Merciful Minerva

Comic blogging, feminist She-Geek from New Orleans. Anime and cosplay enthusiast. Also a whore of gore and all things kinky. I read independent comics, shonen manga, science fiction, and BDSM erotica. 

SPOILER ALERT!

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #1

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe - Dalibor Talajić, Cullen Bunn

I picked up the first issue of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe today, and I’m somewhat underwhelmed. Perhaps I have higher expectations because Deadpool is my favorite out of all the Marvel heroes which gets me all nitpicky. My biggest gripe with this issue is the catalyst that drives Deadpool to kill his fellow Marvelians. That’s the first thing that came to people’s mind when they first caught wind of this series. “What? Deadpool is going to kill not just a couple Marvel characters, but the UNIVERSE? Oh shit! What could ever be the motive!?” With this series being set in an alternate universe (more alternate than all the alternate of all alternate universes) and going for shock factor, the creators have a lot of room to be grueling and explore the sinister Deadpool that we’re familiar with in past series. And they did a pretty good job at bringing the gore factor. There’s blood on damn near every other page.

 

Cutting to the plot line, Deadpool is being dragged to a mental institution by his fellow X-Men. They cannot put up with his derangement no longer so we see Professor X handing him off to a Dr. Benjamin Brighton who later reveals to be… Drum roll, please… Psycho-Man fresh out of the microverse! The lame, loser villain from Fantastic Four. And speaking of Fantastic Four, they completely get slaughtered by Deadpool in the first few pages. Completely. Turns out Psycho-Man has an agenda to take over and rid the world (or macroverse?) of its superheroes with his army of patients who have been conditioned and brainwashed to kill. All it took was a switch of a “control box” for Deadpool to kneel over in pain and the voices in his head start taking on a chilling, wicked tone. Well, Psycho-Man needs to return his control box to Best Buy because even though Deadpool has taken on another demeanor, he fights off orders and end up killing the little shit, micro midget. His death is hilarious, by the way.

That leaves me with my gripe. Why is brainwashing the chosen driving force behind Deadpool’s initiative to epically annihilate the Marvel Universe? I think we can all agree that wanting to pick off Marvel superheroes one by one wouldn’t be entirely out of his character, and it’s one of the reasons why he is so popular among his fans. He is the antihero, he is the outcast, he is the cynic. Why not let him wreck havoc and bloodshed on his own accord without external factors like brainwashing? That would make the series so much more badass. Not a possessed Wade Wilson, but one who is fully aware of this undertaking and even better if the writer gives him an agenda for revenge. Minor qualms aside, this miniseries looks very promising on delivering thrill and the less cartoony, more gritty Deadpool that we are drawn to. Let’s see how the plot plays out!

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Review of Scott Snyder's American Vampire, Vol. 1

American Vampire, Volume 1 - Rafael Albuquerque, Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquereque, Stephen King

The first volume takes place at the turn of the 20th century during the Gilded Age and in the days of silent cinema. We follow the lives of two characters: Pearl Jones, an aspiring actress, and Skinner Sweets, “the most notorious murderer and bank-thief in the American West.” Given an invitation to attend a party hosted by a Hollywood movie producer, Pearl finds herself among an elite of highly debonair and Eurocentric vampires. They end up attacking Ms. Jones; gorging on her blood horrifically. She is later found wandering the desert, battered with multiple punctures leaking with blood. Having had a run-in with her previously, Skinner visits her in the hospital with intention to turn her into a vampire, like him. Pearl wakes up from death, and Skinner reveals that both of them are vampires, but dissimilar to the European vampires that Pearl encountered. Among other revealing abilities, they are stronger, more fierce, and unharmed by sunlight. Along with a backstory of Skinner’s past, our characters seeks revenge against their killers in the remaining chapters.

 

Nowadays, I always feel a slight hesitation when picking up new works about vampires. I think Steve Niles’ 30 Days of Night is the only comic I’ve read recently and enjoyed. Thanks to Twilight and its countless mimickers, it became hard at first glance to differentiate between innovating works versus works that strip one of our favorite monsters of its historical context and significance in the horror genre. Vampires are supposed to be scary, dammit. Nonetheless, I’m not here to bash. American Vampire is a gem that’s slowly refueling my love for bloodsuckers with every page turn. Imagining it from the ground up, I like that the writers chose the Roaring 20’s and a Western era as settings for the story. I love period pieces and not only does American Vampire have interesting narrations, it also presents these stories in relation to the year and evolution of the American vampire throughout history.

 

The remarkable artwork done by Raphael Albuquerque is the most frightening element of this series. You have amputated bodies hanging from chains. A landfill full of naked female corpses. Decapitated heads. The vampires themselves transform into gargoyle-like beasts with foot-long claws at any moment. Some of the imagery is certainly grotesque, and I have to applaud Albuquerque because it takes a lot to disturb me. Variant covers don’t often grab my attention, but the ones in this series are gorgeous and I find them more striking than the original covers. I particularly like issue #1 done by Jim Lee and #5 done by Paul Pope. I did notice a few times where panels on the same page jump ahead of itself just to catch up with the script. This creates puzzling gaps, and I’m left wondering what happened with this character or setting in this panel that lead to the next panel. I’m not keen on that. The lettering and color choices are impressive and pretty clever. I like how Dave McCaig use sepia hues for the Western setting and bold red and purple colors to compliment Hollywood.

 

It was a distraction switching from Pearl Jones to Skinner’s backstory every issue. Although the two narrations eventually meet, they are very distinct in terms of time and plot. In fact, when I read issue #1, I thought the backstory was a promo preview of a different comic book. I don’t care for this style in which it was done because it causes the stories to feel short and unfulfilling. The tension I build up while following Pearl gets abruptly cut off by the flashbacks of journalist Will Bunting. If an unrelated flashback is going to take up half of five issues, I rather read it all in one or more issues so that I can give it the focus and attention it deserves. Cohesion is key. Since Stephen King is only co-writing the first volume, I wonder if the preceding volumes are arranged like this.

 

Overall, I really enjoy the creativity put into the concept and the art especially. Snyder and King are two incredible writers that did not disappoint. If you’re well-versed in vampire literature, I can’t say (as of yet until I read the other volumes) that this series introduce anything refreshing about the build or mannerisms of traditional vampires, but it is certainly an interesting portrayal and description of the origin of a new breed. One that takes place during the most interesting time periods in America.

Currently reading

Fatale Volume 3 TP by Ed Brubaker
Locke & Key, Vol. 6: Alpha & Omega by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez
Attack on Titan, Volume 2 by Hajime Isayama
The Walking Dead, Vol. 20: All Out War Part 1 by Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman
Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 3: The Dark Angel Saga - Book 1 by Rick Remender, Billy Tan, Richard Elson, Mark Brooks