"Deadpool" #25.NOW, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, with art from Mike Hawthorne showcases the really bizarre choice to use the fifth part of a five-part story as a first issue-level jumping on point in a tale titled "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. Part 5.NOW." The crazy thing is that it actually works. From the get-go -- including the recap page -- this issue, like most of this volume of "Deadpool" from Posehn and Duggan, is light-hearted and silly with visual gags and dark humor running amok throughout.
The book opens with Deadpool and Crossbones sitting in a bar, having a civil discussion over a couple drinks before literally hammering things out, Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog style. Crossbones took the bounty on Deadpool set by S.H.I.E.L.D./U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. Agent Gorman and although the air is cleared and both men identify Gorman as a con, the two continue to scrap, largely based on principal. Crossbones' lucha libre style mask and Deadpool's chronic goofiness lead to an all-out brawl complete with a cameo from "Deadpool" #25.NOW editor Jordan D. White, a gas grill, wiener jokes and a garbage truck -- not necessarily in that order, but all impacting the outcome of the battle and resulting in Crossbones losing his pants. Make no mistake, this comic is not for all ages, nor is it for the most critical thinker: it's for readers who want some action, some fun and some humor.
Mike Hawthorne takes everything Duggan and Posehn throw at him and plays it to the hilt. Some of the art is a little more cartoony than other spots, but it all works for the story where Crossbones drops the parking meter with which he's about to bludgeon Deadpool in order to save a dog thrown at him. During the fight, Hawthorne dumps the backgrounds, keeping the reader right in the mix. Hawthorne tightens up his art a bit around the fight, slipping backgrounds back in and piling on detail -- like the wicker on the bike basket and the shattered glass on the taxi cab Gorman uses to run down Deadpool. Jordie Bellaire's colors are paint-by-numbers perfectly prescribed throughout the story. She doesn't muck around with effects or patterns, choosing instead to use solid swatches of color to define shape in concert with Hawthorne's art. Letterer Joe Sabino also works well with Hawthorne, fitting in the balloons and effects nicely around and throughout the action. Sabino also maintains the integrity of Deadpool, Preston and Crossbones throughout.
"Deadpool" #25.NOW is a wacky sample of this book's modus operandi -- it even stretches back through twenty-five issues of history without excessive flashback scenes or characters extolling history. I've never been a big Deadpool fan, but these writers and their collaborative creators continue to build a case to change that opinion. Duggan, Posehn, Hawthorne, Bellaire and Sabino bring the funny to funny books and deliver yet another adolescent adventure for the comic world's mouthiest mercenary.