This week on The Wal-Tor Weekly Review, I knock it down to a quick look at two Marvel comics in Deadpool & The Mercs For Money and Doctor Strange.
Deadpool & The Mercs For Money #1
For Deadpool, it has always been about the money. It should come as no surprise that money is the motivating factor behind Deadpool hiring a group of fellow money-loving mercenaries for a mission from a secret benefactor. Their mission: to retrieve a mysterious container and return it to the buyer unopened. Everything seems to be going off without a hitch until Deadpool and his team arrive at the rendezvous point only to discover that their prospective buyer is dead. From there everything heads south as Deadpool must decide what to do with this highly valuable container.
Cullen Bunn comes back to do another Deadpool miniseries, this time bringing along Salva Espin, to tell the story of Deadpool and his band of mercenaries in Deadpool & The Mercs For Money. Bunn has quickly become Marvel’s “not so secret weapon”, having penned a large number of different Deadpool miniseries over the past several years, bringing a fun hook to the story every time. That doesn’t stop here as this story is all-out Deadpool fun with a simple, straightforward story. No one should ever have to tell Bunn how to write Deadpool because he just gets the character in a way few other writers can, with that skill on full display throughout the issue. What makes Bunn shine in this issue is how memorable he manages to make all the members of the team, balancing out their involvement and personalities quite well given the size of his cast. As I stated before, the plot itself is simple, not being anything to write home about but still having enough fun moments that you can forgive a plot that has very little meat on its bones. Salva Espin is a great compliment to Bunn, illustrating a dynamic issue where he has plenty of panel breaking action that never feels out-of-place. The theme of strong character representation is carried on through Salva’s work because of how well he illustrates the characters. The one surprising side to Salva’s artwork is that he actually draws Deadpool awkwardly in a few panels, shaping his head in a rectangular way instead of the smooth oval shape fans are used to.
+Fun Deadpool action
+Great team dynamic
–Plot is too basic
–Deadpool is awkwardly drawn at times
In an industry that loves to lob out overly complex and convoluted plots that numb a reader’s mind from time to time, Deadpool & The Mercs For Money is a sweet break from the standard of your current superhero comics. The plot is almost too simple at times, lacking any true meat on its bones, but it’s a forgivable sin given the fun character work by Cullen Bunn and Salva Espin. At this point, Bunn has become a master at writing Deadpool, always nailing the character’s voice. Backed by excellent art from Salva, Bunn is able to create some fun cast members who all feel unique. Ahead of the new Deadpool film, this is a perfect new Deadpool story to commit to for new or longtime readers.
Doctor Strange #5
The Empirikul continues to escalate their assault on magic, seeking to destroy the inexplicable force once and for all. Doctor Strange stands against this threat, armed and ready, with magic’s last hope lying in the hands of his longtime ally, Wong. Wong works diligently in a last-ditch effort to help Doc Strange in any way he can, while Strange attempts to contact any and all known magic users in hopes of giving them enough time to stand their ground against this massive threat.
Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo keep bringing the hits with Doctor Strange #5. It’s hard to argue that Doctor Strange isn’t one of the best ongoing series currently being produced over at Marvel, with every issue reasserting this claim. This time around, Aaron packs in some meaningful revelations with a plot that moves slowly to build up some emotional punch for big reveals down the road. In most superhero books, this style of issue tends to be worrisome to fans as the end of an arc approaches, but here Aaron uses it as a brilliant tool for future storytelling. This issue allows Aaron to add some new wrinkles to mainstay cast members like Wong, who is easily the star of this issue. The subplot with Wong is nothing short of fascinating and an excellent new flourish for a fan-favourite character. On the art side of things, Chris Bachalo continues to prove why he is the perfect artist for an ongoing Doctor Strange title, being given the opportunity to unleash his unique style to the fullest. A dark, ashy colour palette by Bachalo helps to underscore the grim, impending doom you feel as the issue approaches its close. The entire look of this book couldn’t be more perfect, as well as ever-changing, from one issue to the next. Even in an issue that drags out the conflict for the sake of filling the page count, Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo deliver a superhero comic that is still better than anything else out in the industry right now.
+Moody colour palette
–Minimal plot progression
Even on a downbeat issue, Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo still produce a comic that is a “can’t miss” classic with Doctor Strange #5. The further we go into this series, the more these two creators sink into the characters and create these new wrinkles to them that we never would have expected. As I said above, Wong is the true star of this issue, providing one of the coolest comic moments you’re likely to have seen thus far into 2016, stealing the limelight from his ally Doctor Strange. Aaron keeps the plot progressing with big secrets being revealed surrounding Wong, even if the actual plot itself doesn’t move much. Bachalo is just flawless on this book and continues to amaze readers with his unique style. Simply put, there isn’t a better suited artist for this book in the industry today and we can only hope that Bachalo continues to grace us with his presence on this book.