There used to be a day when Deadpool wasn’t the most popular hero in the world. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much, but there certainly was a time when only comic geeks of a certain type loved this character. Thanks to Ryan Reynolds the whole world knows how silly and perfectly self-deprecating this hero is, which made us wonder, “What if they ever adapt the Deadpool Corps?” Is it good?
Deadpool Classic Volume 12: Deadpool Corps (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
Deadpool gears up for an intergalactic adventure, but to succeed, he’ll need to assemble a crack team of special operatives! So naturally he recruits four other versions of himself! What could go wrong? Lady Deadpool, Kid Deadpool, Dogpool, Headpool and the original Merc With a Mouth form…the Deadpool Corps! First, the consciousness-sapping Awareness has wiped out the free will of millions of planets, and the Corps must stop it from destroying the galaxy! If they can keep the in-fighting and binge drinking to a minimum, they just might just stand a chance.
Why does this book matter?
Probably the biggest draw for readers is the fact that Rob Liefeld draws a lot of issues in the book (though only the first issue in Prelude to Deadpool Corps #1 through #5). In the main title Liefeld is joined by Marat Mychaels who pencils issues #6, and #10 to #12. They team up with writer Victor Gischler who has authored a few comedic crime fiction novels which seems to be a good fit for a character like Deadpool. This book collects their work in Deadpool Corps #1-12, and then there are three short stories collected by three different teams in Deadpool Family #1. That spells a whopping 448 pages of Deadpool!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
What is with cosmic characters being so chubby?
The fact that Gischler writes most of this series save for the single-issue Deadpool Family #1 makes the book feel more cohesive and honest with the characters. It’s clear he has a handle on the eclectic group as each serving has a purpose and delivers the right comedy for that character. Kid Deadpool for instance, is a bit more serious and calm, which allows Deadpool to riff off him well. Lady Deadpool is similar to Deadpool, but tends to be more girly (yes there are a few girl jokes for the boys in here). Then you have Dogpool who is there for a visual gag. Closing out the team is Zombie Deadpool who probably looks the most ridiculous of the group, yet is the most serious and the voice of reason more times than not. A lot of work must have went into making this team balanced and it’s obvious throughout.
Generally the premise is out-of-this-world (literally) crazy, making for a plot that suits these crazy characters. They must save the universe and they’re the only ones who can due to their insane minds. Expect some of the best dueling caption scenes in Deadpool history in this book. Gischler is quite good at capturing the insanity of his voices, but also having the other Deadpools riff off the fact that they’re well aware of why he’s talking to himself. The most hilarious moments typically come from well timed and written dialogue that break away from your expectations. There are a few good visual gags too, like when they dump the Champion on a planet and it takes him a while to figure out he was duped.
The strongest section of this book is the first half, partly because we’re getting to know each version of Deadpool, but also because the comedic elements work the best. The story is fantastic all the way up through to beating the Awakening (the only reason this team was brought together in the first place), though it ends well tying back to the character who brought them together in the first place.
Good banter in this one.
The art is pretty darn good throughout this volume. The prelude issues are possibly the best due to the eclectic group of artists who drew the book. Philip Bond draws the second issue with a very realistic look and feel (with great inks), Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco draw the third issue with a grittier, more indie vibe, and Kyle Baker closes out the book with a photorealistic style that’s trippy and suits the space scenes. Liefeld’s work is the type that you either love to hate, or can deal with. I certainly have issues with it, but for the most part it didn’t bother me or get in the way of the dialogue.
The Deadpool Family #1 issue closes out the book which includes a story by Cullen Bunn and penciler Dominike Stanton, Mary H.K. Choi and artist Irene Strychalski and finally writer James Asmus with penciler Darnell Johnson. The first story focuses on Kid Deadpool, the second on Lady Deadpool, and the third on Dog Deadpool. It’s a perfectly fine issue, though due to it focusing on specific Deadpools and not the team itself it doesn’t quite have the zing of the main series.
There are a few good Star Wars jokes thrown into this collection too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
That said, a lot of Liefeld’s work lacks backgrounds (or noses!) which pulls you out of the action at times. His layouts are so simplistic a full action scene is reduced to only three or even two panels, rendering it boring or at the very least way too easy. There’s also the customary panel where a character’s body is more an oval than a defined body and breasts can sometimes look weird on female characters. Generally, it didn’t bother me, but it’s worth noting!
The last half of this volume, Deadpool Corps #6 through #12, is where the story begins to get tiresome and convoluted with its plot. The last few issues reuse a flashback joke that’s maybe funny at first, but is dragged forward with each issues’ structure. Gischler opens and closes each issue with a flashback, which seems to make the same joke each time. It doesn’t help this section has one of the most convoluted plots that seems to run on for way too long. There’s an alien race the Deadpool Corps agree to help enslave, Deadpool screws it up by falling in love, an old fling shows up, and so on. It gets trivial and boring pretty quickly. Issue #12 does tie well into how the first arc ends wrapping things up though it wraps up the story so quickly you’ll be surprised it’s over.
Is It Good?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this series having not read it when it came out (and blowing it off for the cash grab it appeared to be), but I’m pleasantly surprised to find I really enjoyed this book. Well, maybe the first 10 issues and the backup collected here at least. Six of the issues in this drag on way too long and generally bum you out after the hilarious ride you’re taken on for the first half. That said, comedy is hard to come by, especially in comic books, and you’d do well to get this for the first half laughs alone.