REVIEW: Deadpool & The Mercs For Money #4 – “No Partners”

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DEADPOOL & THE MERCS FOR MONEY #4
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Penciller: Iban Coello
Colorist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 10/5/16

After opening with the capture of Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Deadpool & the Mercs for Money circles back around to her story in its fourth issue. Deadpool learns from his ally, Machine Gun, that Umbral Dynamics is using the targets he’s captured for evil purposes. Now it’s up to him alone to rescue them – especially Ellie – because his team of mercs has abandoned him after being mistreated for too long. Can he handle things on his own? Or can he convince the Mercs for Money to return to the fold?

Plot: Deadpool breaks into Umbral Dynamics and quickly takes out several of the guards, but this time no one else is around to witness his excellent knockout skills or crummy poot humor. He tries to ignore the nagging sensation that he needs his team with him, which is easy to do when he’s making short work of the security team and drone surroguards alike. But his inability to fight everyone on his own becomes all too clear when he must finally face the boss he’s been unwittingly helping this entire time.

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Story: Deadpool & the Mercs for Money has thus far done a great job of juxtaposing what Wade says with what he really feels – or should feel. And while the task of making that contradiction plain usually falls to Masacre, this week’s issue manages to do highlight it even when the Spanish word bubbles are nowhere to be found. Deadpool is convinced that he doesn’t need his team and the ease with which he disposes of enemies seems to agree with him. And yet the story makes it clear that he would not have been as successful without the help of his friend Machine Man, who took over and redirected Umbral Dynamics’ security system. Essentially, Wade needs a team with him, whether he realizes it or not.

Furthermore, his entire rescue operation is borne out of a desire to help the people he has accidentally wronged. Once again, his own caring actions betray his insouciant attitude – and nowhere is this clearer than in his behavior towards Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

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Speaking of Ellie, this issue allows her to show off more than her victimization. She is an active participant in her own story, doing much more than just crying and thanking Deadpool for being her knight in tattered armor. Since the Mercs for Money are mostly missing in action, it was a wise choice on Cullen Bunn’s part to have Ellie act as a counterpoint to Wade’s antics. Though she’s certainly larger-than-life in her own right, she provides a more grounded perspective and helps humanize the story without ever getting too saccharine.

Overall, the writing built up the reasons why Deadpool needs a team while also making him sympathetic enough to feel deserving of a time despite his screw-ups and protestations. However, I still hope the story continues to follow up on the reasons the Mercs for Money abandoned him in future issues, as well as what they’re all doing now.

Art: Deadpool & The Mercs For Money has some truly dynamic art, which keeps things fresh from issue to issue. The characters are fully-formed people moving through detailed locales, telling complete tales even when there is no dialogue. A panel as simple as Wade parachuting to safety becomes eerily three dimensional thanks to Iban Coello’s thick lines and skillful placement, as well as Guru-eFX’s robust coloring.

Sometimes it feels like almost every page has a unique aspect, but at the same time the variety never feels too busy or overwhelming. Panels depicting fight sequences have just the right amount of movement and maintain a perfect balance between the cartoonish elements Deadpool is known for and the realism that keeps violence from being just funny. Close-ups of Wade’s face are especially powerful, reminding the audience of the events that led Wade Wilson to this place without the writing having to hammer it home every month.

The only negative regarding the art is that the cover might spoil part of the story for any reader who plays close attention. But luckily I am not among that number, because the final splash page was exactly the delight it should have been.

Verdict: Deadpool & The Mercs For Money remains an excellent look at Wade’s psyche, even when the mercenaries in the title aren’t present.

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