Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Deadpool and Cable #26

It’s been more than a year since Cable took a dirt nap at the conclusion of the X-Men’s last major crossover, Second Coming, and even longer since the last issue of Cable & Deadpool hit the stands. The duo did enjoy a single-issue reunion at the tail end of the deceased gunslinger's self-titled series, though, which I’d presume is responsible for this one-shot’s inherited numbering. Given their long history together, it’s only natural to assume that an issue dedicated to Cable’s memory – from Deadpool’s perspective – would provide a quick and easy follow-up to the character’s demise. The real question is why it didn’t arrive any sooner.

Don’t look to the interior for any sort of answer on that front. Deadpool and Cable #26 leads off at Nate’s wake, on a stereotypically twilight-lit cemetery hill, with most of the X-Men roster in attendance. From there, it very quickly spirals off into the uncertain reality of Wade’s wacky imagination. Like so many beige ammo packs, we’re strapped to the crimson mercenary’s hip as he thinks aloud, leaps continents and goes nowhere in particular but still manages to find a worthy adventure.

Deadpool and Cable made perfect foils for one another at the height of their infamy. Nathan, the no-nonsense future warrior who desperately needed to lighten up, played a fine counter-weight to Wade’s inane walking punchline, a polka dotted dune buggy without a steering wheel. And, naturally, they both loved the feel of an unfathomably big gun in their hands. Via a string of brief flashbacks, author Daniel Swierczynski recalls the brilliance of that pairing, alongside Wade’s well-meaning (but ultimately idiotic) attempt at a permanent remembrance for his fallen buddy. Though he only wrote for the duo once before (in the aforementioned Cable #25), Swierczynski quickly proves that he was a regular follower of their adventures, showcasing a firm understanding of their dynamic and an energetic regard for the shared history.

The artwork of Leandro Fernandez is right along those same lines. His clean compositions and willingness to embrace the crazier aspects of Deadpool’s daydreams grant the issue the kind of easy-to-navigate zaniness you’d expect from this cast. Like Eduardo Risso in 100 Bullets, his compositions and characterizations are limited in linework but strong in individuality; even the throwaway characters on the story’s fringes enjoy a face and persona of their very own. Though he missed the boat by a couple of years, Fernandez would’ve fit right in with the lineup of artists that assisted Fabian Nicieza over the course of Cable & Deadpool’s fifty-issue run.

This isn’t the most consequential story you’ll ever read, nor the most timely. It feels like something that Marvel had every intention of publishing ages ago, but kept pushing back for whatever reason. It plays as both a synopsis and a conclusion to the dueling mercenaries’ adventures together, a lightweight love letter to their unique relationship. Fans of the original series will want to give this a long look, if just to reminisce and laugh, but unfamiliar readers won’t be missing anything important if they leave it on the shelves. It’s harmless, inconsequential fun. Borrow it.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is poor and 10 is amazing...
Overall Score: 7

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