Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursdays With Wade: Joe Kelly's Deadpool Revisited Part 6

This week’s reading: Daredevil/Deadpool Annual ’97
Story: Joe Kelly
Art: Bernard Chang

In 1997, Marvel teamed up Daredevil and Deadpool in a joint annual centered on Typhoid Mary, a character closely linked to the former who had recently begun working with the latter. The company liked the approach so much that the following year, a whole slew of team-up annuals came out, including Iron Man/Captain America, Alpha Flight/Inhumans, Ka-Zar/Daredevil, Machine Man/Bastion and Deadpool/Death, making today’s reading another Great Moment in ’Pool-o-vation!

In addition to sharing Typhoid Mary, DD and DP at the time shared a writer in Joe Kelly, who had taken over Marvel’s other man in the red pajamas from Karl Kesel in summer ’97. He would stay on until 1998’s issue #375, working predominantly with legendary Marvel artist Gene Colan (Tomb of Dracula).

Handling Mary has proved a challenge for Deadpool, whose stance on killing has softened a bit since his story arc with Siryn in issues #3-5. He follows Mary to New York to help her get revenge on Daredevil (and because she owes DP money). He then gets pissed when he finds out she’s offing civilians whom she says also did her wrong. But then he goes and kills a bunch of generic mob goons, so Wade’s line is still very much blurry. That all said, DP clearly wants to help Mary resolve her issues.

“We monsters have our own way of doing things,” he tells Daredevil.

Wade’s arc in Kelly’s Deadpool is that of a heel becoming a (slightly less heel-y) hero, but at this point in the journey, he is by no means equipped to help others take the same turn. Of course, part of the problem is Mary doesn’t want to be helped. That said, by issue’s end, he’s not ready to give up, either.

“This quasi heroic stuff isn’t an exact science, you know,” he tells his roommate/prisoner, Blind Al, “but it’s a good thing.”

But this is as much Daredevil’s story as it is Deadpool’s, and so Kelly and Chang show us the first time Matt and Mary met. A flashback reveals young Daredevil knocked Mary out a window when he busted up a brothel trying to figure out who killed his father. Mary claims this one moment defines her and makes Daredevil responsible for every one of her kills, which of course is ridiculous.

As for Mary, she appears to have changed costumes and hair colors since Deadpool #7. Her red dreads are now jet black and stringy, her shoulder pads have spikes on them and she’s traded in pants for fishnets.

In other weird art choices, when Deadpool’s packing to leave for his trip, and upon his return, he is drawn dressed in a baseball cap and short-sleeved polo shirt, one issue after he freaks out at the Hellhouse because T-Ray burned his mask off in front of everybody. Maybe he clicks on the old image inducer as soon as he leaves the house, but this manner of casual dress seems odd for someone who, at least at the time, didn’t want anyone seeing what he really looked like.

Meanwhile, while the boys in red are running around the city trying to get a handle on Mary, an unlikely friendship forms between their silly-nicknamed sidekicks. Weasel and Foggy eat and drink their way across Manhattan, then retire to Foggy’s place for poker and PlayStation. As a result of Foggy’s poor poker skills, Weasel takes ownership of Matt Murdock’s service dog, Deuce, which Wade in turn gives to Blind Al.

The issue ends with Deadpool taking Mary away, which means this arc’s not over yet. Tune in next Thursday for the conclusion of all this Typhoid business in Deadpool #8.

Total side note: There are a lot of classic cartoon references in this annual, including Snagglepuss, the Smurfs, Pepe Le Pew and Scooby Doo. But my favorite may be to the 1995-2002 Comedy Central series Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, which featured some of the earliest voice work of H. Jon Benjamin (Home Movies, Archer, Bob’s Burgers).

In addition to writing for The Matt Signal, Dan Grote is now the official comics blogger for The Press of Atlantic City. New posts appear Wednesday mornings at His new novel, Magic Pier, is available however you get your books online. He and Matt have been friends since the days when Onslaught was just a glimmer in Charles Xavier's eye. Follow @danielpgrote on Twitter.

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