By Jeff Lake
If mo money means mo problems, we can’t even imagine the trouble mo' mercs chasing mo' money brings. Luckily for us, Cullen Bunn and Salva Espin can, the result being Deadpool’s latest mini, Deadpool & The Mercs For Money #1. Culling the best of the best (read: the cheapest of the cheapest) mercenaries from Deadpool’s solo title, this new series sees Deadpool and Co. as they look to make an honest buck through dishonest means. It’s not a particularly new concept, but it’s one done well enough to merit a look.
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At once calling to mind similar misfit titles such as the Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Bunn’s first matter of business is fleshing out the book’s extended cast. Deadpool is a known property, some would argue too known, and the fact that his supporting players often sported the same red and black togs made it tough at times to differentiate one bumbling idiot from the next. Bunn corrects that here by giving each character their own lived in life. He introduces them mid-battle, gifting each with a quick blurb and character specific banter to go along with Espin’s well-tailored des2175forals.coms. By the time the actual mission gets underway we have a decent sense of the characters and what they bring to the table, with Deadpool himself playing the straight man, or the closest equivalent.
The story itself is pretty entertaining, if standard, as the team’s first big mission goes appropriately awry. Bunn ensures that the team encounters plenty of adversity in their first outing, from the usual batch of costumed malcontents to a slew of panicked cannon fodder. The actual driving force of the issue, and assumedly the series at large, is actually a bit surprising in its reveal, with allusions to events past and present. Deadpool’s decision to sell said reveal is a bit obvious, though it does of course fall well in line with the title’s presented tendencies.As often is the case in books such as these, the real fun comes from the art. Espin proves a particularly good fit for this title, his exaggerated, slightly cartoony style endearing itself well to the book’s amped up hijinks. The artist shows a natural flair for physicality and movement, as the humor of the book is derived as much from his great expression and body language as it is the jokes themselves. He also acquits himself well to the book’s heavy action and violence, striking a nice balance between over-the-top ham and more visceral gore. GURU-eFX provides the finishing touch with their great color work – it’s not particularly flashy, but it’s clean and bright and meshes will with Espin’s equally clean style.Deadpool & The Mercs For Money isn’t groundbreaking, instead following the same ground paved times over by the misfits that have come before. That being said, Bunn and Espin do well in working with what they have, offering a fun team-up book filled with delightful – if deplorable – characters. Reader mileage will vary depending on how you like your Deadpool, but as an off kilter palette cleanser this read goes down pretty darn smooth.
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No one was likely clamoring for more of Deadpool"s motley crew, but Bunn and Espin put them to good use in this first installment. Espin"s clean character work and expressive lines go well with Bunn"s easy moving script, the two combining for an enjoyable read that has promise for greater things. It"s a familiar read, but not a bad one.