Deadpool honors his best friend by becoming him. Is there a gun big enough?
How should I describe what this comic actually is? A one-shot? An annual? A year-late issue of an on-oning? Deadpool & Cable #26 is an odd little ditty, to say the least. It reads like a single issue but carries the numbering of Cable’s long-canceled monthly. Considering Cable is currently dead, it’s fitting that his best bud, Deadpool, is the one to honor him postmortem.
I hadn’t got around to reading last year’s Deadpool & Cable #25 until a couple of months ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Duane Swierczynski really had a great grip of Nathan, Wade and their complex, contrasting relationship. (I believe that Swiecrynski landed Wade Wilson’s War on the strength of that issue.) This marks a type of spiritual sequel to the Cable (Vol. 2) series ender. We join Deadpool at Cable’s grave in what is supposed to be a flashback, but considering that I’m not a huge follower of the X-Titles I have a little trouble placing it in the grand scheme.
Regardless, the time point of the story isn’t vital, as it’s more about the occasion. Here we have Deadpool, a typically inane character, mourning the death of the only other heavy hitter that ever took him seriously. There’s a friction there that really works, the normally chaotic Deadpool having to slow down and recollect the best moments in the life of a buddy.
That relationship was truly fostered and built in the pages of Cable & Deadpool, the 50-issue ongoing written by Fabian Nicieza and a host of art teams. Over the span of that quirky but extremely solid series Nicieza brought the two from casual enemies to best friends through their diversity and heroic dichotomy. The two characters really balanced each other, as Deadpool needs structure and Cable needs some humor. Both supplied each other with what the other lacked, and it magically worked under solid writing and some very cool concepts. Considering that both characters were merged into the same book because of their inability to sell enough copies of their own, I’d say Cable & Deadpool was a huge success for everyone involved.
This issue reads like a somber love letter to that series. It calls back to specific moments and to Deadpool and Cable’s relationship in general. Deadpool’s reflections on the past and significance of it are poignant while still not losing his unique voice. Swierczynski really nails Cable’s characterization and memory even if the time traveling son of Cyclops only appears in flashbacks. The spirit of Cable is strong here, and his memory is well served in the hands of a mouthy mercenary.
The issue’s pitfalls are more subtle than the strengths. Basically, the plot wasn’t very engaging. While it was definitely thought out, I wasn’t as eager to flip through the pages as I wanted to be. There were no secondary characters or huge reveals — just a linear story to get us to the cover image of Deadpool in Cable’s iconic gear. Leandro Fernandez pencils and inkers were very strong in the basic elements, but lacked a pop that I think a Deadpool story needs. Swierczynski’s Deadpool characterization is close but slightly misses the mark. This issue is a little more serious than most Deadpool stories, but it lacks the zaniness or swagger I typically expect from any story featuring the Crimson Comedian. There are definitely some chuckle-out-loud moments (the friendly poke at Rob Liefeld was my particular favorite) but, in general, Deadpool was missing his comedic strut. Even in a story that centers on death, I expect that in the least.
In the end, this is a must-grab for any fan of Deadpool, Cable or their peculiar friendship. Otherwise, leave this one on the shelf.