Review by Ian Keogh
This Secret Wars tie-in benefits from having Deadpool’s then regular writer Gerry Duggan presenting an alternate version of events he’d written for Deadpool’s own series to open his story. In Dracula’s Gauntlet it was explained how Deadpool married the woman intended as Dracula’s bride and the Lord of the Vampires wasn’t very happy. It led to a confrontation between the two, and in this version Dracula is the victor and Deadpool is, well, dead, leaving his wife Shiklah bereft. Not that she lacks resources of her own, seeing as she’s also the long missing queen of the Underworld.
Duggan’s plot has her make a journey to Hell for reasons best left undisclosed, and because he doesn’t entirely trust her, Dracula supplies an escort. This consists of the stars of Marvel’s 1970s monster comics along with the minotaur complete with attached Venom symbiote, as seen in the sample spread.
This isn’t an entirely a Deadpool-free zone. In fact he’s almost ever-present, providing the funny introductions to each of the four chapters, plus acting as narrator and then manifesting as a ghost. For the most part Mrs Deadpool requires no knowledge of what Secret Wars is about, but the brief introduction of a jive-talking Blade as Thor requires the explanation that this is an out of continuity title set in a universe ruled by Doctor Doom, whose will is enforced by a platoon of Thors.
Because Jack Russell, Werewolf by Night, features heavily and Marvel appear to have settled on an equation of five comics equalling one graphic novel, the book is rounded out by reprinting his first issue from 1972. While acknowledging the selection of reprint issues fitting comfortably with the main story is limited, it’s still an odd choice. The opening of Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog’s story deliberately cultivates a gothic horror mood that couldn’t be further in tone from the feature material before switching to a more conventional action thriller. There are glimpses of the beautiful art Ploog’s capable of, panels on which he surely laboured for many hours, but these are balanced by plenty of crowded and ordinary pages. Conway’s plot has some spark, but he drowns it in words.
With Salva Espin on art, the Mrs. Deadpool tale is almost a coda to the Deadpool series Duggan co-wrote with Brian Posehn, tying up a few loose ends that their final graphic novel didn’t. That series was a lot of fun, and so is this up to point, as there’s a noticeable dip in the final chapter. The dialogue’s not as funny, the plot drifts away and it’s far more formulaic. For Deadpool fans, however, it fits the tone perfectly, so they might rank it higher.