Horror Comics: Deadpool 1-6

Deadpool 1-6, (“Dead Presidents” story arc)
Written by: Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan
Drawn by: Tony Moore
Publisher: Marvel

Deadpool has a storied past as a character in the vast Marvel comics universe. Created by Rob Liefeld during the artist boom of the early 1990’s, Deadpool was introduced as a villain, but by the late 90’s had shifted into the role of an anti hero. Since then, Deadpool has evolved into a quiet satire of the popularity of such anti heroes in comics, cracking jokes and regularly breaking the fourth wall to comment directly to the readers (Ferris Bueller style).

As a part of Marvel’s “Marvel NOW!” soft reboot (which allows readers unfamiliar with the company’s 50 year continuity an easy place to jump into the story lines), Deadpool has been given a new title written by Brian Posehn (the comedian/actor of The Sarah Silverman Program, Nerd Poker and the Comedians of Comedy fame) and Gerry Duggan (a writer for the now sadly defunct Attack of the Show) and drawn by the Walking Dead’s original artist, Tony Moore. The results are pretty magnificent.

Posehn and Duggan have given Tony Moore the perfect opportunity to use his skills illustrating zombies by having the first story arc for Deadpool involve the resurrection of the Presidents of the United States. Through the magic of a hapless sorcerer patriot wanting the past Presidents to save an America off the rails, all of them (yes, even James Garfield) are brought back to unlife as shambling zombies (in the spirit of the original Evil Dead film series) bent on destruction of America. The undead Presidents, led by George Washington, want to wipe America clean and give it a fresh start, and plan to resurrect fallen soldiers to help them achieve this goal.

Though higher profile superheroes could handle the situation, S.H.I.E.L.D worries that having video footage of Captain America re-killing Abraham Lincoln floating around would make for poor publicity. Thus, they recruit Deadpool, a hero with a reputation no one minds sullying, to dispatch all of the dead presidents.

What follows is a romp that plays to all of the strengths of horror comics and the superhero genre. Deadpool’s only real superpower is an advanced healing factor (as side effect of this power is that Deadpool is disfigured, his appearance matching that of the zombies he’s fighting), and we’re treated to many instances of the character getting shot (indeed, one the funniest recurring bits involves Lincoln shooting Deadpool in the head), impaled (by swords, elephant tusks, etc), and a truly spectacularly gory instance when Deadpool shatters both of his legs attempting to jump from a bridge onto a jet (fans of Die Hard, take note). The writers make excellent use of the Presidents, with each issue featuring a particular President in an exotic, nation trotting habitat (Reagan in space, Lincoln at a MMA event, Teddy Roosevelt at the Los Angeles Zoo and Washington at the White House).

Zombie Presidents (to include a floating Zombie Taft, perpetually stuck in an old timey bathtub), great one liners, a ghost Ben Franklin sidekick, savage stampeding zoo animals, cameos from Marvel’s elite (Dr.Strange, Thor and Captain America to name a few) make this a satisfying read from start to finish. The funniest stuff mainstream comics have to offer.

All of the issues from the “Dead Presidents” storyline are available to download from www.comixology.com and the trade paper back is available for preorder. Highly recommended.