There was barely a murmur of anticipation when it was announced Daniel Way was to write a new Deadpool series. Until that point Way had been a competent, but largely unheralded Marvel writer. In Deadpool, though, he found his voice and a fanbase. Under previous writers Deadpool was overdosed with wackiness, and, boy, did the description of ‘The Merc with the Mouth’ give them licence to scatter quip after quip after quip. Under some this remorseless intensity excised any attempt at a coherent story. Way is far better. His delivery of the stream of conciousness dialogue essential to Deadpool is supplied with space to breathe, to appreciate and to absorb.

His plots feature all the wacky elements fans expected, the unique worldview, the lack of conscience, and the fantasy hallucinations, but also thought applied to how they’re structured as, you know, actual stories.

Most of the content was previously available as paperbacks titled Secret Invasion, Dark Reign and Deadpool/Thunderbolts: Dark Reign, and greater detail can be found under individual reviews of those titles. The short version is that the latter material isn’t great, the merging of two creative teams with differing briefs serving neither series very well, while the solo Deadpool can be witty, exhilarating and absorbing. It would be lying to say that’s always the case, but standards don’t ever slip too far, and the good far outweighs the bad.

Way’s first use of Deadpool was in connection with Wolverine, and that four part trial run is included here (as well as comprising the entirety of Wolverine Origins vol 5). It’s useful that Way managed to shed some things from his system. At five chapters, this material takes too long to say very little, and has a slapstick quality that doesn’t quite work. Artist Steve Dillon has previous with comedy drama, and his work’s fine, unless it’s his layouts that pad the story out.

Of the other artists involved, it’s Paco Medina who’s the best of the bunch. He doesn’t overplay the comedy elements, and so enhances the joke. Be warned, though, this is material often designed to shock and outrage, and those likely to be offended are better finding other material. “You’ve got more corn in your one-liners than I have in my poop after the county fair”, is a fair indication of the lower end of the offence scale.

You can pick this up with no previous knowledge of Deadpool and enjoy the hell out of it, but for those curious about his background there’s also a cut and paste history running through the salient aspects of his previous career.