Art of War
You know there is a pattern here. I have no clue what I want to spend some time exploring and don’t really think about it as I go through the readings I do all week. Except for those times when I do think about it but completely forget what I was thinking or what it was I was reading at the time I was thinking about it. I have this huge list of things I have read and huge list of things to read and not a one of them comes to mind when I sit down at the keyboard. Rough problems, right?
That held true last night when I sat down to think about what it was I wanted to write about. Pulled some things off the shelf but couldn’t see anything that caught my eye for more than brief passing. And the things in the past I had running through my brain turned out to be things I have reflected on recently. So I scour through my recent returns on Comixology. Still nothing jumps out at me. This next search is through the stuff I have downloaded. Finally, something jumps out at me. So it’s a rush through the series (only 4 comics) to see if anything is pertinent to life in it.
I suppose I should mention the name now. Deadpool’s Art of War (Marvel 2015) by Peter David and Scott Koblish is almost exactly what it sounds like, a Deadpool story. It’s also an illustration of the definitive book, The Art of War (Sun Tzu so so so many years ago).
The basic idea is the Deadpool style story where the fourth wall is broken and the audience is pulled directly into the maelstrom of what is going on. But we couple this with actually giving out a number of the rules of war as spoken of in the original text. Now you would think that going in a convoluted depth diatribe of the works of Sun Tzu could be boring or dry. And that is where things get a little wonky.
Yeah, it’s a comic as comics go; all sorts of action and mayhem. The good guys clobber the bad guys and vice versa. All the while we have the internal/external monologue of Deadpool as he is narrating the bits of knowledge displayed within the various battles.
For me, it has been some time since I have read the original (well not the original, more like one or more of the various reprints, but you get my meaning) so this was a bit of a refresher of the ideas contained within the book. But if that was all it happened to be, then it wouldn’t have been much different than anything else you might read that is a comic adaption of an earlier work.
See, the part that hooked me was in the beginning. It all actually starts as a somewhat straight adaptation. We are introduced to Sun Tzu and his approach to the emperor. You have this feeling of serious documentary comic adaptation. At least until Deadpool pops into the scene and destroys any concept of what might have been. The juxtaposition between the serious and the Deadpool grabbed hold and didn’t let go after that. As odd as it might seem, the disruption was more than just him taking over the storyline but the storyline took over him as well.
Aside from the usual you could expect from Deadpool, he had become the straight man for all the other mayhem throughout. The switch was done in such a way that it is only as I reflect on the story that I see it. I am reminded of the characters that George Burns and Gracie Allen played. George is remembered as a great comedian, but it is the straight man he played to Gracie’s mayhem that stands out the most in my mind. It’s a harder role to play and maintain a semblance of sanity throughout. (I bet you didn’t think I could pull off a connection like that)
Anyway, I liked the exploration of the treatise. The examples of the various concepts throughout the storyline have given us a unique perspective on the original. But aside from that, if you just like comic mayhem, it is worth the bit of time to explore. And even then it may still lead you to the original work. The Art of War still stands on one of the most important works written for not only war but human interaction. Because even war is a form of communication.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.