With so many big names and big events plastered across the shelves of your LCS, sometimes great comics get left behind – buried in longboxes until someone comes along to find these Hidden Gems.
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Dalibor Talajic & Lee Loughridge
Published by Marvel Comics
I’ve already looked Deadpool Killustrated, the middle chapter in the Deadpool Killogy, so there’s no better time to take a step back and examine the miniseries that began it all, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Coming after a glut of Deadpool-related minis in the previous few years, most readers might have overlooked it. Which is a shame, because DKtMU is a darkly fun bloodshed-filled romp through Marvel Universe. Taking a cue from the earlier Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, it sees Wade Wilson shoot, stab and explode his way through Marvel heroes and villains alike.
It starts with a bang, as a more-unhinged-than-usual Deadpool offs the Fantastic Four, the undisputed First Family of Marvel Comics. Uatu the Watcher then guides us into a flashback to see how it all began, and wouldn’t you know it, it started with the best of intentions. Having captured Deadpool the X-Men take him to Ravencroft Asylum for a new radical treatment under one Dr. Benjamin Brighton. Of course, the good doctor turns out to be FF baddie Psycho-Man in disguise. Using his Control Box, he assaults Wade’s already addled mind. Something snaps and the two familiar voices in Wade’s head are gone, replaced by a far more sinister one. Quickly smushing his tiny oppressor, Deadpool torches the whole asylum with the staff and inmates still inside. Back to the present, as ‘Pool ambushes and decapitates the surprised Watcher himself. The new voice in his head soon explains how it’s taken Wade’s constant breaking of the fourth wall to the extreme. Since all the heroes and villains are merely characters in comic books, subjective to the whims of their writers, artists and fans, killing them isn’t a bad thing; it merely frees them from the tortured existence they didn’t even know they were in. It’s a nice explanation by Bunn, especially since I doubt few readers are interested in why Deadpool is killing everyone, and far more curious as to how he goes about it.
And oh man, the deaths. Make no mistake, this is a horror story, pure and simple. From Spider-Man getting half his head blown off to Magneto dissolving in jellified acid, no one is spared, not even Power Pack or Howard the Duck. From the Avengers to the X-Men to the more street-level characters, none are spared. (The way Wade takes out Thor is especially brilliant.) Not even cosmic characters like the Silver Surfer and Thanos escape their fate. All the while he’s being hunted by Taskmaster, who was hired by several of the dead heroes loved ones to avenge their deaths. It all comes to a head in the fight between Deadpool and Tasky on the edge of the Nexus of All Realities, aka the Florida swamp where Man-Thing lives. The two ending pages are a perfect spot to leave off until the next installment.
As I’ve said before, Cullen Bunn writes a great Deadpool, making him terrifying but still recognizable as a character. Dalibor Talajic’s art is jagged and sketchy, quite reminiscent of Sean Phillips’s style and prefect for the subject matter, while Lee Loughridge bright colors offset the dark material. And when I say dark, I mean dark. Heed the cover warning: this is not a book for younger readers. But if you like Deadpool dishing out kill after kill in various ways, definitely check it out. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe ranks 4 out of 5 Beast-fur wraps.