Each of the “Prelude to Deadpool Corps” books focuses on a different iteration of Deadpool across the multiverse, giving readers an idea of who these characters are before they’re brought together to work as a team for some big, important, cosmic reason. The only problem is that, in the star of the second issue’s case, there isn’t much to him except what you’d imagine when you hear about him: Kidpool is a child version of Deadpool who lives in the Xavier Orphanage for Troubled Boys along with other kid versions of X-characters. Aside from the surprise of which characters get to be adults in this world, there aren’t too many surprises.
While most of the plot deals with Kidpool and Scott Summers as they overcome their antagonistic relationship to work together after being stuck in detention and forced to miss the big dance with the girls from Emma Frost’s, the best material in this issue is in Xavier’s efforts to impress and win over Frost. Beginning with his series of toupees and some funny one-liners at the dance, he’s the best part of this issue. Depicting him is also the only place where Whilce Portacio’s art actually works.
Of all the artists you could find to draw a comic full of little kids, Portacio is just flat-out the wrong choice as it’s impossible to tell how old any of the kids are -- or, sometimes, if they’re kids at all. They morph in body size and shape so much that in one panel, they’re cute little kids and, in the next, they look like little people. It’s tough drawing kids in a consistent manner, but the overly crosshatched, lots of tiny lines, and ugly line work of Portacio is an incredibly bad fit. The only character of the kids that looks halfway good is Kidpool because of his mask and the, honestly, clever adaptation of his costume.
Kidpool as a character isn’t any different from Deadpool. Not even the hyperactive, ADD-style mannerisms differ much. He offers the same quasi-metafictional quips and bad jokes as the regular version. It’s hard to see what, if anything, separates him from Deadpool when, you’d imagine, a child version of the character would offer some differences.
If the idea of a kid Deadpool amuses you, this is the comic for you. Gischler doesn’t really take advantage of the different world to any strong degree aside from his very good use of Xavier. The writing isn’t bad, but the art is such a mismatch for the characters that it drags the comic down a lot.