You Are Deadpool #1
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Salva Espin and GURU-eFX
Lettering by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 10 out of 10
You Are Deadpool #1 takes the mechanics of a Choose Your Own Adventure story and applies them to a comic book. With a script by Al Ewing and artwork by Salva Espin and GURU-eFX, You Are Deadpool #1 shows the versatility of the comic book format. Oh, and there’s a pretty fun Deadpool story too.
Al Ewing’s script expertly takes advantage of Deadpool’s fourth-wall-breaking to drive the story. Like most Choose Your Own Adventure derivatives, there are points in the issue where the opposing paths converge, and thanks to Ewing’s writing, Deadpool is able to address both paths in a way that feels in character. Normally, Deadpool addresses the reader as a passive observer, but here Deadpool is speaking to the audience with knowledge of their (or is it “his,” since the audience is Deadpool?) influence in the story. In addition to choosing how to read the issue, You Are Deadpool #1 also presents the readers with elements of role-playing games, such as dice rolls, and traits like “badness” and “sadness.” Readers can theoretically skip these components, but it adds a lot of fun and a bit of randomness to the story.
Salvin Espin’s artwork really works well with the game. Espin shows some great use of perspective in panels that the reader can “acquire” items for Deadpool; making sure that the items stand out to the reader visually. Subtle changes in Deadpool’s body language and facial expressions also keep the comic moving even in the expository “tutorial” at the beginning. Letterer Joe Sabino also deserves credit here, keeping the balloons and captions visually dynamic on the page. Thanks to the concept, You Are Deadpool #1 is a very wordy issue, but Sabino and Espin keep the issue from feeling crowded.
The color art by GURU-eFX pops vibrantly, giving Deadpool a cartoonish feel that’s perfectly in line with the style of narrative here. This is a comic where Deadpool faces Grasshopper, after all. GURU-eFX’s colors work extremely well with Espin’s stylized line art, heightening the expressions in Deadpool’s reactions to both the events on page and the decisions the reader makes.
You Are Deadpool #1 is a comic book that will surprise the reader. Is the Choose Your Own Adventure angle a gimmick? Yes, but one that is extremely effective, particularly given the character's ongoing meta-commentary. Al Ewing and Salva Espin get a lot of mileage out of the concept, and the use of panels and page space is brilliant. With the added RPG elements, this really does work as a game in comic book form, adding to a certain sense of excitement that the reader’s decisions will influence which issue they move onto next.