When last we left our (anti)hero he had collapsed in the kitchen of his crush/mission handler, Valentine Vuong. They had lied to their boss about knowing Deadpool’s whereabouts and were possibly planning something sinister with him and the symbiote growing within him.
Valentine’s bosses are the Atelier who Lady Deathstrike has embarrassed herself during her audition for their evil cabal. She gets brunch with her brother and is told if she can kill both Wade and Doc Ock then she’s into the Atelier. She assures her brother that she’ll have Deadpool’s head by the next day.
We find Deadpool waking up to a home made breakfast of eggs and bacon decorated with ketchup to look like him. Naturally, Wade is charmed by the object of his affection seemingly returning it and we get a bit more information on Valentine’s abilities. They can synthesize chemical compounds and use the needles on their fingers as an automatic IV. They’ve found a way to quell the uncontrollable growth of the symbiote in Wade but need to collect more data on how the symbiote reacts and propose a field test.
This leads to an absolutely adorable montage of Wade and Valentine on a date at the metro Zoo where we see Wade being overwhelmed by the fact that Valentine called him cute. Like literally, the word comes and crushes him on the panel.
We learn through a scene of Doc Ock and the Harrower getting mimosas and brunch that the genetically altered symbiote that Harrower infected Wade with has a sort of homing beacon. She can find the symbiote and it can find her, and by extension she can find Wade and vice versa. It is this way that Harrower finds them at the zoo and uses her own abilities to make the giraffes into a terrifying multi-headed creature sent to attack Wade. Harrower and Doc Ock arrive on an even larger mutated creature and the issue ends.
This has been my favorite issue of the series so far and it is entirely because I am charmed by the relationship developing between Valentine and Wade. I know there is a non zero chance that Valentine is a double or triple agent and there is almost no possibility of a romance lasting between the two; but I love them and I love the two of them together. It was good to learn about Valentine’s own abilities and it’s not clear if they’re a mutant or another form of mutate. I hope whenever this series wraps up that it will not be the last we see of them.
The motivations of the Harrower are not quite clear and we don’t know where her loyalties lie but I am enjoying the wild goose chase aspect of this series. Deathstrike and Deadpool were chasing Doc Ock, Harrower was chasing Deadpool, now all of them chasing Deadpool. It gives the series a fun pacing that doesn’t fall into gratuitous action-comic fighting and bloodshed. It keeps the action that readers expect from a Deadpool comic at the forefront but does not just create violence for the sake of dramatic splash pages.
I will continue to point out that this is the most I’ve ever read about symbiotes and I have no clue what is going on there, but it is not detrimental to my understanding of the story. I know the basics of what a symbiote is, and I know what’s going on here; and I don’t need to know more than that. It is still a Deadpool book, not a Carnage book and pairing the symbiote with a Twilight joke is a surefire way to get me to enjoy it.
I’ve been telling everyone I know to read this book and most often I get the response “well I’m not a huge Deadpool fan”. Deadpool books have gotten a reputation of being tiresome and repetitive and while I have not read anywhere close to all of them; this series does not fall into that category. I’ll be honest I don’t quite know what makes this book better than others for me, maybe because I went into it wanting to enjoy it. But I’ve heard from other people who don’t read a lot of Deadpool comics that they are enjoying it too.
Wong’s Wade seems more self-aware, more earnest. The overarching theme of bodily propriety and autonomy is heavier than you would expect from a Deadpool book but the plot doesn’t get weighed down by that. The new characters are fun and inventive and there is a conflict that doesn’t seem too contrived. I mentioned last month that it is particularly refreshing to get to read something that doesn’t have a million tie-ins or crossovers and I stand by that.
I think this series takes itself just seriously enough. Comics are inherently a bit silly. Deadpool is a silly character. Wade is never going to be an earnest do-good-er like Cyclops. Imbuing the story with a bit of sincerity where you don’t expect it gives Wade a more heartfelt tone and lessens the edginess that many people associate with him.
This series is solicited as an ongoing and the arc has not reached it’s conclusion as of yet. However Wade is also slated to appear in both the Avengers/X-men Unity team as well as a miniseries with Cable and I don’t entirely trust the writers of either to put the care Wong has put into him into their iterations. I can only hope that this ongoing continues alongside other versions of Wade to balance out the 90s nostalgia bait. If nothing else, I hope Valentine sticks around even if they turn out to be evil. They’re just awesome.
Images via Marvel Comics
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