Writer: Fred Van Lente / Artist: Pere Perez / Marvel Comics
What’s got more guns out than a heatwave on Venice Beach? More bodies on it than a Charles Bronson/Walking Dead mashup? More underground action than the battle rap scenes in 8 Mile? The Merc with a Mouth versus the Merc with a Gun in Your Mouth! Deadpool vs Punisher!
It’s a five issue one-shot that pits the robotic persistence of the Punisher against the childish insistence of Deadpool. It reads like ‘The Odd Couple’ after a few Four Lokos, while drift racing on the way to see Fate of the Furious.
When an underground heroes versus villains betting ring leads back to international mob launderer The Bank, Frank Castle shows up to do the thing he’s third best at doing (behind Logan, and then Laura). When a retired hedge fund manager befriends a young Wade Wilson and guides him through tough times, you better believe Wade’s loyal for life. When that retired hedge fund manager is really The Bank in his spare time, you know someone’s gonna die and set these two polar opposites up for some grade-A violence.
This #1 is a fun book if you love either character or ‘shoot-em-ups’ in general. Fred Van Lente does a great job of placing us in the gray area between Frank’s moral code and Wade’s inability to give more than one fuck at a time. It moves quickly and rides high off the popularity of Ryan Reynold’s and Jon Bernthal’s incarnations of the Marvel mercenaries, with Pere Perez’s glossy artwork providing a very textured Deadpool and a hyper-minimal Punisher.
It ends with a winner announced per round (issue), and like a good arcade fighter it’s a best-of-five showdown. Pick it up to see who gets the award for shooting stuff real good like.