The Brian Posehn/Gerry Duggan run of Deadpool has a lot going for it, but one of the more memorable parts is their tendency to do issues of “lost Deadpool comics.” These are stories that treat Wade Wilson like he’s the Forrest Gump of Marvel history despite only showing up in the early ’90s. Over the series, he’s appeared in ’80s-era comics, ’70s-era comics, ’60s, ’50s, etc. In Deadpool #34, he’s back where it all began for him in the ’90s.
While the artists on the series change regularly – what with it being a Marvel book and all – Scott Koblish is always on tap for the flashback issues and that’s a great thing. When they did the ’60s-based issue, it was an excuse for him to pay homage to Jack Kirby, something Koblish does regularly and is pretty damn good at. Deadpool #34 has Koblish play chameleon to the Rob Liefeld style and it’s done perfectly. Not just for Sabretooth’s ridiculously-huge mane, Deadpool’s narrow head, the inconsistent gun designs, or Puck’s excessive amount of gritted teeth, but for how at no point in this entire story do we see a single foot! Every single foot is obscured! At least, until the issue returns to the present. Then the very first thing we see is a panel of feet. That’s some attention to detail.
What separates the issue from the other flashbacks is that the others act like interludes and prologues. The ’70s issue introduced the ideas of the supervillain the White Man making his first appearance as well as Deadpool having sex with a woman named Carmelita, both of which came into play in the regular issues shortly after. There is a quick plot point that I’m sure will pop up eventually, but for the most part, this is meant as an epilogue to the Original Sin tie-in arc.
See, during Original Sin, SHIELD Agent Adsit – partner of Deadpool’s current best friend Agent Preston – saw that Deadpool killed his own parents back in the day. The details have been kept quiet so that they could spend the issues focusing on Deadpool’s long-lost daughter, ULTIMATUM, vampires, Dazzler, and other stuff, so this ’90s flashback finally gives us the much-needed context. It also brings to light another important situation from Deadpool’s life that he’s mentioned in passing before.
I’m not supposed to get deep into spoiler territory here, but the issue is a huge kick to the gut and it’s best illustrated by a pitying facial expression shown by Sabretooth, of all people. Yes, the remorseless, feral mass murderer is shown to actually feel bad for somebody else in one instant. That’s how messed up Wade Wilson’s past is.
It wouldn’t be a Deadpool comic without some humor to round it out and there are certain pages that are killer on that front. Not even the art – and I have to once again mention, Sabretooth’s massive hair is hilarious – but the constant reminders that we’re in the ’90s. You know, despite the fact that only a year or so has passed in terms of continuity since the issue from the ’70s (gotta to love that Marvel sliding time scale). References are made to Mario Kart, MC Hammer, terrible fashion, and a certain comic book relaunch that didn’t quite catch on.
Back in his original ongoing from the late-90s, Deadpool had a moment of outright despicable malice where he horribly abused his friends Blind Al and Weasel while insisting that it was their fault. It was probably the darkest moment of the character’s history (which always irked me when Daniel Way reused it in a lighter, weaker way years later). The sequence in Deadpool #34 hits the same notes. It’s incredibly haunting and Koblish even drops much of the Liefeldisms to give it real gravitas. We still don’t see feet, but anyway.
On one hand, I’m interested in seeing the eventual fallout from this conclusion. On the other hand, I’d rather not because nothing positive can come of it. This is going to be tragic as hell.