Solitary Gratification: Deadpool Kills Deadpool #1 Review

deadpool_kills_deadpool_1_cover_2013818667530I just realized that Deadpool is the Ambush Bug of the Marvel Universe. This is a good thing, and not just a minor call to DC Comics to bring Ambush Bug the hell back in something a little meatier than their Channel 52 thing at the back of every issue.

Here’s what I mean: Deadpool knows he is a comic book character, and what’s more, because of that, he knows that a lot of the time he is there to be comic relief. And in a comic universe – or better yet, a multiverse, and if you show me a comic publisher that isn’t servicing a multiverse, I’ll show you a comic publisher who will be servicing one once a high-powered writer wants to do a crossover with one of their characters – a character who knows the score can be used to throw together any number of weird, goofy scenarios that no self-respecting reader would believe in a million years without the liberal application of mescaline… and we can still play along with it.

And Marvel has known this for quite a while. And as such, we have gotten cool little miniseries like Deadpool Killustrated and Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, which make no sense at all but were fun as hell to read. And now we have Deadpool Kills Deadpool, probably either because it gives writer Cullen Bunn a chance to dig out every variation on Deadpool that has ever bee created in the Marvel Universe, or perhaps because there is no one else left in the Marvel Universe for Deadpool to kill.

And, as with those other miniseries, this one is also shaping up to be as fun as hell.

Someone is going around the Marvel multiverse killing Deadpools. He’s started out with the zombie Deadpool – you know, the one that’s just a head? – using the devious, ninja-trained method of chucking him into a microwave. Cut to the 616 Universe, where our Deadpool is battling a giant robot with no help from any other heroes, because Deadpool is simply awful. At the last moment comes the cavalry: The Deadpool Corps – a group of alternate universe versions of Deadpool – and their starship, The Bea Arthur, who crash into the robot and warn Deadpool that someone is hunting them.  That someone is a black-clad version of Deadpool, rocking an anti-regeneration ray to defeat the Deadpools’ healing factor, and a teleportation device that can shift him when he tells it how much of his body to shift by how far… which is not a smart device to rely on when the people you are attacking have the same voice as you do. Some of the Deadpools effect a dramatic escape, and the 616 Deadpool learns that maybe he has a more crucial role in the universe than he thinks…

Look: there’s not a lot in this story that makes a hell of a lot of sense in terms of the greater Marvel Universe. The idea of Deadpool as some kind of nexus of reality is ridiculous on its face – hell, two separate versions of Deadpool refer to themselves as nothing more than comic relief in this issue alone. And it doesn’t make any sense for The Watcher to reveal himself to Deadpool – particularly decked out as the World’s Biggest Deadpool Fan – no matter how dire the circumstance… except that this is a Deadpool comic. Which means that any manner of stupid fun shit can happen, particularly because the entire point is to give us stupid fun shit.

Let’s face reality: this is a comic book that, on a good day, takes place on the fringes of continuity, featuring a mouthy guy who can’t be killed firing off a whole bunch of guns. Which means that it is designed and built to deliver big action and some good comedy lines. And this book does deliver on the lines; leave it to a Deadpool book to have the main character point out when he is delivering helpful exposition, and to, after saving Midtown Manhattan, yell at the survivors: “There ya go, folks! Get yourself home… have a Manwich… maybe a couple of Xanax…” Combine that with stuff like Deadpool cutting open a giant robot with a sword, and you have a big, fun time, kids.

Salva Espin’s art, with a rock-solid assist by colorist Veronica Gandini, is just plain old good, solid comic art. His lines are fine and detailed without being too busy with extraneous crosshatching or overstylization. I would say that Espin’s faces are expressive, but damn near every face we see is covered by a Deadpool mask… and yet he makes general emotions and expressions clear through the mask. His panel layout is simple and easy to follow – even the double page spread has the top panel clearly crossing the book’s spine, with action actually moving right to left to hammer home how to read the pages – and the action choreography makes logical sense. And everything is overlaid by Gandini’s colors, which have a painted look, which elevates the simple, workmanlike pencils and inks by making them look a little deeper and more three-dimensional than a lot of similar art. The overall effect is a really pretty-looking book, beyond what you might expect from a filler miniseries.

I have said this before about Deadpool miniseries, but it bears repeating about Deadpool Kills Deadpool #1: this comic book won’t make you any smarter. It won’t give you any insight into the human condition, and it won’t give you a deeper understanding of the power of sequential artwork narrative. But what is will give you is a bunch of cool jokes, exciting action and big fucking guns. It is, where the rubber hits the road, what comic books are supposed to be: fun. Even if you’re not a Deadpool, or even a Marvel, fan, it’s worth a look. It’s just a good time.