The nature of an anthology series is that issue-to-issue can be hit-and-miss, not necessarily because the quality suffers but because appreciation of stories and genre are subjective, and thus regularly switching approaches might not click with every reader. Marvel Comics kicks off a new Deadpool anthology this week, fittingly titled Black, White & Blood, and if you were considering checking out the first issue, I can tell you that it is more than worth your time. Deadpool: Black, White & Blood #1 should delight longtime fans of the character and those new to Wade Wilson's meta-hijinks in equal measure if you're ready to have some fun.
The first issue delivers three stories, and I'll tackle them one by one. First up is Tom Taylor, Phil Noto, and Joe Sabino's "Red All Over," and this is one hell of a way to kick things off. Taylor's wit is a perfect complement to the "Merc With a Mouth," but more importantly, fans get a Honey Badger and Deadpool team-up that delights in every way. Seriously, who doesn't need more Gabby? You're right, everyone needs more Gabby.
Wade and Gabby are a dynamite duo, trading puns like there is some unknown quota as they look to take out an undead Zebra. Yep, just typed out "" and don't regret it, though I will give Gabby credit for the Galloping Dead pun because that was spot on. Fans of The Walking Dead or any property in the zombie genre will get a kick out of their antics in this tale, though as is Taylor's way, underneath the over-the-top action is a personal story as Gabby sees herself in their target and moves to do something about it. Noto nails those small moments, but he's not too shabby with the big ones either.
Next is the Ed Brisson, Whilce Portacio, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Joe Sabino story "Hotline to Heaven," and again the team knocks the tone and aesthetic out of the park. Portacio and Rosenberg craft some gorgeous sequences throughout this story, and the absurd premise is perfectly in keeping with Deadpool's whole vibe and love for the late actress Bea Arthur, something I appreciate wholeheartedly. "Hotline to Heaven" leans into the fun and eccentric aspects of Wade, so don't expect any big character revelations, but that's why it balances so well with the issue's first story, offering something that contrasts well with Taylor's initial entry.
Oh, and have to agree with Wade. Everyone should have a Bea Arthur section in their movie collection because she was a treasure.
The issue closes with James Stokoe's "Born in the Uszorsusr," which is brilliantly named once you possess some necessary context. The story starts out strong, with gorgeous artwork and Wade's hilarious inner monologue that takes a shot at Omega Red's new country. Their friendship is a gold mine for comedy, and the ultimate resolution to this story is ridiculous but in the best (and most meta) way possible, utilizing Black, White, & Blood's theme colors perfectly.
Granted, it isn't quite as memorable in the middle, but the beginning and conclusion deliver fun moments, so you'll probably get plenty of entertainment from it. That said, I would've enjoyed a third story that was perhaps a bit more introspective, providing yet another aspect and viewpoint of Deadpool that readers don't get to explore all too often, especially without any ongoing series. I think it would have complimented the previous two stories brilliantly, and that's no shade on the third story mind you, just something that better suits my tastes.
All in all, this is one of my favorite anthology debuts in recent memory, and with three stories finds a perfect page count along with different interpretations of Deadpool that all feel authentic. Deadpool: Black, White, & Blood came out swinging and, if this holds up, the future is quite bright for everyone's favorite merc' with a mouth.
Published by Marvel Comics
On August 4, 2021
Written by Tom Taylor, Ed Brisson, and James Stokoe
Art by Phil Noto, Whilce Portacio, and James Stokoe
Colors by Phil Noto, Rachelle Rosenberg, and James Stokoe
Letters by Joe Sabino and James Stokoe1comments
Cover by Adam Kubert and Frank Martin
What did you think of Deadpool: Black, White, & Blood? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things comics with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!