Christopher Hastings, you're a mighty fine fit for Deadpool's crazy world. This is the first issue I've read by Hastings, and thankfully, it's every bit as funny, hectic and even badass as you'd expect an annual issue of DEADPOOL to be. If you've seen David Nakayama's excellent cover (if not, go look!) or read the solicit, then you know a good deal of this issue is Wade Wilson stepping into Peter Parker's classic red and blue costume. Watching Deadpool try to pretend he's the friendly neighborhood hero produces a whole lot of remarks that'll make anyone laugh and even offers a bit of topical follow-up to SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN. From witty comments to pop culture references, there's a nice variety of humor in this issue and a majority of it had me smiling. Without spoiling one of the jokes, I will say Wade's remarks about Spidey's villains had me cracking up.
Jacopo Camagni's art and Matt Milla's colors are every bit as lovable as Hasting's script. They match the lighthearted tone insanely well (it's impossible not to like the little faces above the first bump), but the visuals manage to strike a nice balance, too. The character work instills so much personality into these characters, especially when it comes to the eyes. You get a great understanding of each and every expression these characters are feeling. Also, the artwork does a terrific job selling the laughs. You know you're dealing with good art when you can take away the dialogue boxes and still understand a good amount of what's going on. There's a lot of standout panels, but my personal favorite has to be the way Deadpool reveals his plan. And you just have to love when they throw cameos in there (editor Jordan D. White and... is that Edna from The Incredibles?!).
The book's flow takes a bit of a hit with the introduction of a new villain. It's still enjoyable, but the sudden need to have characters state so much exposition was definitely noticeable. Also, I know this is Deadpool's book, but I couldn't help but feel as though Parker's willpower was downplayed a little bit.
Minor gripes: there's a lack of clarity during a fight with Chameleon. It goes from Spider-Man kicking Chameleon in the back to Chameleon being behind the hero and having him in a hold. Also, maybe I'm forgetting something, but the villain seems majorly upgraded in this. Being able to track Spidey is one thing, but constantly getting the better of these two and fading away in a moment is another thing.
Yes, this is technically a standalone story that doesn't really bring anything new front and center, but who cares about that when you're having such a good time? Hastings' story is consistently enjoyable and the visuals by Camagni and Milla are such a perfect fit for the story's energetic and lighthearted vibe. When you see an encounter between Deadpool and Spider-Man, it's fair to expect a ridiculous amount of fun since there's been a few good issues featuring the two (e.g. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #611, CABLE & DEADPOOL #24). This one may sell Spidey a little short, but that barely takes away from just how entertaining this annual issue is.