Rating: 3/5 – Liefeld is Back, and Deadpool Has Got Him!
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Marvel is continuing their line of original graphic novels, this time with Deadpool and one of his original creators, Rob Liefeld, handling the art. Deadpool: Bad Blood is surprisingly Deadpool’s first original graphic novel despite the character being as popular as he is and maintaining multiple ongoing and mini-series at any one time. While Deadpool getting his own OGN isn’t all that surprising, seeing Rob Liefeld come back to the character and draw each and every page is. Liefeld also wrote the story that was scripted by writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims. While I enjoyed some of the art despite all the obvious mistakes which I’ll get to in a second, it was the story that made me wish Liefeld had let Bowers and Sims have more creative control.
Say what you will about Liefled’s style, but I enjoy his energetic pencils and the unique look of his work is so identifiable. Liefeld’s New Mutants and X-Force books were coming out when I was a teenager so it hit a sweet spot for me at the time. Now twenty-plus years later, his style hasn’t changed all that much and if you weren’t a fan then, this book isn’t going to convert you. When Deadpool is on the page, the book is fun to look at. There’s even some pages during a flashback scene with X-Force that definitely hit that nostalgic note for me. Seeing Liefeld draw Shatterstar and Cable brought back those fond memories and I really enjoyed those scenes. Unfortunately, Deadpool’s new “arch enemy” Thumper, promoted as Deadpool’s ‘Sabretooth’, has a design that doesn’t capture that same nostalgic magic, and a back story that’s just uninteresting.
Liefeld’s story mostly centers around Deadpool’s ongoing confrontations with Thumper and his origin story that throws in all of the 1990s X-Men tropes like Department H, X-Force, and Garrison Kane. The story never really picks up in its excitement and Thumper’s origin failed to make me want to read more about this character and because the story failed to capture my interest, I found myself picking apart the art for all the mistakes, rather than enjoying what was presented. On the very first page, the art misses. Deadpool is jumping over the night skyline with the moon behind, framing his profile. The colors though have the moon shining on his back, as well as his front. It looks weird and sets the tone for all the mistakes to come. Multiple panels with Deadpool having swords on his back in one panel, then on the very next panel they’re gone. There’s a splash page with an inset panel showing Cable about to shoot a door with a massive gun, and in the splash itself, the gun is fired while being pointed up and to the left in a cover-like pose. Cable’s guns change length from one page and panel to the next, and while I expect Liefeld to have minimal background work, minimal is taken to a new level with a majority of pages having solid colors or just white backgrounds.
If the story was fun and entertaining then I may not have noticed all the errors and artistic shortcuts as much, but because the story failed to deliver for me I found myself looking more for these errors then I did just enjoying the art for what it is. Liefeld has never been a student of anatomy, but I still loved his work. Here, while there were certainly scenes and pages that captured that nostalgic feel for me, there were too many glaring mistakes in the art. I’d be more OK and accepting if this was a $3.99 book, but this OGN is $25, and for that price it made me feel bad about my purchase. Even if you love Liefeld’s work and Deadpool, I’d still stay away from this unless you’re getting it heavily discounted. For sure there are scenes and pages that will make you smile, but the uninteresting story and minimalist nature of the art may make you regret this comparatively expensive purchase as much as I did.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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