By Contributing Writer, Manh T.
Deadpool 2 blazed into theaters on May 15th, 2018 and shattered the domestic box office on its opening weekend with an estimated $125 million. It took the film less than 2 weeks to pass the $500 million mark worldwide, which is an extremely impressive feat when you factor in that it’s an R-Rated film. Deadpool 2 currently holds an audience score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes meaning the majority of audiences came out loving the film. I personally enjoyed the first more, however, there are a lot of aspects of DP2 that I loved.
One of those things is the character Domino, also known as Neena Thurman. Domino is portrayed by the talented Zazie Beetz (ATLANTA, Dead Pigs), and I found her to be the absolute standout of DP2. I loved her performance because she portrayed Domino as such a carefree person due to her mutant power of extreme “luck.” With this portrayal, I naturally gravitated towards the character because Domino is so unlike any other female character we’ve gotten in a superhero film. This is not only due to her quirky mutant power but also because of her nature as a mercenary. Additionally, Zazie’s Domino adds to the variety of representation of black women in superhero films. For instance, Domino is a morally-grey character who doesn’t want to be a hero or a villain. She acts only for the interest and well-being of herself, which certainly makes her standout from the pool of WoC characters we’ve gotten in superhero films thus far. And with these characteristics and Beetz’s portrayal, I became more interested in Domino overall.
Domino isn’t as well known as other mutant/Marvel characters; however, that’s bound to change very soon as the film continues to dominate the box office. I will admit I hadn’t read any Domino comics prior to watching the film, but after leaving the theaters, I was actively looking for more Domino-related content. Then comes along Gail Simone’s Domino. I’m already a big fan of Gail Simone’s work because I love the way she writes female characters- they’re all truly diverse and interesting. Her work on the N52 Batgirl book and Birds of Prey (2010) are among some of my favorite comic books ever. So, after seeing Deadpool 2 and learning that Gail Simone was writing the current Domino book, I knew I had to check it out.
The book is only 2 issues in, however, I’m happy to report that Domino (2018) is a blast to read! It’s incredibly entertaining as it puts the titular character in a tough situation that lends for some really great moments. For example, Issue #1 starts out with a hilariously adorable ‘conversation’ between Domino and her new pet dog. This instantly adds heart to the character and makes her likable. Similarly to the Domino we got in DP2, we see that although at face value she acts in the interests of herself and has this hard outer shell, she does have a heart. This is shown by Domino rescuing the children from the mutant detention/reforming building in Deadpool 2.
We’re then introduced to Domino’s ‘work’ partner and close friend Inez Temple (A.K.A. Outlaw/Crazy Inez) as we flash back 15 hours earlier to a mission that they’ve been hired to do. Domino rushes in with her cocky attitude because she knows that luck is literally on her side. As per usual, things don’t work out as planned, and we get an impressive visual demonstration of Domino’s mutant power to alter probability in her favor. The issue opens with emphasis on how comfortable Domino is with her mutant powers which is integral to events that occur later on.
Another aspect of the book that I adore is the art. David Baldeon is on pencils, and he draws Domino and her little pocket of the Marvel universe in a very energetic and kinetic way that practically pops out of the page. Jesus Aburtov is on colors, and he manages to capture the book’s goofy and lighthearted nature, yet he demonstrates his strong ability to highlight the book’s darker moments, which contributes to the intriguing nature of the book.
Fast forward and we arrive back at Domino’s apartment, and her friends have planned a surprise birthday party for her. We get to see a whole range of different mutant characters such as Storm, Deadpool, Dazzler, Colossus, etc. Dazzler performs a song in honor of Domino which moves her to tears; and this is just one small factor that contributes to the magic of the book. For instance, Gail succeeds at writing Domino as a three-dimensional character with actual feelings, which is what the live-action Domino lacks. She shows Domino’s connections to other mutant characters to the point of it feeling like one big family. And ultimately, this strengthens Domino as a character and the overall reading experience as well.
A few pages later and we’re finally presented with the book’s antagonists. One is a mysterious old man who seems to have a direct connection with Domino, and the other is the immediate physical threat in the form of the villain Topaz. Topaz possesses the ability to cancel out/pause Domino’s mutant powers, which results in a dangerous brawl and a shocking cliffhanger that looks to have a lasting effect on Domino. While reading the final pages, I felt Domino’s sense of pure shock and helplessness as a result of her sudden loss of powers. The presence of Topaz and her mutant-cancelling powers was really interesting to me because I saw it as a metaphor for losing control. We get flashbacks earlier in the book of Domino being forcefully experimented on, so one could argue that she has always struggled with having little control over her own life. This makes it even more impactful when Topaz appears and forcefully negates Domino’s powers completely.
With the exciting action and deeper exploration of Domino as a character in the first two issues, Domino (2018) looks to become one of my favorite comic books from Gail Simone. With the series just beginning and issue #3 out next week, I highly recommend that fans of Zazie Beetz’s Domino pick up this book. Not only does it further explore the character in a refreshing way by displaying Domino as more than just a mercenary, but Domino (2018) features an exciting mystery that I guarantee will pay off.