Why Manipulate THIS IDIOT …to kill THAT GENIUS? – Patient Zero
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist: Ed McGuiness
Colourist: Jason Keith
Inker: Mark Morales
Editor: Jordan D White and Nick Lowe
Spoiler Warning is in effect. From here on out …
After two issues of fill in comics, both of which swung in different directions quality wise, we are hopefully back on solid ground with the main creative team. When we left the main story “isn’t it Bromantic” Spidey had just been resurrected, Deadpool had killed him, and Patient Zero broke into Parker Industries. Surely there will be fall out and it begins here.
Someone broke into his secure building posing as Peter Parker while the actual Peter was dead. Peter and Anna are trying to figure out whom, but all they know is that he is good. Memories of Mephisto give Peter the idea that the person who hired Deadpool to kill him also broke into the lab. Deadpool unhappy to be tricked is already on the same trail. Spider-man catches up with Deadpool out side of “the glass house” seen in 2# . Having snuck up on him in his new suit, Spider-man confronts Spider-man about being a hero and if any of it was real. Before getting to the emotional answer they attack the glass house and face down Patient Zero and his genetically altered Man-strosites. Patient teases them that there may be more to him than we know before leaving them to endure his trap, a glass magnet bomb (you heard me ). Protected from the deluge of glass by Spider-man’s webbing and Deadpool’s bottom. While Spidey and Deadpool air their grievances it is also revealed that unknown to Wade that he has returned to a normal appearance. We end the issue on Patient Zero administering Spider-man and Deadpool blood into a lady as we are teased with what is to come.
So this story has been getting a lot of attention this week with Spider-man getting a new costume. Now I’m not one for click bait so I figured it was comic book media making more out of what would probably be a one off. But upon reading this I realised how much this suit is actually important to the story of this issue …
Peter is trying to work out who broke into his lab with Anna. I, as always, love Joe’s handling of Anna. He has come in and taken an already great supporting character under Slott and add a voice to her that feels so natural. I love how smart and confidant she comes off with Peter. She knows she is smarter than him and she won’t let him forget it. Yet it never comes off as arrogant
Pete comes to the realization that his “death” and the break in at PI are connected when Anna asks what was taken. This leads to a flashback of Mephisto telling Peter he is missing something. Putting peter on the track that this break in and Peters death are connected. We also see Peter carefully viewing his ‘Hall of Armour’ of Spider-man suits. He never says it but you can tell he is planning something here with his suit. It is never out right stated the implications going on in this scene, everything is connected, but it is all subtle nod to the theme of confrontation about self in this issue. Even the card in Peter’s hand was Deadpool’s confession from last issue of this storyline.
Peter’s new Stealth suit is never really used in stealth mode except to scare Deadpool . For me this Suit is the crux of the issue. SO much of this run has been about what kind of good influence Peter could be to Wade. This issue floors me completely upending me on this theme. The book made me think for the first time “What kind of influence is Wade on Peter?”. Peter in this issue is angrier at the world, he is more violent, he gets compared to wolverine, and he is developing a darker sense of humour. All the while swinging around in a Black and Red costume. A stealth costume truly used more to hide from himself. I am enthralled at this idea of Peter being so angry at Wade for believing they where becoming friends but it all being a trick to get close enough for the hit job, not actually changing for the better, all while becoming more like Deadpool himself.
It’s revealed that Deadpool is also becoming physcially more “human” at the end as he bears all to Peter emotionally while they are trapped. He seemed to undergo this change while kissing Death in 5#. He is blonde haired and handsome man. Now Deadpool has had LOTS of different looks before his skin became scar riddled (he was not always Ryan Reynolds kids ). He has been Blonde, Brunette, Handle bar Moustached, Tom Cruise once when he got healed post scarring (Loki’s doing). Now I don’t know if its coincidence that Wade looks like Peter with blonde hair (Ben Reilly?) or if it is Joe and Ed tying in with themes of cross pollination with characters.
This brings me to Patient Zero. He is the mastermind behind Spider-man and Deadpool’s suffering. This is the most we have gotten of him in an issue but we don’t gain much more knowledge about whom he is or what his end goals are. We do get the line “because I was infected not by a disease…but by “men” . Peter Parker and Wade Wilson. A life tainted by two fools. Everything that’s happened… that will happen, was bought and paid in full long ago”. Strongly implying that Patient Zero has a connection to both Wade and Spider-man. Personally I’m wondering, because of the end of the issue when Zero is infusing a ‘Patient’ with blood of Spider-man and Deadpool, whether this character was actually being literal about being infected by these two men. I ponder if he also has parts of their being in him. It could be why he can impersonate Peter so well. I like when new villains have a mysterious identity for a while. I do have faith in where Joe will take it. Till than I’m excited to sit back and enjoy the ride with this most interesting villain.
It is worth noting that they have teased Mephisto yet again. It is just a flashback but they have to be building to something here. I’m sure its not the last of him we will see in this title in the near future. Maybe he is actually the one effecting Peter and making him darker.
Ed McG is a master. Can we all just agree here? This book in his hands is elevated. I’m running out of positives to lay at his feet each issue. The cover of Spider-man and Deadpool fighting little people ninjas is probably the weakest part of his strong work here. Still it is better than most covers on the stand. Just has very little to do with the plot of the issue. I did notice both the “glass house” and Patient Zero’s suit have changed since the previous issues. Don’t think it will be acknowledged in coming issues and it is just the growth of art in a monthly medium. I also want to draw attention to the creativity in the design of the Man-strosity henchmen. I got a Spirited away vibe off some and a Guillermo Del Toro vibe off others. Some truly stunning designs.
All in All
It is nice seeing Peter go through a actual emotional character arc here. I do think it is amazing that Joe has such a good handle on Peter that even though he never goes super evil or anything unredeemable, in fact he is still a hero, you can tell peter is not being himself and something is effecting him. Each issue of this story has been a strong stand-alone but this one really got the ball rolling on a larger plan. I for one am on board to see where it goes and soak up the gorgeous Ed McG art