Deadpool: Dead Presidents Review

With the popularity of Deadpool rising over recent years, with a film, a video game and legions of cosplayers, it's hard to deny the Merc With A Mouth has made an impact on popular culture and has played an integral part in the resurgence of comics. The obvious reason the character is so beloved is that he's just plain funny, with his one-liners, pop culture references, fourth-wall breaking and comedic sociopathy. His rapid healing factor allows Deadpool to essentially be a Looney Toons-style cartoon character, albeit with graphic violence alongside the slapstick. The best thing about Deadpool is that he can be put into any ridiculous situation or story, which is exactly what we get from today's comic “Dead Presidents”.

 

The basic premise of this story is that a patriotic necromancer summons zombie versions of America's presidents such as Lincoln, Washington, Reagan, JFK, etc. As you can imagine, having traditional heroes like Captain America fight US presidents would be considered a controversial media disaster, so SHIELD decide instead to hire the amoral mercenary Deadpool to do the job. Since this is a comedy, going into the details would spoil the jokes, though the entire premise of Deadpool fighting zombie presidents is hilarious in and of itself. I must confess that as an English person, I learned quite a bit of US presidential history from this book (aside from facts I've gleamed through years of pop cultural osmosis). I won't go into details, but there is plenty of presidential satire to be found in this comic alongside Deadpool's familiar antics. There are also plenty of cameos from various other Marvel characters, with Doctor Strange even having a prominent role in the story.

 

Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn's writing for this book is fantastic. As well as creating some truly great one-liners for Deadpool, they give each of the major zombie presidents distinct and recognizable personalities, often referencing what made them noteworthy. The fourth-wall breaking associated with Deadpool is kept minimal, making the moments when he does break the fourth wall stand out. Instead, the humour comes from the ridiculous premise and how Deadpool interacts with the zombie presidents. The artwork for the book is subtly stylized, with characters having distinctly expressive faces and each zombie president is a recognisable caricature. It's also a very gory comic, with blood and guts flying around in every action scene, drawn in explicit detail.

 

Overall, if you're looking to get into Deadpool as a comic, this is a great place to start. The premise is ridiculous and simple enough for even casual readers to enjoy, while the writing and visuals are entertaining and genuinely hilarious.  It can be purchased here.

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© A L Harvey