This story begins with a visual gag: a split-monologue -- the kind that's been used regularly since the Daniel Way's Deadpool renaissance in the pages of "Wolverine: Origins" about a "schism in Congress," a "war" with Deadpool in the middle -- but that's not the gag. The gag is that the three vertical panels reveal only bits of Deadpool's costume, and the first splash page reveals that it's actually not Deadpool at all, but Lady Deadpool! Dun dun dunnnn!
This whole "Prelude to Deadpool Corps" is based around the notion that if one Deadpool is funny, a gaggle of alternate universe Deadpools must be hilarious. And while I'm not convinced that it's true, I'm willing to play along for an issue, and this opening installment does bring a bit of the funny.
Victor Gischler is the best Deadpool writer to come along since Joe Kelly, so that helps. His "Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth" -- or at least the issues I've sampled -- have been more entertaining and wildly absurd than what I've read in "Deadpool Team-Up" or the regular monthly "Deadpool" series.
Let's pause for a moment and consider how many Deadpool comics are available right now. Okay, pause over. (It is a ridiculous amount, though, and that's surely part of the joke. Too. Much. Deadpool.)
Gischler doesn't try to be cool or edgy or provide any crazed plot twists. He just gives us pompous superheroes -- General America, the Sentinel of Liberty from a parallel Earth, with a Cable-esque metallic arm -- and Bugs Bunny hijinx from his Wilson family players. "Hey, he looks important," says one of the voices in Lady Deadpool's head, describing a soldier in a tank, "make him die." Well, it's funny in context.
This first issue loses some of its comedic momentum once the fighting becomes personal, though regular old Deadpool -- popping in through a dimension door -- livens things up a bit. But this issue never takes itself seriously for a moment. And doesn't worry about whether we think its clever or not, it just marches on towards absurdity.
It's also -- and this is important -- drawn by Rob Liefeld. Liefeld brings his usual bag of tricks, which means vaguely-defined backgrounds and gross violations of anatomical rules, but when his style is employed in an out-and-out humor comic, a comic that parodies superhero excess and self-serious superhero rhetoric, it works quite well. This issue is more "Doom Force" than "X-Force," tonally.
I can't believe that the stores are flooded with Deadpool comics, but they are. And this is one of the better ones.