• Taheg

Deadpool V3 (2012): The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly is a very grim, painful COMICS RETROSPECTIVE


Marvel NOW! Deadpool, Vol 3, Cover 1. Published by Marvel Comics.

Marvel NOW! Deadpool, Vol 3: Soul Hunter (2012). Collecting issues #13-19.


Writers: Gerry Duggan & Brian Posehn. Artist: Scott Koblish (#13-14) & Declan Shalvey (#15-19)


Last Volume, Deadpool made a deal with the devil. More than one, actually. After gaining the ire of Vetis, a mid-tier demon, by screwing him over in one deal, he was forced to work with him again, in order to save the eternal soul of his new "Friend" Michael the Necromancer. This ended about as well as you could expect, with Michael being sent to hell, albeit briefly, and making a deal with Mephisto that sort of worked out well for everyone. Kinda. But, while diggin' around in his memory, Deadpool opened up a door best left closed... and now, he has to deal with what he's starting to remember.

Masks, they hide scars both physical and emotional. Deadpool has plenty of both.

Issue 13: Deadpool, Power Man and Iron Fist. It's another flashback to a "Classic" Deadpool story! As Wade misreads an advert in the morning paper and decides to join the Heroes for Hire...even though no one asked, or really wants him there. Along the way he beats up some Kiss-obsessed baseball fans, gets maced by Aunt May, and becomes the sworn enemy of The White Man. He also shared a moment of adult fun with the beautiful Carmelita Comacho. I'm sure there's no way that will come back to haunt him. And us.

That's quite a cover. Like a bond movie but... not.

Issue 14: The White Man Cometh. Jump to the present day, and The White Man, now freed from his stone prison, has sworn revenge on the Heroes for Hire, especially their leader: Deadpool! And because it's not always fun to get stoned, Deadpool decides it's best to stop this throwback terror. But when the stone sinks and the mission is done... Deadpool is visited by another old foe, and finally gets the answers he's been looking for.

And sometimes, the past coming back to haunt you IS that you dressed like a pimp.

Issue 15: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Part 1. The Weapon X project. It gave us Captain America, Wolverine, Deadpool, and a host of super-powered others. But you don't create the perfect soldier without breaking a few eggs along the way. A few laws, too. And it seems that while Weapon X might have been shut down, it's effects are far from done. So, Deadpool tries to gather up some X-Alum, and see what horrors await him.

Cap = Good, Wolverine = Bad, Deadpool = Ugly?

Issue 16: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Part 2. As happens so often, Deadpool's plans went a little awry. But, in the end it sort of worked out. Wade wakes to find himself in the latest dark and dank lab, and who should be running the show but the evil Butler, who he's been searching for! But there's one huge problem, with asking the serious questions: Serious questions have serious answers. And you don't always want to know them...

Is that... is that a crown of thorns?

Issue 17: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Part 3. Deadpool finally has Wolverine and Cap to back him up. Along with the other residents of the lab, they must plan their escape. But things are more difficult than they thought: The families of all the camp's residents are being held too. If they try to escape, their families pay the price.

You have my shield! And my claws! To MORDOR!!

Issue 18: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Part 4. Somehow, they've managed to actually succeed at a plan. I know, it's a miracle. So now, Team Weapon X have to sneak in and rescue their families, and also, extract a terrible kind of vengeance on the man responsible for all this pain. But you know what they say: When vengeance is your aim, dig two graves: one for your target and one for yourself.

If anyone can read that text, feel free to share what it means!

Issue 19: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Part 5. Deadpool is madder than he's ever been. And Butler, the target of his fury, is within his sights. But even vengeance can only take you so far.

Well, somehow we made it through. This is the volume where we start to realise that maybe, just maybe, this isn't going to be a classic comedy series. But I'll tell you this: it is going to be a fantastic ride!

The use of "empty" space this issue was fantastic.

There it was, folks. Volume 3 of Deadpool AKA "The really fucked up one". Fun fact, this was actually the first volume of this run that I ever read. I'd heard the run was good and that this volume was one of the best, so I checked it out on Comixology, and immediately went back to pick up the whole series. That's how much I loved this volume. This volume is very much a tale of two halves, opening with a funny classic tale of Deadpool versus the unending avalanche of jokes about The White Man, before it decides to switch things up and rip your heart right out of your chest, instead. The fact that it not only manages to make these two stories work perfectly side by side, but also connect the pair of them, just shows how great this run really is.

There is pretty much one joke about "The White Man" of every page of the first two issues..

