Collecting a dozen or so various issues, Spider-Man/Deadpool: Don’t Call It A Team-Up has some good stories, so so-so stories, and one that is a great technical achievement but at fifty pages overstays its welcome.
Sending Deadpool back in time and having him inhabit the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #47 is an idea that should have a lot of fun. Between imitating the classic styling of John Romita to wholesale digitally inserting Deadpool and other characters from his universe into the original panels, there’s a lot to admire from an artistic point of view. However, like too many Saturday Night Live skits, the story stays long after the joke has stopped being interesting or amusing. Running at close to 50 pages, I kept hoping this wasn’t an indication of what was to come for the rest of this collection.
Luckily, it’s not. The other stories are either single installments or self-contained arcs from a couple of issues that don’t require much in the way of knowing the backstory to fully enjoy. As a relative new reader to the world of Deadpool (my limited exposure comes from the Ryan Reynolds film of the same name), this served as a nice point of entry. I’m not sure if or how much more of Deadpool I will pursue in the pages of Marvel Comics, but reading these stories, I can see the appeal of the character.
Most of these issues reinforce the idea that Spider-Man and Deadpool are two sides of the same coin. They’re both quippy guys who dress up in predominantly red outfits and fight bad guys. The most interesting moments come from when their different moral codes come into conflict (Spidey won’t kill, Deadpool has no qualms about doing so). One story finds Deadpool entering Spidey’s subconsciousness to rescue him and is full of winks to the Spider-verse including multiple versions of Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham in various Spider-Man costumes from across the years. I’m sure there are jokes aplenty like this for fans of Deadpool as well. They probably just sailed right past me and didn’t lead me to enjoy the stories any more or less than I did.
I will admit that between the two movies (I’ve only seen the first as of this review) and what I read hear, I’m not averse to picking up a collection or two of other Deadpool stories in the future to find out more about the merc with a mouth. The problem with him (and just about every other damn Marvel character these days) is Marvel keeps rebooting the series, making it hard to know if this issue one in collection one is a good entry point or if I need to look for something farther back. But that’s another issue for another day…