REVIEW: ‘Deadpool Samurai’ Volume 1

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Deadpool Samurai - But Why tho

Last year, Marvel and VIZ Media launched their collaborations with the extra adorable Marvel Meow. Now, they’re leaving the adorable behind and jumping headfirst into violence, fourth-wall-breaking dark humor, and a whole bunch of superhero mayhem with Deadpool Samurai Volume 1. Written by mangaka Sanshiro Kasama and illustrated by mangaka Hikaru Uesugi, Deadpool Samurai is published and localized in English by VIZ Media. The translation is done by Amanda Haley, with touch-up art and lettering by Walden Wong.

In Deadpool Samurai Volume 1, we get to see Deadpool taking on mobsters only to be confronted by Iron Man with a proposition: Join the Samurai Squad and get a fat paycheck. Of course, though, as soon as Deadpool moves to Tokyo, he runs afoul of some familiar faces and even some original characters. Before he knows it, he’s teaming up with new heroes, battling gods, attending concerts, and being a meat shield. Now, the bulk of the story can’t be talked about without revealing some surprising appearances that are better left read than told.

Now, taking on the Merc with a Mouth is a tall order. His brash humor and violence can easily go overboard and ultimately overshadow any story — but that same absurdity and ultimately chaos is the exact reason why fans keep coming back to his stories. And Deadpool Samurai is no different. This manga captures the chaotic nature of the iconic anti-hero, and even with a wobbly landing in the execution, Kasama and Uesugi have pulled together a Deadpool story that works.

Deadpool Samurai is a chaotically humorous romp with meta jokes that feel pulled out of GinTama and I mean that in the best way. Adapting the fourth-wall-breaking comic humor that Deadpool uses in comics works extremely well when applied to manga. With callouts to Kodansha, Shonen Jump (even illustrating Shonen Jump app ads), otaku, and idols, there is a lot happening at once. The success of all these jokes comes from the writer Kasama, but that acclaim should also go to the manga’s localization team, specifically Haley, who served as Deadpool Samurai’s translator. Ultimately, adapting Deadpool’s humor into Japanese and then back to English can’t be understated because nearly every joke works perfectly.

Unfortunately, there are some lows to Deadpool Samurai; chiefly, there is just too much happening, not even just in one volume but every chapter. While the humor is necessary to tell the story, the narrative gets lost in itself at times, buckling under the weight of the cameos, new characters, and the sprinting pace of the story. But in what I see as just too much all at once, other fans might enjoy in small bursts, specifically by honing in on the new takes on established character identities.

Deadpool Samurai is for people who love Deadpool, his absurdity, and his jokes. That said, if any bit of the character is something you eye-roll at, this is one to skip. Overall though, Deadpool Samurai showcases how strong the collaboration between Marvel and VIZ Media can be. Whether it’s adapting the familiar or creating something unique, I’m excited for more.

Deadpool Samurai Volume 1 is available from booksellers on February 8, 2022. 


Deadpool Samurai Volume 1
3.5

TL;DR

Deadpool Samurai is for people who love Deadpool, his absurdity, and his jokes. That said, if any bit of the character is something you eye-roll at, this is one to skip. Overall though, Deadpool Samurai showcases how strong the collaboration between Marvel and VIZ Media can be. Whether it’s adapting the familiar or creating something unique, I’m excited for more.

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