Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool Vs Carnage

Deadpool Vs Carnage

Deadpool Vs Carnage - Credit: Archant

The good, the bad and the ugly...

(Panini Books)

Enjoyment of this savage showdown between the Merc with the Mouth and the serial killer symbiote is dependent on whether you like watching psychopathic protagonists with a remarkable resilience to injury cutting, slicing and blowing each other to kingdom come.

Despite the book’s title, the first issue collected here is actually Superior Carnage Annual, which bridges the gap between Carnage’s most-recent defeat at the hands of the Superior Spider-Man and his eventual escape from custody, and has a very different tone and style to the rest of the book.

Cletus Kasady has been separated from the alien symbiote which transformed him into the vicious, homicidal creature known as Carnage, and incarcerated in a maximum security psychiatric prison. But even being stabbed and asphyxiated is not enough to stop his inevitable reunion with his extraterrestrial ally, and before long Carnage is tearing a fresh bloody path across midtown America.

Enter the misformed mercenary Deadpool, who believes he has a destiny to track down and destroy Carnage after reading “signs” broadcast through his television, leading to the first of several violent clashes between the mutant and the murderer…

With Kasady an utterly irredeemable character, the reader is obliged to root for Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, despite his annoying banter and blatant disregard for innocent life. The story itself is remarkably lightweight, and jars substantially with the more introspective and intelligent annual at the book’s start.

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Both Deadpool and Carnage obviously have their fans, but they probably work better as characters when seen in contrast with more grounded and stable adversaries, as there’s almost too much insanity here for one book.

It’s all very well having cannon fodder in order to portray your characters in the worst possible light, but when those innocents include young children you have to wonder whether the creative team has in fact gone too far.

The Superior Carnage Annual included here is a psychological tour de force, which really does justice to its protagonists. Unfortunately in contrast Deadpool Vs Carnage is a gratuitous, sadistic and lightweight load of schlock the likes of which Marvel would do well to avoid publishing.