With Great Wealth comes great Power – Wade Wilson
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Scott Koblish
Colourist: Val Staples
Cover: Dan Panosian
Editors: Nick Lowe and Jordan D. White
So last issue we dealt with a heavy on the comedy book by guest writer and artist team. This issue we have the same. A book that also focuses heavily on the comedy by a guest writer and artist team. That said these books couldn’t be more different. As I also stated last issue comedy is subjective so experiences will vary but I think it would be hard to miss the wonderful work done in this issue …
This cover by Dan perfectly sums up what you are going to get inside. Classic old fashioned comic art. Biting humour. Fourth wall breaks like a damn in a Transformers cartoon. Political humour. Also I miss seeing text on the cover of a book. That stuff used to sell me so many old issues. In many ways I think comics improve storytelling with each generation but covers have slipped into being pin ups. Though this cover is a throw back joke it hits nostalgia for me.
Peter Parker is sent by the Bugle to cover the political campaign of the late 1960’s (you heard me) But some wealthy business owners “the Bagge siblings” decided to rig the election. The plan is to cause chaos amongst the protesters outside using Deadpool so they can replace left wing candidate Jack McPherson (get it ) with Mysterio and blow his campaign. Spider-man interferes but is unable to stop political corruption when siblings learn from Deadpool it is far easier just to buy politicians than Super villains and no one can go to jail because they are just too wealthy. Peter returns home empty-handed wondering how he will pay for aunt may’s next lot of pills.
So for those of you that don’t venture over into the Deadpool side of the Marvel universe let me explain what we got here. Duggan has been the main Deadpool writer since Marvel Now (the original ) when Deadpool took on the Zombie Presidents (hinted at in this issue when he talks to Richard Nixon ). In-between story arcs in the main Deadpool book Duggan teams with artist Koblish and does these Flashback stories or flashward to 2099. Now these stories are in continuity and do effect the ongoing title, even though they are set in the time period and style of that era of comic. It has been hinted at that these stories are Deadpool’s recounting of the events but he, to steal a term from Alan Moore, is an unreliable narrator.
There isn’t too much story here again for the second issue in a row. I am ok with that here because what there is plenty of world building. You know right from opening banner page this book will be something different. Seeing Peter and fellow bugle members interact is spot on 60’s characters with slight comedic edge. It reminds me of things like Harvey Birdman and Space ghost coast to coast. But it is never pushed to far. We still get a sense of the Parker pathos. He is worried about money and caring for aunt May.
Ok let’s get political.
The book is about Peter being at the 1960’s political campaign for Jack McPherson (get it yet?). So being as this is a comedy book you will find plenty of political humour in these pages. Now that can be divisive, especially in the current political climate of the USA. Personally I have no webbed horse in this race. I am Australian and we are far from being able to point our fingers at anyone else’s democratic system (though many here still do). So being an outsider some of the nuances may have been lost on me but I like to think it gives me a neutral stance. I think this book tries to takes on that too for the most part. The jokes thrown are at both sides for every right wing joke about building a wall there is a left wing voter holding a sign saying “we know Jack”. If you where to add it up I think left comes out of the issue slightly better off but it’s a hard thing to balance.
That said a lot of the humour isn’t just political but comics related too, We have Deadpool stating he has “the power of Hearing” and killing that man in Dallas. We have Peter’s inner monolog about having toignore “the cries of the innocents” so he can get changed and set up his camera which he then also ponders about how Jonah has never noticed his photo’s are all ways 25 stories up, out of focus and thank god he doesn’t wear glasses”
The Highlight (and again remember SUBJECTIVE) joke though is something I can’t even really quantify. In a scuffle with Deadpool Spider-man webs him to a police horse. Deadpool disappears from the book for a few pages then returns riding in unexpected declaring that Spider-man by webbing him to the horse “has made me more powerful than you could possibly imagine” … but then the horse rides on right past and back out. It’s hard to say why but this might just be the funniest thing I have ever read in a comic book. Due to limited spare time I read this in the break room at work and cracked up laughing at this point. I had to put the book down a calm down. People where looking at me funny and I couldn’t explain it in a way to do it true justice but I loved it.
I do truly believe that what made this book hit the right spots of humour though is that Gerry truly does get these Marvel characters. While they are funny they are not unexpected for the character or they are hanging a light on something odd the character does do. To pay a huge compliment this is the type of humour I think has worked so well in the Marvel movies like the first Avengers and Gerry does a great job of that in comics. We still get nice beats for Peter like him scolding Deadpool for doing this for money while at the same time wondering about his own income and you get a sense he might be tempted to follow Deadpool’s lead but knows his morality would never allow it. We also see Spider-man kicking @$$ and handling things by himself for the most part. That is classic Spidey to me. I have said for awhile now when the discussion has arrived about writers we would like to see helm Spider-man’s next creative team run that Gerry Duggan is the prefect choice. This issue I will hold up in that discussions in future as showing he gets Peter at his core.
I do want to note we do see Mysterio again. He has become a reoccurring character in this title. Now I don’t know if his appearance he is connected to Joe Kelly’s Patient Zero saga or coincidence but it is worth noting.
We are teased with next issue being about Aunt May and Harry Osborn mixing up their pills. While this is a nice chuckle, the hints to May’s pills has me thinking this might be the next fill in issue between arcs two and three if we are lucky .
This is what makes this issue. I glowed about Gerry’s work above but Koblish is the stuff I really want to talk about here. This guy is a master of comic art. He doesn’t just draw in one style but can illustrate in multiple. Here he is doing a Ditko homage but its not straight out Ditko it has hints of Romita Snr and a little of his own flare.
It’s not just the style he has down but the acting / posing of the characters. Look at the manner in which he places them on the page. When Bagge exits the bugle he is grabbing his hat a running. It is spot on silver age comics. I particularly love the way in which he draws Spider-man in moments of action. He really has choreographed those fight scenes in a very silver aged manner. You could show people any panel from this book without Deadpool and people would believe it was from a silver age book.
Even the page layout is done in a silver age styling. If you read this book digitally I do recommend going back to the original paper book to really get that classic feel. They even have that little colour square in the top of the page that helped with the old printing process.
I do need to draw attention to the Colourist (and he-man icon ) Val Staples as well. The work he does is amazing. There is colour bleeds over the lines, scratches on the page. Limited pallet. All for the true immersive silver age comic experience.
All in All
Obviously I loved this book. I can’t hide it. I don’t wish too. Humour is subjective and the art styling is out there so your experience will be different from my own but if you have any love for Classic Spider-man tales or enjoy some clever humour I highly recommend this book. I do sorely hope this is not the last we see of Gerry, Koblish and Staples working on Peter.