Tim Jousma gets ready for Deadpool.
Apart from some glances of some early Deadpool comics on Marvel Unlimited I honestly had not had much exposure to the character of Deadpool. I knew he broke the fourth wall like a Looney Tunes cartoon character but, again, I never knew much more. However, I did really enjoy the piece that Ryan Reynolds shot which got the Deadpool film made. So after watching that footage I went and bought Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, which collects the four issue miniseries of the same name.
The main premise is Deadpool knows he’s a character in a comic book and decides that it’s time for that universe to be rid of its heroes. So he goes about killing them. When that isn’t enough, he breaks into “our” universe to kill the Marvel writing staff. You almost expect the final frame to be the Looney Tunes end logo saying "That’s All Folks!"
It’s hard to talk about this comic because as far as the story goes, there really isn’t one. There’s a setup where Deadpool is brought in front of a psychiatrist who turns out to be a bad guy who tries to recruit him but Daredevil quickly puts an end to that noise. From there, you get to scenes like an extended fight sequence with Spider-Man which ends like Bugs Bunny pulling a fast one on Yosemite Sam, albeit a much more messy and final solution.
Now just because it’s tough to explain what is going on that doesn’t make this a bad story. It’s quite fun actually because in its own way it showcases the fact that someone like Spider-Man, for example, could easily be beat if the bad guy had the right weapon. All it took was a bullet to the head and viola, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man became your friendly, neighborhood gunshot victim.
As comic fans we take for granted the power that the heroes in the story have. We don’t sit back and think about their vulnerabilities because any hero worth their salt is going to have them otherwise why would we even care? If a hero cannot be defeated, it takes the tension out of the story.
Take what Deadpool does to The Punisher. He sets up a dummy that Frank Castle thinks is him. Once he discovers what is going on, Deadpool shoots him in the head. Simple. Yes, Frank Castle has tons of military training but no military genius could think of every possible scenario they’re going to face. Even if they could, could they actually prepare for someone who is insane?
The artwork is pretty solid throughout. It’s drawn in the classic Kirby style which does go a long way towards getting you as the reader into the humor of the story. Being presented in such a traditional way only to have the traditional heroes be disposed of so quickly, while jarring, brings reality into the mix and, along with a very polished script, you find yourself laughing over each ludicrous situation.
Comic books, especially superhero stories, are works of fantasy. They may be set in familiar settings, sometimes amalgamations of places, in the case of Marvel, set in real life locations, but they are fantasies like the old King Arthur stories nonetheless. While they can certainly incorporate real life quite effectively into the stories, they are as real as the wizards of old. Seeing the bit of reality tossed into the mix that Deadpool brings the story is quite beautifully drawn.
If ever there were an existential comic, it’s this one. The character is very much in control here, aware of the fact that he is being controlled by something everyone else around him is not aware of. While he does murder the heroes we’ve grown to love, the way it’s shown on screen illustrates the fact that Deadpool knows quite well that what he is doing is not really happening. It’s just a story. He’s playing a role that someone else is giving him and is having fun doing it. The comic reminded me of the old Daffy Duck classic Duck Amuck.
Looney Toons - Duck Amuck by JomJul
Duck Amuck started with Daffy in a regular cartoon only to realize quite quickly that the animators were messing with him. This is the type of cartoon you could watch over and over again and it won’t get old. Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, if I had to make an analogy, is like if Quentin Tarantino remade Duck Amuck into a violent orgy of insanity.
If you are new to Deadpool and want an intro for the character without having to discover issues from comics that are close to thirty years old, start here. It is the perfect primer on what you’ll be expecting from the movie.
Tim is a kid in a grown ups body. He enjoys pro wrestling, reading comic
books, lots of them, as well as writing. When he's not giving his
opinions of his latest reads on his website The Jousma Files he's doing his best to act like an adult around his wife. You can find him on Twitter at @timjousma.