DEADPOOL #31 arrives this week in the form of a SECRET EMPIRE tie-in, one of many for this colossal Marvel event. Understandably, at first glance, one would think it’s a quick plug to expand on the drama of the company-wide event. However, what lies behind the cover is a story of betrayal, beliefs, action, and an expansion on Deadpool’s character. Packed with amazing art and an exploration of the motivations behind the core characters’ actions, DEADPOOL #31 is more than a tie-in.

Deadpool Joins the Dark Side

Taking place just before the events of SECRET EMPIRE, the story puts focus on Deadpool and Agent Coulson. Steve Rogers enlists Deadpool to hunt down a rogue Coulson, who’s gone into hiding to expose Rogers’ hidden agenda. A straightforward story at first glance, stakes are quickly raised when we see what the two combatants are fighting for. The issue is a dramatic, action-packed chase to the death for the two, all while exploring the impact Rogers has had on the two over the years.

Image from DEADPOOL #31, courtesy of Marvel

Coming off a previous issue filled with hilarity and off the wall violence, DEADPOOL #31 has a major tonal shift. Similar to the previous “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” story arc, comedy takes the backseat as we get a phenomenal story that brings out Deadpool’s seriousness. We’ve seen the respect and admiration that the Merc has for Rogers in other titles. But here, we see just how far it takes him, even if it means betrayal to those close to him. Writer Gerry Duggan does an incredible job of bringing out the best in Deadpool’s personality, especially when the story calls for less humor and more depth.

READ: Check out some of Deadpool’s earlier team-ups with our analysis of DEADPOOL AND THE SECRET DEFENDERS!

Never Meet Your Heroes in DEADPOOL #31

The rest of DEADPOOL #31 gives us a look at Coulson and his journey for the truth about his fallen idol, Rogers. His feelings mirror those of Deadpool, holding him in high regard and respect, but also with anger at Rogers’ betrayal. Coulson’s knowledge and determination lead to an altercation with Deadpool that is as exciting as it is tense. The impact of SECRET EMPIRE resonates in this issue, showing the effect it has on Deadpool and Coulson’s relationship, and even their convictions. This all culminates in an ending that not only urges you to pick up next month’s issue but also to check out SECRET EMPIRE if you already haven’t.

Image from DEADPOOL #31, courtesy of Marvel

Artist Matteo Lolli and colorist Ruth Redmond provide phenomenal visuals and sequences quite fitting for this issue. The dramatic tone of the issue shows in the expressions for each character. Deadpool’s serious attitude comes across well with his mask features, and the additional shading to certain panels adds to his demeanor. This is most apparent during his dialogue with Rogers, as well as the showdown between him and Coulson. Action scenes are illustrated in cinema-esque fashion, with explosions and backdrops full of engaging color and lighting. Duggan’s story of loyalty and influence blends well with Lolli and Redmond’s backdrops. This is also boosted by the expressions and movements of each character. As a result, this is a masterpiece of an issue that excels in both visuals and narrative.

READ: Steve Rogers has the Marvel Universe shaken to its core in our review of SECRET EMPIRE #1!

DEADPOOL Proves it Stands Alone

DEADPOOL #31 is a powerful story-driven issue that pushes its characters to new, emotional heights. Adding to SECRET EMPIRE, it presents us with much-needed motivation and depth for players in the summer blockbuster. However, despite it being a tie-in, it shows that it’s a strong chapter of Deadpool’s life on its own. Pick up DEADPOOL #31. Whether you’re in it for SECRET EMPIRE or not, you won’t be disappointed.

DEADPOOL #31 is a powerful installment that not only adds to the gravitas of SECRET EMPIRE, but gives more depth to the Merc with a Mouth.
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