This week on The Marvel Rundown we’re checking in with Deadpool who seems to have killed the Marvel Universe, I guess this is his second time that he did that? I’m not really sure. Over on the other side of the Marvel Universe, Thor has been separated from the rest of the pack and has to find a way to escape an alien planet over in Avengers #9. Since you’re already reading this column don’t try to escape! Settle in and prepare for the Marvel Rundown!
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Dalibor Talajic
Inked by Goran Sudzuka
Colored by Miroslav Mrva
Lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino
Reviewed by AJ Frost
Ahh Deadpool, everyone’s favorite quasi-psychotic killing machine. So adorable right, the way he viciously murders people with nary a second thought? Well, after the success of writer Cullen Bunn’s original series of the Merc with a Mouth dispatching with entire lineup of Marvel’s superhuman roster, as well as the likes classic literary characters, and finally, the cadre of alternate reality Deadpools themselves, there was no way that the public’s desire for its favorite Canadian (move over Trudeau!) to end his bloodlust would be satiated. Thus, the reintroduction of the story line with this first volume of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again. Though it’s been hyped, does this new issue live up to its potential? Well….
What must be said at the outset is that if you’re looking for an extra-bloody mainstream comic, then there is nothing finer than Deadpool. And let’s start with the art first. I felt that, even more than the story, it was a fine excursion into brutality that walks the fine line between being tangibly visceral and cartoonishly exaggerated. Rendered with extra care from artist Dalibor Talajic, the art shuffles back and forth between somewhat realistic to an almost Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic. Navigating betwixt the two can sometimes be a confusing design choice, but due to Deadpool already being a hyper-aggrandized killing machine, the flow seemed to make sense (at least on the second read-through).
As for the main story, the prolific Bunn introduces more ideas than actually providing an outlet for them. I’ll admit that in reading this issue, it was not always clear to me what the connective tissue of all the violence was actually for, or the motivation for Deadpool to act out the way he does. By the end of the issue, the logic for the killing spree is revealed, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by it. Indeed, it seemed forced. Maybe it will make more sense in the weeks to come. But even with the last pages in mind, the path to the final reveal seems cheap. There isn’t a cogent story so much as there are mini-vignettes of sporadic violence that don’t seem to have a purpose except for Deadpool to make a quip and then disembowel some seemingly random character; the use of a Medusa head is clever though.
I suppose the utility of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again will be found in its ability to slake the desire of those readers who yearn to see the blood of some of pop culture’s greatest figures be spilled in comedically brutal fashions. Reading this issue, I can’t help but feel that maybe too much of Deadpool’s reputation for over the top violence is a detriment. There’s an aspect to Bunn’s writing that just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was because I felt that the dialogue he gave Deadpool was DOA. None of the wisecracks gave me anything close to a guffaw (nor a chortle!). And when it comes to Deadpool, comedic dialogue should be an essential element to the proceedings. That was a bit of a letdown.
So, while I was disappointed with what I view as wasted potential for a first issue, I’m looking forward to see how Deadpool dispatches our favorite heroes in the weeks to come.
Final Verdict: Weak BROWSE
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Mike Del Mundo
Colored by Mike Del Mundo with Marco D’Alfonso
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
Reviewed by Alexander Jones
This issue of Avengers is actually nicely in sync with some of the aspects of the character that Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have been doing with the character in the main Thor series. This particular installment even features Marvel comics veterans Mark Waid and Mike Del Mundo. The two creators tell a story of Thor trapped in a strange land trying to get home. While the narrative could have felt alien or disconnected from the reader as a whole, Waid’s prose and Mundo’s imaginative pencils ground the story in a sense of intrigue that should keep the attention of the reader even after the book closes out. Best of all, this is a great comic where readers can jump out of sequence and just go on this journey with Thor even though the story at large follows up with a cliffhanger attached to the last issue. The level of empathy and the bond that Thor develops with these alien creatures is a very organic tie that captures what makes this character so incredible in the first place. Waid stretches his writing chops by framing the prose of the comic differently than what many readers might expect.
While the backgrounds in the comic are simplistic, the actual interiors of the issue are anything but. Mundo adds a ton of detail to the foreground and poses for the individual characters. The first splash page revealing Thor in a yellow substance is a great moment that sets the tone for the rest of the comic in a delightful manner. The facial expressions and dynamic fight scenes present in this work continue the awe-inspiring nature of the work from Mundo. When the fight scenes and big action moments kick into gear later on in the narrative, Mundo’s layouts and panels compact ever so slightly to bring on the tension. This issue may not have the greatest stakes as the story is just a one-off diversion in the life of Thor, but the overall story does bring out a side of the character that Aaron hasn’t been able to explore in the past batch of issues.
The comic has a sense of legacy and grandiosity that is perpetuated by Waid and Mundo’s sensibilities showing that this team is capable of delivering on some epic stories. We previously saw Jason Aaron tap into the artist in a similar manner during Weirdworld. Like the aforementioned story, Waid and Mundo end the comic on a bit of a reserved note, trying to bask in the beauty of the world they created. The ending is a bit abrupt occurring just after the resolution of the story but still delivers on a lingering plot thread.
If this issue proves anything it’s that Thor is a malleable character & Waid and Mundo are a strong creative team. After zooming past the confusing Kang storyline that kicked their Avengers off on the wrong note for me, I really hope that Waid and Mundo can start telling some more simplistic stories that take advantage of each creator’s strengths. This issue is a step in the right direction for both creators and I hope that more stories will continue the done-in-one approach seen here focusing on just one hero.
Final Verdict: Waid and Mundo tell a solid one-off story with The Mighty Thor before settling into Secret Empire insanity in Avengers #9!
Next week join us for Spider-Men II #1.