I found this issue of “Deadpool Team-Up” somewhat disappointing. It’s not a bad comic, really. There’s the odd gag that works, the art jumps between good and bad, and the story has a good high concept that works with both Deadpool and this month’s guest star, Satana. As a fan of David Lapham, I was expecting something crazier, more out there, more funny in that way that “Young Liars” and “Sparta, U.S.A.” are, which is in an absurd, satiric sort of way. Balls-out craziness that never slows down, but this issue is surprisingly slow. Worst of all, it reads like Lapham played it safe a bit with Deadpool, a character that allows for writers to go out there.
As I said, I like the idea behind the story: Satana has lost her soul to a group of nerds in a poker game and wants Deadpool to get it back for her. There’s a lot of potential for funny ideas in that premise and the twist in the story that the group of nerds are really lords of Hell is both good and bad. The idea of Mephisto and Dormammu rolling a twenty-sided dice to determine who gets to marry Satana is a pretty funny one, but it’s never played out fully. As well, there’s something appealing about the idea of the nerds being just regular nerds who happened to have gotten lucky one night. In solving the problem, Lapham is inventive and provides a resolution that makes sense given that it’s Deadpool against the lords of Hell, and Deadpool needs to walk away the winner.
Much of the issue hinges on the interaction between Satana and Deadpool. Lapham writes Deadpool as a lovesick puppy with Satana alternating between disliking and liking him. That routine gets boring after a while, especially since Deadpool isn’t particularly funny or creative in his efforts to win over Satana. Deadpool is at his best when he’s dealing with the lords of Hell directly, while Satana is somewhat amusing in her mood swings.
Shawn Crystal’s art alternates like Satana’s moods, sometimes delivering some very strong, sketchy art, especially of the lords of Hell, while, other times, it’s much more generic. One big problem is his depiction of Satana, since it doesn’t sell a joke that Lapham tries to get across throughout where Satana is upset that the nerds forced her to take that form, which is more voluptuous and curvy than her previous one. She’s upset because it’s ruined all of her work at the gym, but the version of curvy that Crystal draws is a very toned one that doesn’t sell the joke. His Deadpool is depicted more skinny and lean than usual, but that works well. He comes off as a hapless loser a bit more, working with the lovesick way that Lapham writes him.
The best thing that Crystal does artistically is keep things interesting by using a lot of dynamic perspectives in his pages, or keeping his characters in motion or making weird faces. There’s not a boring drawing in this book, which goes a long way. He’s got a good sense of the cartoony nature of Deadpool’s world and works with it.
“Deadpool Team-Up” #892 doesn’t wow, but it’s got a solid premise with some good gags throughout. The biggest problem is that none of them are followed through entirely with Deadpool acting a little too one-note. But, it’s an entertaining issue nonetheless.