Animalistic Man: Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #2 Reviewon August 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm
This won’t be a long review, but it doesn’t have to be. Because Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #2 is just plain old big, stupid, violent fun. Sure, it’s fun with a conceit behind it that’s straight out of Grant Morrison’s classic Animal Man run from the 80s, but the straight lift doesn’t take away from what is a breezy, kill-em-all shoot-em-up.
This issue continues an Elseworlds-style story where experimentation on Deadpool has altered the nature of the voices in his head, changing them from a constant call for chimichangas and boobies to one to kill every pair of spandex pants in the Marvel Universe. On one hand, this actually leads to a less overtly humorous version of Deadpool – a lot of the fun in a normal Deadpool comic comes from his whacky and over-the-top internal dialogue, whereas here, the voices in his head say things like, “It doesn’t matter. They all have to die.” You know: boring, day-to-day repetitive shit like the voices in my head.
The obvious gimmick behind the voices in Deadpool’s head is that it’s our voice. The voices demanding that Deadpool kill everyone are the voices of comic book readers demanding bloodshed from the Merc With A Mouth. Which is an interesting way to play the voices in Deadpool’s head – considering the evolution of the character from stone killer to comic relief, it’s a reasonable character point to make those voices the demands of readers – but the idea of a comic character knowing that that’s what he is comes straight from Morrison’s Animal Man. It’s certainly not new, and its use would be an easy way to look down on the book, but making Deadpool know that he is a comic book character from us being the people who talk to him in his happy place is an inventive use of the trope, and actually really helps the story work.
Where the book gets its fun is in the imaginative ways it had Deadpool kill the Marvel heroes. Deadpool’s voices may have gone less Daffy Duck and more Son of Sam, but he’s still Deadpool, and that means cool, over the top kills. We’ve got Howard The Duck in an fricassee, Luke Cage gets taken out by caffeine, and The Hulk is killed by patience (in a way that makes General Thunderbolt Ross look like a yammering, desk-pounding dope after forty years and ten billion dollars of useless Hulkbuster units). Realistically, a book like this is going to live and die by showing imaginative ways to kill characters that, thanks to licensing revenue, will never die in the actual comics… or at least if they do, it’s not for more than two months.
And heroes die here, yes they do. The Avengers get it. Thor gets it. Almost everyone sucks the pipe in this issue, and one of them combines the two really the only unsatisfying pieces of this issue. Writer Cullen Bunn has Deadpool take out The Avengers in an pretty imaginative way involving Pym Particles, and shows that Wolverine is effectively wiped out in the event. But at the same time, we get Deadpool, who has a similar healing factor to Wolverine’s, getting his head exploded after a long fall, and being literally torn to pieces by The Hulk, and coming back. And while I have learned, over the years, to be pretty open-minded when it comes to how Marvel healing factors work, seeing a dichotomy between what will kill one person with it and similar trauma leaving another alive felt a little weak to me. However, considering the point of admission here is to see Marvel characters get whacked in new and interesting ways, it’s hardly a deal breaker.
The other disappointing part was a particular image from artist Dalibor Talajic, which was overall pretty damn solid. He draws with a very fine. detailed line, in a style reminiscent to me of old Steve Ditko, particularly on his Spider-Man stuff. There’s not a lot of apparent photo-reference here, just good, solid artistry that is generally very effective. However, in the previously-mentioned sequence where Deadpool kills The Avengers, there is a sequence involving the Pym Particles where is is damned hard to figure out exactly what is happening in the room. It took me a couple of reads to figure out exactly what was happening and what was being affected by the particles. It’s a single storytelling mistake in an overall good-looking comic book, but this kind of shit matters – if you’re going to kill The Avengers, you should make it clear exactly how you’re killing The Avengers.
All in all, this is just a fun fucking comic book. Sure, there are a couple of missteps here, but they are missteps in an out-of-continuity comic book where one of the most fun Marvel characters kills all the other ones in new, exciting and gory ways. Sure, it won’t make you any smarter, but it will give you a violent good time. Give it a shot.