Who won’t Deadpool go toe-to-toe with? Last year we had a hilarious caper full of thievery in Gambit V Deadpool, whose first issue I reviewed. Now we have Deadpool taking on the king of mafia-targeted carnage himself, The Punisher, in a 5 issue mini series. If you’ve read the Gambit V Deadpool books, you’ll have some idea of what to expect, both heroes at odds and an element of foul play at hand. With that said, I enjoyed this first issue and it’ll be a good book to have while we endure through the Secret Empire summer event.
We start off with our ol’ pal Frank Castle taking on the hive of scum and villainy aptly named Vs. A bar which let’s criminals bet on the outcomes of fights between super heroes and whoever they happen to be fighting, probably the most obvious place for a book like this to start. Even so, I think this is one of my favourite new places in the Marvel universe, it makes perfect sense for a place like this to exist. For criminals and henchmen to watch the people who kick their asses on a regular basis get their ass kicked, that’s gotta provide a whole lot of satisfaction, even if most the time the heroes win. But, with the take down of this club being the incident that puts Deadpool in Frank’s path, in a way that I don’t want to spoil, and the resulting conflict explaining the tone of the next 4 issues.
When I saw today’s releases I originally wanted to write about the new Injustice series, which ties in with the DC fighting game coming out next month. Then I saw it, Deadpool Versus The Punisher had came out and is written by one of my top authors of last year, Fred Van Lente. Fred Van Lente wrote Weird Detective, a story about a lovecraftian monster in the body of a dirty cop, which I absolutely loved. I also wrote a review for both the first and second issues. The story starts with just the right amount of sleaze and Deadpool provides all the cheese. Frank is ruthless as ever but does come off a little more chipper than the usual brooding tragic figure as he’s usually portrayed. Deadpool is, as always, an ass-hat with a heart of gold. The sass is definitely toned down compared to previous books we’ve seen him in, but for what the writer is setting up it feels appropriate.
The art team of Pere Perez and Ruth Redmond do a tremendous job at bring both of these heroes together. The contrasting black and neon of the Punisher pages play well against the bright and colorful Deadpool segments. I wouldn’t say it’s the most extraordinary art I’ve seen lately, it gets the job done well but it doesn’t really separate itself from other books on the shelf. There are some very subtle details to characters within and the paneling can be creative, but it plays it pretty safe. With that said, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book in any way and I still look forward to see how they mix both of these characters’ styles together.
Deadpool Versus The Punisher #1 has an intriguing start and leaves you excited for its next issue. Although the art doesn’t take any chances, it still does a great job at starting to bleed both characters’ styles together while also creating a cinematic quality to the pages. After last years Weird Detective, I’m always excited for more books written by Fred Van Lente and here’s hoping he brings that same creativity to this series. With the series running from April to June, it’ll be a fun break between issues of Earths’ mightiest heroes fighting against Captain America and his Hydra forces in Secret Empire.