I've been busy with Geek-Girl and The Almighties lately, but it's time to show my boy Wade Wilson some love and check in on what's going on with Deadpool... Following the return of Black Box, Black Tom, the Black Swan and Black Betty in the previous arc (except, not Black Betty), Hit-Monkey is the latest of Deadpool's adversaries to come gunning for him since the Merc with a Mouth lost his healing factor (and got his looks back) during the DEAD arc.
And we kick off this new arc--"The Salted Earth"--with Deadpool squarely in the Shootin' Simian's sights.
In this opening scene--where I was heartened to see artist Ale Garza back on the book (with sharp coloring from GURU eFX)--Wade is trying to reason with Hit-Monkey, telling him how he's changed: his outlook on his own, and other people's lives is different now. The voices in Wade's head try to work out whether the monkey's going for it--but it appears he's not; "He is, after all, a monkey."
From here, we go to another of Wade's adversaries, Interpol agent Allison Kemp, who has decided to take retirement after failing in her mission to capture Deadpool during the 'Evil Deadpool' arc.
Kemp hasn't been given the bullet for her failings because it 'wouldn't look good' due to her being a tetraplegic, and Interpol are trying to dress up her retirement speech in sugar coating--but Kemp's having none of it. We flashback to learn how the ambitious agent wound up paralyzed; which involved her working a case undercover, playing a Serbian arms dealer off against the Kowalski Brothers gang...
It's looking as though Kemp isn't going to get all that she wants out of this play--but then she gets lucky. Then very unlucky, when Deadpool appears as the wildcard on the scene...as it turns out Kemp's not the only one with a vested interest in taking down the Kowalskis.
I won't give away what happens re: Agent Kemp, but this unfortunate incident aside, it's nice to see a bit of old skool Merc with a Mouth bullet-to-the-head smart-assery before we're thrown back to the present--where Deadpool's found his feet against Hit-Monkey, and makes the simian lose his footing when Wade's wackadoodle side enables him to see and reveal something to Hit-Monkey that blows his mind.
Meanwhile, Agent Kemp's giving her retirement speech, before we see her (arguably true) agenda behind taking retirement--and the return of two more of Wade Wilson's old foes...
After the thin read and cartoony artistic stylings of the previous arc, it's good to see writer Daniel Way and artist Ale Garza deliver a denser and more visually satisfying issue in this first chapter of the arc that will lead to the conclusion of Way's run on the character that he started with the first issue of this volume (though he's to be reunited with Deadpool in the pages of Marvel NOW! Thunderbolts).
There's some intrigue, and a powerful motivation for Agent Kemp here, after the general flimsiness of 'Black Listed'; and I'm on board for the rest of Way's ride...
I'm also reviewing for Geeksmash.com now and you can check out my latest--Grant Morrison & Darick Robertson's Happy #1--here!