The first tale seems simple enough. Back in the '70s, Deadpool teamed up with Power Man and Iron Fist to help out a poor woman whose bodega was being shaken down by a petty criminal called "The White Man". It seems like there's very little to it, and it's basically just there to ease us into the volume and give us some laughs before the horrors begin. The White Man is mocked constantly for his terrible name, and Mrs Comacho and her beautiful daughter Carmelita are saved from his evil. No harm done, right? The bad guy was defeated, the good lady gets to keep running her store, and now no longer has to pay for protection. Simple, right?


Nope.


This is Deadpool, and even when he's trying to do something good, it always ends badly. Because, while locked up and feeling like they're mere minutes from death, Carm and Wade do what any normal adults would do, in such a dangerous and sexy situation. They celebrate life!


And in so doing, the CREATE a life. Young Eleanor. Yup. Remember that name I told you not to ask about? This is it. But more on that later.

Don't say it, Wade. We know you're crazy but even you aren't THAT crazy...

The White Man is defeated by his own powers, and turned into stone for decades, not waking until the present, when he immediately swears revenge! So, the Triumphant Trio of Deadpool, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist must reunite to defeat their greatest foe! Assuming they can make it that far, without Luke killing Deadpool first...


It's a fairly classic tale, there are some great jokes and while the unending onslaught of "The White Man" jokes does get a little played out, it never reaches the point of annoyance.


And then, just as you think this simple filler tale is reaching the end of its lifespan, continuity strikes!


As the redheaded lady from last volume shows up, to try and perform some more on-street surgery. But this time, Deadpool is ready for them... and he's not the only one.

Yup, this panel just screams "Long, Happy Life"

Before her skull gets aerated, Red does give Deadpool one small hint: the name 'Butler'.


This is where the pain begins.

Nothing screams "I'm a good guy, really!" like a shadowy profile shot in a creepy lab.

Deadpool uses his "women's intuition", that he inherited from Preston, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent currently living in his mind, to work out that Butler is in some way related to the now thankfully defunct Weapon X Program. So, when you have a question about Weapon X, who do you go and see? Why, Weapon X, of course!


So, Deadpool takes the totally reasonable course of action, and breaks into the X-Mansion.

It's not just me being super British, is it. Chuzzwuzzers sound kinda tasty, right? Like some kind of savoury steamed pudding...

But there's one small problem: It's Wade asking. Dude has burned every bridge he's ever crossed, and funnily enough no one is exactly jumping to help when he sounds the call. So, he goes to hide in a crime scene, before getting some late night visitors.


Already, this arc is depressing me. It's not just the fact that Wade goes to ask for help from the two people in the world that should jump at the chance to dig into Weapon X lore, Wolverine and Captain America, only to be shot down.


There's just something so unimaginably bleak about getting shot down by them both and then going to hide out in a crime scene. Trying to snatch a little rest during the night in a bed that's more blood stain than bed at this point. I mean, yeah, he tries to joke his way through it, but he's Deadpool, that's his primary means of defense. This, combined with what we know of the whole Eleanor arc, just paints a really tragic picture. I mean, yes, if we really take a step back, a lot of what's wrong with Deadpool is his own fault (although I think Liefeld has the most to answer for). But by this point in his career, it just feels like the dude is CURSED. He can't even try to help at this point, without causing huge amounts of damage to everyone he comes into contact with. The fact that the only person who is actually sticking by him is the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who he accidentally got killed, and who is currently sharing his body really tells you everything you need to know.


But, of course, nothing Deadpool does ends well, even hiding. So, despite a little late game assistance from Wolverine, Deadpool is unable to hold off the hordes of Butler's men, and ends up right where he needs to be: In the new Weapon X project.


As you can imagine, things don't get much better, from there. Deadpool wakes up, breaks out, fairly standard Weapon X stuff, massacres a few guard and fights his way through rooms filled with scary sounding chemicals, before he finds an exit and leaves the facility... only to find out he's currently somewhere in North Korea.

Tabula Rasa, the Blank Slate. Nnoooooppeee.

So, we have to ask, what are the Koreans doing with Weapon X? What has Butler been up to? Horrible shit, of course. This is the Depressing Deadpool, after all. It seems Butler has used Wade's healing factor to bridge the gap, allowing him to graft mutant powers onto normal humans. The only downside is that they all share his... shall we say, skin condition?


So, Butler has been making an army of Korean X-Men, all of whom look like something out of Marvel Zombies, because they've inherited Wade's lesions.


I told you this volume was GRIM. And somehow, the worst is still yet to come.


This whole section is just horrific. They start it all off with a flashback to Cap and Bucky liberating a concentration camp during World War II, and the allusions are pretty clear. The creative team take it one step further in this section, using a washed out palette, full of light browns and other muted tones, to literally wash all the brightness out of the world. You don't even need to READ the horrible text to feel bad, just looking at the panels is enough to bring your mood right down. Then when you actually READ what Butler has done to these poor people, and see that they're only doing this because he's keeping their families as leverage, that just ruins your day even more.


