So, I got some random gift points on Comixology and decided to check out a slightly-older miniseries that I’ve been thinking about reading for a while now – Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Naturally, once I was done, I had to… well, review it. Anyway, I read the four issues individually in digital format and was, well, pretty impressed. I was expecting a completely slapstick gratuity comic, and it’s not really what I got. What I got was a lot better.
Some evil little part of me wishes this wasn’t an alternative universe story. I’m honestly surprised that I’d never heard more about the fact that this existed, since it isn’t that old (the four issues spanned between late 2011 and early 2012). You’d think that a genuinely great Deadpool story, even if it is a What If type of situation, would get a ton of traction – maybe I’m just out of the loop? Ah well.
So, let’s sink our teeth into it!
This story does not start out with a bang. It starts out with an extremely short, already-lit fuse. Then comes the bang. A Watcher is observing what’s happening and is basically here to inform everyone that this is, in fact, not going to be canon. He mentions that, on multiple other worlds, this story played out differently, as the majority of those other stories did not involve our “hero,” the merc with the mouth, Wade Wilson himself. He is then killed.
Backtrack a bit: When the X-Men decide to take Deadpool to the loony bit, things go a bit haywire when Psycho-Man (yeah, yeah…) decides to brainwash Wade and force him to kill all of Marvel’s heroes, thereby freeing up the more notorious villains, which can then also be brainwashed and turned into an army. It wasn’t a terrible plan, honestly. But, as most of you already know, when Deadpool gets involved in something, the odds of it going as planned drop to about a-gazillion-to-one.
The art here is pretty standard stuff. It doesn’t really stand out but it’s pretty enough to get the story across without distracting. Since I don’t have any prior experience with this specific art team I can’t really say how this compares to their other work, so, ah well. A few of the characters’ builds (Wolverine specifically stands out here) seem a bit blocky, almost to the point of looking… chubby? Hard to put my finger on it. But it’s good overall, and I am not feeling particularly persnickety today.
One of the perks here is the gore. If you really want a dark comic with a lot of splatters and creative kills, this one stands out as a likely candidate. Deadpool’s kills come off as a lot more savage than funny, and, for someone with his general mindset, are also ruthlessly efficient. This brings me to two big points that impressed me with this comic.
First off – Deadpool is taken back to his roots in this, as a deadly, immortal assassin, but this does not sacrifice his sense of humor or unique outlook on life (which is actually gone into quite deeply). In the beginning, he has his two usual voices (the white and yellow boxes), but when they are replaced by a single, sinister, red box, Deadpool’s usual voice provides a measure of comedy for the darker personality to bounce off of. This mini is essentially based on the concept of “how dangerous would Deadpool be if he wasn’t so much of a goofball?”
The answer to that is “pretty much friggin’ all-the-way-dangerous,” and while it’s just a what if, it sheds a lot of light on a different way that Deadpool could be used if the writers simply decided to. Give him a chance to get serious, give him something important to focus on, and see just how deadly the Killing Comedian can end up becoming.
The second important bit here is that the story doesn’t cut any corners, which delights me to no end. I went into this expecting a great deal of Deadpool killing random high-tier characters with his swords, or perhaps kicking them in the face. And despite how much I liked the idea of Deadpool punching off the Silver Surfer’s head, I knew it was going to annoy me when it happened. That, however, didn’t happen.
All of Wade’s kills are played (within reason of course), realistically. He uses various scavenged tech from the Fantastic Four, Hank Pym, and so on the carry out a few of his more challenging assassinations, and while they can sometimes stretch the limits of imaginations, they do a good job not breaking it. As one example, he uses Pym Particles to drop microbombs into the Avengers’ coffee (insert heartburn joke here – actually, I take it back, let’s not). He plays the part of a mercenary, a balls-to-the-wall badass who’s well-trained in the art of making people dead, and it shows. Honestly (fingers crossed that lightning doth not striketh me from above) he comes off like a crazy Deathstroke in his efficiency.
This offers even more than the joy of seeing the entire Marvel Universe butchered, however. Despite the overarching theme of the mini being that every vital hero in the universe is murdered, it is also a Deadpool book, and it reads like one. It’s well-written, amusing, graphic, and more than a little bit dark; as the “red box” takes over more and more of Wade’s mind and seems to merge with him fully, we get a really deep glance into the tormented nature of his mind and the way he sees the world. It’s a spectacular character study for Deadpool and I’m really bummed that this isn’t even slightly canon – I’d been rather hoping that the end would have Wade giving us some sort of wink to the fact that, even if the story wasn’t canon to Marvel, it may have been canon to him.
Which brings me to the ending, the only reason that I didn’t want to give this story a 5-star rating. While the ending was decent, it was only that, and it had the potential to be a lot more. The story
had gotten darker and darker with each of the four issues, reached a crescendo that is as intense as a meeting of Deadpool, Taskmaster, and Man-Thing could only be, and then… for me, it kind of fizzles. You, dear reader, may feel differently, but I really think that something bigger and better could have been done with the ending, here.
Anyway, there you have it. It’s well-written, it’s intense, it’s got a great pace that leaves you thirsty for more, and most of all, it’s friggin’ Deadpool, man!