Black Panther vs. Deadpool – Daniel Kibblesmith & Ricardo Lopez-Ortiz (Panini / Marvel)

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Roll up, roll up folks, it’s the battle to the bitter end that no-one ever thought they’d see, the fight to finish between genuine royalty,  the King of Wakanda and the never say die, doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit and even if he did he wouldn’t give up, Merc with a Mouth. Place your bets, take a seat and watch the carnage unfold as the Black Panther and Deadpool beat the living daylights out of each other over the seemingly smallest, but incredibly important, misunderstanding. After all, from tiny acorns, or in this case piece of vibranium, mighty wars grow and as usual, it’s all Wade’s fault. Well, mostly anyway.

Having inadvertently caused everyone’s favourite postman, Willie Lumpkin, to be mortally injured during a school bus showdown with the Wrecker and after being informed that Willie’s only hope of survival lies with an experimental form of vibranium therapy pioneered by Tony Stark, Wade packs his bags and heads for the home of vibranium, Wakanda.  Which is just about when everything starts going wrong for poor old Wade, who between having to deal with a slightly more than irate Black Panther, a homicidal Jack O’Lantern, being chopped into pieces on multiple occasions and discovering that he’s the missing ingredient in the recipe for immortality, just can’t seem to lay his hands on the teeny tiny piece of vibranium that he needs to bring Willie back from the brink of death. So he resorts to Plan B, but even the best laid plans of mice and Deadpool never go to, well, plan, and while desperately attempting to save Marvel’s most beloved mailman, Wade almost and very nearly sets the US on course for  a war with Wakanda .

Like a super-powered, hyper-violent version of The Odd Couple filled with swords, guns and all sorts of next generation, cutting edge weaponry, Black Panther vs Deadpool is the story of two very different ideologies colliding head on scrambling to find some sort of common ground before one wipes the other from the face of the planet. As well as being genuinely laugh out loud funny, Kibblesmith’s tale explores the individual need to find some sort of purpose in the maelstrom of existence and to ascertain and discover who we really are when the chips are down and the darkness draws ever near and closes in and is also an endearing tribute to Stan Lee.  Fuelled by Ricardo Lopez-Ortiz’s visually stunning knocks you straight out of the ballpark before yanking you back to Earth with a bang artwork, Black Panther vs. Deadpool is one of the most instant, moving and memorable books to have hit the shelves this year. If Daniel Kibblesmith and his Lopez-Ortiz aren’t given the keys to the Marvel Kingdom sometime in the next twelve months there’s no justice in the world. And that’ll mean that Thanos has won which will make Captain America sad. Don’t be the person that makes Steve Rogers cry, buy this book and find out why it and its creators are all kinds of awesome and let Marvel know that they need to pop to the locksmith and start getting some keys cut.  Tim Cundle

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