Hey everyone, Joe here, and I'm going to be bringing you a little bit of nostalgia each week from the comic world. In Clearly Comics, I will be reviewing completed storylines, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, and other Comic-character related mumbo jumbo that has captured the attention of many readers, listeners, and viewers all around. I'm going to cover new stories, old stories, stuff you can see on the big screen, and some other things you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Stay tuned while I take a look back on some of the most memorable graphic novels and movies, all comic book related, starting with Watchmen, Kingdom Come, The Avengers, and The Infinity Gauntlet.
This week, as a bonus, I'm going to review the recently finished mini-series "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe". This book was flying off the shelf at my local comic book store, and I was one of the lucky customers to grab all 4 issues. Well, lucky in that sense, at least.
The "____ Kills the ____ Universe" is the ultimate in What If storylines. They're never canon (Since, you know, the company behind it would have to start all over) and really capture people's interests in the most epic of fantasy fight match-ups. This time around, Marvel has decided to capture the assassin skills of Deadpool, the comedic Merc with a Mouth that most of us have grown to love and hate in his most recent re-debut in X-men Origins: Wolverine. Deadpool has a regenerative healing factor, is aware he is a comic character, has multiple personalities (voices in his head, actually), and an efficient way to carry to out every single one of his plans. As such, Marvel has milked this character for all he's worth over the last few years, including movie possibilities, and many comic issues (Deadpool, Deadpool Corp, Deadpool MAX, etc). They've continued milking this character by giving him a comic series dedicated to his assassin/killing skills.
And I, for one, hated it.
Now don't get me wrong, it had a strong start, but there were many things I did not like about the book, and by the start of issue #2 I was massively disappointed. Here is a basic plot summary, because believe it or not there is a subplot beyond "kill everyone".
Deadpool was taken to an asylum by the X-men, admitted in almost immediately, straightjacket and all. Unbeknownst to them, they had left Deadpool in the caring hands of Psychoman, who succeeded in quieting Deadpool's prominent voices in his head, leaving a dormant 4th voice to rise up and drive Deadpool to kill everyone with a power or ability. His ultimate goal is to find the Nexus of Realities, a gateway to which he can jump between dimensions and continue his killing to no end. The story ends with a cliffhanger, as Deadpool jumps into the reality we, as readers, live in, and happens to arrive at the writer's meeting as they discuss writing the page that you are reading. What Deadpool does, is up to your imagination.
Now for the part I was disappointed heavily with: The Killings. There were some that made "sense", and by that I mean they were well thought out and explained perfectly. There were some that after seeing it I had to go "Wait that's it!?" or "What!? No...". And lastly, there were some that were killed off screen and we were deprived of the creative thinking that the writers should have delivered. I feel that with this particular series, we are all drawn in by the wonder of how Deadpool is going to accomplish these feats. Here are the character deaths in these books:
Issue #1 began with the death of the Fantastic Four.
The Thing- shown as being a bunch of rocks and dust. We're not sure how he got to that state, but he is dead.
Reed Richards/ Mister Fantastic- shown dying in Sue's arms. He plasticity is wearing off and he is literally melting. We're not sure how this came to be, but being one of the top minds in the world, I find this scenerio incredibly difficult to believe.
Susan Storm/Invisible Woman- after killing Deadpool, she temporarily forgets about Deadpool's healing factor and is blindsided with a stab.This death is the first one that "makes sense".
Johnny Storm/Human Torch- After crashing into the Baxter Building, Deadpool decapitates him.
The Children, Valeria and Franklin Richards- Stuck in the Negative Zone indefinitely.
After this episode, we are brought into a flashback. Aside from the plot advancement, we learn that Deadpool has killed Psycho Man by smashing his tiny body repeatedly into a table, and has killed all of the inmates in the asylum by burning it down. The issue ends by Deadpool sneaking in on the Watcher, decapitating him as well.
Issue #2 is where I start to lose my faith in this series. Right off, we're given off-panel deaths. This, to me, is a cop-out and lack of creativity. We see the dead bodies of Ghost Rider, Dr Doom, and Howard the Duck, and are alluded to the idea that Deadpool has killed Hank McCoy, AKA The Beast, through context. Afterwards, we are shown a bout with Spider-man. Spider-man is killed by a gun to the head, after repeatedly dodging Deadpool's swords, he is blindsided by his overconfidence in his spider-sense.
