that makes this comic so distinctively kick ass. That and naming a robot "The House" just seems completely unimaginative. It doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the issue, but it does leave some holes in what is definitely an entertaining story. It's nothing to go on a ten page rant over and it's nothing one solid issue can't fix.

Deadpool #23 gets a 3.5 out of 5 for continuing the high standards set by the Merc With a Mouth and coming up short in a few areas. It leaves plenty of room for more awesome in the next issue and since stories like Second Coming are becoming so dark, the Marvel Universe needs something like this. Deadpool may not wow readers with literary insight, but he'll still leave them laughing their asses off and feeling thoroughly entertained in the process. Nuff said!

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