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Joe Kelly's run of the original Deadpool series ended back in 1999, and it isn't until 10 years later (2008) that they finally decided to start printing all of these issues in TPB format. I'm glad Marvel is finally recognizing the genius of this series, because it is an incredible one; one that I feel every die-hard comic book fan should experience at least once.
The issues in this volume are fantastic and really set up the storyline for the remainder of the Joe Kelly run. This volume covers #9-17, which are the first issues to really give you a glimpse into the inner horror and multiple layers that is Deadpool.
Up until issue #9, readers will have come to know Wade as a silly, smart-mouthed, funny, yet slightly psychotic sociopath/assassin. It isn't until his 2nd run-in with Typhoid Mary in issues 12-13 that we really start to peel back the layers of the Deadpool onion, and in addition to seeing a more dark and disturbed side to Wade, we also learn that he can be broken and manipulated by other people. Kelly explores Deadpool's feelings for Siryn (of X-Force) in depth and Wade's dependence on her for moral support and care. We also get a more in-depth look at the relationship between Deadpool and Blind Al, and the hilarious yet evil tricks they play on each other (and later, the conflict between them). Issue #14 is a jaw-dropper, as Deadpool finally snaps and you will witness a truly horrible side of him - one that will actually have you feeling sorry for Deadpool and feel bad for decisions he has made in regards to his friend Weasel and Blind Al. It is around this point in the series that I really begin to establish an emotional attachment to the story and to the events going on in Wade's life.
But Deadpool isn't all serious. Naturally, the series also has oodles of violence, witty dialogue, and humorous storylines. Not only is Wade's dialogue hilarious, but there are so many over-the-top situations that he finds himself in. There are some Deadpool issues that literally had me rolling on the ground laughing - definitely more than any other comic or book I've ever read. Issue #11 is the famous Amazing Spider-man throwback in which Wade and Blind Al replace Peter Parker and Aunt May in an old Spidey tale. Issue #9 is the funniest issue for me, as Wade finds himself in a deadly trap in which he is made to talk himself to death. These are great ones, but every issue has multiple funny moments scattered throughout, as Wade never really learns how to shut his mouth. Every now and then, the pop-culture references can be a little unfamiliar and outdated, however there exist online guides to ALL of the pop-culture references in the comics; you can find them easily online. Most people will know most of them, however, a lack of understanding these does not detract from the story or humor at all.
We are treated to one issue by artist Ed McGuinness, followed by Denton and Woods, who all draw in a very cartoony style. Issue #14 is where we see Walter McDaniel begin doing the art. McDaniel's art is awesome, to say the least, and really sets the mood for more serious and epic battles to come (as we learn more about Wade's Universe-saving destiny over the next 15-20 issues).
Know that I am probably a biased reviewer, as I am of the firm belief that Joe Kelly's run on Deadpool is the best run of all time in all of comics. Though I've read thousands of comic books, my opinion is not absolute, and may most certainly be different than yours. But I will say that I have found incredible depth in Joe Kelly's run as well as humor, heroism, pop-culture references, moments of complete hilarity, and mindless violence. These issues are jam-packed with content. Each issue is an mini-adventure - don't expect a quick read. You really have to allow yourself to be immersed in the story to really get the full package deal.
Having said that, even if you are a newbie Deadpool fan, this series will not disappoint. I have read the complete Joe Kelly run multiple times over, and I still laugh, I still ride the emotional roller coaster that is Deadpool, I still feel the shock-value of the tense moments, and I still get giddy at the humor.