I’m not entirely sure where this sudden bonanza of Deadpool-mania came from. Was it Ryan Reynolds playing him in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine?” I mean, sure, I love Reynolds. But generating so many “Deadpool” series and mini-series and one-shots these days just feels a little out of control. And now, after running a “Prelude to Deadpool Corps” mini-series, we’re getting the actual “Deadpool Corps” mini-series itself. As someone who still remembers “New Mutants” #98 being published and introducing the character, as well as absolutely loving Joe Kelly’s take on the character, I thought this would be a good a time as any to pick up #1 and see what it’s all about.
For starters, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Marvel will do anything for another issue #1. I know, that’s nothing new, but this one is actually a little offensive. So far as I can tell, “Prelude to Deadpool Corps” wasn’t just a prelude, it’s the entire first half of this story. But by splitting it in two and calling the first half a “prelude” they get a second #1. Meanwhile, this is an issue that not only has four new Deadpool variant characters, but it’s one where three of the four of them are never actually referred to by name. (The fourth, the kid version of Deadpool, is called “Tito” by regular Deadpool, but knowing the character that’s probably not even his name either.) It’s the most unfriendly-to-new-readers #1 I’ve read in a long while.
Even beyond that, there’s remarkably little to be offered. Victor Gischler’s script seems to think that multiple versions of Deadpool telling jokes to one another would be funny, but instead it’s just tiresome. Deadpool at his best usually involves a straight man to bounce the jokes off of, but aside from a brief encounter with the Champion we don’t really get that. It just feels tedious, with random fights thrown in for no good reason and a general sense of boredom throughout the issue. If I thought for an instant that “Deadpool Corps” #1 was supposed to be a satire about how too many “Deadpool” comics results in boredom, I’d applaud this comic, but I’m willing to wager money that wasn’t what Gischler is going for.
Rob Liefeld’s pencils are, well, exactly what you’d expect from Liefeld. Everyone’s very muscled, feet are regularly hidden by a panel border, men’s pants are far too tight, and there’s a whole lot of grimacing. On the other hand, having recently looked at some of Liefeld’s early “New Mutants” work, he’s gotten a lot better at basic storytelling since then. The page layouts are perfectly fine and functional; they’re very straight-forward, which is a nice surprise. Fans of Liefeld’s art will love these pages, while non-fans will find nothing new. I was a little surprised at how lackluster for Liefeld some of this looked, though; I’m so used to a stronger, more fluid inker and more vivid colors to go alongside his art. Here, everything just feels more blocky and dull than I’m used to from a Liefeld comic.
Adding insult to injury, there’s also a back-up story by Frank Tieri and Matteo Scalera that I can only imagine is supposed to help fill in new readers on Deadpool’s back story. I would applaud this if 1) the story was interesting, or 2) they’d bothered to show as much care in the initial story in the comic. Deadpool at a psychiatrist’s office could have been amusing, but this is not only unfunny but shows a distinct lack of understanding of the character, right around the time that Deadpool starts randomly killing people.
Why is Marvel throwing several metric tons of “Deadpool” comics at readers? After reading this, I feel I can say that the answer is not, “Because they have so many great comics starring the character waiting to be published.” This feels like rushing any old comic out to make a quick buck, pure and simple. If this is the best they can do for a special mini-series celebrating the character, it’s time to start publishing a whole lot less of “Deadpool.”