I'm a big fan of Cullen Bunn's writing on "The Sixth Gun," so his collaboration with Dalibor Talajic on the "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe" mini-series seemed like a must-buy. Now that I've read the first issue of this four-part weekly series, I'm feeling distinctly less enthused about the comic.
Deadpool is a character that works best when he's both funny and deadly. It's a hard line to walk and writers like Fabian Nicieza, Joe Kelly and Rick Remender have demonstrated over the years how to do successfully. With "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe" #1, though, a lot of that humor is gone. When that element evaporates, what we're left with is slightly tiresome.
The basic thrust of the story is that Deadpool's mind is altered by the Psycho Man to try and create the first soldier in an army to take over Earth, but something goes hideously wrong and Deadpool turns into a stone-cold killer that goes after Psycho Man first. From there, we get a massacre of the Fantastic Four with more deaths to follow. The problem with "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe" #1 is that the only real hook for the reader is watching heroes die violent deaths -- and as hooks go, it's not much of one. There's no inventiveness, no clever moment that makes you think, "Hey, yeah, that's good." Instead we just get swords through chests and heads chopped off. The only moment where you might jump involves the Invisible Woman's attack on Deadpool, but at the same time it feels so wildly out of character for her (even when pushed up against the wall) that it ends up just gratuitously gruesome for the sake of being gruesome.
Talajic's art also feels rather uninspired. He's got a clean art style, but there's no pep or energy to his pages. Images look flat and uninteresting and there's no sense of movement at any given moment. There's also a certain lack of three-dimensionality on some of the pages; look at the first panel in the Fantastic Four's home, where what turns out is strange-colored smoke wafting through the room instead looks like there was an industrial accident involving ketchup bottles exploding everywhere. As an introduction to Talajic's art, I'm unfortunately feeing underwhelmed.
"Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe" #1 might have killed off some superheroes, but it also killed my interest in this series. I'll still gleefully read "The Sixth Gun" (a series no stranger to violence) every month, but this comic feels like a misstep from start to finish. This could have been a lot of fun, but the end result is not quite there.