By Victor Gischler & Frank Tieri (writers), Rob Liefield, Adelso Corona, Matteo Scalera (artists), Matt Yackey, Matt Wilson (colors)

The Story: Pool-Pocalypse Now, Part 1: Respect Your Elders. Deadpool, Headpool, Lady Deadpool and Kidpool are called upon to spearhead a cosmos-spanning battle against a Galactus-like creature that feeds on the consciousness of sentient beings. After ducking a fight with Tryco Slatterus, another would-be champion, the gang lands their ship to refuel… just in time for Tryco to catch up with them again. (Also note, although this book is technically labeled #1, the story really starts out in medias res. You’ll still be able to follow it if you haven’t read the Prelude to the Deadpool Corps miniseries, but you will be at a bit of a disadvantage.) In a second feature, Dead Man Talking, ‘Pool tries to talk through some of his problems on a psychiatrist’s couch…

What’s Good: Gischler’s writing is solid for the most part, and is quite well paced— even when the humor is missing its mark, the plot itself moves along at a good speed. Despite a (rather disappointing) lack of Deadpool speaking to himself, Gischler does capture the character’s voice well. (Almost too well; of the Corps members, only Headpool really has his own voice; the others just sound like a parrot of Deadpool himself.) The book also provides a couple genuinely funny moments—the way the Deadpools deal with Slatterus made me laugh out loud, as did the christening of the team’s new ship.

What’s Bad: The unnecessary nature of this comic itself, in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, Deadpool is very near and dear to my heart, but someone needs to send Marvel the definition of the word “over-saturation.” Really, Marvel? Not only a fourth Deadpool book, but one that involves four spin-offs of the title character? Really?

Publisher issues aside, the book also suffers from simple misuse of the character. Although Gischler writes him well enough, Deadpool is just not well-served by this overabundance of sidekicks. He is at his best when playing off of straight (that is, serious) characters, whose reactions feed off his rather demented sense of humor. Playing off characters so similar to himself does Deadpool no favors. When all you hear is attempted punchline after attempted punchline, the humor becomes forced. It’s no longer funny, and the whole scene loses its impact.

The art, while competent, does nothing to help elevate the proceedings either. Many of the characters, especially Deadpool himself, are oddly proportioned, with very small heads and massive limbs. The action is neither kinetic nor exciting, which is a big problem in a Deadpool story. Matt Yackey’s colors, on the other hand, are excellent—bold, bright, and extremely effective use of contrast.

Dead Man Talking (the backup story) is also no help. While the art in this story fares quite a bit better than the main, Matteo Scalera’s Deadpool looks far better, and is much more expressive; a key to making the humor effective. However, the story itself is downright bad. Deadpool has done some terrible things in his time, no question, but that doesn’t mean I’m okay with watching him walk into a store and murder a bunch of civilians for what seems to be no reason. If there was more context I could be sold on it (maybe), but as a setup for lines and gags that aren’t even particularly funny anyway? No thank you. The only possible reason I see for this existing is to act as a Cliffs Notes for new Deadpool readers. (Although if this book is their first DP experience, I doubt they’ll stay readers for long.)

Conclusion: Although this book has its moments (and the moments it has are quite funny), it’s an unnecessary addition to an already Deadpool-saturated comic rack. And the fact that there are four unnecessary Deadpool-wannabes cluttering up the issue and distracting from its star only adds insult to injury. Unless you’re a Deadpool collector, stay away. And even if you are, at $3.99, it’s just not worth your time.

Grade: C-