When I saw this solicited many moons ago, I was instantly conflicted: I’m no fan of Deadpool, but I am a huge fan of the Agents of Atlas, and Gorilla-Man in particular. The clincher for me? Jeff Parker writing it. I first happened across Parker’s writing in “Marvel Adventures: Avengers.” Since then, I’ve noticed that Parker brings fun into his comics. His comics have a distinctive flair towards the Silver Age without trying to be hip or retro. Quite simply, Parker doesn’t pretend that his comics are anything but comics.
This issue is a perfect example of that. Playing somewhere between a classic issue of “Marvel Team-Up” and an episode of “Road Runner,” this story trumps its own absurdity with each panel, providing chuckle-and laugh out loud-worthy scenes along the way. The one-upsmanship between the two characters as they take turns brandishing more outrageous weapons of mass destruction is classic comic book stuff in the vein of “The Dodo & the Frog” or Nutsy Squirrel.
This issue allows Parker to unleash a few of his more eccentric, Silver Age-inspired ideas – ideas he may have held in reserve from his work elsewhere - such as Borgia Omega and his attack laserdactyls. Fans of Ken Hale and readers of the “Gorilla-Man” mini will find Omega to be familiar. Omega is the descendant of the Borgia Clan of Italy. A madman, Omega has crafted a robotic body for himself that includes the preserved heads of his ancestors embedded at various points around the chassis. The laserdactyls are exactly what they sound like: pterodactyls with frickin’ laser beams. If those concepts aren’t Silver Age goodness at its cyclamate best, then Parker’s been holding back or I don’t know what cyclamate is. Unlike cyclamate, however, Silver Age comics have never been linked to cancer in any reports that I’ve ever heard of.
Steve Sanders’ art is good: action-packed and keenly detailed. Surprisingly, there are points where it feels a little too restrained, especially when the story hops over the top and bounds for zaniness. Sanders has fun with the lighter Deadpool moments, but ratchets things down a little too tightly around Gorilla-Man. Still, the consistency of detail and design indicate that Sanders obviously had fun with this issue.
The story is some of the lightest fare I’ve read in quite some time, and despite the fact that it features Deadpool, it is actually quite enjoyable. I’m almost tempted to come back and check out next month’s issue. I said almost. Next month isn’t a lock, though; as it doesn’t feature Gorilla-Man, nor does it include writing from Jeff Parker.