DEADPOOL BACK IN BLACK features a somewhat muted Deadpool, crashing a Power Pack birthday party along with the alien Snarks. Not as crazy as usual, but fun to read and stars the world's worst birthday clown to liven things up. A great contrast of heroes with strong art and solid writing to carry it along.
91 %
Writer Cullen Bunn Artist Salva Espin
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DEADPOOL: BACK IN BLACK opens with Deadpool explaining the story behind his new look, aka the alien symbiote Venom, and why he’s a web-slinging hero now (because this is DEADPOOL and this kind of insanity is just a given). However, that new look is as crazy as Deadpool gets, as he stars in a somewhat muted story that gets most of its lunacy from a birthday clown.

Deadpool: back in black

Even as writer Cullen Bunn dials back Deadpool’s usual insanity, he still manages to weave plenty of fun into the story surrounding him. Deadpool’s new role allows for plenty of shots at Spider-Man motifs, including the newest version of the merc with a mouth getting a panel of him brooding on top of a gargoyle head. But the issue truly starts getting its legs when it reaches its main setting – a children’s birthday party, with Power Pack in attendance. The idea of Deadpool teaming up with such a kid-friendly superteam is ludicrous, but his new attitude makes this team-up more believable. It also sets up the arrival of the character that carries most of the non-PC humor DEADPOOL usually does – Obnoxio The Clown.

Deadpool: back in black

This is every crude, filthy birthday clown stereotype brought to life. Whether it’s making a disgusting animal sculpture out of food instead of balloons, or going through birthday cards for cash, Obnoxio demonstrates all the ridiculous, uncaring behavior you’d expect from Deadpool. Sadly, this is cut short by the invasion of the Power Pack’s alien foes, the Snarks. This of course leads to an all out battle with the young heroes and Obnoxio (who holds a grudge thanks to a previous alien abduction). The commotion catches Deadpool’s attention, and he happily swings in with his typical wisecracks. It’s also fun to see Deadpool admit getting frustrated at being mistaken for Spider-Man, which he takes out on the aliens.

READ: Get more Deadpool and Spider-Man in our review of SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL!

This is an enjoyable issue, even if does feel slightly dialed back. Deadpool might not hit his usual levels of crazy, but he does manage to get some good lines and mocking jabs at Spider-Man. While it does take most of the issue for the expected carnage to take place and it isn’t even shown, the implication is well done. Still, it’s somewhat disheartening that most of the issue’s craziness comes from Obnoxio and not from its main character. The Power Pack’s involvement might’ve been part of the reason for this, as it would have been too disturbing to see kids fighting along with the all-too-willing-to-kill Deadpool. However, this is essential because it provides the stark contrast needed for the issue to work, as well as some of the humor. Frankly, sometimes it’s just fun to read about morally opposed heroes working together, and Power Pack is as far from Deadpool as you can get.

READ: Check out our Interview with DEADPOOL artist, Greg LaSalle!

Overall, this is just a fun, slightly muted issue that doesn’t really have much purpose beyond setting up the next issue. It would have been nice to see Deadpool acting more like himself, but he does manage to keep enough of his humor for the comic to still work. The team-up is a wonderful contrast, and when the comic does choose to go crazy, it goes just the right amount. The whole issue is best represented by Obnoxio himself – something that looks family-friendly but has enough dark and crazy humor that anybody can enjoy it.

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