REVIEW: Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #1

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In Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, the Merc With A Mouth sets out to do exactly that. Is this title dead on arrival? Major Spoilers has the review.

DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Dalibor Talajić
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

Previously, in Kills the Marvel Universe: Way back in 1995, Punisher had his turn, with Garth Ennis at the helm. This time, Cullen Bunn posits the question – what if Deadpool took his darkest desires to their most lethal ends?

KILL ‘EM ALL

Coming from humble origins as a thinly-veiled mercenary version of DC’s Deathstroke, Deadpool has become one of Marvel’s most popular and bankable characters. What makes the character so appealing (and overexposed) is his wacky irreverence. Deadpool has an anarchic sensibility arising from his literal insanity, which brings a sense of ridiculousness to the often dour world of modern comics. Writer Cullen Bunn promised that Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe would take that chaotic irreverence to one possibly logical extension, in the darkest of manners. Bunn’s latest features Deadpool literally murdering Marvel’s sacred cows, starting with its First Family. Under the eye of The Watcher, the issue opens with Deadpool laying waste to the Fantastic Four in fantastically bloody fashion and continues the gruesome mayhem from there. The violence in this doesn’t go as far as Garth Ennis’s tremendously perverse work on The Boys, but it comes from the same kind of place.

Bunn’s work on this issue is a mixed-bag. Deadpool’s supposed to be a funny guy, but this version has too few giggle-worthy lines. Bunn also employs the same dueling internal voices gimmick that drove me from Daniel Way’s work on the monthly title, but he plays with it here in a much cleverer, meaningful way. Plot-wise, the issue has an uneven tempo, hurrying through the initial violence, then lingering over an unnecessarily studied set-up of the central premise. This is supposed to be a book where Deadpool kills everyone, and Bunn has only four issues to off everyone in the Marvel U. Giving short shrift to the Fantastic Four fight didn’t feel right. This issue might have been better served if Bunn skimped on the exposition and got straight to the ridiculousness – for a book with such an over-the-top conceit, this issue begged for more excess. Bunn does end the issue on a high note which seemed to promise plenty more murderous mayhem in issues to come. This miniseries is shipping weekly, so it’ll come with a minimum of waiting.

JUST GOOD ENOUGH

Dalibor Talajić draws a good Deadpool, and works in a fairly clean, detailed but uncluttered style which would slot in nicely on most Marvel titles. His sense of perspective and staging is appreciated, especially in the opening pages which depict an over-stretched, horrifically melting Reed Richards. Someone with a darker, more horror-oriented style might have produced more memorable results, but Talajić puts a competent eye on the action.

SINKS THE HOOK

This book has few pretensions other than doing what it says on the tin. If you hand-wring over violence, or want something cerebral in your comics, this is assuredly not the miniseries for you. But Bunn is doing a little something extra which makes me hope this is more than just idle bloodshed. He performs a slick trick by using The Watcher (which provides a nice link to the much-missed What If series) and Deadpool’s penchant for breaking the fourth wall to close the issue in stylish fashion. This issue did not blow me away, but the last pages did hook me for the next issue. If Bunn’s script continues with similar cleverness, this series could be something quite special. After all, the mindless mayhem actually benefits from an intelligent writer. This first issue contains seven corpses, two counts of excessive arson, two decapitations, one melted man and one instance of head-exploding. Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #1 earns 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★☆☆