Marvel NOW! Deadpool, Vol 7: AXIS (2012).
Collecting issues #35-40
Writers: Gerry Duggan & Brian Posehn.
Artist Hawthorne (#35-39) & Scott Koblish (#40).
Last time, a dude with head that looks like an eyeball popped the eye of a dude with a giant head and everyone learnt that people are terrible. And yet, somehow, Deadpool STILL managed to surprise everyone, with the horrors of his past. On the plus side, Agent Preston tracked down Deadpool's daughter Ellie and young Ellie is now living in Suburbia, with Deadpool spying on her from across the road. This time around, Marvel throw ANOTHER huge event, because everyone loves crossovers... right?
Issue 35: When Cometh the Deadpool-Spider-Slayer! Deadpool's arch nemesis and love rival Dracula has had enough of the crimson annoyance. However, he still hasn't recovered from the last whuppin' Deadpool gave him, so instead he decides to pick up a second hand death robot and reprogram it to kill Deadpool. It's like he's not even trying anymore!
Issue 36: On His Axis. When Deadpool left the Faux-Men (His Korean Deadpool/X-Men hybrid friends) to stay at the X-Mansion, he thought they'd live happily ever after. But this is Deadpool, so no one is ever allowed to be happy. So, Deadpool pays them a visit, to drop off a few organs, only to find out that things have gone a little bit wrong, on Genosha... And the problems are spreading!
Issue 37: Guess Who's Bumming At Dinner? Deadpool has had something of a change of heart. He's now Zenpool, complete with fancy new duds and a great, non-violent outlook on life. Only SLIGHT problem, is that everyone else has changed their ways as well... and most of them have chosen MORE violence, not less!
Issue 38: A Friend In Need... Trapped in the Danger Room by the X-Men, Deadpool and his Faux-Men are in a spot of trouble. They're going to need to use all their skills, and all of Deadpool's fourth wall breaking, to escape this tricky situation! Also, Deadpool's wife is going to leave him, because Zenpool is kinda boring now. And don't even get me started on Evan...
Issue 39: A Friend Indeed... (see what they did there!). So, there's been something of a time-skip. Apocalypse has been defeated and Deadpool is now soup. Doctor Doom, The Scarlet Witch, and White Skull have reversed Axis and everything is back to normal. Which is awesome for everyone except Deadpool.
Issue 40: Roxxon & Deadpool Present The Magic Of Gracking! Dario Agger and Deadpool explain why Gracking is the way of the future, and why flaming tap water, noxious fumes, and a very high likelihood of early death are all good things. Features guest appearances from Sarah Silverman, Jason Aaron, and Jason Latour!
Yup, that's right folks, it's another big Marvel event! Hot on the heels of last month's Original Sin, this time around it's Axis! A line-wide super-event that is guaranteed to CHANGE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER! Also, it's already been totally forgotten about, by almost everyone. Deadpool's new suit looks awesome though. Can't take that away from him... oh. it's gone.
Volume 7 lures you into a false sense of security, opening with a hilariously ridiculous issue, where Deadpool fights Dracula's Death robot. It's all the things you expect from Deadpool. Hilarious, kinda gross, great action, and PACKED with references and Easter eggs.
But, of course, this is Deadpool. So they couldn't resist jabbing us a little. Because between the funny scenes of Deadpool fighting a robot, and the heartwarming scenes of Deadpool bonding with his adorable daughter, they had to throw in a bit of Deadpool finally going to see Mrs Camacho, to tell her that her daughter is dead, but her granddaughter is still alive.
The gravity of the scene is slightly undercut by Deadpool accidentally drinking from a glass with dentures in, and vomiting a whole bunch... but there's enough real stuff in there to make sure we get a twinge of pain, and it sets up the later scenes with her well. So we can forgive Duggan and Posehn for throwing in a few laughs, to lighten the scene a little!
From there, we move to the main story of the volume: AXIS, and its effect on the Faux-Men (worst superhero team never ever :p)
So, Deadpool has dropped his friends off at the X-Mansion, thinking they'll be safe there, with Beast flexing his Science skills and running tests and stuff... Which is probably true, except that it's Marvel's latest huge event: AXIS!
To summarise AXIS: Red Skull stole the brain of the recently deceased Professor X and uses that, plus the supervillain Onslaught to flip the world on its (metaphorical) Axis! Sending out waves of super-powered hate that turned all the heroes into villains and all the villains into heroes... Which somehow made Beast a bad guy, even though he was a giant tool to begin with.
But that, of course, raises a bit of a question: If the good people become evil, and the evil people become good... what on EARTH is going to happen to Deadpool, who has always been somewhere in the middle?
And the answer is: Zenpool!
Rocking a neat black and white suit, and some beads that make Akuma jealous, the Axis wave turned Deadpool into the worse thing imaginable: A hippy!
This leads to a bunch of hilarious encounters, which all seem to end with everyone confused and a little worried, as they survive an encounter with Deadpool entirely unstabbed.
Which is apparently great if you're a street level villain in New York, but unfathomably dull if you're Shiklah, queen of the Monster Metropolis.
It's pretty cool if you're a reader, though. It's interesting to see what Deadpool can do, when he's a bit calmer (or should that be, Karma? Sorry, I'll see myself out).
Seeing as how many of the previous volumes have featured at least one issue that entirely consists of Deadpool murdering a whole bunch of people, it's an interesting and intriguing twist to see a Deadpool that it utterly unable to inflict harm on anyone. Even the Thanksgiving turkey is safe from Deadpool's blades!
