Editor's Note: Deadpool #6 arrives in stores tomorrow, January 14.
Six issues into this new series, fans of the old Cable & Deadpool finally get some service with a special guest (no spoilers afoot). Following last issue's battle with Tiger Shark, the regenerating degenerate washes up dead on a sandy beach and steps back into the ring for round two. And then round three. Daniel Way and Paco Medina continue to blend wacky slapstick comedy and gruesome violence into a thrilling action-adventure. Medina is as deft at pacing comedy as he is at action sequences. Pacing not only involves the number of panels on a page (which is usually indicated by the writer in a comic book script) but how those panels are laid out and read. For example, on page 7, an aquarium employee unwittingly reprimands Tiger Shark for swimming in the shark tank. The massive monstrosity jumps out of the water to face the guy, asserting that neither he nor his friendly swimming carnivores belong in an aquarium.
On the next page, the first panel shows the employee staring up at Tiger Shark with glassy-eyed dread. What follows is the inevitable "swimming with the fishes," but Medina's pacing adds a layer of morose humor. The second panel on page 8 is a tight shot on a bucket of fish (the shark's dinner). The third panel is the employee again, now acquiescent to his fate. The three-panel sequence, which appears side by side, connects the employee to the shark food, implying the intent behind Tiger Shark's maleficent smile in panel five. Just like the employee in panel three, the reader knows what's going to happen and there's no need to see him being flung into the tank. The pacing then emphasizes Tiger Shark's unsettling jibe: "Well? What're you waitin for? Feed 'em."
No matter how whimsical or bare knuckle Deadpool #6 gets, Marte Gracia's colors ground it in plausibility (yes, a comic book reviewer is actually spending time writing about a colorist). Gracia's sensibilities provide a sense of realism (because a giant, talking shark man is the farthest thing from real) by being attuned to the presence of light. Deadpool's costume always glimmers and sheens according to the type of light present, be it sun, moon, or even muted by shadow. For example, when Tiger Shark appears in an alley ready to behead our fair hero, Gracia "lights" the character from behind. In doing so, he indicates the position of the sun by where it hits Tiger Shark's back as well as its blushing orange hue. A three-fingered anthropomorphic shark wielding a machete never looked as credible until now!
Given Deadpool's winning conceits, his ridiculous decision-making, his inner dialogues, and that psychopathic first-person perspective called "Pool-o-Vision," the one thing he lacks is sentimentality. Deadpool's previous publications instilled geniality through his ever growing "family" of "friends," be they co-workers, enemies, clones, or hostages. Although Way has given the character more psychoses to explore, he hasn't provided him with that same warmth as other writers, such as Fabian Nicieza and Joe Kelly. While that isn't a slight on series, it will be interesting to see how this issue's special guest will affect the tone of Deadpool in the future.
Final Word : Don't be stupid; be a smarty! Go and buy Deadpool #6!
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