Deadpool & the Mercs for Money #1
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Iban Coello and GURU-eFX
Lettering by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
'Rama Rating: 4 out of 10
If it wasn’t clear already, Deadpool isn’t a character that’s going away anytime soon. Deadpool & the Mercs for Money is the latest in an attempt to capitalize on the character’s popularity. Try as they might, Marvel seems able to do no wrong with the Merc with a Mouth despite churning out middling material on a consistent basis. Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello, unfortunately, don’t buck this trend, delivering a Deadpool issue that leaves little to write home about.
Deadpool is generally comedic character that thrives on a little bit of absurdity and some winking and nudging the reader to accept that what happens on the page is all good fun and not to be taken seriously. But writing effective comedy is a skill. Writing a character who has been taken down just about every comedic avenue possible in the last decad and trying to do something fresh with him is an increasingly difficult task. And unfortunately, it’s one that Bunn and company aren’t up to meeting. What we get in this issue is Deadpool leading a team of mercenaries on a relatively vague mission to capture and turn in Negasonic Teenage Warhead. On the surface there’s some potential but it’s Deadpool and a team of interchangeable Z-Listers who have zero charm. That’s not to say that there isn’t potential for them to grow in the future but the whole concept exists as a kind of blank slate now and none of it is particularly compelling.
Iban Coello’s work is effective in telling a story, but doesn't do much more than that. He has a good handle on pacing. His characters are well-rendered and proportional. His work is similar to an artist like Carlo Barberi — it’s safe and utilitarian. There’s almost an assembly-line quality to it. Marvel has had a habit lately of snapping up artists that can get the work done but don’t do anything particularly memorable with it, and Mercs for Money is the latest in that trend. Deadpool’s visibility is more important than the work on the page, and there’s no room for Coello, or really any artist, to make their mark. The result is a book that looks “right” but has no edge.
The only sure things in life are death, taxes and more Deadpool comic books. Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello produce another ho-hum entry into Marvel’s most famous Merc’s bibliography but they could elevate the concept at some point. This almost feels like the kind of book that you trade-wait on just because someone mentions that it gets good eventually. This first issue just doesn’t stand alone as it’s own compelling entry. The characters are hollow. The plot is predictable and the book isn’t particularly funny or interesting. Best to spend your our dollars on something else this week.