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The Deadpool Corps

by Monkey Boy

Like many people (I think), I don't read comics too much anymore, although there was a time when I did. I still have an attraction for certain characters, even if I haven't read one of their comics in years.

Case in point: Deadpool. I grew up on Deadpool, and I probably still have his first appearance in a box somewhere. He was very much a product of the '90s: created by Rob Liefeld (horrifying reminder of all things '90s), he's the ultimate badass assassin, skilled with guns and swords. He's nigh unkillable and he's got an attitude, and he's covered in pouches. He's also a pretty brazen tongue-in-cheek rip-off of DC's Deathstroke the Terminator.

Love him or hate him, it's hard to deny his appeal. Marvel obviously realized this when they introduced the "Deadpool Corps" storyline, in which Deadpools from alternate dimensions formed a super awesome team in order to save the universe... or whatever. I confess I haven't read the story, but the idea seems workable despite being absurd. Deadpool has definitely become one of the more absurd Marvel characters, almost reaching Slapstick or Impossible Man levels. He frequently refers to the fact that he exists within a comicbook, and his Fear Itself arc was even written by zany webcomic author Chris Hastings (of Dr. McNinja). So basically, if you're looking for subtlety or restraint, Deadpool isn't the right place to look.

While as of this writing the Corps haven't been immortalized in traditional action figure form, Diamond Select and Action Figure Xpress have released a set of New York Comic Con exclusive Minimates that assembles pretty much the entire team (with one glaring exception).

Wade Wilson, the merc with a mouth, is good at three things: violence, not dying, and being a bit funny in the head. So when he was found to be the only one immune to the consciousness-destroying Awareness, he had to team up with his alternate-reality counterparts to form... The Deadpool Corps!

Deadpool has had quite a few Minimates over the years. This version is fairly straightforward: standard Minimate body, black bracers on the wrists and ankles, brown straps on the thighs, a brown belt, and silver shoulder straps with that funky red circle on the front. Sword sheaths plug into the back of the shoulder piece, which seems glued on. Mine's a little off center, and it doesn't seem to want to slide over so that it's properly lined up. Instead of utilizing a separate piece that fits over the head to represent Deadpool's mask (as seen on the original DP Minimate), this version just paints the mask elements on the regular Minimate head.

The paint is well-handled, which is necessary on a figure with so little unique sculpting. The body is molded in bright red plastic, with black and gray elements painted on the torso, some black on the upper arms, and of course his trademark not-quite-Spidey eye holes. Judging by his eyes, DP's expression is one of gritted determination, with a furrowed brow and slit white eyes.

For accessories Deadpool gets two swords and two machine guns. The guns (Heckler & Koch MP5s) I recognize as the ones that came with the original Deadpool Minimate; in fact they still have the tiny peg holes in them even though there's no place to peg them to on this figure. The swords I can't pin down since I don't have many Minimates, but they seem too generic to justify a new mold.

Born shortly after the Big Bang, the Champion has fought thousands of aliens on thousands of worlds, mastering every form of combat in the galaxy, and has become virtually unbeatable. So when he found out the comically ragtag Deadpool Corps was going to save the universe, he wanted in.

Like I said, I haven't read the Deadpool Corps comics, but the research I did for this review seems to indicate that the Champion, a pre-existing character, was only briefly a member of the Corps. While he certainly wore the DP uniform longer than, say, Batman wore the Sinestro Corps uniform, it's still kind of strange that he's shown so front and center on the backside of the set's packaging. It's also a bit strange that we get a Championpool... but no Dogpool! Seriously?! Maybe the Diamond guys don't have experience with dogs, but this set is severely lacking and will forever be incomplete without the inclusion of the Merc-with-a-Woof.

Anyway, Champion(pool). He uses the same body as DP, as well as the same bracers, straps and belt (complete with mini-Deadpool face logo), but he also gets a pull-over piece for his torso to give him some bulk. Paint on his face and arms reveals his green-blue skin, and he has a reddish ponytail that plugs into the hole atop his head. The paint on the torso piece is a muscled exaggeration of the familiar Deadpool design. The lower part of his mask is pulled up over where his nose should be, but since it's a Minimate of course he's noseless.

Of the members of the Deadpool Corps (besides regular Deadpool), Champion is the only one who isn't just Deadpool with a gimmick thrown in. He's an established Marvel Universe character who ended up involved with a bunch of Deadpools. Strangely, that makes him the least interesting of the bunch to me. He gets two swords that are identical to the ones that came with DP.

On Earth-10330, young Wade Wilson was a student at the Xavier Orphanage for troubled boys along with young versions of Cyclops and Wolverine. Recruited by our Deadpool to save the universe, he brought along a pair of energy swords he stole from his reality's Danger Room.

Kidpool uses the same basic body, but gets new feet to make him smaller in stature than his teammates. He's got the same bracers, straps and belts, but he gets nothing covering his torso and a scarf/hood pulled down around his neck. In the comics, Kidpool wears a kind of hoodie pullover overtop the usual skintight outfit, so that's what the scarf piece is for. He has fleshtone paint on his arms, which is probably to mimic the rolled up sleeves he is sometimes pictured with. Being a young boy, his torso lacks the muscley paint and instead gets a few wrinkles and a stylized DP mask printed on it. So, counting his belt and actual head, Kidpool has three DP faces incorporated into his costume.

His head lacks the furrowed brows of the others, and his eyes are much wider with a "fun-loving" look to them. For weapons, he gets two thinly veiled lightsaber rip-offs with light green blades and silver hilts.

An alternate-reality Deadpool from Earth-3010, Wanda was a rebel, fighting against a fascist American government spearheaded by General America. In addition to Deadpool's slippery brain, she also possesses his deadly abilities with pretty much any weapon known to man.

Ladypool has the same body as the rest, and the same bracers, belt and leg straps, but she gets no added piece for her torso. Her curvy female frame is painted on the square Minimate block, like all female 'mates, which always struck me as weird. Her face is painted with a bit less furrow in the brow than DP himself, and her eyes are more almond shaped so as to look more feminine. She gets a yellow version of Championpool's ponytail to plug into her head-hole, and comes with the same swords and machine guns as Deadpool, although she gets no sheathes to store the blades so she can't hold all of her weapons at once.

And that's it, right? Wait, what's this? There's more? Yes, there's one figure that can't be seen in the box and isn't mentioned on any of the packaging text. He's only pictured once on the box, on the back group shot of the team, with no explicit mention of his inclusion. I'm speaking of course about Headpool, the Zombie Deadpool from the Marvel Zombies universe. As his name implies, he is nothing more than a disembodied head, and he gets around via a beanie-like propellor. The figure replicates his floating abilities by way of a clear plastic stand that plugs into the neck-hole of his head, and a little propellor that plugs into the top hole. The bottom of his mask is ripped away, revealing his zombified face and gnashing teeth. All accomplished through paint, of course.

The Deadpool Corps set is an interesting one, although if you're not a fan of Deadpool and his kooky antics then you'll probably want to pass on it. We've got quite a few Deadpool Minimates, and Championpool isn't particularly intriguing, but it's nice to get Lady Deadpool, Kidpool, and Headpool. The fact that there's no Dogpool is a pretty serious misstep, but it's not quite a deal-breaker as far as I'm concerned.

Something that does strike me, as a person who hasn't bought Minimates in quite a while, is the overall quality of the figures compared to the early 'mates of yore. The joints seem tighter, the extra pieces aren't loose, and the paint is super clean. While this set probably won't make me start collecting Minimates on a regular basis, it's a well put-together set and, as of this writing, the only figural representations of the DP Corps.

-- 04/02/12

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