Deadpool Killustrated – the title (a pun on the Classics Illustrated line of comics that adapted classic literature into easily digested comics) alone should decide whether you’re going to read this or not. It’s not a comic that takes itself too seriously. Reading the title I immediately began to smile and then laughed when I saw the cover of Deadpool riding Moby Dick holding a giant cartoon bomb aimed at his blowhole, and kept laughing and smiling throughout this four-issue mini-series. Cullen Bunn has written a fantastically funny comic featuring everyone’s favourite insane, unkillable assassin, Deadpool.
Killustrated is the sequel to last year’s superb Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe where Deadpool did exactly as the title says after becoming more than a little jaded with being a comics character who can’t die. He decides to put an end to continuity by killing all the superheroes until he reaches the Source, the mysterious place which is preventing him from dying once and for all. Since we last saw him, Deadpool’s continued his bloody rampage, killing every version of Spider-man, the Avengers, etc. across the Multiverse but it’s still not enough – he’s not making enough progress. So he decides to travel into the Ideaverse, an even more abstract place than the Multiverse, where ideas permeate across time and space, and kill the characters upon whom the superheroes were based in classic literature and, the whacko theory goes, by doing so he will eliminate all future manifestations of those characters. In other words, Deadpool must become metacidal!
Once inside the Ideaverse, the fun begins as he slaughters Don Quixote and Moby Dick, moving on to more of literature’s most famous characters from Dracula, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, The Jungle Book, MacBeth, A Christmas Carol – the list goes on. Maybe it’s because my background is literature that I enjoyed this series so much – I love classic literature and still manage a couple of classics a year, but some of them are really torturous to read. It’s those feelings of frustration and crushing boredom from reading books like Moby Dick that makes Deadpool killing them so much fun – I get to live vicariously through Deadpool in an impossible way.
But even if you’re not familiar with classic literature, there’s a lot to recommend this title. Each encounter is entertaining as hell and the characters are killed in a different way every time. Deadpool’s encounter with Tom Sawyer shows the legendary whitewashing scene but all you see is the wall for 9 panels and a hand holding a paintbrush while all of the action happens off panel until the whitewashed wall turns red. Deadpool killing Moby Dick actually reminded me of a scene from Ace Ventura 2 while Deadpool taking on the Little Women is an unexpectedly challenging (and hilarious) task.
The covers to the comics have been outstanding. Each cover represents an amazingly eye-catching image of Deadpool taking on a classic character in an over-the-top way, like the aforementioned Moby Dick cover, or Deadpool with a fishing hook on his mask as he emerges from the Mississippi river holding a bazooka to Huck Finn’s startled face, or Deadpool appearing as a ghost before Scrooge, blades out. If you waited for the second printings you got the covers presented in the iconic style of the Penguin Classics covers which were actually better looking than the first printings.
The book might seem a bit one-note as it’s basically just Deadpool zipping along from one literary scenario to the next, butchering the characters in horrific ways while talking nonsense constantly like a homicidal Mad Hatter (who’s not in this by the way), but it’s too funny and enjoyable to care. It’s basically four issues of Deadpool killing literary characters which, for me, was enough but might not be for some.
The way the characters are killed is also interesting as you get to see their Marvel counterparts appear briefly before they die so Ahab becomes Red Hulk momentarily, or the Headless Horseman from Sleepy Hollow morphs into Ghost Rider, so there are quirky elements that keeps these stories tied into the larger story arc of Deadpool wiping out all the stories from the future. I also enjoy the fact that Bunn is effectively using Deadpool to make fun of modern superhero comics while also being self-aware enough to know its also a superhero comic. It shows that Marvel have a sense of humour about themselves that they would put out a comic like this and makes me like them even more.
Deadpool Killustrated is purely and simply bags of fun and a joy to read. If you love the character and the idea of killing classic literary characters in the goriest ways possible appeals to you, this title won’t let you down. It’s even funnier than the last book and will keep you smiling and laughing from the first page to last.
Killustrated is the second part of the Deadpool Killology with the third and final instalment announced as Deadpool Kills Deadpool, out in July.
Collecting Deadpool Killustrated #1-4, Deadpool Killustrated by Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli is out now
This article was first posted on June 18, 2013