So week 2 of this new series of mine, where I look at some select comics and give my two cents about them. Nothing DC-related didn’t really tickle my fancy this week, so you’re getting a double dose of Marvel!

Deadpool # 35

Deadpool vs Dracula who’s piloting an old refurbished Spider-Slayer…Need I say more?

Okay, before I get to this, I should give a very brief (and spoiler filled) recap of 3 recent plotlines within Deadpool’s mythos, since this issue covers all 3.

Recently Deadpool took a job from Dracula to transport his prophecized bride Shikla, The Succubus Queen. After a long adventure, she instead falls in love with Deadpool, and together they kicked Dracula’s ass, boot him out of his title and kingdom  as “lord of the Marvel Universe’s Supernatural World,” and got married, all the while trying to solidify Shikla’s rule, as Drac still has many followers.

Deadpool began to discover that someone from his old Weapon X days was still experimenting on him and making him forget about it. After a long battle with the man named Butler, he discovers that at one point Deadpool had a daughter with a woman from his past. Butler had kidnapped both as leverage against Deadpool, killing his former lover. After stopping Butler once and for all, he eventually tracked down the daughter he never knew he had (a cute 8 year old girl named Eillie), who’s currently being watched by Agent Preston, a SHIELD agent and a close friend of Deadpool’s.

In that same storyline, Deadpool discovered that Butler has been working with North Korea on their own version of Weapon-X, using stolen DNA from both Deadpool and many notable members of the X-Men,  horrifically altering peasants into grotesque, disfigured Asian knock-offs of the X-Men, one in particular (a young man named Ken, who was altered with DNA from X-Men teleporter Nightcrawler) befriended Deadpool. After dealing with Butler and shutting down the project, he’s been helping them out, but recently its discovered that these victims of Weapon X are slowly dying.

Okay, so onto the main story!

The one thing I have loved about this new direction with Deadpool is just how much being a father has changed him, or has made him realize he has to change. At first he did not want Ellie to ever know him, mostly because of his belief that he’d cause her nothing but misery due to who he is and what he does.  But after realizing all of the family she ever knew was gone, he had to step up. His interactions with Ellie are both really cute, yet sad at the same time. Deadpool is truly happy to know her, but he’s just so uncomfortable in this kind of role. He can’t be his crass, violent, perverse self in this situation, and to not fall back on either his violence or his wise-cracking shows just how alien this kind of life is for him.

Another thing this current run of the Merc of a Mouth has going for it are the supporting characters alongside Deadpool, specifically the women in his life. Ellie is still a relatively new character, and has not been shown much outside of a rather normal and adorable little girl (and the morality pet for Wade), but we’ll see in upcoming issues how she acts. Agent Preston proceeds to be one of the best supporting characters in most of the book I’m reading period. She’s a tough, kick ass big beautiful woman who deeply cares for Wade in the most platonic form possible, and is such a motherly character. And Wade’s Succubus Warrior wife Shikla, while not showing much interest in Wade’s “bastard” as she rather harshly refers to Ellie, has no issues with the time he’s spending with the kid. Shikla is a complex character. She is no hero, and she’s an established immortal monster. However, her relationship with Deadpool is a messed up but beautiful story. They get each other. They understand the darker sides both have, and they save each other from them in some cases, or let those darker sides flourish. Only time will tell if Shikla will warm up to Ellie, or if she’ll continue to try to bring out Deadpool’s dark side (which he’s trying to keep contained for Ellie).

While this series can show it can get serious and sad when it wants to, it wouldn’t be a Deadpool comic if I didn’t talk about the humor, and boy howdy the humor in this one was top notch. Most of the humor occurs when Deadpool is forced to face Dracula (who’s still recuperating from the savage beat down he gave him months back)  using an old model Spider-Slayer, who’s come to reap his vengeance on the Merc with a Mouth. Even Deadpool sees the absurdity of this, and almost never takes this fight seriously due to just how stupid this sounds. More comedy gold comes from when Wade takes his Korean X-Men buddies to the real X-Men, who are trying to cure them of their degenerating health problems with the help of Iron Man and the other science members of the Avengers. Deadpool’s interactions with Storm and Iron Man keep to the general disdain/below tolerance most of the Marvel hero community has for Deadpool, who generally takes it in stride. Also, very blunt but hilarious “Death of Wolverine” reference before that event even begins.

Deadpool: Sorry about Logan.
Storm: What about him?
Deadpool: Whoops! Spoilers!…Eh, he’ll be back…

All in all, this was a very fun issue. It was funny when it wanted to be, and serious and meaningful where it needed to be. I hope Ellie becomes a major part of the Deadpool mythos, and isn’t written out whenever the current creative team leaves the book.

