Graphic Novel Review – Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth

Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth

CollectingDeadpool: Merc With A Mouth #1-13

Original Release Date: 2009-2010

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth

Characters: Deadpool, Headpool

Writer: Victor Gischler (Gun Monkeys)

Artist: Bong Dazo

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Art – 7
Captivity and Length – 7
Identity – 9
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 7
Fluidity – 10
Intrigue/Originality – 7
The Little Things – 10
Overall awesomeness – 8

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For one second, let’s forget that X:Men Origins ever existed. Let’s pretend you have no idea who Deadpool is. He doesn’t have saber-arms like Baraka from Mortal Kombat, he doesn’t shoot frickin’ lasers out of his face. And above all, his mouth is definitely not sewn shut. Deadpool the comic book character is something very different. He’s an immature adrenaline junkie that hires out his mercenary services out to the highest bidder and talks a lot in the process. This can be an endearing quality, but it can also come off as juvenile and annoying. For better or worse, though, Merc With A Mouth is a Deadpool book the whole way through.

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Merc With A Mouth starts off with Deadpool taking a mercenary job to bring back a package to A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), which Wolverine has described as “an organized group of international science-terrorists. You know, like one of those Japanese techno-apocalypse cults? They recruit the kinda brilliant geeks and brainy outsiders who want revenge for not getting any booty (New X-Men #143).” Deadpool heads off to the prehistoric Savage Land to retrieve the package, discovering along the way that the package is (don’t laugh) his own zombified head from an alternate universe. It’s a story that makes absolutely no sense, and it doesn’t have to. Deadpool has garnered a cult following and it’s not because of his cerebral storylines. He’s a loyal and simple fellow who loves random junk food (Fresca is choice in this book), but can still kick butt when needed. Deadpool is also a big fan of the ladies and violence, stealing the hearts of the inner sixteen-year olds in men and the women that find sixteen year-olds attractive in a horny dog kind of way

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Spanning thirteen issues, Merc With A Mouth is a high-octane ride full of violence and wiener jokes at the surface. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find lots of boob jokes. Dig even deeper though, and you will find clever writing that uses pop culture references to carry the bulk of its transitions and comebacks. It’s these little nuances that really break up the story. The satirical approach to everything from The Walking Dead to Star Wars makes it seem like Deadpool has a genuinely good time throughout the story, which is refreshing after reading so many books about internal struggle and the torment of having powers. In fact, each issue’s cover in the arc is parodied from an iconic film poster and references are made throughout the book. Still today, Deadpool pokes fun at iconic ideas and pop culture references by showing up on random Marvel Comics’ variant covers. Really, Deadpool is just around to have a good time. Along those lines, one should align expectations with that concept when reading the book.

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In terms of continuity, you’re kinda just gonna have to pick this stuff up as it goes. Unlike flagstaff characters in Marvel and DC, Deadpool’s continuity is all over the place. Basically, when reading Merc With A Mouth, if you feel like you missed something, it’s probably just because you did. The series that ties the closest into Merc With A Mouth is Marvel Zombies, but you don’t need it to understand the concept of this book, but rather to accept the ludicrous notion that somehow, Deadpool’s severed head is out there running amok. Notably, Merc With A Mouth also introduces some of the more memorable alternate universe Deadpools, Headpool and Lady Deadpool, as well as the Deadpool Kid (not to be confused with the kid Deadpool, Kidpool) and Major Wilson. One of my favorite things that Merc With A Mouth does with its presentation is that, on each issue, there is a one-page recap that is both informative and hilarious, helping readers kind of get an idea of what just happened in previous issues.

The main thing to take away from Merc With A Mouth is that not every comic book needs ground-breaking art or, hell, even a cohesive story. Sometimes all you need is an infallible character and a heap of charisma to make a story work. It’s a fun, thrilling ride of fourth-wall-breaking goodness. While the banter between himself (and the voices in his head) and the other characters can feel repetitive and forced, the book relies on its story’s frequent change of scenery and need to make fun of itself to really carry the story. You won’t be blown away by it’s storyline or art, but you will be thoroughly amused and entertained.

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General Reception: Merc With A Mouth is generally considered a good place to start for fans who would like to get to know more about Deadpool as a comic book character. While the Marvel: NOW! reboot is kinda of floating around with no real direction, this book has a definitive storyline that at least holds up true to the Deadpool character. However, a seasoned comic book fan can still pick up on the subtle references that newbies may not understand. I would recommend this book to anybody who would like to get into Deadpool or anybody who can read a comic book casually without the expectations of our  anything too great.

Related Books: Right after Merc With A Mouth ends, the Deadpool Corps storyline begins, comprised up of multiple Deadpools to save the word from Skrulls and other ridiculous baddies.

More by the writer: Victor Gischler returns to write the first two Deadpool Corps’ collected editions. He also writes the first 26 issues of the 2010 X-Men series.