The next big death comes to most of the Avengers. The ones accounted for in the room are Iron Man, Captain America, Ms Marvel, Spider-woman, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Thor, Luke Cage, and Jarvis. After revealing Hank Pym is missing, Wolverine sniffs out explosives; Deadpool used Pym Particles to shrink explosives in, wait for the right moment when they were all in the room, and used Pym Particles to grow them and kill everyone except for Luke Cage and Thor. On the same note, Hank Pym's bloody and dead body can be seen expanding with the explosives, indicating Deadpool having gotten to him first. When the smoke clears, Luke Cage is confronted by Deadpool who indicates having put shrunken bombs in the coffee and expanded them at that moment, killing the coffee-drinking Luke Cage. Thor is shown next, and sends Mjolnir at Deadpool. Deadpool kicks Mjolnir, which returns back to Thor, and while it does it is shot with the last of the Pym Particles, making Mjolnir gigantic and crushing Thor. Thor is killed when Deadpool holds Thor's nose and cuts off his air-supply.
The final death in this issue is the Hulk. How creatively do we kill the Hulk? Apparently not at all, as Deadpool does the same thing everyone else has in a What If? series- gotten the Hulk tired and calm, returning to Bruce Banner form, and killing Bruce Banner while taking a nap.
Issue #3 is slated as being the X-men issue. Like the previous issue, we're given another page of off-screen deaths. Venom, Multiple Man, Green Goblin, and Power Pack have all be killed with little to know confrontational details.
We officially start the issue by killing the X-men in front of Charles Xavier. First Deadpool hits Cyclops with a red goo that begins hardening around his head. As Cyclops begins to charge his optic blast, the now red ball begins to expand and then explode; it kills himself, Emma Frost, Cannonball, and Pixie. In another room, Colossus, Rogue, and Gambit are fighting off walls that are closing in until Deadpool turns on high-powered electricity to fry them. Deadpool turns to Professor Xavier, allowing him access into his mind, only to have Xavier cower at what he's seen in there and go brain-dead.
Deadpool then begins to, once again, give us off-panel summaries of what he's done. He's trapped Magneto in a room of green acid in a jelly state. Kitty Pryde, Shadowcat as she's more known....well I'm confused. He put her in a box comprised of fun-house mirrors, but even if she can't tell where she is, I'm not sure why she couldn't phase through "everything". Regardless, Deadpool has indefinitely incapacitated her for what it's worth. At this time, Wolverine makes a return, having survived the Avengers blast with his healing factor.
Wolverine is greeted by Arcade, apparently the reason for Deadpool's various contraptions, and kills him to put him out of his misery. He then finds Daken, his son, and X-23, his female clone, strung up and set to die by flamethrowers triggered by their healing factors. Deadpool makes an entrance, wearing the fur skin of Beast (and again, another off-panel non-confrontational kill!) and attacks Wolverine. Deadpool wins this one-page fight, having used a special Carbonadium sword, which prevents Wolverine's healing factor, and decapitates Wolverine.
The last pages of this issue....Yup! You guessed it- MORE OFF-PANEL DEATHS! As Taskmaster works to uncover Deadpool's motives and stop him, he stumbles into the sanctuary of Doctor Strange, we see his bloody body pinned to a table, with Wong's body thrown to the side of the room with a detached head.
Here's where the story actually picks up- Punisher spots Deadpool through his scope, takes the shot, blowing off his head. Rushing to get there, he only finds the Puppet Master, now with a quarter of his head missing, dressed as Deadpool with a bunch of puppets on the ground. Deadpool sneaks up behind Punisher, complete with limited edition Frank Castle voodoo doll/puppet, and forces the Punisher to blow his own head off. Deadpool then tells the lifeless body that Puppet Master has given him some "other" special puppets, to which we're given yet ANOTHER off-screen death scene. This time around, the characters you know could've have stood a chance- the Cosmic Beings!? We can clearly see the likes of Nova (well, his helmet), Thanos, Gladiator, Silver Surfer, and the mangled body of Galactus in the background.
The scene shifts back to Earth, where Taskmaster has finally approached Deadpool in a swamp. The two square-off, finally giving us an action scene that last more than a page. Taskmaster begins to perfectly mimic Deadpool, even gaining access to the voice in Deadpool's head. By that time, Taskmaster is able to fully deduce Deadpool's plan, which brings him great fear, and unfortunately attracts the being none other than Man-thing. Man-thing grabs and explodes Taskmaster's head.
In a short conversation, Deadpool convinces Man-thing to sacrifice his body and power and allow Deadpool to travel through the multiverse of universes, eventually ending up in 'our' universe outside of the comic writer's studio as they write what is going on in that page. The rest is left to our imagination.
So what do I have to say about this series? I give it a 3/10. Some of the ideas, good. Most of the ideas, expected. All of the potential ideas, missed. It's something that should have had a lot more planning and alot more detail to just how Deadpool accomplishes killing the Marvel Universe.
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