Never judge a book by its cover? Yup, that’s Deadpool Killustrated #1. I’m not going to lie – my initial interest in this book was the absurdity/awesomeness of Deadpool killing classic characters from American literature. If you read my review of Deadpool #4 then you know I’m not the world’s biggest Deadpool fan. I don’t mind a first issue building the back story, but after reading this one it felt like Don Quixote would have made more sense on the cover.
First issues can be slow a lot of times. It’s an understanding that the reader has – [insert title here] #1 = exposition, exposition and more exposition. Deadpool Killustrated starts off strong with a large panel of the character alone on the Pacific Ocean. Bunn’s is a darker Deadpool than the one being written by Posehn and Duggan (keep in mind this is the same incarnation of the character that killed everyone in the Marvel universe) so the image is fitting. Plus – we get two Jaws references as Moby Dick breaches which is awesome.
This a Deadpool haunted by his self-awareness. He’s killed every character in the Marvel universe and with a gun to his own head realizes it’s pointless to pull the trigger (again). As a comic book character he is aware that death is extremely meaningless because he will just be brought back (cough, Peter Parker, cough!). To rectify this problem he is told by his group of kidnapped scientists that he has to kill the source of inspiration, and to do this he has to enter the ideaverse.
The ideaverse is definitely an intriguing concept. Much like the multiverse where there are several iterations of the same characters – there is the ideaverse. Basically all of the characters that were murdered in Deadpool Kills Marvel Universe were inspired by other stories throughout history. Just as Deadpool was able to travel to various universes within the multiverse the scientists have conceived a means through which he can enter the ideaverse. Yeah, it’s a little complex for a character whose billing is “The merc with a mouth” but hey it’s a fun little romp, right? Eh, not really. It’s one of those stories where the idea was just better than the execution.
The Deadpool thought boxes that are noticeably absent from Posehn and Duggan’s book are present here. It works well, and is one of the strong points of the issue. Deadpool’s breaking of the fourth wall is another aspect of the character that will always be hit or miss. Sometimes it’s brilliant (such as the aforementioned indignation towards the revival of dead characters), and sometimes it’s just too much. Bunn does a good job of keeping that in check here, and I’d actually say he executes it better than Posehn or Duggan. This breaking of fourth wall is a more intelligent critique of current trends in comics, whereas the Posehn/Duggan version feels like Deadpool begging the reader to laugh at his jokes.
I had high hopes for this one, but came away feeling really disappointed. Killing off Moby Dick, Ishmael and Don Quixote is a laughable idea so it would make sense that it be fun and absurd. Instead, it feels like Bunn is struggling to decide which Deadpool to write. I like the contrast of wise ass remarks juxtaposed to some of the darker images courtesy of Lolli, Parsons and Gandini, but a lot of times the humor feels forced. The references to literature seem like something anyone who took an intro to lit course could have written. This is a book that starts building momentum, and then falls flat. It’s not bad, but it’s just short of being good.
This article was first posted on January 26, 2013