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411’s Comic Reviews: Despicable Deadpool #287, Nightwing: The New Order #1, More

October 19, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Despicable Deadpool 287

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.

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Yesterday we asked, Will ‘Marvel Only’ Conventions Work?

Now on with the show!

Despicable Deadpool #287

Review by RobF

Recently the questionable decisions Deadpool made during Secret Empire have come back to haunt him. He has been expelled from the Avengers and branded a traitor. So what does a failed Avenger do? He goes back to his roots. Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish present Wade Wilson’s return to villainy.

For whatever reason when Deadpool tries to do something good it inevitably goes wrong. Taking orders from Captain America seems to be a good idea until you find out he was a Hydra agent. So when the superhero community shuns what do you do? You attack your only friend, of course. What???? This is where the mystery begins. Why is Deadpool trying to kill Cable? And who is pulling the strings? The Merc with a Mouth is being manipulated by someone who’s motives and identity are a secret.

Beside the mystery angle this issue reestablished Deadpool as a merciless killer who will do anything to get the job done. He is attacking his “friend” with a viciousness not seen in a long time. How the Marvel U react to this “new” Deadpool remains to be seen.

A vicious bloody battle such as this needs the right artist and Scott Koblish is perfect for this type of story. To emphasize Deadpool’s return to deviltry you need the right visuals and Koblish has supplied them.

In the end I think Wade was fighting a losing battle with goodness; he just wasn’t cut out for that type of life. Now he has the opportunity to be himself, to unleash his true nature and the world should beware.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10

Punisher: The Platoon #1

Review by Jonathan Durden

Garth Ennis is a widely known comic book author for books like Preacher, The Boys, as well as The Punisher. He returns to write Frank Castle in this mini-series published by Max Comics, Marvel’s more adult-oriented branch of publishing.

I’ve read some Punisher issues when Marvel last “rebooted” their universe, but none like this. In this 6-issue mini, Ennis is taking us back to Frank Castle’s first tour of duty in Vietnam. The perspective goes back and forth between an author talking to a group of vets that were under Castle’s command at the time, and flashbacks to that time itself. The author has already written a book detailing the Firebase Valley Forge Massacre, but explains that he feels like he simply wrote the ending, and not the whole story. So this is his way of doing Frank Castle justice, as he sees it.

In parallel to the author in the comic, Michael Goodwin, writer Garth Ennis is coming back to Castle’s life before the Massacre as well. The Platoon is meant to be a prequel series to Born, which is a 4-isssue mini-series about Frank Castle’s final tour in Vietnam. That story serves as his last chance to come back from his addiction to violence, which obviously does not pan out so well.

I think readers would have more to go on if they pick up Born before reading the Platoon. It provides a lot of perspective on not only the war in Vietnam through the eyes of a soldier who is about to return home, but also through the eyes of Frank Castle himself as he gives in more and more to his love of killing. That said, it is not essential. If you pick up this issue, you can read it with little to no experience with other Punisher stories. Just know who he is and what he does.

As for this issue, Ennis put together an unsurprisingly well thought-out introduction to this series and set the pieces in motion for what’s coming next rather smoothly. I find the premise of the author interviewing the vets formerly under Castle’s command to be in interesting angle on this story and I think with Ennis behind the words it will only improve the story. I am also interested to see what Ennis can do with Castle’s character in a time where he wasn’t the Punisher and maybe, like the author in the issue said “still had a chance.”

The art is by Goran Parlov, an artist whose name I am familiar with but with whose work I am not. That will be changing soon as I was blown away by his conveyance of emotions and the way his soldiers moved. It may seem like a small thing, but the little mannerisms that he gives to the characters really help bring the issue to life. Not only that, but Jordie Bellaire’s colors are an outstanding addition as always. I am very familiar with her name and her work and it’s always a bonus to see her name on a cover.

The Platoon gets great marks from me, and though it may be a more flavorful experience if you read Ennis’ Born first, this issue was an obvious standout in its lineup of monthlies.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Nightwing: The New Order #1

Review by Jonathan Durden

Nightwing is my favorite DC superhero. Maybe even my favorite superhero period. Unfortunately for me, the current run of Nightwing under the DC’s Rebirth mission is faltering into the world of “okayness”. I don’t not like it, but when I’m reading it I’m constantly thinking about how I could be reading something else; something better. Nightwing: The New Order may just offer the best of both worlds.

For whatever reason, it seems Nightwing just doesn’t do well on his own. My favorite arc of the current run was when he teamed up with Damien Wayne to stop some of their old villains from when Dick Grayson was Batman. When he’s just doing his own thing, not with a solid partner to have a good dialogue with, or not in a team like in Titans, it just feels stale. I don’t think that’s the writer’s fault, though. I’ve read quite a few Nightwing stories with various authors and it sort of has this feeling that it doesn’t belong anywhere, or can’t figure out where it belongs. The New Order has changed that in an unexpected way.

It’s 2028, and Dick Grayson makes the impossible decision to trigger a device that immediately takes away 90% of the world’s superpowers. He is heralded as a hero after this due to the halt of the unnecessary bloodshed and destruction.

It is 2040 now, however, and he has an air of “Captain Hydra” to him in the way he is running things. His regime regulates those who have super powers by forcing them to take pills that dampen their powers, and his rule is heavily enforced by a militaristic force called the Crusaders, who Dick is in charge of. Under his rule, there are sprouting rumors of “Black Market Superpowers” in Metropolis. Wally West, Dick’s (former?) best friend, and one who was part of the 10% that kept their powers, has been sabotaging the manufacturing plants of the superpower-inhibitor meds. To top all of that off, he finds out his son Jake has powers and has to figure out what to do about that.

One of the things about this issue that struck me most is that Alfred is still close to Dick and is becoming a grandfather-figure to Jake despite Dick’s drastic measures to “save the world”. It becomes clear in the issue that Alfred does not approve of Dick’s methods of curtailing the natural disposition of the meta-humans. Perhaps the reason Alfred sticks around and is still close to Dick is because he’s the only family that Alfred has left; or maybe he feels a responsibility to make Dick see the error of his authoritarian ways. At any rate, Kyle Higgins makes one hell of a dynamic between the two characters and it makes for some compelling dialogue.

Artist Trevor McCarthy is someone I haven’t seen before, but also one that did an exceptional job of making Dick look his age, yet still recognizable as Dick Grayson. I typically don’t love the pages where one panel takes up the whole page with the smaller detail-panels slapped over top of it, but McCarthy doesn’t hit you over the head with it here. It works, and is still readable during the action sequences.

For the most part, the pacing and panel progression is well done and paces out the issue in a way that makes it easy to read and comprehensive for anyone. I found myself lost a couple of times with the lettering; there were moments where I wasn’t sure where the letterer wanted my eyes to go. It was easy enough to get back on track, but a comic should have a nice flow with the captions so as to not take the reader out of the story.

However, that can be forgiven because the story was so captivating. It is unlike anything I’ve read of Nightwing. It really brings a breath of fresh air to the character and Higgins is going to be a writer I look out for in the previews from now on. Higgins really knocked this issue out of the park with all of the moving parts he introduced. I don’t know how he will wrap it all up in just six issues but I’m on board for whatever he has in store.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

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