Deadpool Samurai Vol. 1 Is More of the Same – and That’s a Good Thing

It is no surprise that Marvel is a powerhouse to anyone aware of pop culture. Whether it is movies, TV shows, comics or any other merchandise one can think of, Marvel has raked in both the money and the fans. But what about when it crosses over to the world of anime and manga? Sure, there have been times when Marvel has stepped into the land of the rising sun, such as 2010's Iron Man and 2011's X-Men anime series. Both have their fans and detractors, but there is one character loved by many who has had little to no media surrounding him -- until now.

Deadpool, The Merc with a Mouth, is making his way into the world of manga. Upon first glance, Deadpool Samurai might seem like a shameless cash grab for Marvel to tap into the anime/manga fan market. One would be correct in such an assumption, and Deadpool Samurai pulls no punches as to what Deadpool fans can expect from such a manga. There are plenty of pop-cultural references, one-liners, fourth-wall-breaking gags, and lots of bloody action.

Deadpool Samurai joins Wade Wilson, also known as Deadpool, being picked up by the Avengers to start a team in Japan -- aptly named The Samurai Squad -- to deal with the uptick of worldwide crime and villainy. As fans of Deadpool will know, this is probably not the best option, but the Avengers are desperate and Deadpool has just the right set of skills to make things right -- even if his mouth and antics beg to differ.

While Deadpool is cracking jokes and making anime and manga references that will have fans laughing out loud, he is also joined by two other members. A no-nonsense female hero named Sakura Spider who's another version of Spider-Man, and a girl named Neiro, a teen pop idol fused with a symbiote. The whole team is rather silly, which makes it a lot of fun.

Deadpool Samurai does not really do anything new with the Deadpool formula, getting the nitty-gritty out of the way. The manga is a joy to read, as always, and follows the old adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The only difference is, aside from appearances and references to other Marvel characters, Marvel's work is dedicated entirely to manga and anime fans. Fans of American comics may find that the jokes, entirely dependent on Japanese pop culture knowledge, will fly over their heads. This is good for anime and manga fans, however, because the humor and one-liners in Deadpool Samurai hit all the right marks and the jokes come at the reader a-mile-a-minute. If one joke misses, another one will surely hit.

Deadpool Samurai graphic novel Vol 1

Deadpool Samurai doesn't push many boundaries on the visual side. While polished, most of the art can be ranked as just serviceable and standard manga art with nothing to make it pop visually. And while the main characters are designed well, there are times when some of the antagonists seem hastily drawn and kind of sloppy looking. The strength of Deadpool Samurai, as far as visuals are concerned, lies in its gags by poking fun at other manga properties such as Demon Slayer and even Devilman. Even anime genres such as shonen are not safe from the Merc With a Mouth.

The plot, while formulaic, is fun and full of the crazy antics Deadpool fans know and love. Writer Sanshiro Kasama knows the world of Deadpool well and maintains the characters' sense of humor. It is also fun to see a manga that's self-aware enough to state that the work itself is pure fan-service for both Marvel and manga fans. The name of the game for Deadpool Samurai is to keep its tongue firmly placed in its cheek.

Does Deadpool Samurai do anything new with both Marvel and manga? The answer is a resounding no, but then again, it does not need to. It has more than enough manga and Deadpool zaniness to make it an enjoyable read for fans. Here's to more crossovers with Deadpool in the near future.

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