Last year we saw the marriage of the “Merc with the Mouth”, Deadpool, to his lady love Shiklah, and how they fought against the forces of Dracula to secure Shiklah’s throne as well as defeat the reign of the vampires. But what would have happened if Deadpool was UNABLE to defeat Dracula? In an alternate reality, what would be the outcome if Shiklah was left to fight Dracula and his armies of monsters on her own? WELL, Secret Wars, being an event filled with “WHAT IF?” scenarios, is here to give us just that!
As I said, in the alternate dimension of BATTLEWORLD, the epic events which took place in Deadpool: The Gauntlet took a drastically different turn with its ending. In The Gauntlet, Deadpool defeats Dracula and sends his hoards running scared, and he celebrates with victory nookie alongside his blushing bride Shiklah. However, in this reality, Deadpool is decapitated and trapped in a coffin filled with acid as it is sent out to sea. So yeah….he’s pretty damn dead. This leaves Shiklah begrudgingly forced to wed Vlad the Impaler (Dracula). She is obviously unwilling to go through with it but is forced to for the safety of her people.
She lives under Dracula’s rule and bides her time until she can find the right way to strike back at him. In a small act of defiance, she tries to pay her respects to the bodies of her brothers who were killed by Dracula (defiance because she has been forbidden to do so by her husband to be). At first, she is stopped from doing so by Dracula’s personal enforcers, the HOWLING COMMANDOS. The name alone gave me quite a chuckle. Any Captain America or Nick Fury fan will tell you that this name is already taken. The name originally comes from “Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos” (from the days before Nick Fury was given one HELL of a tan), or from “Captain America’s Howling Commandos” from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While in-universe copyright infringement may be afoot, the pun is too obvious to not get a laugh from.
The Monstrous Howling Commandos are made up of several classic monsters such as Frankenstein. They also include some Marvel original characters like Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing, and MARCUS….the most OP Monster you will ever meet with diabetes. These monsters are controlled by Dracula and are used to impede Shiklah from seeing her brothers. However, she easily uses her wits to subdue them. She then reunites with her brothers and finds that they held half of an ancient scepter, as well as the map to its sister piece. The completed scepter could give her the power she needs to defeat Dracula!
She quickly sets out to find the other half of the scepter but isquickly intercepted by Dracula, stating he does not trust her in the land of mortals alone. This is an obvious ruse for him to have his Commandos follow her and keep an eye on her in case of treachery. She begrudgingly accepts their watchful eye, as she knows she will easily be able to deal with them, as she did so a few pages before.
As the Commandos leave, Dracula orders Jack Russel the Werewolf to kill Shiklah at the first opportunity. An accident on the road of the human world would make for an easy cover up for her demise.
This is quite an interesting read and definitely a fun one. The book is narrated by the incorporeal ghost of Deadpool, as he watches over his wife’s actions. The comedy is quick and sharp, and the artwork is quite enjoyable. Deadpool: The Gauntlet was easily one of may favorite Deadpool miniseries in a long time, and seeing those monstrous characters back and in full force is definitely welcome. As many of you know, I am a Deadpool fanboy, but seeing Deadpool’s wife in action in her own solo title is just as exciting if not more so than seeing my favorite red and black mercenary. I highly recommend this book to Deadpool fans as well as classic horror fans looking to see a good old fashioned MONSTER MASH!
-Shiklah is given her own book (something I hope to see continue in the future)
-Classic monsters “MASHING it up”
-It is interesting to read Marvel “WHAT IF?” titles and seeing how large events or even miniseries could have turned out differently
-Deadpool is still Dead