This issue's very excellent cover (by Mark Brooks) isn't just there for laughs. Co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have made a chapter that's basically one massive love letter to Ridley Scott's Alien and James Cameron's Aliens. If you adore those movies even remotely as much as I do (shame on you if don't), then DEADPOOL #23 is going to be an enormously entertaining read for you.
The jokes are frequent and downright hysterical. Not only do they find a way to work in plenty of movie references (yes, Bill Paxton's line is here), but they also decided to focus on the multiple characters who are unfortunate enough to be in Wade Wilson's path. The conversations between these doomed characters are amazing. Scientists (and potential meth kingpins) who get into a slap fight; goons who are confused because they all look the same in their costumes; fodder who have no idea what's going on; so on and so on. There's just so much dialogue and solid humor in here that you'e basically guaranteed to smile and laugh at least once. The fact that there's also a ton of brutality and graphic violence meshed with so much levity isn't lost on the writers, either. It's addressed how disturbingly lethal Wade is acting and this produces some minor yet effective character moments. Meanwhile, they're also able to allegedly wrap up one plot point (I say allegedly because I sincerely doubt that's the last we've seen of Gorman), tease another character's return, and it seems like we're in the homestretch with Agent Preston's role. It's definitely looking like the next issue will be a critical one for her.
Duggan and Posehn provide a killer script (unintentional pun, I swear) and thankfully, artist Mike Hawthorne appears to have a total blast with it. The panel layouts are perfect here, setting the stage for each horror-esque moment and making it play out in such a fluid manner. From seeing Deadpool lurk behind a goon to watching another guy get yanked up into the vents and then have blood gush back down, there's a praiseworthy amount of awesomely filmic pages. Personal favorite: having the perspective at the ground level, right behind Deadpool as he drags his swords along the floor. It's something we've seen a gazillion times in horror movies and it works so well in that moment. To top it all off, I simply love the way this guy illustrates Deadpool. From a pissed off looking Deadpool aiming a pistol to Deadpool smiling after a remark from Coulson, the character just looks great in his hands. Meanwhile, in a book where alarms brighten rooms, acid melts people, floors are soaked in blood and much more, colorist Jordie Bellaire is able to bring each of these vivid settings to life with appropriate tones. This is particularly noticeable in the more gruesome moments... and trust me, there's quite a few of them.
My only minor gripe is the handling of clouds. When they're illuminated by the sun, they're supposed to be gorgeous. There's a reason you see people always uploading so many sky photos on social media, after all. However, in this issue, brighter clouds have a color that is similar to sand, so it comes off as a tad unnatural.
Deadpool's going down a dark and bloody path, but co-writers Duggan and Posehn are making sure it's one that's filled with a whole lot of levity and fun as well. This chapter pretty much feels tailor-made for horror movie fans -- primarily Alien(s), obviously -- and it's absolutely wild. It's absurdly violent, ridiculously funny, and still manages to keep the overall plot moving forward. Add in Hawthorne and Bellaire's artwork and you've got yet another incredibly enjoyable issue of DEADPOOL.