More by the artist: There’s not too much out there by Bong Dazo, but his two favorite subjects to draw are Star Wars and Deadpool,

*Screenshots taken directly from comic book using Comixology app.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

Deadpool Videogame Review

Genre – Run and Gun, Action/Adventure
Publisher/Developer – Activision/High Moon Studios (Transformers Cybertron series)
Voice Actors/Writers – Nolan North (Desmond Miles in Assassin’s Creed, Cole McGrath in inFamous, Nathan Drake in Uncharted, the list goes on…), Daniel Way (Deadpool, Wolverine Origins)
Alluring element – A hack and slash videogame featuring Deadpool in his true form
Check it out if you liked – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Wolverine: X-Men Origins (the game)
**NOT FOR CHILDREN**

SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Gameplay –7
Animation – 8
Replay Value – 6
Entertainment Value – 10
Captivity – 9
Variety – 8
Originality/Creativity – 7
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 7

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When the Deadpool videogame was announced last year at San Diego Comic-Con, I could hardly contain myself. My expectations weren’t too high. This is clearly an example of style of substance, and I was okay with that. Often himself being style over substance, The Merc With A Mouth originated in the early 90’s as a parody of DC’s Deathstroke, an assassin for hire that is. on many occasion, too badass for his own good. Deadpool’s known for breaking the fourth wall in the comics, which means that he blatantly speaks to the reader, or in this case the player. He’s also known to be bat-s*** crazy. Casual fans who really only know him from Wolverine: X-Men Origins will find this portrayal to be completely new, and hopefully lovable.

Deadpool crashes the SDCC 2012 Marvel Videogames panel to promote his own game. Typical.
Deadpool crashes the SDCC 2012 Marvel Videogames panel to promote his own game. Typical.

The premise of Deadpool is one that doesn’t quite make sense. Not only does he know that he’s a comic book character, but he also knows he’s a videogame character. After threatening a big-shot producer into approving his pitch for a videogame, they send him a script which he quickly throws out the window – a process that I can’t imagine was too different from the process they used in real life. They establish a “big bad” and the reason why they go from level to level, but that’s about as fleshed out as it gets. The first time through, I had no idea what was going on or where I was supposed to be headed for much of the game. I “just enjoyed the senseless slaughter.” To be fair, Deadpool rarely has any meaningful arcs in the comics and, excepting for X-Force titles, stories are really just centered around comic relief and violence. If you’re a fan who needs a deep, thoughtful storyline to enjoy the game, this is definitely not for you. However, in between all the plot-heavy games like The Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid, and The Walking Dead, it was really nice to just laugh at immature jokes and shoot things in the head.

Deadpool‘s gameplay is, by and large, the most disappointing part of the game; normally this is a deal-breaker, but there are still redeeming qualities about it. I will say that I am quite a bit more critical than warranted because I thought it would be a good idea to play Deadpool on the hardest difficulty level the first time through, making the errors much more apparent. The control scheme is laid out like a bastardization of your typical third-person shooter game and a Batman: Arkham game. I think the goal was to create a game you could melee with close-range weapons, but switch up on the fly to use guns when a fire-fight happens. High Moon actually does a fairly good job at this, as you can chain combos and switch weapons almost seamlessly. Combat would be a lot of fun if it weren’t for that damn camera. In a game that is a constant all-out brawl from all sides with all types of enemies, having a reliable in-game camera has become a staple of successful games. If you’ve played Metal Gear Rising, then you know an example of how a camera angle that won’t let you see further than three feet out can hinder a gaming experience. That being said, there were minimal glitches and loading times and the character models looked gorgeous. Deadpool’s first full videogame rendering looked just as good playing as he did in the non-gameplay videos.

The gaming experience is very linear. You spend most of your time going from Point A to Point B while eliminating a set amount of enemies. Even on the hardest difficulty, the story didn’t take that long and can take an afternoon to complete when on an easier difficulty level. Once the game is beaten, there are Challenge levels unlocked that you can play. Sadly, these levels are the same exact ones you play in the game. The only upside to these missions are the hilarious costumes that are unlocked (see below). Besides the generic weapons and character upgrades (almost all of which you can get by the end of your first play-through), there are no collectibles, no unlockables, nothing to make the game fun after you beat the story mode.

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I have a soft spot for French Maid Deadpool

What Deadpool lacks in depth, it makes up in personality with Nolan North. North has quite a long list of accolades in action game heroes, and portrays Deadpool with flare and enthusiasm. The developers spend a lot of time cramming Deadpool with as many sound bytes from North as possible. Deadpool just doesn’t shut up and I LOVE it. It’s dick and fart jokes combined with gratuitous violence, but it’s done with crass and originality.  It’s something that’s simply not done in gaming anymore. There were also mini-game segments strewn throughout the game that forces you to stop and smell the roses. I never knew how much fun repeatedly bitch-slapping Wolverine would be until I did it for five minutes straight. Okay, maybe not the best example, but there are tons of fun segments in Deadpool to keep you interested. The bread and butter of Deadpool is that it is, through and through, a Deadpool game. The story is forgettable and the gameplay is generic. Whether you will enjoy it or not really comes down to whether or not you like Deadpool as a character. With his resurgence warranting a cult following in pop culture, this was an admirable attempt to push him into the forefront in pure, unadulterated fashion. Deadpool plays more like an interactive movie than a fully enveloped game, and with low enough expectations, can be a gut-busting experience.


Wrap it up already! This is a review, not a biography, sheesh.
Wrap it up already! This is a review, not a memoir.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib