Written by Jason Aaron, Fred Van Lente, Mike Benson, Joe Kelly, Duane Swierczynski, Victor Gischler, Charlie Huston, James Felder
Art by Chris Staggs, Juan Vlasco, Dalibor Talajic, Damion Scott, Rob Liefeld, Shawn Crystal, Sanford Greene, Kyle Baker, Pete Woods
Coloring by Marte Gracia, Lee Loughridge, Shannon Blanchard
Lettering by VC's Joe Sabino, Comicraft
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
It's been a long time coming, but Deadpool is finally on top. While other comics like and aren't even in spitting distance of the almighty #900, it's perhaps fitting that Wade Wilson has cut in front of line to hit #900. Since this arbitrary "anniversary" doesn't really have much to celebrate, Marvel has decided to go the anthology route with its famous Merc with a Mouth -- and for the most part, gets some satisfying results.
Of course, the book does start off a bit slowly, with a surprisingly dull opener by Wolverine: Weapon X writer Jason Aaron, in which Deadpool has some "Close Encounters of the @*#$ed-up Kind." It's not a bad story by any means, but the formula -- put Deadpool out of his element, watch him fight it out in a generally inappropriate fashion -- feels tired, and Chris Staggs' art doesn't really give the story much in the way of pizzazz or energy. Indeed, the anthology format kind of hurt the first story, as it never really got enough steam to build up.
It's the exact opposite, meanwhile, with Fred Van Lente and Dalibor Talajic. This story was the first I had seen of Talajic's work, but it flows magnificently -- just pitch-perfect emotion, pacing, composition -- Talajic is the full package, and I want to see more. That's not to minimize Van Lente's work, however, as the phrase "Silent But Deadly" takes on a whole new meaning as he gives one of Wade's oldest vendettas -- mimes -- an edge that's completely fitting and totally original. Out of all the stories in this book, this one is definitely the favorite.
But that's not to rule out any number of good stories following it. Charlie Huston really knocks it out of the park with a story that takes everything negative one could think about a Deadpool story -- it's too jokey, the violence overshadows the characterization, he's just overexposed anyway -- and turns it on its ear with a surprising and dark conclusion. Meanwhile, Joe Kelly and Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld have an amusing story about Wade making good on a childhood bet -- indeed, Liefeld's action-packed style is effectively played to the hilt in this story, as he's constantly shooting things up (or choking people with housepets) while reminiscing about his childhood. And regular Deadpool writer Victor Gischler gets an upgrade with artist Sanford Greene, who I would love to see as a regular penciller for Deadpool or Spider-Man. Seriously, Sanford has the energy, the emotion, the humor -- easily he and Talajic are vying for my personal top spot in this book.
Of course, not every story can be a home run, and there are a few slight disappointments in the book. Mike Benson has some promise with a story looking at Deadpool's psychology -- unfortunately, the ending is a bit cliche. The real problem I had with the story, however, is that Damion Scott's art gets scratchy to the point of near-unreadability in a key moment. Typically, I don't mind Scott's fluid style, but without action to make it work, the distended anatomy just feels distracting. Meanwhile, Aaron's problem -- not having enough pages to have a strong payoff -- also pops up with Duane Swierczynski, even as he skewers the tropes of every forensic TV show known to man with some fairly amusing cannon fodder. (In defense of penciller Shawn Crystal, however, the last two pages have some great art to it.) And the reprint issue of Deadpool Team-Up, well, it somewhat suffers being at the end of the book, hailing from a time where Deadpool's backstory was... well, a little less interesting than it could have been.
Obviously, if you're looking for something weighty and serious, Deadpool #900 isn't for you. But if you're looking for some bite-sized bits of over-the-top action -- with the good certainly outweighing the disappointing chapters -- this is a fun book. As someone who doesn't regularly bow to the shrine of Deadpool -- indeed, I have the same concerns about it being a little too jokey, a little too light, a little too "Bugs Bunny with guns" -- this giant-size book certainly has some gems. It's not the sort of must-read, continuity-setting anniversary special that most Marvel books have, but it's not like Wade Wilson has ever played by the rules to begin with.