Well, here we go again. Another “What if”-like story wherein a normally violent anti-hero goes off the reservation and murders a number of Marvel favorites in increasingly silly ways in a miniseries that removes anything exciting that may come from a hero-vs-hero conflict in favor of shock and gore. Will this Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe be any better than the previous two?
Here’s a fun fact: it appears that Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe is the best continually selling trade paperback for the character, and one of the best selling trades the publisher has ever produced. This all despite the fact that it’s a mean, and ugly book. I don’t mean ugly in the terms of artwork, though I do feel like Dalibor Talajic’s pencils have always left a little to be desired. No, this book is ugly because it’s just overly enthusiastic gore porn attached to the Marvel brand. Now, I’m no prude on violence – I love horror movies, still read The Walking Dead, etc. – but the book’s gleeful dispatching of Marvel heroes is purposeless, indistinct and unable to handle any of its violence with either emotional gravitas or the kind of quippy one-liners Deadpool is known for. It’s really just an excuse to draw dead superheros, and that just doesn’t hold my interest anymore, particularly the second time I’m reading it.
Yep, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again is the second go around for both this concept and creative team. It’s a blatant cash grab for Marvel that is different from its predecessor in only the flimsiest of ways. Shoot, even the general conceit for why Wade is murdering marvel mainstays is essentially the same in both takes. Like most what-if stories, both renditions have poor concepts of the characters they’re working with – with an offhanded comment about not paying attention to the Avengers roster in this most recent issue proving this to be an intentional facet. It’s mostly forgettable since most characters don’t survive long enough to create issue, but the end reveal of Magneto as a part of the cabal behind Wade’s brainwashing is super problematic. Obviously the biggest problem here is that Magneto has been a hero now for like a decade, but let’s go ahead and assume that this is a somehow still evil Magnus. While he may be cool with Deadpool killing Gambit (who despite being a fellow mutant, is something of a romantic rival of his), I have a bigger issue believing that he’s cool with the death of Rogue. Also with Deadpool’s murder spree just beginning, which of the villains in the cabal threw Gambit’s name into the mix? Admittedly he’s probably pretty low-risk for proof of concept, but considering that Wade had already taken down big names like the Thing, Human Torch and Luke Cage, Gambit feels like an unnecessary effort.
It should also be noted that in both of these series Talajic has drawn Deadpool with a weird diapery costume that he hasn’t worn anywhere else to my recollection. It’s pretty typical of the series, though, as character models seem noticeably off. His poor renditions of Dr. Voodoo, Cable and Red Skull will catch the eye, but his depiction of the murdered Gambit has to be the worst. Not only is it an outfit that the character has never worn, his face looks nothing like the “handsome cajun” Gambit has always been portrayed as, and actually resembles Ralph Dibney right down to the red hair.
There are some small changes here and there, but you aren’t rocking my world just because the order of the hit list is different. The biggest conceptual shift here is twofold, and both are more interesting than anything in the first DKTMU. First off, I like the crew trying to track down and stop Wade’s murder spree. It makes sense that a few of these characters would be in on the hunt (Cable and Punisher are obvious choices given the context), but the inclusion of Misty Knight, Jessica Jones, and Moon Knight is a nice touch. I feel like Misty and Jessica are probably there by corporate mandate (synergy with the Netflix universe and all), but this whole book feels like a soulless cash grab, so why not include some cool and underused characters in the process? Similarly, there’s a slight twist near the end of the book that hints that – on some level – Deadpool may be aware of what’s going on, and that is a far more interesting shift in the narrative than the more simplistic and colorful artwork that accompanies Wade’s delusional states.
Overall, this…this is not a great story. If you feel the need to see what it would look like if some of your favorite Marvel heroes die – even then, it lets you down, as most of the big names from this issue were killed off screen, and others get little more than a panel’s depiction. To reiterate an earlier point: This book is just unnecessary and ugly. There’s really just nothing here for readers above the age of 12. If you like violence you’ll be disappointed. If you like compelling stories you’ll be disappointed. If you like superhero fights you’ll be disappointed. I’d avoid this book if at all possible.