The anti-hero is up to no good in the world of secret agents
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
Wilson’s amusing choice of leaving his superhero work to be a superspy evokes our innermost desire of pursuing a life that we think is better than the one we currently lead.
With the James Bond film No Time to Die being delayed again for an April release next year, we won’t be seeing the martini-drinking secret agent saving the world for a while. Until we do, everyone’s beloved wise-cracking mercenary Deadpool (Wade Wilson) offers his own flavour of international espionage in Deadpool: Secret Agent Deadpool. When the Merc with a Mouth assassinates superspy Jace Burns, Wilson finds himself working for the late operative’s secret organization, the Risk Management Agency (RMA). Deadpool helps the RMA thwart a criminal network called GORGON as he crashes into their world with hilarious abandon.
The comic employs spy satire for glorious parodies of James Bond. Every scene pokes fun at iconic moments, absurd gadgets, cheesy villains, and other narrative beats from 007’s classic films. Deadpool parading around as a secret agent with carefree immaturity rivals the dark humour from his graphic mishaps and ridiculous antics.
Even the story’s action-comedy subverts the intense thrills from spy flicks as Wilson outwits henchmen and assailants in outlandish fashion. His spontaneous dialogue in each panel balances with delightful colour palettes to create tension, while delivering gleefully energetic visuals. The comic uses large sections depicting mysterious locations edited with smaller or narrow panels during action scenes to foreshadow the story’s twists and uncertainties.
Wilson’s amusing choice of leaving his superhero work to be a superspy evokes our innermost desire of pursuing a life that we think is better than the one we currently lead. His disguises and masks provide typical subjects about identity yet remind us how easily we can reimagine the roles we play in our own lives.
Deadpool’s goofy dynamics with secondary characters elevate the plot’s hilarity, but the story also grounds his lonely lifestyle. The comic explores how isolated the mercenary feels and how happy he is being around people who accept him. This facet conveys our yearning to belong somewhere or make meaningful connections with others.
Still, fans hoping to see the anti-hero in his classic costume or do a lot of fourth wall breaking may be disappointed. Wilson spends most of the comic in James Bond suits and the story doesn’t go super-meta until the climax. These issues are at least compensated by a funny chimichanga scene and other parallels to Ryan Reynolds’ first Deadpool movie.
There are also references to characters that, unless you’ve been keeping up with the comics or watching all the Marvel superhero films, may affect your ability to access the plot—but only slightly. Otherwise, the graphic novel is suitable for readers and especially for the fanbase.
In the end, Deadpool does what he’s always done for years—make us laugh hysterically in the zaniest way possible. If you feel like escaping to a satirical world of spies and Wade Wilson’s unfailing buffoonery, then Deadpool: Secret Agent Deadpool is the right kind of story to cheer you up during these gloomy days. The comic is currently available as an e-book on streaming service Hoopla Digital.