Before this, I’d never read a Deadpool book. I’ve seen excerpts of stuff online, so I knew a fair bit about him. I know he knows he’s a fictional character. I know he’s hamburger faced. I know he likes killing. I know he’s Canadian. I know he’s annoying, and I know he won’t die. From what I’ve seen, that seems to sum him up entirely. To the best of my knowledge, Deadpool stories can be serious, but for the most part, they’re bloodbath soaked foolishness.
I’ve wanted to read a Deadpool title for a while now, because many of the excerpts I’ve seen actually had me laughing out loud. I also remember about 10 years ago, when he got a relaunched monthly title that seemed like it might be something I’d be interested in. I passed it up, though, because I could barely afford the Masters of the Universe titles and mass quantities of Heroclix I was picking up weekly.
I saw this title hit the shelves a few months back, and thought “Meh, seems like a good enough point to jump in”. The title, Deadpool Kills Deadpool, sounds like it would be the bloodbath soaked foolishness variety of story, which suits me just fine, if that’s what I’m expecting.
I’ve been staring at this introduction for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to figure out a way to talk about something that precisely meets my expectations, when my expectations start with “Meh.”
It’s hard to write about something that turns out to be “Just Okay”. Let’s start with the story. It’s nothing special if you’re a Sci-Fi fan. Though, it is hard to explain to a non-Sci-Fi and/or comics fan.
Pretty much every comic-book universe revolves around the idea that we live in a Multi-verse. Infinite variations of our world, eerily similar or vastly different. In this comic, a rag-tag band of variant Deadpools, the Deadpool Corps, come and enlist the “prime” Deadpool’s help to stop another version of himself (themselves?) that is going around killing other versions of himself. Along the way, it turns out that this self-loathing Deadpool has enlisted an army of Deadpools to help him in his mission. Deadpool is left to do the same, and the result is panel after panel of Deadpool-on-Deadpool violence.
I wasn’t expecting Maus or anything, though, so I don’t hold it against the title. For a character that’s known to be so spontaneous, though, I would have thought I’d have been surprised by any one of the Deadpools’ actions. Instead, I found that the story took, for the most part, exactly the course you would think. It becomes clear pretty early that this book’s main selling point is going to be showcasing all the different, ludicrious variations on Deadpool.
However, as entertaining as all the different versions of Deadpool turned out to be, they fall short when it turns out that most of the book’s different ‘pools end up basically being Bunn asking us “What if Deadpool looked like Wolverine? What about Venom? Bet you never thought about what Spiral would look like if she were Deadpool, did you?” It gets tiring for a while, but as the carnage goes on, there do end up being some funny and surprising bottom-tier characters that get trotted out as Deadpools.
What I did very much enjoy, though, was the book’s art. To the best of my knowledge, I was completely unfamiliar with Salva Espin’s work before this book, and I really like his style here. Veronica Gandini’s colours perfectly compliment a gratuitous cartoon violence feel. Not only does the art look clean and cartoony–a style which I feel fits the blood-soaked nonsense of Deadpool perfectly–but several of the variant Deadpools that are inspired by grittier, more serious characters or genres are drawn in those styles.
Unfortunately, most of the humour seems to be found in recycled Deadpool inside jokes. Apparently we’re supposed to find the mere mention of chimichangas or The Golden Girls to be absolutely hilarious. Combined with the other comic character-based Deadpools, and the book comes dangerously close to reading like a long reference joke from The Family Guy. I don’t know if I can knock that either, though, it’s probably one of the reasons why the character’s been so successful lately.
I think this book is a pretty clear cut case of meeting low expectations. There’s some definite missed opportunities, but for the most part, it delivers what it promises. Deadpool most definitely kills Deadpool.
Regardless, the book was just good enough for me to finish this limited run, and I had them add Bunn’s next Deadpool limited series, Night of the Living Deadpool, to my file at the LCBS. (If nothing else, I’m a complete sucker for zombies and zombie-related references.)