by Defne Sastim
He’s invincible, he’s a smart-mouthed mercenary that kicks ass and calls people names, he’s sailing into a new ongoing for the first time in nearly two decades, and he’s…. Not Deadpool? That’s right, the new ongoing by Reilly Brown and Fred Van Lente, Slapstick, is surprisingly not yet another Deadpool comic (though it definitely tries). Instead, the star of the show is Slapstick: a troll doll hair icon/teenager turned cartoon character who is making a fun comeback in Slapstick #1, which has been released first as a Marvel Infinite Comic, with a print edition upoming.
Created in 1992, the pink-haired prankster was introduced as an animated character with cartoon world abilities, including invulnerability and reality shifting. In Brown and Van Lente’s fast-paced ongoing, he is a wise cracking killer using Deadpool’s MËRK account (Uber for mercenaries) in a bid to get enough money to move out of his parents’ house. His newest mission finds him crossing paths with your Friendly Neighborhood Which One Is This Again, and together they take down the villain behind the stolen Parker Industries technology.
For a publisher struggling to find its footing with an ever-changing audience, repeating success can be the trickiest task of all. Deadpool’s box office success is one part of why the character has multiplied across Marvel ongoings, and with Slapstick, it’s apparent Marvel wants to expand on the gun-slinging, insult-flinging anti hero premise. While the parallels between the two are evident from the first pages of the comic, Slapstick has to step away from comparisons to succeed on its own. But in this issue, it has the hardest time with just that- team-up with Spider-man antics aside, Slapstick #1’s jokes are sometimes juvenile (dingus!) and repetitive. It’s when Slapstick is bouncing off other characters that the humor and fun really get going.
The art, by Reilly, Diego Olortegui and Jim Campbell, is perfect for the story and character- the people around Slapstick are a stark realistic contrast from his cartoon colors and lines and Olortegui and Campbell use this to the plot’s advantage, especially when a new challenger approaches in the final pages. While some of the jokes fall flat in this issue, the art and writing are a good combination and ultimately a fun ride.
Whether you’re a Deadpool fan looking to add to your monthly subscription pages or a Marvel reader hoping for something slightly different but not really, Slapstick is a solid choice for all.
Written by FRED VAN LENTE & REILLY BROWN
Art by DIEGO OLORTEGUI & REILLY BROWN
Cover by DAVID NAKAYAMA
A Marvel Infinite Comic $2.99