Spideypool Returns (Again)

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I was a twelve-year-old, acne-covered awkward nerd standing at an almighty 140cm tall. That, combined with a complete lack of athletic coordination kept me buried in books for a very long time. Luckily, I happened across comic books around that time, and was forever sucked into that world.

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For the longest time, my favorite superhero was Spider-Man. The gawky Peter Parker who, after spending all day tormented by bullies, got to pull on his mask and fight crime as the snarkiest web-slinger in all of Manhattan. Needless to say, I felt a certain affinity towards him. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the other half of Spidey’s charm: Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth, the Regeneratin’ Degenerate, aka Wade Wilson. The two had a tendency to cross over into each other’s comic, and that led to the formation of a (possibly romantic) friendship between the two characters. On September 12, Deadpool met up with Spidey once again, this time within one of Parker’s dreams.

First Impressions

The first thing to touch on has to be the cover. Artists Shane Davis, Mark Morales, and Matt Hollingsworth do a beautiful job setting the tone for the book, depicting Deadpool and Spidey on a bench outside of the principal’s office. Beaten, battered, and bandaged, Spidey looks down at Deadpool with one of the dirtiest looks possible while behind a mask. Underneath the crouching web slinger is a primed whoopee cushion, clearly meant for him. A dejected Deadpool sits next to him, sad that his latest prank failed. This is a perfect representation of the pair’s relationship, built around the constant attention, good and bad, that Deadpool gives to Spider-Man.

Opening to the credits page where a brief introduction gives a quick recap of previous events sets the reader up for the current issue usually sits shows a hijacking by Deadpool’s inner voices. This little break from the norm orchestrated by writer Kevin Shinick, which includes “OMG! This dude’s last name is “Wacker”!” over editor Stephen Wacker’s credit, adds another wonderful touch of Deadpool before the comic even starts.

The Comic

This story takes place almost entirely within Parker’s mind, beginning in Dream Level Four. The obvious reference to ‘Inception’ is cemented on the third page by one of Deadpool’s two voices commenting on the movie playing on HBO. The art, pencilled by Aaron Kuder and inked by Matt Hollingsworth, paints a beautifully insane dream world, with Ant-Man riding around on an entomology textbook, Spider-Pigs swinging across pannels, and an M. C. Escher staircase appearing out of nowhere.

Opening on an underwear-clad Parker pinned against a locker by a posse of jocks, it seems to be a typical highschool nightmare. That image is immediately changed when Deadpool enters, shooting the main bully in the head. A confused and horrified Parker confronts Deadpool, first asking why he shot the bully, then asking what is going on. It turns out that someone is attempting to access Parker’s mind to get him to do something he doesn’t want to do.

From there, the duo needs to find a way to get out of Dream Level Four, up through the next three levels, and back to reality. Being so deep down, Parker’s question, “Can’t I just fall down some stairs to wake up or something?” is met with scorn from Deadpool, who retorts that something bigger is needed to climb up to level three, so he blows up the school to kick them up a level.

Moving up through the levels, Shinick, Kuder, and Hollingsworth create an incredible world occupied by a cheerleader outfitted Deadpool, R.P.G. (role-playing game) kids gone bad, a shop class battle with nail guns and welding torches, all the way up to a Breakfast Club filled with Parker’s friends.

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Possibly the best coordination by the creators takes place in Dream Level Two, aka shop class. The Spidey and Deadpool are on the lookout for possible mind infiltrators, and the Merc notices them first. Pointing them out, Parker asks, looking for clarification, if “[t]he guy with the nail gun” is one of them. The obviously psychotic nail gun-wielding enemy then shoots four nails off directly into Deadpool’s face, prompting the Merc to turn to Spidey and respond, “Yeah. The guy with the nail gun.” The quick back-and-forthwritten by Shinick is a fairly simple bit of dialogue, but Kuder and Hollingsworth’s art transforms it from a simple quip to an absolutely perfect sequence. The way Kuder draws and frames the nail gun thug makes the reader instantly aware of his insanity and danger, allowing Deadpool’s retort to really hit home.

Last Remarks

There have been many crossovers between Spider-Man and Deapool over the years, but this one is the first that takes place outside of reality. The dream world plays up how wonderfully awkward Peter Parker is, leaving him a bumbling and confused wreck up until he realizes that since it’s his dream, he can pull the Spidey suit on over his underwear. This shift is accentuated by Shinick’s fantastic writing, as Parker is no longer lost and confused in his own head, and has instead taken command of his situation by pulling on his mask.

In the same way that the writing accentuates Spider-Man, giving Kuder and Hollingsworth a dream world and Deadpool at the same time leads to beautifully insane panels. He gives it an almost Alice in Wonderland feel, with proportions distorted, making the world grow and shrink like Alice as she drinks the vials of potions while at the same time adding contorted references, like a goblin-esque Wolverine.

The two creators take the world and make it pull the reader deeper into the story as Spidey and Deadpool fight their way out of the depths of the dream world. Both the art and the story are top notch, creating one of the best Spider-Man/Deadpool crossovers in the Marvel Universe.

ryan_smythe

ryan_smythe

Ryan Smythe is a junior Journalism major at Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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