There have been multiple “Death of Deadpool” stories over the years. Back during his original ongoing, it was the first part of a Reign of Supermen parody and he was back by the end of his funeral issue. At the end of that ongoing, Deadpool was again seemingly killed, though the open-ended situation led to the spin-off series Agent X, where he was eventually revealed to be alive, albeit braindead. Then they built up towards his death in the second Deadpool ongoing, which turned out to be a giant fakeout.
This one is the bigger punch to the gut. Oh, sure, Deadpool will be back eventually, even if Marvel wants to cut the upcoming movie off at the knees by taking him off the table for a couple of years. Even the situation around his death leaves some stuff open-ended. It doesn’t matter because whether he’s back in three months or never again, Deadpool #45 (or Deadpool #250 if you’re trying to be sentimental) is the final issue of Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn’s brilliant run. I for one am going to mourn it.
The MASSIVE issue’s main story is drawn by Mike Hawthorne and it wraps up a lingering plotline about ULTIMATUM, a terrorist group that’s become obsessed with being a thorn in Deadpool’s side. The hype for the issue, including the very cover, makes it seem like Deadpool is going to be killed by them in a heroic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moment. That would be logical if ULTIMATUM was ever shown to be an actual threat to him, as even their leader is just a glorified Stormtrooper who stepped up and took charge. No, there’s definitely more to it than that and what happens in the end feels a lot sadder to me than if he just went out all heroically in such a cut-and-dry fashion.
When it comes to writing a good Deadpool comic, there are four essentials: action, supporting cast, pathos, and humor. A lot of the writers in the late-00s figured they just needed the last one to get by and coasted. This book definitely has the action part down pat. Deadpool’s epic battle against ULTIMATUM takes a few pages to set up, but once it starts going, it gets going. And where it gets going is to town. Hawthorne goes to town, is what I’m saying. What I’m badly saying. Moving on.
The supporting cast plays a major role in the main story, but they also get a series of showcases through the backup stories. Mike Drucker and JJ Kirby do a wonderful story about Deadpool’s wife Shiklah, who struggles to understand pop culture history after having missed out on several hundred years. It’s probably the highlight of the six stories, although the others have their moments.
Paul Scheer, Nick Giovanetti, and Ty Templeton do a take on Agent Preston having to take care of a talking dog. Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and Natalie Nourigat have a rather nice story about Evan Sabahnur (who is strangely missing from the main story) trying to prove how evil he’s destined to be by attempting to rob a bank. Scott Aukerman and Mirko Colak do an okay tale of Agent Adsit fighting werewolves alongside Spider-Man.
The ghost of Benjamin Franklin has a naked team-up with Benjamin Grimm as written by Jason Mantzoukas and drawn by Todd Nauck. Then there’s a rather forgettable story about Michael the Necromancer meeting his new girlfriend’s parents by Matt Selman and Jacob Chabot.
The final story in the gigantic issue is just as important as the first one. In yet another “lost issue,” Duggan, Posehn, and artist Scott Koblish say goodbye with a roast hosted by Howard the Duck. Deadpool gets his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet and holds the first Marvel superhero roast since Fred Hembeck’s Fantastic Four Roast in 1982 (note: that is an actual comic that exists and it’s so good).
Now in terms of humor? It’s not as strong as it should have been. There are a lot of jokes in this sequence and only a handful of them actually land. This includes a panel of Elektra that I imagine is going to get a lot of meme play on the internet in the near future.
But the real story here is the pathos. If the opening story is about ending the series on a story level, this one is more about ending it on a character level. We really get into Deadpool’s head for a second and the whole experience is just heartbreaking. At the same time, it complements the first story without outright referencing it in any way.
Duggan and Posehn’s Deadpool started out a little awkward with a very underwhelming storyline about zombie presidents, but everything since then has been amazingly strong. It’s rough to see them move on, even though Duggan will be picking up on Shiklah’s adventures during Secret Wars. Deadpool won’t be gone for too long, I’m sure, but this chapter is over. It was a great finale to a great book and I’m sad to see it go.
Gavin Jasper is still jazzed to see the return of Thanos’ Thanoscopter. Follow him on Twitter!