First impressions: I love the concept of this series. Deadpool is one of my favorite characters of all time, and I think he works best when paired with other very strong characters that he can play off of. (In fact for me, the best part of a Deadpool book is not what Deadpool does himself, but the way that others react to him. The recent “Want You to Want Me” arc with the X-Men in Deadpool is a prime example of this.) I quite liked the first issue with Hercules (who made a great partner/foil for Deadpool) and I have high hopes for this issue in spite of the fact I have no idea who the Zapata Brothers are, or what their program is.
Artwork: Not bad. The backgrounds are a little…sparse (more than a few panels with nothing but color in the background), but overall a quite decent job. Deadpool looks how Deadpool is supposed to look, and the varied and contrasting use of color for the different locations the book takes place in is very well executed, and a treat to look at.
Writing/story: This is where things get a little disappointing for me. Yes, Deadpool is his usual insane, wisecracking self, and the comic DID make me laugh (which in my mind is the primary function of any Deadpool comic), and the story was serviceable enough. It was just missing that extra intangible that elevates a comic from decent to good (or good to great.) I think in this case a lot of that has to do with the Zapata Brothers themselves–Deadpool isn’t particularly well-served by having them in his comic, and they are such characters themselves that they don’t play off him very well either. Not to mention the fact that I think there was FAR too much focus on them, and them alone–at times it felt like Deadpool was just a sideshow in his own comic! I know I said other character’s reaction to Deadpool is even better than some of his own one-liners and that is true; but he and the Zapatas were too segregated in this comic for them to do much of anything–it was like two separate storylines that only came together in the end. That does not spell “team-up” to me. I understand the need for exposition, and an excuse to get the guest star of the week together with Deadpool, but it was just handled poorly in this comic. That’s not to say there’s no entertainment value here; there absolutely is. Its just not the type or the level I was hoping for giving the pretty strong start with #899.
Final thoughts: I think this issue really missed the point of the whole Deadpool Team-Up series by keeping ‘Pool and his guest stars apart for too long, and not having them play off each other particularly well once they were together. I can’t exactly call it a missed opportunity in that I don’t know the Zapatas well and had no expectations as to how they should act, I just know they didn’t serve my favorite character very well.
That said, I still think this series has great potential–we saw glimmers of it in #899, and frankly Amazing Spiderman #611 was one gigantic advertisement for this concept. (Although in that case it wasn’t a team up, it was a work-against, but the characters played off each other in exactly the way I want to see happen in this series.) I do hope that the folks working on this series bring some bigger names to the table in the future; the more famous the character Deadpool has to riff on and interact with, and the more out-of-character he can goad them into being, the better I think this series will become.