Some limited series' produce a powerful character study. Others offer a gripping narrative. DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE? It's perfectly fine with establishing a tone that's similar to Carnage's objective: random chaos. At the moment, this book is aiming for pure entertainment, and one thing is clear: writer Cullen Bunn seems to be having a total blast with it.
Bunn knows exactly what we want to see: one fight after another with these two fan favorites. "VS" is in the title and it's certainly well-earned. He isn't building the hype until there's one glorious showdown or teasing us with an encounter. Instead, he's aiming for pure fan service and establishing an atmosphere that feels just as out there as the two title characters. Yes, on paper this is a totally unfair fight. Carnage has Deadpool physically outclassed, but Bunn's balanced the match to make these physical encounters amusing and not a total stomp. You see, Deadpool has prep on his side and, as we all know, Carnage has an exploitable weakness or two. We haven't had a particularly extensive or epic throwdown yet, but he's offering more than enough madness to keep us satisfied and ends it on a note that's sure to make you pick up the next issue.
Artist Salva Espin and colorist Veronica Gandini are a good fit for the series. Bunn's script is frenetic and these two make sure the pages are packed with enthusiasm. Both of the leads look great. Deadpool's healing and injuries are grotesque without being too over the top and I've always been a sucker for a detailed symbiote. Backgrounds are often left out and this does become a little distracting, but Gandini's coloring makes up for it and, on the plus side, it does allow for a greater focus on the characters in the panel. Lastly, there's a new character that's designed as a visual gag and these two absolutely sell it. It's, well, ridiculous yet oddly adorable because of how happy the individual is.
Look, it's crystal clear the objective of this series is to have a blast with the first set of fights between these characters, but, as of right now, I can't say I'm loving this book nearly as much as I had hoped. Perhaps it's my fault for getting too excited for it (but really, how can any fan of both characters not be stoked?) or maybe it's because Bunn's last series with Wade was spectacular, but this just isn't quite as exhilarating as I thought it could be... at least not yet. Yes, the melees are enjoyable and I'm thrilled this book exists in this first place, but small complaints begin to pile up as the book progresses. From Deadpool having a chance to monologue before Shriek reacts to the way the first fight concludes, I just found myself asking more and more questions as I continued to read along. Diving into every one would spoil the fun that ensues and I'd never do such a thing to you, but I will say that I'm not exactly digging the plot point that's stringing these conflicts together. The way it was handled via the TV in the first issue was a good gag, but having some greater force that puts these people on the same wavelength comes off as just odd to me. Hopefully Bunn will elaborate on this a little more as the story progresses.
I hate to be "that guy," but I'm not the biggest fan of Deadpool causing a massive accident on a highway that seemingly kills or severely injures quite a few innocents. I know he doesn't have the most stellar hero record around and I obviously get that scene is intended to be a blast, but Wade potentially taking out innocents to get to Carnage just doesn't feel right to me. I'm sure it could be said that no one died because we didn't see it, but come on, that was a big mess with speeding vehicles. Anyway, that's just a minor gripe.
Small complaint: occasionally, Deadpool has super small and purely white eyes when something catches his attention or surprises him. While some may think the style choice is amusing, it feels a little out of place to me.
DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE knows exactly what kind of limited series it is. Many of us want to simply see these two crazy characters go at it and Cullen Bunn is clearly having a lot of fun running with the idea. The plot itself may not be that strong and the laughs aren't nearly as solid as his previous work with Deadpool (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL was phenomenal), but if you want to see these two duke it out and get an ample dose of wackiness on the side, then this is something you're most likely going to enjoy.