Rating:

Story: 4/5

Art: 3.5/5

Characters: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Recommendation: A must read!

All New Ghost Rider # 7

Unlike the much loved All New Ms. Marvel series (Whose’s new issue will probably be on this blog once it’s out), the “All New Ghost Rider” hasn’t gotten the same amount of love or success.  I can honestly see why.

Despite the promising premise, (a struggling mechanic and nightly street-racer trying to take care of his mentally and physically disabled younger brother in an abysmally bad neighborhood ruled by violent gang culture, and housing a spirit of vengeance that turns him and his car into a demonic looking anti-her0) its had a rocky start properly foreshadowing where its story is going.

This current storyline focuses on Robbie, instead of using his Rider powers to punish evil and fight crime (which Eli, the questionable spirit of vengeance, wants him to be doing), proceeds to use them to help him win high-stakes races to better take are of his younger brother Gabe and his medical costs. When Eli continues to push him to take his anger out on “people who deserve it.” Eli’s advice eventually causes Robbie, (who runs a jackass racer who cheated him out of a lot of money, money he needed for Gabe) off the road and into a wreck, and as he tries to help him, but also get the money, Johnny Blaze, aka the original Ghost Rider appears behind him, flames and all, pretty pissed at the sight he’s seeing. How this will turn out will be seen next issue (spoilers, they’re obviously going to throw down).

while the plot sags a bit, the one thing that keeps me coming back to this series are its characters. Robbie is a good kid, trying to do right by his disabled, but innocent and upbeat younger brother Gabe, and is forced to do bad things he feels he has to do for Gabe’s sake. In the same veign Eli, the spirit within Robbie that gives him his powers, is a mysterious character. Its hard to exactly peg what his true alignment is. Is he a sinister being leading Robbie down the path to ruin, or is he a well-meaning, but violent spirit who wants to groom Robbie into a blood knight? Its this complexity that keeps me coming back to see Robbie and Eli’s relationship.

The artwork has always been hit and miss for me. It has a very stylized, unique, almost graffiti-art like style to the character designs. Its never appealed to me, but I respect it enough not to blindly knock it.

Outside of the character development moments, the plot for this one has been rather weak. What Johnny Blaze’s intentions for Robbie remain unknown, as are Eli’s. I enjoy the characters, which is the main reason I continue to read this story. I hope the plot will improve with the introduction of the original Ghost Rider and as the backstory of Eli is explored. However, until then I have to point out how weak the writing is at the moment.

Rating:

Story: 2/5

Art: 3/5

Characters: 4/5

Overall: 3/5

Recommendation: Pretty average issue, but building up to something interesting.

Wayward # 2

Comics and manga have never meshed well (present webcomic excluded of course. 😉 ),  this however, is a grand exception. The closest and shortest description I could give this one is that it’s Buffy if it was exclusively related to Japanese lore and myth.

It follows the story of Rori, an Irish/Japanese high school girl who’s come to live with her mother in Tokyo.  She soon discovers the area to be filled with monsters and beings related to Japanese lore, hidden in plain sight. Rori herself finds out she has strange, as of yet unexplained abilities involving seeing patterns and vector paths.

The good and bad thing about Wayward is that its slowly but surely building up to its story. Its currently unknown what or how Rori’s powers work, and what exactly is going on. There’s a lot of unanswered questions that have yet to be answered but are being properly foreshadowed, such as the story behind Rori’s dad (who seems to be a less than kind fellow), the modernized culture of several yokai and creatures. I do hope we get more development on the plot with issue 3.

The characters are the major drawing point for this series. Rori is such a unique girl both design wise and character wise. She is a cute, spunky redhead who finds herself in over her head, both with the new culture she must learn and the strange supernatural mysteries around her. The writer clearly shows his research into Japanese culture, especially in the case of Rori’s high school. One part in particular stands out where Rori is reprimanded by her teacher for her short, natural orange hair. He warns her that they don’t allow “strange hair” at the school, and suggests she grow it out and dye it brown or black if she doesn’t want to be labeled a “troublemaker.” Imagine a teacher trying to tell a girl that in an American high school.

I cannot express how much I love the artwork for this series! Its that rare enigma of being the perfect blend of comic book art with manga influences that doesn’t have too much or too little of either. It is beautifully drawn, and was one of the original reasons I was drawn towards the book.

Despite the lack of proper explanations of what the exact plot of this comic is, I trust that the writer will eventually get into these plot points and craft a brilliant story. The characters are great, and the artwork is great. I cannot recommend this series more, especially those looking for a comic book with a manga flair to it.

Rating:

Story: 4/5

Art: 5/5

Characters: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Recommendation: A definite must read! Be sure to support this gem!

And that’s it for this segment. What did you guys think? Maybe next week we’ll have a DC book to look at. 🙂