You know what kind of a story you're getting into right when you hit this issue's intro page. It usually sports an adorable Deadpool (which needs to be a plushie, Marvel) who recaps what's been going on. However, this time around, he's in shambles and tears are beginning to fall from his oh-so-cute eyes. It's still all kinds of adorable, but man, you just desperately want to give the little dude a hug and hope he can make it through this one. And, if you've been reading 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly,' odds are you already want to give Wade a pat on the back after the shocking developments in the last issue.
While this story arc has included plenty of stunning action to compliment the emotional narrative, the fighting takes a backseat in this finale as co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn dive deep into the plot. Without giving anything away, I'll just say I absolutely love how the two handle Wade in this critical moment. The merc's not blinded by rage and anger. Instead, the writers show off something we unfortunately don't see very often: Deadpool's intellect and abilities as a tactician. We know they can make Wade hilarious, but this arc has definitely proven they can handle the serious and determined side of the character, too.
That said, this issue isn't devoid of humor, either. Much to my surprise, the biggest laugh comes from Captain America's role and it's done with respect to what's going on with Wade. It doesn't take away from the grim tone and provides only a momentary break from the darker atmosphere.
(Diving into spoilerish territory if you're knowledge on Wade's history) The conclusion with Wilson may bring back memories of how CABLE & DEADPOOL ended. Despite the dire and depressing atmosphere of this storyline, it ends with a surprisingly optimistic note for Wade. Here's to hoping this could lead to Wade having a remotely positive relationship with the world's heroes instead of being looked down upon and not trusted. Although, if he's taking on SHIELD in the next story, I imagine that positive image may be short lived.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire are the perfect choice to bring this gripping narrative to life. What makes this issue especially great is the slight change to Deadpool's appearance to further hit us with his emotional change. There's a stronger emphasis to the shading on his face and expressions his eyes make through his signature mask. There's some really fantastic imagery of Wade and it compliments the tone of the story so damn well. I particularly love Bellaire's coloring of the flashback scenes. The light blues and whites give off the cold vibe of these terrible moments and the strong use of red really sells the more twisted and horrific incidents. All in all, the gritty visuals do a remarkable job immersing us in these scenes.
Those familiar with Wade's continuity may have some difficulty with the revelations here, but the way Duggan & Posehn had Deadpool react to his mess of a history pretty much mirrored my own thoughts. He has some great stories in his past, but when it comes to what's true and false along his journey, it does tend to get a tad confusing from time to time, so I'd much rather focus on the here and now.
It's official: this is without question one of Deadpool's best stories and must be read. 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly's' final chapter is completely engrossing and it's basically the Deadpool story I've been waiting for. We know the creative team can make us laugh and fill the issues with fun references, but this story gave them the opportunity to show us Deadpool's serious side and totally justified its emergence. Sure, this conclusion hits us with a fair amount of exposition, but given Wade's history, it's a more than understandable decision and only further helps us connect with his situation. Additionally, Duggan and Posehn once again end their big story with a massive tease for the book's future. You know how DC had that "WTF Certified" idea? Yeah, that definitely applies with this ending and will most certainly keep a hook on me until the next issue lands.
Seriously, Deadpool fans, this is the story you've been waiting for. Don't miss out on it.