”After all these years of superhero-ing around the world, you should know better really. You don’t run with scissors…you don’t spit into the wind… and you never, ever turn your back on a dead enemy…especially not one with a healing factor!”
Who doesn’t love Deadpool? The self titled ‘Merc with a mouth’ has been a fan favourite for many years now, from his debut as a villain in The New Mutants, through comic book collaborations with Wolverine, Gambit and Cable, up until his recent true-to-the-comics movie adaptation starring Ryan Reynolds as our cancer-ridden protagonist. The growing popularity of Deadpool is down to many different things him being one of the funniest comic book characters of all time thanks to great writing, his penchant for fourth wall breaking, pop culture references, Mexican food, Wolverine mockery and his unconventional killing methods. Just don’t mention the X-Men Origins: Wolverine take on Deadpool. No one needs to be reminded of that.
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe is a great comic book for die-hards and people new to the character. It is not canon (ugh! ashamed of myself) and uses that wonderful old comic book trick of setting a story in an alternative universe so the writers then have free reign to kill anyone they want – which they do. A lot. Deadpool murders his way through almost every superhero group in this comic book, including the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men etc., and does so with some awesome and rather gruesome methods. (Thor being a personal favourite). And don’t worry about that being a spoiler, look at the title – he kills them all.
The Fantastic Four – I’ve never liked the comics and the movies are all terrible – are the first to bite the bullet and it is not a pleasant, unified death for the quartet. It is rough. We meet the happy couple (Reed and Sue Richards) in their lab/office/kitchenette thing and it’s not looking good. The remnants of The Thing are strewn all over the place (my main problem with this series which I will get into later) and Reed is moments from death. You don’t get to see the fight, but Deadpool has put him through the wringer. Almost literally as we see that Mr. Fantastic has been stretched to his limits and is being cradled by his wife. The talent of the writers/illustrators is evident here as their touching farewell may leave you feeling quite emotional yourself. After Reed dies, and his brother-in-law Johnny – a.k.a The Human Torch – gets his comeuppance via throat knifing, Sue decides to take Deadpool out for good by exploding his head. Doesn’t work out too well for her though, read the quote at the top of the article: it’s about her.
We are then taken back to what made Deadpool begin his reign of death and it’s a pretty straight-forward comic book/homeless person set-up. His peers are annoyed with him; they take him to a mental hospital, he doesn’t deal with it very well. You know, standard shit. It’s here we meet the main villain of the piece (kinda yeah but not really) Dr Brighton, who tries to manipulate Deadpool into doing his bidding to be a part of his mutant army to take over the blah blah blah. It’s a comic book about Deadpool, not this guy. Dr Brighton also reveals himself to be Pyscho Man (who?) but that doesn’t matter, Deadpool deals with him rather wonderfully. This section is very important within the narrative as it makes Deadpool snap somewhat and replace the current voices in his head (Madcap, a Captain America villain and Dr. Bong, a Howard the Duck villain (yes, really)). This new voice is what drives our anti-hero to bring down all of Stan Lee’s creations. It’s about time if you ask me.
Marvel fans may be aware of a character known as The Watcher. The Watcher is an alien from an alien race known as The Watchers (because comics) who are dedicated to compiling knowledge and information on all aspects of the universe. Which surely includes things like She-Hulk checking her e-mails or Dr. Strange trimming his goatee. Anyway, back to the review, one of the main responsibilities of The Watcher(s) is to act as a somewhat narrator for the reader, establishing timelines and alternate universe scenarios in the comic books, as he/she/it does in Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Which leads to the unthinkable happening: Deadpool kills The Watcher. Just before he does however, he notices The Watcher speaking to the reader. It’s this moment that gives Deadpool a true reason for his murderous rampage. Who was The Watcher talking to? Who is out there?
The next dozen or so pages are all about Deadpool carving his way through a large chunk of the Marvel Universe and whilst there are some great deaths in here, this is one of my very few problems with this comic book. A lot of the characters are killed off but for some, you only see the image of the bodies, after Deadpool has killed them. Of course you don’t want to be over-saturated with too much of a good thing but the novel is quite short in comparison to other Marvel comic book collections. Surely an extra few pages showing how Deadpool takes down Dr. Doom, Ghost Rider, Magneto etc. would make it just that tiny bit better. My only other real problem is the costume they chose for Deadpool. Petty i know but i like the classic look on the cover of the book, not the one they choose for the story. Again, doesn’t take anything away from just how great this comic book is. But enough about the negative aspects, the best thing, for me, is Deadpool showing his natural talents for taking people out.
This is why this comic book is one of my all-time favourites. The lovely, lovely murdering. The Fantastic Four massacre is filled with emotion, the bulk of the Avengers is quite quick and almost lazy but still really clever when you think about how easy Deadpool makes it. The X-men take down is a thing of beauty, however. Forcing Arcade (long time X-men villain) into building a diabolical murder house is everything you want Deadpool to be about. Thor’s demise is just wonderful and simple. Not an easy guy to kill by any means but Deadpool makes it funny and quite symbolic if you know your Thor comic books. The Punisher is one of the toughest guys in the Marvel roster and Deadpool takes him down with the almost no effort whatsoever. It’s Deadpool though, it’s what he does. The methods used for ‘killing’ Wolverines children (well one son and one clone daughter thing (because comics)) are brutal, just stopping and thinking about it and you realise just how horrifying and agonising it really is. The most significant, story wise, would be Professor Xavier. He tries to shut down Deadpool’s mind and witnesses the truth Deadpool has already figured out, that they are puppets in the world of Marvel comic books. Talk about breaking the 4th wall. It is all too much for the professor however and the realisation makes the Professor suffer brain death. Poor guy. I thought being bald was as bad as it could get.
It’s also great to see Taskmaster getting the credit he deserves. He has been a personal favourite of mine for some time now and he’s the one they go to when they realise that they need Deadpool stopped. Doesn’t go exactly to plan mind you but again, it’s not a spoiler, look at the name of the comic book. Kills the Marvel Universe. Thanos, Galactus, Silver Surfer, they all get it. Everyone. Apart from Squirrel Girl. No one can defeat her. I’ll not go too much into the ending as it is one that’s worth reading yourself. All I will say is that it certainly suits Deadpool down to the ground. It’s very Meta (learned that word the other day, it’s lovely) and one that you probably won’t find in any other comic book.
All in all, a great addition to any Marvel comic book fans collection but a must have for fans of Deadpool. It signifies everything that Deadpool is about and shows how, if he put his twisted mind to it, he could kill every single one of them. My only issues being the choice of costume and some of the deaths being a bit too much ‘matter of fact’ but those are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Just go read it. Stop being difficult.