Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Dalibor Talajic, Lee Loughridge
Release Date: 3rd October, 2012
I’m not sure if any of you had noticed, but there’s actually a Deadpool movie coming out in a couple of weeks (you’d have thought they’d have put together some sort of marketing campaign, right?). Well, to help get us all in the mood for the big-screen debut of the Merc With A Mouth – and no, that Wolverine movie doesn’t count, in case you’re wondering – I’m going to be taking a look back at some of Deadpool’s recent comicbook exploits. Full disclosure though, I’m not overly familiar with Deadpool, and what I have read, I haven’t exactly loved. That said, I’m pretty good at keeping an open mind with things, and I’m more than willing to have my mind changed about pretty much any character.
To that end, I’m kicking things off with Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic’s DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE which, to be honest, does exactly what it says on the tin. Courtesy of a bungled mind control attempt from “Psycho Man”, the playful, quirky voices in Deadpool’s head are removed, replaced instead by a somewhat menacing one with a simple message to deliver – kill everyone. Cue Deadpool cutting a swath through Marvel’s heroes and villains in typically over-the-top manner, and… well… that’s about it, actually. Subtle this isn’t, and a lot of this four-issue collection falls into a variation of the time-honoured comicbook fan game of “how could Batman beat this hero?”, only with, y’know, Deadpool.
To Bunn’s credit, he does cook up some truly ingenious ways to ‘off’ some of the heroes and villains, with Magneto’s “death by jelly” and the inspired use of Pym Particles to dispatch Thor being definite highlights. Fans of the dismembered characters will no doubt feel somewhat aggrieved that their heroes are being culled in such a seemingly easy fashion, but that’s not really the point here. This is Deadpool at his most violent, his most depraved, and while Bunn does try to tack on a poorly-developed motivation whereby ‘Pool becomes aware that he’s a comic character and decides to break through the fourth wall emphatic fashion, in all honesty this is essentially little more than drawn-out fan service.
For all the slightness of “plot”, there’s no denying that this is a great looking book, with artist Talajic fully embracing the potential of the premise to cook up some truly memorable moments. From Mister Fantastic melting into a puddle of goo to the Hulk literally tearing Deadpool into pieces to an absolutely inspired use of Hank McCoy’s “pelt” as a makeshift cloak, this is a book which clearly lives and dies (pun intended) on its visuals. Lee Loughridge injects proceedings with some of his typically vibrant colours, making all the dismembered corpses and superhero showdowns instantly familiar, and while the interiors don’t quite manage to measure up to Khary Randolph’s jaw-dropping cover, there’s definitely a lot of like about the visual side of DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE.
Okay, cards on the table time… this wasn’t really for me. Don’t get me wrong, there was a certain visceral pleasure to be gleamed from watching Deadpool doing his thang, but the whole thing failed to resonate on any real level, and the “fourth wall” twist and eye-rolling finale weren’t anywhere near as clever as they thought they were. That said, Deadpool fans will likely get a real kick out of seeing their main man effortlessly dispatching heroes like the Avengers, the X-Men, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four in increasingly gory and inventive ways, and at the end of the day, isn’t that all you can really ask from a title like this?
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