Ranking - Deadpool: Funeral for a Freak
Deadpool: Funeral for a Freak
Deadpool #61-64 (2001-2002)
Written by Frank Tieri with Buddy Scalera (#63-64)
Drawn by Jim Calafiore (#61, 64) and Georges Jeanty (#62-63)
Inked by Jon Holdredge (#61-62) and Waiden Wong (#63-64)
Colored by Color Dojo
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
In The Marvel Years Rankings, we randomly select one story (anything from a single issue to ??? issues that make up a single story) to look at, with the ultimate goal of ranking every single Marvel comic book story from best to worst. The rankings are subjective and highly unscientific. They're intended to be a fun way to kick off discussion, and introduce readers to new stories.
The previous story arc of Deadpool saw the title character killed in a conflict against Weapon X. This is Frank Tieri’s second, and last, arc on the book before Gail Simone would take over as writer with Deadpool #65.
We begin with a silent issue taking place at Deadpool’s funeral. His supporting cast mourns his death, while he manages to cause a little mischief from beyond the grave. But before Deadpool can consummate his new relationship with Death, he is brought back to life by his arch-nemesis – T-Ray.
Following his resurrection, Deadpool suffers from amnesia and befriends a group of bums. Meanwhile, four impostor “Deadpool”s emerge, trying to fill the vacuum left by Deadpool’s death.
Deadpool’s memories arbitrarily return, and he goes off to confront the 4 impostors during the “VTV Awards” show. T-Ray shows up and the enemies battle.
It’s revealed that the 4 Deadpools aren’t impostors, but parts of Deadpool’s personality pulled out of the character by T-Ray using a cosmic device called the Gemini Star. The device is destroyed and all of Deadpool’s personalities fly into T-Ray. The villain leaves, and we learn in a teaser that he was hired by Thanos, who was jealous of the relationship Deadpool almost had with Death. Thanos vows to keep Deadpool alive forever, and thus away from his beloved Death.
The first issue of this arc is part of Marvel’s 2001 “Nuff Said” thematic event, in which many of their books were challenged with writing a wordless comic book. I have a soft spot in my heart for that goofy, gimmicky event and I think this is a well done one of those. There was one spot in the beginning where the situation wasn’t clear, but otherwise Jim Calafiore did a great job of telling the story with just his art. The range of emotions conveyed in Deadpool’s masked face throughout the issue is particularly impressive.
The story really gets started in Deadpool #62 and that’s when I quickly lost interest in the arc. This is an era of Deadpool when the writers tended to go with the easy jokes, and then beat those into the ground. The clearest example of this is in the character of Scuzzy. Scuzzy is an alcoholic bum who throws up on every other panel he’s in. That’s it. That’s the joke. And it’s a joke that’s repeated at least 10 times in a 3-issue span.
The conceit of the story, 4 impostors taking over the “Deadpool” mantle, is a direct parody of DC’s “Reign of the Superman”. It’s not a particularly clever parody, and does very little with the idea of “four different takes on Deadpool”. Instead, they all just come across as roughly equivalent versions of each other.
I did, however, really like the ultimate reveal of T-Ray/Thanos’s plan. By slowly stripping Deadpool of every single piece of his personality, the eventual goal was to leave Deadpool a lifeless, boring everyman. That truly is a fate worse than death for this particular character.
Unfortunately, the ending makes no sense. The basis of T-Ray and Deadpool’s rivalry is a dispute over who is the “real” Wade Wilson (T-Ray claims that Deadpool stole that identity from him). Deadpool wins the day after Scuzzy pukes on the Gemini Star, causing the device to malfunction and making each aspect of Deadpool’s personality go into T-Ray’s body.
Deadpool claims this somehow proves he’s the real Wade Wilson, though I have no idea how. Also, shouldn’t this result in Deadpool becoming the bore that Thanos wanted? Apparently not, as Deadpool walks away triumphant.
It’s a story with a few clever ideas, a few cute throwaway jokes, and good art from both Calafiore and Georges Jeanty. It’s also a story that makes little sense (even by Deadpool standards), more often goes for the easy joke, and fails to feel like a cohesive whole.
New Reader Friendly? Good enough.
Ranking: As the first story arc we’re ranking, it is by default the best and worst Marvel story of all time. Deadpool: Funeral for a Freak enters the list at #1.
What do you think? Agree or disagree with the ranking? Still need to read it yourself to find out? Deadpool #61-64 are available digitally for Marvel Unlimited subscribers and for purchase at Comixology. The issues are also available physically in Deadpool Classic Vol. 8.
Comment below with your thoughts!