Review: 'Return of the Living Deadpool': The Merc with a Mouth in a Zombie Wasteland
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Epilogue for Deadpool Kills Deadpool

At the end of my Deadpool Kills Deadpool review I whined about multiple things. One of those things was that the ending sucked (it did, it sucked a lot). Another of those things was the “the end?” cliffhanger ending that tempted the reader into believing that the “Killogy” wasn’t actually a trilogy at all, and would have another installment. Not knowing what Night of the Living Deadpool was actually going to be, I assumed that it would be the next installment in the series, possibly repairing the bad ending and otherwise continuing the story I have grown to both love and hate.

 Yeah, I was wrong. Open-ended cliffhanger or no, Deadpool Kills Deadpool was actually the final installment of the Killogy and there’s no more to it. The fizzle of an ending remains fully intact, and we’re not getting anything new. So… yup. Crisis averted!

 While I’m more than a little belligerent about continuing to review Bunn’s quasi-canon Deadpool minis, I’ve already read this next one so I guess I may as well continue on with…

 Night of the Living Deadpool. 

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The show must go on.

This fourth mini (once again, disconnected from the Killogy) is a love letter to the zombie genre, that manages to both poke fun at it and show a lot of respect and homages to dozens of different zombie-oriented stories, comics, movies, and shows (though it seems like The Walking Deadpool may have been a more apropos name). It opens up with a passed-out Wade Wilson, completely unaware that the world has gone to hell around him in his chimichanga-induced coma (heh). Yes, zombies have overtaken the earth and killed all of Marvel’s heroes and villains. Including, y’know, like, Hulk, and Thor, and Sentry, and….

 …Yeah, let’s just accept this for what it is. This is a non-canon story in which Deadpool is the only superpowered character left on earth. Deal wit’ it.

The art is really smooth in this and it does a lot for the tone of the story. Not only is the linework and inking really stupendous, the entire thing is primarily in black and white (in the style of The Walking Dead) and only Wade himself is seen in color besides a few odd splashes of it here and there. This gives the pages a dark, clean tone which enhances the bleak nature of the story, which then increases the contrast between Wade’s dialogue and the world around him in turn.

Bunn’s writing, as usual, is solid. The dialogue and humor are spot-on and he manages to balance the story’s inherent “Deadpool-ness” with the grimy zombie wasteland that he’s created. Zombies in this are standard fare – they shuffle and shamble and bite people, bites turn people into zombies, etc. You know the drill. The one little change here (and one that makes all the difference), is the fact that with these zombies, a little bit of their brain remains active. This doesn’t allow them to really make decisions, but it does let them come up with excuses and ramble out their last thoughts, repeating them like a broken record. Whether they’re explaining how they were caught, apologizing for their own actions, or bemoaning their new condition, this factor is decidedly eerie as hell and definitely brings a new facet to the zombie genre, leaving its creative mark on something that many people believe went stale long ago.

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Of course, the beginning plot is standard – this a parody, yeah? – and Wade runs into a small group of survivors, protecting them until they inevitably all die. Wade’s inconsolable for at least thirty seconds and then moves on, finding a small haven of survivors in the form of a barricaded town. He becomes hailed as a hero and embraces the position in his natural style, while simultaneously digging into the source of the outbreak. I won’t go into too much greater detail because, y’know, spoilers.

Overall, this story hits home, despite the ending getting a little bit darker than it really needed to go. The stark gray panels convey a sensation of hopelessness so strong, a void so deep that towards the finale even Deadpool’s ubiquitous monologue cannot fill it, yet when the story reaches its climax things kinda take a turn for the… well, weird. So, in traditional Bunn fashion, the ending for this didn’t entirely reach its potential, taking a sharp turn that feels like it didn’t entirely fit in with the bleak fashioning of this mini-series.

So yeah, it’s a strong tale with good dialogue, good humor, terrific art, a focused story that manages to be both affectionate and original, and an ending that ultimately fails to live up to the potential I saw in it. Is it worth reading? If you’re a Deadpool fan, then yes, absolutely. Bunn has a very strong grasp on the character and how he should be used, and while I’m still mad at him for how the Killogy wrapped up, I’m tempted to continue reviewing these minis just to see what he comes up with next.

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The next installment, I’m aware, is Deadpool vs. Carnage, which wrapped up pretty recently (meaning my slow ass has finally caught up! Cool, right?). So, unless I get distracted by something else, I may well be doing that next. Fun, huh?