Is it a one-shot? Or merely the latest issue of the world’s most sporadic series? At this point, no-one can tell, but in a way, such ineffable numbering practices seem like the perfect fit for both lead characters: one a walking in-joke, the other a time-traveller.
Not that Cable is actually in this issue, of course. Well, part of him is. Upset by the death of his friend, Deadpool exhumes Cable’s remains -- which is to say, his now-inert cyborg arm -- and takes them out for one last adventure. Where? Rumekistan, of course, the country Cable once ran.
Although Deadpool doesn’t always work, Swierczynski’s take is about as entertaining a version as I’ve seen written since Joe Kelly’s work on the character. It’s nothing like that, of course, but Deadpool’s plan -- invade the country, build a Cable-themed amusement park and get Lady Gaga to hold a tribute concert there -- is just the right combination of madcap cartoon antics and pop-culture references to make it entertaining.
Flashing back to so many of the pair’s adventures together does allow Cable a limited presence in the title, but it’s fair to say this is largely a Deadpool story, albeit a Cable-centric one. By reinforcing the pair’s relationship over the years (it might be too strong to call it a friendship -- a one-sided one, perhaps) it allows Swierczynski to milk a moment of genuine pathos out of Deadpool at the issue’s conclusion. That’s no mean feat with a character as resistant to seriousness as Wade is!
You could be forgiven for asking “why now,” though. Cable’s death occurred a year ago, and many Deadpool stories have come and gone since. At this point, the Marvel Universe has moved on. Surely Deadpool should have, as well? The book doesn’t provide a satisfying answer, really. While it’s a story that few would have argued against telling, it’s tough to figure out why it took this long to get to it.
The book’s artwork comes from Leandro Fernandez, whose style is a little like Kyle Hotz on “Hitman.” It’s a perfect fit for Swierczynski’s mix of subtle comic timing and high-octane action, a range not every artist can effectively convey, and both of which are essential to a character like Deadpool.
Certainly, a Deadpool comic isn’t ever going to win any Eisners, but if you’re a fan of Cable and Deadpool – together or separately – you could do far worse. It achieves what it set out to do, and does so very well. For that, it truly earns its 4 stars.