In the last issue of Deadpool & The Mercs for Money, DP and crew decided to auction off that precognitive robot they found back in issue one to the highest bidder; with villains like the Mole Man, Mephisto and Dr. Doom in the running, the winning bid went to none other than… the Ozarks Kingpin.
… Uh, who the hell is Ozarks Kingpin? (And how the hell did he get the necessary billion dollars?)
Can Deadpool and his merc squad deliver the robot to the country bumpkin crime boss without a hitch? (And with the help of vampire trucker, The Highwayman?)
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #4 (Marvel Comics)
Why does this book matter?
Deadpool, still so hot right now. The highest grossing R-rated film of all time was recently released on Blu-ray/DVD — which of course, means we got another clever Ryan Reynolds advertisement too — as is custom at this point.
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money features DP and crew as the transporters of that psychic robot I mentioned earlier. Robo-Psychic might not just be some MacGuffin of the month either; there’s likely a good reason some big name Marvel villains (namely Mephisto and Dr. Doom) want to get their hands on him– and if the jargon he’s been spitting out has any substantiality — he could play a crucial role in the Civil War II crossover as well.
What’s good about it?
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money has been my favorite Deadpool title of late thanks to writer Cullen Bunn’s well-paced, action-filled, self-aware narrative; a melange of obscure yet refreshing characters; and vivid, animated art from penciler Salvador Espin and colorist Guru-eFX.
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #4 keeps the momentum going strong with a story featuring ninjas, a motorcycle riding mercenary with a giant eyeball for a head and Deadpool fighting an enemy from his past on the hood of an 18-wheeler. All while a vampire trucker spouts so-painfully-corny-they’re-good lines like, “Hey! What are you doing? I’ve still got like 666 payments left on this rig” from behind the wheel of the flame-spitting, horned demon skull on the truck grill sporting, big rig.
Bunn’s wit shines strong in this issue; he’s truly found his groove with these non-cream-of-the-crop characters as he’s able to make them thoroughly entertaining while commensurately grounded. This book never takes itself too seriously and it’s this approach that keeps the protagonists endearing and the storyline capricious. For example, it’s hard not to root for Foolmaker after a scene like this:
The tandem of Salvador Espin and Guru-eFX keeps the art crisp and striking. Espin carves a nice niche between cartoony and realistic, which lends itself very well to the book’s tone. His characters are full of expression and body language but look real enough to give fight scenes impact. He also draws an absolutely bad-ass Taskmaster. This is a great looking book through and through, and props go out to Guru-eFX for giving scenes like this one with the Mercs taking on a bunch of undead ninjas among ragged chains of lightning:
And subtle touches like this gas station’s reflective surface pop unmistakably:
It can’t be perfect, can it?
There’s one problem I have with this title so far, especially now that we’re four issues deep:
As fun as they’ve become to watch month in and out, I’m still not fully feeling Deadpool’s squad, the titular Mercs for Money. At least, not as much as I should be at this point. Yeah, they’re an interesting, diverse bunch and they’re good at filling pages for fight scenes while making snarky remarks; the problem however lies with their tenuous connection to Deadpool. Unless you’ve read Deadpool #3.1, you’d have no notion of Masacre, the Deadpool of Mexico’s morbidly fascinating background — specifically his face-heel turn from priest to infamous Deadpool-inspired vigilante after a with Deadpool in the confessional booth.
The others have even less discernible rapport with Wade besides, “He’s our boss and we’re D-listers that have a chance to ride Deadpool’s insane popularity coattails to glory.”
Because of this, the Mercs feel less like a cohesive unit and more a jumble of characters that we’re forced to deal with as Deadpool fans because, well, Marvel wants us to. Some more exploration into why these mercs want to team with Deadpool besides making a couple stacks, such as their past affiliations with him or a quick glimpse at their formative days on the Mercs for Money team would go a long way in making us ultimately give a damn about what happens to them.
Is It Good?
This issue is one part Wacky Races and another part Mad Max but bonafide Deadpool through and through.
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #4 is cleverly-written, self-aware and fun from start to finish. Even if you’re not a fan of the concept of Deadpool leading his own squad, give this issue a look.