By Declan Shalvey, Mike Henderson, Lee Loughridge
Deadpool and Old Man Logan are fun characters, known respectively for their gags and gore, who tread the line between serious and silly, but this issue seems to drop the ball. The character parts of this story are what’s expected. Shalvey writes Deadpool jokes while he cuts apart enemies (the standard) and Old Man Logan is appropriately grumpy and dismissive of Deadpool. It looks like the point of conflict is going to be something totally insignificant and hilarious. Until it’s not.
Towards the end of the issue, when Old Man Logan’s motives are revealed, the book takes what seems like a more serious turn, sharply detracting from the goofiness that shines in the first few scenes. The way the story ends makes it seem as though the book will change from a versus to a team-up, which is disappointing. When books like this are announced, the main draw is seeing two heroes battle and try to one up each other. That expectation is taken to another level considering that Deadpool and Old Man Logan are famous for their violent backgrounds.
There are noteworthy parts of this book, though. The art by Henderson and Loughridge is a delight. The fight scenes are visceral without being unnecessarily gory, and there’s a flow between each panel that makes it easy to understand. On a random note, the fire in this book is spot on. It’s drawn and colored weightlessly so that it actually looks natural. It’s easy to see the attention to detail from the art team.
Shalvey is no slacker either. As mentioned earlier, the jokes in this are exactly what Deadpool fans are looking for. The only issue with his character lies in a few panels where the dialogue strays from the established voice and becomes slightly generic. Even his motivation for doing good is captured. He never really wants to be a hero unless it benefits him in some way. That creates what looks like will become the tension of the book, as doing good takes the form of being better than Old Man Logan. The competition between the two is fun, but to live up to the title of a versus book there should be more in future issues.
All in all, Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan is a fun ride. It delivers on the comedy and gore that are expected from the titular characters, but only for part of the issue. In the final few scenes, it seems that the versus genre may be left behind, depending on the direction the creators choose to follow. While that doesn’t stop it from being a quality story, it does disappoint readers looking for a straight up battle between the two. Even though Shalvey doesn’t have much writing experience, he’s worked on the artistic side of countless successful books and seen how those narratives have played out. Keep that in mind, and Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan should be worthwhile, especially with Henderson and Loughridge on board.