It's almost like a What If? scenario. A chance to see what Deadpool would be like if he didn't have to murder all the time. The answer is: Kinda funny, but ultimately a little boring. As much as it upsets me, when his life inevitably falls apart, Deadpool is a character that thrives on conflict, and the core arc of his character is "Guy that tries his best, but inevitably ruins everything". It's kinda hard to be that guy when you're too busy helping old women across the street and trying to convince muggers that a life of non-violence is the key to inner peace.
But, of course, even when he's magically turned into a peace loving pacifist by a magical hate wave, Deadpool can't stay out of the fight for long.
Because he's left Kim and his friends under the care of the X-Men they were cloned from, which would be a great idea 90% of the time, but sadly this would be the other 10%...
So Deadpool has to mount a daring rescue, and try to save the Faux-Men from The Danger Room, which is currently very much living up to its name.
It's a fun arc. Seeing Deadpool and his Clone Squad taking on the very X-Men they're copied from. It's like that level in most fighting games, where they make you fight yourself before you can continue. Except this time, due to Deadpool being the king of 4th wall fuckery, the copies are actually able to win, sort of.
Zenpool blinds himself to outside distractions and guides his friends out of the X-Mansion, by going through his memory or something. Honestly, I don't really get what happened here, but it looked great and they teased more horrific memory based revelations to come, so I can't really say I didn't enjoy this particular adventure, even if I didn't totally understand what was happening...
So, Deadpool manages to save his friends, once more, and leaves them in the Monster Metropolis with his increasingly more estranged wife.
Going to take a moment, here: When I first read this run, I didn't really care for Shiklah. It felt like she was added rather randomly, and then spends more time than not angry at Deadpool, and she came off a little abrasive.
Reading through now, with a few more years under my belt...
Honestly? Deadpool is lucky she didn't kill him, about 10 times over. WOW he's an absolute ass to her. Honestly, in most situations, Deadpool sort of does the right thing, and it somehow backfires on him. But this is one of the rare occasions where he's straight up wrong.
Anyway, back to the mission!
So, Deadpool has dumped his friends on his wife, and has run off to save his good friend Evan. Better known as En Sabah Nur, AKA Apocalypse, soon to be known as *Insert cool Krakoan character here, that I'm still not 100% sure how to pronounce*
And this is where the weakness of line-wide events stand front and centre, and we realise that all those people that complained about Marvel doing so many events just might be sorta right.
Because issue 38 ends with Deadpool running off to save Evan...
And Issue 39 begins with Doctor Doom, Wanda, and White Skull reversing the spell, Apocalypse destroyed, and Deadpool a puddle.
We're given a brief overview of what happened, but most of the meat of the event is left out, which leaves us in a slightly odd place.
So, yeah. We don't really see what happened, but it seems that Evan went full Apoc and Deadpool(?) stopped him. Everyone had their alignments fixed and all seems good with the world. Kinda.
It's an odd and slightly frustrating arc. I know I've covered a few event adjacent books before, but usually this is the first time covering a secondary book that didn't really have a huge connection to the main arc, so it just feels like there's an issue left out (because there basically is).
It makes this whole thing a little hard to review, because we're basically not seeing the real story. The Faux-Men are saved and living with Shiklah now, Evan is living with Deadpool, which I actually think will be the best for everyone, and once more, despite doing everything write, Wade ends up feeling like shit. Which is pretty par for the course in this run.
Fun fact: Issue 39 contains one of the saddest lines Deadpool will ever speak. I'm not going to repeat it here, because you need to really FEEL like line, with the natural set-up and fallout that comes with the issue, but trust me: It's there, and it's heartbreaking.
Amidst a fairly frustrating arc, and sandwiched between two of the weirdest issues Deadpool ever put out, there's this one scene, of Deadpool sitting beside a fire, that just reaches into your heart and crushes it. It manages to take everything that is so heroic and tragic about Deadpool, condense it into two panels and make it perfect. And horrible.
It's scene like this, that make this run so amazing, and I can't wait to see more of them.
The volume wraps up with a really bizarre PSA about fra... I mean Gracking. That is in no ways based on any controversial real life practices and you absolutely shouldn't read about them, to realise how badly power companies are trying to fuck us all over. Don't do it. (do it.)
Overall, Volume 7 is a decent, but slightly frustrating run. It's book 7: Blue Balls. As the majority of the volume is built around the Axis event... but the main meat of the story is never really shown, so you're forever on the outside, looking in. Which, I guess, is fairly appropriate for a Deadpool book. But what's here is solid. The adventures with the Faux-Men are action-packed and filled with heart and humour. Zenpool is funny, for a short time, and his suit is badass, and the Gracking PSA was hilariously insane and features Jason Aaron pulling a sword out of his beard. Who can complain about THAT?
But, on the whole, the book just feels unfinished, and is a great advertisment for why Marvel need to chill with the big events (something they've thankfully started to do, of late).
But, I've often said this run is an emotional rollercoaster... and every rollercoaster has the slow bit, right before things get really wild.
So join me next week, as things go so, so, so wrong in Deadpool Volume 8: All Good Things! Collecting Deadpool (2012) #41-44 & #250: It's the end of the road for the Merc With a Mouth! And what better way to celebrate the series' end than to kill Deadpool? Yup, you heard us! First, Deadpool takes a relaxing vacation to the Middle East, where a simple merc job leads to a violent battle with Omega Red, and a journey into the Tomb of Scariness with Shiklah! Then, ULTIMATUM comes at Deadpool for revenge, and he has no choice but to take them on... all of them. Every single guy. And in one final flashback feast, we revisit the Infinity Gauntlet crossover! What would Deadpool do if he got the gauntlet from Thanos? Plus: a slew of bonus stories by special guest writers showcasing Deadpool's closest friends and allies! Also, SPOILER: Deadpool dies at the end.
If you want to read along, you can find this volume on Comixology, collected volumes on Amazon, or from your Local Comic Shop! Enjoy!
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.