Deadpool: Wade Wilson’s War, a mini-series written by Duane Swierczynski and drawn by Jason Pearson, is a comic that features a clevery layered metafictional plot, the type you don’t see too often outside of Sandman or a Grant Morrison series. If metafiction is a term you’re unfamiliar with, it’s something often described as a “story-about-stories.” This would be an over-simplification though. Metafiction isn’t just a gimmick or something to call attention to oneself with, like a magician giving away the secret of his trick; metafiction is a way to use fiction to come to understand the stories we tell ourselves, and how these stories change our outlook on life itself. Now imagine a story that a psychopath might tell to make himself feel better…
Deadpool: Wade Wilson’s War in the first issue begins with Deadpool appearing in front of a group of senators, there to explain the existence of the Weapon X program and, it seems, to vindicate himself in their eyes. He begins by telling about how he and his Weapon X cronies (Silver Sable, Domino, and Bullseye) stormed a compound in Nicuragua as part of the Iran Contra Affair, joking they were “Contra Contra.” In the next issue, he goes back further in time to reveal his own origin story with Weapon X, but we as readers have to keep in mind who’s narrating, and that this narrator is less reliable than cable news when it comes to telling the whole truth.
As the story goes on, there are more and more unbelievable plot twists, until it climaxes with an act that seems too violent for any comic–but did it happen? The writers and editors here have made a point to include running commentary that seems to run contrary to Deadpool’s own narration, playing an elaborate game with our expectations and our understanding of the story. By the end, you’ll be wondering if what you read had any importance at all, or if it’s one of the most important stories in the Deadpool canon.
To my surprise, through all of the mayhem, insanity, and ultraviolence, I found myself caring more for the characters of Deadpool and Domino. I recently read just about all of Victor Gischler’s series Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth, and while I found that to be a fun series (similar to Jack of Fables in tone), in the end it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I forget about the entire series a month from now. In Wade Wilson’s War though, there’s a story that will leave an imprint, and that will likely change how you see Deadpool.
I should also mention that Jason Pearson‘s artwork is great. His style’s a bit like Humberto Ramos where everything’s askew, but he makes it gritty and cartoonish at the same time–a perfect style for Deadpool.
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