You wanna talk about a pleasant surprise? That’s precisely what I got when I read this book. Now, I’m a fan of Deadpool. I dug the Cable & Deadpool series, and typically, I enjoy his appearances in other characters’ books for the sake of the self-aware jabs at the universe and the comics industry in general. That being said, even when writers tried to develop his character, I always got the feeling that it was novelty for the sake of novelty. I respect the attempt at giving some substance to his personality, but simply by virtue of the unique and off-the-wall character that describes the Merc with a Mouth, developing him in the same way you would a more conventional character just… never quite seemed to fit quite right.
Dalibor Talajic and Cullen Bunn found a way to circumvent that in this elseworld title, and in doing so, created what I think is one of the more inventive meta-commentaries on comic book tropes that any company has put out in recent memory. In Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, his fellow heroes have finally had enough and get everyone’s favorite chimichanga-loving ninja committed to a mental facility. Unfortunately, the head psychiatrist turns out to be a villain attempting to brainwash the most powerful characters in the world into his own personal army.
Unfortunately, in trying to crush Deadpool’s psyche into submission, he awakens a new voice. A new consciousness awakes in him, suppressing the previously goofy voices into a singular. driving awareness of the endless cycle of death and revival that constitutes the lives of everyone in the Marvel Universe, driving him towards a singular, unwavering conclusion: it has to end.
What follows is exactly what’s advertised, with Deadpool taking on and dismantling every paragon and despot one by one, his fourth-wall shattering consciousness granting him knowledge of every character’s fears, weaknesses, and experiences, elevating him to omniscient status regarding anything and everything that has happened within Marvel canon. And when that kind of knowledge is focused to a laser-point, driven to an obsessive, psychotic goal… suddenly everyone’s favorite goofball becomes one of the scariest characters to exist in the Universe. He knows everything. And he’s coming for you.
Too often, what-if stories lack ambition, turning into Mad Libs where certain character’s names and origins get switched around for kicks. Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe is an example of what a talented writer can do when they’re truly willing to take a concept to its logical extreme. With a breakneck pace and a genuinely chilling ending, this book is a hidden gem that any long-time lover of comics should spend the time to check out.