NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL #1
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Ramon Rosanas
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 15, 2014
Do you think the zombie trend has been done to death? Do you lament this fact because before zombies became “the thing” you actually really dug zombie stuff? This is the book for you. Cullen Bunn’s Night of the Living Deadpool is a playful jab at the tropes of the modern zombie genre featuring our favorite hitman, Wade Wilson. A sharply drawn and compelling read, the story uses Deadpool as the perfect vehicle for satire and parody in this alternate continuity tale of shuffling corpses and the end of the world.
If you’ve kept up with Bunn’s other Deadpool series – Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Deadpool Killustrated, Deadpool Kills Deadpool – you’ll be familiar with his use of Deadpool as a link between the reader and the Marvel Universe. Bunn enjoys making readers aware of the joke through Wade, though Wade’s own awareness is not as pronounced in this story. Bunn makes good use of a number of Tropes of the Living Dead, including my favorites, “Protagonist is Unaware of Impending Doom Despite Obvious Signs” and “Black and White Makes Zombies More Dramatic.” The humor isn’t zany so much as dark, but it’s a good-natured dark. Bunn also maintains respect for the Golden Rule of Zombie Stories: your zombies must have rules, and in really good zombie stories there is some little difference from what is expected. SPOILER AHOY: These zombies can talk. Which is a twist that is used well in the story to raise an interesting question: is killing zombies still awesome and fun if they’re talking to you, if they’re aware that they’re dead and still communicating?
The black and white art may be a trope, but the way Ramon Rosanas uses it makes the book look very distinctive. Deadpool is the only character drawn in color, which leads me to believe he’s still the self-aware Deadpool from Bunn’s previous stories. Little humorous details pepper the landscape (like a Daily Bugle that reads “Probably Spider-Man’s Fault”), but it all still looks and feels like a bleak Living Dead story, as it should. The final page of the issue was the strongest hook to the story, for me; a simple image conveying a massive plot point that also serves to change the game. That image was what made the book stick the landing for me, and gratefully there’s only a two week wait until the next installment.
Deadpool is a playful character, and Bunn is the best there is at using him to play with everything from literary history to the nature of human existence. This issue is another strong start to the next go around the playground. I look forward to more jokes at the expense of venerated zombie-related institutions, be they film or print. I’m also genuinely curious to see what’s become of the world while Wade was farting in his sleep. Treat yourself to some horror humor and give this a read.
The Verdict: 9.0/10