Deadpool and the Mercs for Money writer Cullen Bunn’s elevator pitch for the new five-issue limited series:
[This comic] is The Dirty Dozen and The Expendables if Deadpool was in charge instead of Lee Marvin or Sylvester Stallone.”
Call the character on the cusp of (or in the throes of) oversaturation, annoying or as Pitchfork.com would say of rapper 2 Chainz, “Too much [of him] can be a bit like eating icing directly from a pastry bag: fun at first, then nauseating,” if you must — but there’s no way I’m not gonna read this premiere issue after an encapsulation like that. Deadpool’s Dirty Dozen #1: is it good?
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #1 (Marvel Comics)
I wasn’t sold on Deadpool’s mercenary stable during the first five issues of Deadpool Vol. 5 for a number of reasons:
1. They were just a bunch of D-list (and below) characters wearing Deadpool costumes that detracted from the actual Deadpool having time to shine in his own title.
2. The fact they were all wearing Deadpool’s costume seemed contrived and also made it hard to tell them apart unless they had their masks off.
3. Very little background or expository information for the various D-list (and below) team members meant unless you were already familiar with or had some ironic appreciation for them, the levels of emotional attachment were nonexistent.
So despite being a Deadpool Stan, Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #1 didn’t have me as eager as say, something as marquee-sounding as Spider-Man/Deadpool #1. After reading the first issue however, maybe — just maybe, I might be starting to warm up to Deadpool’s crew. Bunn infusing each team member with distinctive personality and showing what they’re capable of besides wearing Deadpool costumes might be part of the reason for that.
Speaking of only Deadpool wearing his own costume (well, besides Masacre) — what a difference each character stuntin’ their own respective duds makes. I can actually tell everyone apart and Bunn providing tasty little description boxes of each merc’s powers and abilities to accompany their actions on the page is much appreciated. I’m sure writer Gerry Duggan was purposely holding out on characterizing the Mercs for Money over in the regular Deadpool title on account of this mini-series’ impending release but it still would have been nice to get some of the information/characterization provided in this issue earlier than we did.
Artist Salva Espin’s crisp, clean lines and Guru-eFX’s vibrant coloring combine to make this issue a purdy one. Espin’s style is cartoony as we’ve come to expect — but it’s hard to complain when the characters’ designs, body language and facial expressions are so on point. One of my favorite panels has to be this one:
DP’s posture and rifle slung with nonchalance over one shoulder as he stands triumphant among dead bodies and flames combine for a striking shot and one that demonstrates Espin’s talent for establishing the humorous, yet commensurately grisly tone of the narrative.
What I Liked:
- The narration by DP in the opening pages has him referring to his team by a number of alliterative cognomens. And they’re awesome: “A company of cold-blooded combatants,” “A horde of hard-nosed hatchet men,” and “A delegation of dynamic death dealers” to name some.
- Deadpool and his “dynamic death dealers” do just as their name implies as they procure a mysterious coffin-sized crate on their mission. That is, capping any poor fools that get in their way. Even if Deadpool does have to trick Stingray into going along with their modus operandi by referring to their adversaries, with full-on feigned ignorance, as “totally lifeless automatons.”
- Whoa. Hold up. That mysterious coffin-sized crate… I’m getting a serious The Strain vibe from it. Luckily, the crew doesn’t want to open up said crate and unleash what would surely be its unspeakable evil unto the world.
- Deadpool has his own jet! Sure, it has “Pool-01” scrawled on the front in cheap paint, but it’s still a jet ain’t it? Even if his teammates don’t seem to appreciate the luxury.
- Deadpool & The Mercs for Money vs. the latest iteration of The Crazy Gang. Who ya got? Surely a showdown that nobody asked for… but Bunn is able to make the villains and their unifying motif just interesting enough to work, silly as it might be.
- DP & The Mercs finally bust open that crate… and what’s inside will shock you. Scientists hate it! [/clickbait statements]
- The enigmatic android looking dude that the team uncovers spouts off what seems like garbled gibberish about “Mutants and Inhumans,” “Doomworld collapsing,” and the son of someone killing Thanos. Seems out of place now, but will surely figure into whatever Marvel’s planning for their next crossover.
Is It Good?
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #1 is a charismatic and eye-catching, fun-filled romp that should have Deadpool fans clamoring. If you weren’t sold on the Mercs for Money over in the main Deadpool title, give this issue a chance and see if it can’t win you over like it did me.