With enough time and information most Marvel heroes are able to deduce a villain’s scheme and put an end to it. Some villains, on the other hand, are quite a bit more unhinged and inscrutable. When they go on a rampage it takes a fellow maniac to figure out what they’re up to and end that rampage. What happens though when the maniac trying to do said stopping is an unsupervised, heavily armed, unkillable mercenary?
The “Deadpool Kills Deadpool” team of writer Cullen Bunn and artist Salva Espin reunite to answer that question and more this April when their 4-issue “Deadpool Vs. Carnage” miniseries begins. CBR News spoke with Bunn about the recently announced project, which sends the Merc With a Mouth on a hunt for one of the Marvel Universe’s most unpredictable killers.
CBR News: Cullen, over the years you’ve spent quite a bit of time with Deadpool and a little time with Carnage. Both are characters with a somewhat twisted perspective. Is it a coincidence that you’ve worked on these characters? Or is it something about their unique nature and their unhinged mental states that draws you to them?
Cullen Bunn: I think writing about these darker characters is in my wheelhouse. Those are the types of characters that I tend to be drawn to.
I’ve always been drawn to writing horror stories. When I was writing prose that was the type of stuff I focused on, and these characters definitely have those horror elements; admittedly, Carnage more than Deadpool. [Laughs] Some of what I’ve done with Deadpool in the past though has been a darker approach to that character. It’s more the “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness” horror, so to speak.
What’s it like bouncing Carnage and Deadpool off of each other. They’re both crazy and violent, but do they share any other similarities?
A lot of the fun of writing these characters together comes from the fact that they are both out of this world insane, but their insanities are so different and the way they manifest for the characters is so different. So playing off those differences and finding the connective tissue and similarities between these two characters is a lot of fun.
In terms of plot and themes what is “Deadpool Vs. Carnage” about? What sets the titular conflict in motion?
In this series Carnage is once again rampaging across the country and he’s definitely focused on random acts of violence. That makes him very difficult for the authorities to track. They can’t seem to pin him down because he’s being so random and he’s on the move.
Deadpool, however, manages to figure out the pattern of Carnage’s movements and becomes the only person really who can track Carnage. They are bound by this wave of insanity and Deadpool finds that he can ride that wave and track Carnage down.
So when it comes to Carnage, Deadpool’s chaotic mind makes him a sort of super powered serial killer profiler in that he may not be comfortable doing it, but he can see things from Carnage’s point of view?
That’s one way of looking at things, although I don’t know how uncomfortable Deadpool is with it. It’s more like “A Beautiful Mind” in that he’s forming these connections. [Laughs] It’s Deadpool’s mind though, which is definitely not beautiful.
It also sounds little like “Se7en” with Deadpool in the Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman roles.
[Laughs] Yes, that’s exactly how I describe it. Deadpool is the Brad Pitt character from “Se7en” if it was Brad Pitt’s character from “12 Monkeys.”
[Laughs] Nice. So Deadpool is pursuing Carnage for the glory of taking him down? Or is there something else motivating his pursuit of the symbiote-enhanced serial killer? And how does Carnage react to having someone like Deadpool hot on his heels?
In my mind Wade Wilson has always really wanted to be a hero. So yes, to some degree he’s a glory hound. He wants the earn the adulation of millions by taking down this terrible serial killer. So that’s what spurs him into action. He feels like he’s the only person who can do it. He’s going to go out and get the glory of taking Carnage down once and for all.
When Deadpool finally encounters Carnage the initial reaction from Carnage is that he’s kind of taken aback by how crazy Deadpool is. He sees Deadpool as insane, and while Deadpool recognizes both Carnage’s and his own insanity, Carnage doesn’t see things that way. He sees himself as a servant of a greater force; this force of Chaos.
Whose perspective will this story follow? Deadpool’s? Carnage’s? Or will we get dueling P.O.V.s?
You get dueling perspectives. It’s probably told more from Deadpool’s perspective, only because as a writer I don’t want to spend too much time in Carnage’s head. It would also be a very dark comic if we focused too much on Carnage. So it’s primarily Deadpool, who is cast as our hero in the book pursuing Carnage who is definitely our villain.
Deadpool is a character known for his humor and Carnage is known for the horrors he perpetrates. So in terms of tone will “Deadpool Vs. Carnage” lean more toward humor or more toward horror? Or will it shift back and forth?
It shifts back and forth a little bit. If you look at the things I’ve done with Deadpool, “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe” and “Night of the Living Deadpool” are probably the darkest stories I’ve done. They definitely skew more towards horrific elements, but “Deadpool Kills Deadpool” skews a little more towards humor. And I think this is probably closer to “Deadpool Kills Deadpool.”
Where do the events of “Deadpool Vs. Carnage” unfold? How important an element is setting in this story?
Their hunt takes them on a sort of cross country trip because Carnage is on the move and he stays on the move. The setting is interesting because we have several scenes of Deadpool striking at Carnage or Carnage striking at Deadpool and I tried to make sure that the places where those encounters occur have a dynamic effect on the battle and the outcome of the fight. There’s a real spotlight shown on that at the end of issue #3 and going into issue #4.
Who are some of the supporting characters we’ll see as Deadpool and Carnage hunt for each other and battle it out at these different locales? Will we see some supporting players from the monthly “Deadpool” book?
The story focuses primarily on Deadpool and Carnage. There are some familiar Marvel Universe characters that will play a role. They’re more from the Carnage arena than the Deadpool arena. You may see the Mercury Team show up and you may see some of Carnage’s allies show up as well.
Most of the Deadpool projects that I’ve worked on sort of stand apart from the monthly book. That’s so readers can follow one story without following the others.
Let’s start to wrap things up by talking about the work of your collaborator, artist Salva Espin. What do you feel he brings to this book as an artist?
Salva is great. In a story like this you’ve got Carnage on a murder spree and you’ve got Deadpool who’s sort of zany and wacky going after Carnage. Salva manages to walk that line between humor and horror. There are times when we move from one panel to the next where we’re cutting from an image that’s funny to an image that’s ghastly, and his style walks that line so well that it can shift from those elements seamlessly and fluidly.
Sounds like this story is almost Bugs Bunny hunting down Heath Ledger’s Joker?
That’s actually a really good comparison because that’s what we’ve got here. We’ve got Deadpool whose approach to being a hero is very different from someone like Captain America. This is Deadpool going after Carnage his way. Deadpool keeps upping the ante when it comes to the craziness, and Carnage being a different type of beast is upping the violence level when he strikes at Deadpool.
This April “Deadpool Versus Carnage” #1 kicks off a bloody and twisted battle where one of the Marvel Universe’s most unpredictable killers faces off against an unkillable mercenary. Can you give us a final grand overview of the series and the possible implications it might have for its two title characters?
It’s one of those stories where every issue ups the violence and insanity level. I think every encounter between the two title characters is fun, but you’ll see a fight in the final issue that, to my mind, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a Marvel combat comic.
It’s going to be a bloody, bloody comic. It’s a good thing that both of these characters have healing factors to some degree. [Laughs]
“Deadpool Vs. Carnage,” by Cullen Bunn & Salva Espin, begins in April 2014.