And yet, somehow, this still isn't the worst part.

Yup. They have Deadpool's family. The one even he didn't know about.

Because Butler has one last sting in the tail. Remember Carmelita? That near death fling they had bore fruit. Young Eleanor Camacho. And Butler has them both...


So, Deadpool does what Deadpool does best. Which is to say, he tries to be good and ends up ruining everything.


After defrosting Cap and Wolverine, who it seems got taken as well and were kept locked up until needed, he leads the not quite X-Men on a raid of the nearby camp, so they can all escape and then liberate their family.


And when you've got three of the most dangerous hand to hand fighters in Marvel and an army of ill-trained mutant copies, it's not THAT hard to silently fight your way out of a camp, and then into another camp.


But here's the thing; remember before? When I said Deadpool was cursed? Yeah, I wasn't kidding. He tries SO hard to do the right thing. He TRIES to be a hero, but it just doesn't work out for him. It never works out...

One panel. That's all it took to utterly ruin my whole day. I remember the first time I read this book, when I was reading the lead-in I figured they'd cut it close, maybe a lose a few random people, but Deadpool would get their just in time to rescue his family. I figured this would lead to a funny, crazy, but ultimately wholesome arc where Deadpool tries to make things work with Carm and raise his daughter, while also being the Merc with a Mouth.


Gods, I was so naive.


Nope. This is Deadpool. Nothing nice is allowed to happen in Deadpool. Especially not to Wade. And while he never finds his daughter's body, this whole moment basically breaks Deadpool. He gets his revenge after, but I think we all know that no one comes out of this adventure feeling like this was a win.


So, Deadpool does what Deadpool does best. He makes a few jokes and throws himself into another mission, to distract himself from what he's lost. Now, his sole focus is getting an LMD (Life Model Decoy) for Preston, so she can return to something like her normal life. At least someone should have that... right?


Hahaha, of course not. Because everything is terrible in this book.

If LoL has taught me anything, it's that an angry enemy is a sloppy enemy.

Overall, Deadpool Volume 3: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is all of those things and so much more. This is probably one of the best volumes of Deadpool that have ever been committed to the page.


Yes, it starts off a little... odd. The overuse of the White Man jokes is a little grating (honestly, South Park did the whole shtick much better), but when you view the volume as a whole, you NEED that early humour to soften the blow of the relentless horrors that are to come.


It's like why they made BoJack Horseman a show about animals. Because if the lead was just a sad, fat, middle-aged man, no one would be able to make it through the first season without blowing their brains out.


Because once we get into the real meat of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, this becomes one of the darkest stories I think Marvel have ever put out.


The whole tale of the Korean knock-off X-Men is just soul crushing, seeing the way they "trained" the Nightcrawler wannabe is an image that will stick with me forever, and the last words of Not Quite Storm are as heartbreaking as they are accurate and poignant. The whole assault sequence is just so tragic, because these "mutants" evoke so much of what makes Deadpool an amazing and tragic figure. They're really trying their best, they want to do good things, but they're just... not quite there. They're pale shadows of great heroes, doing the best they can with the broken resources available to them. And while they do succeed in the end, the cost they face is huge.


Just like Deadpool.


One of the recurring themes of this whole run, and one that first really shows itself here, is that Deadpool fucks up. A LOT. But nowhere does he fuck up harder than when he's really trying to do good. All of the really colossal mistakes, the ones that really come back to bite him, occur when he's trying to be a hero, and trying to do the right thing. And if that isn't just the saddest thing you've ever read, then I don't know what to say.


So, go take a breather, grab some tissues or a beer and come back next week for Deadpool Volume 4: Deadpool Vs S.H.I.E.L.D., collecting issues 20-25. S.H.I.E.L.D. makes a grievous tactical error when they stiff Deadpool on a bill, and you can bet that they're going to regret it! Deadpool declares a one-man war on the world peacekeeping agency, but even as the maniacal merc pursues his revenge, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers someone has been betraying them...and it seems to be Agent Preston! Deadpool takes his fight to the Helicarrier, intent on getting his money one way or the other, and comes face-to-face with Agent Phil Coulson! You know, the guy from the hit TV show Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.! How cool is this going to be?! Plus: it's another trip back to Deadpool's storied past as the Merc with a Mouth wreaks havoc on a cosmic level!


If you want to read along, you can find this volume on Comixology, collected volumes on Amazon, or from your Local Comic Shop! Enjoy!

That's not a bad guideline: If an all-seeing Watcherman and harbinger of great disasters doesn't show up to stop you, it can't be THAT bad.

 

Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.

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