Deadpool vs Carnage #1

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It is impossible to know what kind of planning and thought went into a book like Deadpool vs. Carnage #1, but from the very beginning, even from the title, the whole endeavor feels like a D list attempt at capitalising on Cullen Bunn’s recent success with the Deadpool mini-series. Dare I say that this might be the beginning of the end for Mr. Bunn and the Merc with the Mouth. To be honest I really hope not as I have enjoyed the previous minis but if it has to go, I would rather it have gone out with a bang and not with the snivel that is Deadpool vs. Carnage.

The story begins with Carnage escaping from prison and having to hide out in the heartlands but no one appears to know where he is. During his travels he murders a few people because well, he has impulse control issues and then we cut to Deadpool sitting on the sofa eating cereal. Suddenly, Deadpool starts receiving some kind of message from the universe that he should go and track down Carnage. After several pointless panels too long of him wandering around, waiting for the universe to give him signs, he seems to have a revelation. The next thing we know, Cletus Kasady (Carnage in his human form) is standing on his front porch in his boxers while Deadpool tries to take him down with a rocket launcher. A fight then ensues and the only thing that enables Carnage to keep his head is a third party who bursts onto the scene just in time to melt Deadpool’s face.

All in all, the story in the book isn’t completely awful but it isn’t great either. Deadpool and Carnage are supposed to play well off one another because of their contrasting madnesses, but the dialogue just doesn’t live up to the hype unfortunately. Also, while the whole idea of Deadpool following signs from the universe that leads him to Carnage is quite amusing, the concept is undoubtedly weak. I’m still not sure how Deadpool is supposed to have found the villain’s exact location when no one else in the world seemed to be able to do it. But, if you don’t think about it too hard, it’s entertaining enough I guess.

The art in Deadpool vs. Carnage #1 is probably it’s biggest problem. Salva Espin does a good enough job with all the basics and there is nothing in the issue that I can say is terrible. However, the way that he composes and choreographs his panels just doesn’t produce the dynamic quality that an issue like this needs. Scenes with Carnage seem particularly flat and lazy, even when he’s fighting hand to hand with Deadpool. So what should be exciting and even a little scary becomes just a little ... well dull.

It’s possible that the stars will realign and Bunn and Espin’s Deadpool vs. Carnage will pick up for the rest of the series and be absolutely great. As it stands though, it just doesn’t have the witty banter and fun behind it that Bunn’s other Deadpool creations have demonstrated. I know the very title is supposed to evoke some kind of odd couple like curiosity but instead, all it creates is a very poor excuse to ride out the fad until it is dead and done with.
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