REVIEW: Despicable Deadpool #296 – “The End is Nigh”

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DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #296
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Penciller: Matteo Lolli
Colorist: Ruth Redmond
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 3/14/18

Wade Wilson has made it his personal mission to get back at Captain America for letting himself get duped by his doppelganger, affectionately known as Stevil. Now that he has the hero in his sights, the two are about to exchange some words – and some fists.

Plot:  Despicable Deadpool #296 is really one big punching session, with Steve Rogers’ physical prowess being matched only by Wade’s devious wit. While he can’t beat Captain America in actual combat, he does manage to trap him into following where he really wants to go. Which is when Wade drops the bomb that he wants Steve to fix Preston, and then sets off a literal bomb with his finger on the trigger as the only thing keeping the buildings from exploding.

Story: The darkness that Wade has plunged himself into is even more apparent in Despicable Deadpool #296, though a large portion of it is masked in the rather humorous fisticuffs between Deadpool and Captain America. In fact, his insistence that Steve is to blame for Stevil’s actions is both laughable in its absurdity and a concerning sign of just how out of touch with reality Wade is at the moment. Gerry Duggan is also an expert at tone shifts, making Despicable Deadpool #296 feel like all fun and games until Steve is baited into stabbing Wade in front of children. As lost as he in now, his penchant for mischief and manipulation remain intact.

His desire to revive Preston, meanwhile, came as a true surprise. But it’s one that feels perfectly in character for Wade, and makes sense as a culmination of his arc since Secret Empire. The fact that this is all lead-up to the “Marvel Universe Kills Deadpool” event puts somewhat of a damper on my enjoyment of the story, but I must confess I’m impressed with how seamlessly Dugan works these crossovers and specials into the main story. During the events of Secret Empire itself, this title was one of the few where the storyline felt absolutely realistic for the characters and situations.

If there’s anything negative to say, it’s that I have a hard time imagining how Wade could ever come back from this recent actions. But maybe that’s the point, because no matter how funny this merc with a mouth is, he was never meant to be a hero. Let’s just hope he does some good for Ellie – by bringing Preston back to life – before he does go out.

Art: The art is Despicable Deadpool #296 is certainly memorable, and more than that, it’s versatile. Matteo Lolli’s linework easily goes from the frenetic pace of the ten page-long fight sequence with Captain America to the stillness and sorrow of their stand-off in the sewer, and Ruth Redmond’s colors adapt right along with him. The bright and colorful pinks and purples of the early pages lull the reader into a false sense of light-hearted security until the back half pulls the rug out from under them. And once Wade and Steve enter his sewer home, the colors dim perfectly to showcase both the literal darkness of his new life but also the tonal shift and high stakes that will invade the rest of the story.

There is a rich attention to detail both in terms of the surroundings and the characters’ expressions, and I must commend the art team on keeping the many pages of the battle fresh and inventive. It’s more than just snappy dialogue which sustains a Deadpool issue, it also requires surprising moves and gruesome methods of stopping Wade without killing home. Both of which Lolli and Redmond succeeded in conveying!

Verdict: Despicable Deadpool #296 continues to put the worst of Wade Wilson and the best of Gerry Duggan on display for the world the see, making for an arc that is equally as enjoyable as it is upsetting.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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