I thought (after the fun I had last time) to try a couple more from the 'not read' pile. Or as they call it on the 11 o'clock Comics podcast the 'Regine Pile' (not sure why).
Deadpool Max - issue 8.
'One Night In Bangkok.'
Written by David Lapham.
Art by Kyle Baker.
Published by Marvel Comics.
This is the first of the Deadpool Max books that I have read and I was curious to see how it was going to be pulled off. Before starting I wondered how the 'Bugs Bunny of the Mutant World' would work as a Max title. For those not in the know, the Max titles have been around for a while now and generally feature adult themes. I shouldn't have worried because this book is a blast!
My actual low point of the book is the cover. It looks a little bit like an elaborate panel that has been blown up to fit a cover. It's abstractness is in theme with the book's contents (which I loved) but the colour and printing is a little bit muddy in places and it doesn't really show off the issue enough - but like I say that is only a small gripe.
The story surrounds the agent Bob who is Deadpool's handler. He narrates the issue in a series of mostly flashbacks whilst he is waiting for a Moon Knight dressed terrorist to chop his head off on video. the first three quarters of the book are essentially the life history of Bob. His relationship with a female agent that goes sour after he discovers her true cause(s).
'She was a tree hugging, commie, liberal, hippie, bisexual, nympho pacifist...'
Bob has not had it easy and his story brings us up to his current predicament. We then get a fight between a Max version of Cable (who seems facially to suspiciously like Stephen Lang - you know him, that bloke from Avatar.) Then there is a conclusion that perfectly fits Bob's luck.
Eight pages in and I realised that this book is fucking great.
Imagine a cross between a Darwyn Cooke 'Parker' book and Bill Sienkiewicz on 'Elektra Assassin.' It looks gorgeous, reads and flows like a quirky dream and oozes cool on every panel. Where Deadpool was irreverant in the 616 this book takes us on a neo noir psychedelic spy trip. The titilation is palpable and the violence is blatant, in your face and darkly humorous. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in a pitch for this book. Kyle Baker really has his ducks in a row on this book. He strings the panels and moments together in a masterful way that makes me wish he did more like this. Just little themes and jokes (the female agent's backside gag for example) are thrown in with superbly crafted winks and nudges - he understands the movements of the readers eye and plays little games with us.
David Lapham is set free to play to all those strengths we saw him use in Stray Bullets. It's not only an exercise in cool but it shows reactions and emotions that seem both quirky and at the same time blackly realistic. Some of the dialogue made me smile widely whilst reading it on the daily commute.
Deadpool only appears briefly in the book and was actually not as interesting as Bob to my mind. the fight he has with cable is a little long (but maybe that was an editorial mandate - who knows). But all in all this is a superb book and I shall be investing in the trade straightaway.
Who says that all the good books come from the 1980s!?