Written by Frank Tieri
Pencils by Marcelo Ferreira
Inks by Roberto Poggi
Colours by Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
Cover price: $3.99
Deadpool and Carnage can be interesting characters, but more often than not they are reduced to one-note idiots. Pairing the two together sounds like something can be either amazing or terrible depending on how it’s written. Sadly, Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool is what I feared when I first heard its title: a shallow comic where its characters have one gimmick each, and it’s not even a funny shallow comic at that.
Frank Tieri’s plot centers around Deadpool visiting the Ravencroft Institute after Spider-Man ghosts him after a birthday party gone wrong. The birthday party itself only just registers as funny, but afterwards, the setting doesn’t matter and Deadpool just makes lazy jokes that are barely connected to the situation at hand. Said situation is that the Cult of Carnage is using Ravencroft as their base of operations and Carnage himself wants Deadpool’s spine due to the amount of symbiotes that Deadpool has been bonded to, the codexes in the spines of former symbiote hosts being his main goal during the Absolute Carnage event. The setup sounds like it’s just there to give the comic a reason to exist and very little of it is utilised for comedy. It could be a regular zombie invasion and the same effect would be achieved.
The lack of plot would be somewhat excusable if this comic were entertaining in other ways, but it just isn’t. About one of the jokes landed for me and the rest are just Deadpool rambling nonsense. Visual gags don’t do anything either and the end result is a comic that is an absolute chore to read. The threat of Carnage and his cult isn’t there, making them jokes — again, unfunny ones. The horror of the event isn’t there either. Donny Cates, Cullen Bunn and Clay McLeod Chapman all did an excellent job either establishing Carnage as a threat or the horror of the event — Tieri does none of those things. And, again, the jokes can’t make up for it. There’s no funny moments, no engaging story and everyone is one-dimensional. It is exactly what you’d fear picking up a comic with Deadpool and Carnage in the title, with not even a hint of self-awareness.
Marcelo Ferreira’s pencils are the most fun part of this comic. None of it is really remarkable, but his characters are detailed, have colourful expressions and Ferreira frames his work well. The expressions in particular are important given Deadpool can only really emote with his eyes, though the script doesn’t give Ferreira much to work with. While Ravencroft is moody, thanks especially to Roberto Poggi’s inks and Rachelle Rosenberg’s colours, it soon gives way to relative brightness when the Cult of Carnage arrives. Said cult, and even Carnage himself, aren’t nearly as terrifying or threatening as in other Absolute Carnage comics, but that isn’t the point of this series. What that point is, however, I can’t tell you.
Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool is everything I feared it would be. Pointless, unfunny and unengaging, there is no reason to read this. Even the art, which is pretty for what it is, is let down by the lazy script. This is — and I say this in all honesty — a nothing comic. It means nothing and makes you feel nothing. And there are three issues to go.
1.5/5 – Bad