With the Internet currently losing its shit over the new Deadpool trailer (and, maybe even more so the trailer for the trailer), what better time to revisit one of the Merc with a Mouth’s latest team-ups: Hawkeye vs. Deadpool.
Hawkeye vs. Deadpool, written by Gerry Duggan, who was also writing the ongoing Deadpool series, gives me exactly what I love about Deadpool. It’s easy to lose the character in the flurry of jokes and over-the-top violence, which has made me leery of some of the out-of-continuity miniseries that Marvel has been publishing recently. While I love seeing Deadpool crack jokes while raising hell, I’m not too into the idea of watching him shoot Spidey in the back of the head and then systematically execute other beloved heroes. HvD is in continuity, and instead of giving us the incarnation of Deadpool that has honestly seemed to gain popularity, here we have the best of both words. He’s a walking cartoon character, and he does get off on uber-violence – but he’s also a person! He deeply cares for his daughter, he wants to hang out with Hawkeye, he digs video games, and he’s kind of perpetually excited about everything. That’s also what the trailer got right for me. It had all those obligatory meta moments and joyous bloodshed that makes Deadpool who he is, but it instantly shows us that we’re not watching a psychotic Bugs Bunny in spandex. We’re privy to the moments where Wade Wilson is a person. It’s interesting, because as I was reading, and realizing how much I liked Duggan’s take on Deadpool, co-starring Hawkeyes Kate and Clint were pretty much realizing the same thing. At first, they didn’t want to work with the guy… and then, when he forced his way into their lives, they couldn’t help but admit that he’s a charming bastard.
Now, the Hawkeyes. Hawkeye vs. Deadpool is set somewhat ambiguously during Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run. Maybe right after it, because Clint is deaf and Kate’s back in town. Fraction’s run, because of both its incredibly unique style and fantastic cast, is a favorite of mine, and Duggan taps into what Fraction, Aja, and Wu did on that title without really jacking their style. Instead, he pays homage while also having Deadpool poke fun at some of the storylines. There’s this insane splash page where Deadpool skewers one of my favorite issues, Pizza is My Business. It’s very much an in joke, but Deadpool is the only character who can really make that work.
Both Clint and Kate get equal page time here, but Kate is a scene stealer. Her reaction to Deadpool’s methods, which far different from what she’s used to from Clint, are priceless. Kate’s reactions are basically ships that could launch a thousand memes. Artists Matteo Lolli and Jacopo Camagni, paired with colorists Cristiane Peter and Nick Filardi (who I know from his stellar work with me on Robyn Hood – hi Nick!), and letterer Cory Petit are a spectacular fit on this story, zinging the reader back and forth on a roller coaster that goes from humor to explosions to arrow fights to emotional moments and then to adorable cats within the span of maybe three panels.
It’s so, so very fun. I mean, there’s a scene where Deadpool crashes through the New York City skyline on Clint’s old sky-cycle, donning the classic Hawkeye uniform… because he just couldn’t resist. It’s crazy, it’s sweet, and – again – cute cats. If the Hawkeyes ever need help from Deadpool again, I’m in for round two.
PAT SHAND writes comics (Family Pets, Robyn Hood, Van Helsing vs. Dracula) and pop culture journalism (Sad Girls Guide, Blastoff Comics). He can be found on his couch, weeping while re-watching Six Feet Under, or on Tumblr, where he reblogs more cats than you can deal with.