Every so often Marvel decides to have a little fun and shakes things up by having a prominent character in their roster strike out and do something wild, albeit in a short set of enclosed comics. This time it's the turn of the Merc with a Mouth – Deadpool – as brought to you by Cullen Bunn.
The first thing to point out is that this is not designed to be a kids comic. Yes, Deadpool is wise-cracking, joking and schizophrenic throughout, but Marvel have gone to the effort of trying to make this quite graphic. Therefore also attached a large parental advisory notice to the front of each of the four issues.
The story opens in the first issue with a Watcher, and a slightly unfamiliar one too meaning that this may not be the version of the Marvel Universe we know, who is stood at the precipice moment in this reality. Narrating the carnage and devastation we see the downfall of the Fantastic Four played out for us.
Winding back, we see Deadpool taken to a mental institute and it's here that the deadly mercenary tips over the edge as an almost naive plan formulated by Psycho Man backfires spectacularly. Instead of brainwashing Deadpool, he unwittingly unleashes one of his suppressed personas upon everyone, or at least opened the door wide enough for that part of Deadpool's fractured psyche to step out of the shadows and influence Wade into his crusade to assassinate the supers of the world. It’s a simple yet strangely satisfying premise and the first issue establishes it completely and succinctly.
The remaining issues are more a case of following the trail of destruction. The middle pair are very specific to individual targets and to my adoration exploits a commonly ignored aspect that all villains shy from. When you have a gun at point blank range, a monologue after pulling the trigger is far more effective than after. After this you are led to wonder at Deadpool’s methods and tactics. Some of his approaches border on both, for example how would you try to kill a god like Thor? Is he strategically gifted? Or insanely creative in achieving his goals? I would suggest to read and decide yourself on that one.
My criticism of the story though would definitely have to be the length. At only four issues I can understand that stretching it out any more would make for a dull and repetitive tale that is meant to be very tongue in cheek, however, as it is also so short it means that towards the final issues things start to feel rushed without actually hitting a deep story. All you have is Deadpool and a voice in his head. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that this was not meant to have some hidden meaning and will not set off some sort of new regime, but on occasion it did feel a little thin. Even the ending was humorous but no real surprise - a canny reader can make an educated guess by the end of issue #1.
Throughout the mini-series Dalibor Talajic provides the artwork. It’s not my favourite style but it is fitting in the way that it’s not crisp and clean, it doesn’t have smooth edges and the depth of detail that reflects the story in some ways as well as augmenting it.
I think that Deadpool fans will like this as you get to see him doing something he’s joked about for years. For a new reader it would come across as confusing but still entertaining. One for the collectors shelves too as a pack.
Matt Puddy is wondering what comes next and above all eager for his next comic fix!