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Before reading a Deadpool comic for the first time, I had heard much about the character. I knew his comics involved gratuitous bloodlust, endless jokes, and breaking the fourth wall. Still, I wasn’t prepared for what I would experience when I grabbed Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe for a read.
Everything was so ridiculous in the best sense of the word. Right then, I understood that writing a Deadpool comic was a way to do anything you wanted without consequences. All the most insane ideas writers would like to experiment with to break the monotony of long-running comics were allowed. Deadpool was the pinnacle of creativity.
So I wasn’t surprised at all when Marvel comics announced Deadpool Samurai. The publisher wanted to explore a new format and audience. Of course, they would go with the Merc with a mouth. Who else could capitalize on so many manga references amidst sudden fight scenes in a dizzying wave of jokes?
In this Deadpool Samurai Manga Guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the story, characters, and art. There’s a lot to unpack in this manga. By the end of the article, you might even want to grab a copy of this crazy adventure.
My Bottom line up front:
Deadpool Samurai is an entertaining ride that pokes fun at both comics and manga. It is a love letter to the Merc with a mouth that showcases why he is a favorite in the Marvel Universe. However, despite the funny jokes, the story has its shortcomings. It varies in quality throughout, and I found it to be kind of disappointing. Still, Deadpool and his crazy antics, as well as exciting guest appearances, make this worth the read.
Deadpool Samurai was released in December 2020 on the Shonen Jump+ website. The title was Marvel’s attempt to explore a brand new genre and audience. The enterprise was successful as the series soon became a hit in Japan. In February of 2022, the series was released to the rest of the world, expanding its radius of success.
Western Comics vs. Manga
Reading a Deadpool comic is already a different experience when you’re used to western comics. But reading a Deadpool Manga can be even more confusing. So bear with me while I walk you through the main differences between these genres.
First of all, the reading direction. The cover of a Manga will be printed on what we consider the back of a book in western culture. In addition, the reading direction is from right to left. That is due to the Japanese language being written in this direction.
Secondly, the art style is different. Manga and anime are drawn in a very distinct way from western art. Most people will cite big eyes as a particular feature, but that is not always the case. Manga styles vary greatly, even more so than comic ones. Lastly, manga is usually in black and white, which is unusual for western readers. Unless, of course, you are a fan of The Walking Dead. However, there are exceptions, and you can find colored manga.
These three little disclaimers might seem inconsequential, but knowing them beforehand will make your reading experience smoother. Especially the first one. I remember when I first tried reading a manga without knowing the reading direction was different. Let’s just say I was perplexed and thought the story made no sense until I realized what was happening.
So, after going through this, I’m happy to spare you the trouble!
What is it all about?
What if the Avengers decided to create a branch in Japan? Judging by the various monsters in manga at large, this would be a good idea for the world. The Samurai Squad unites Deadpool and Sakura Spider, a knockoff of Spiderman. A team of two! Were you waiting for more? Well, that’s it. Sorry to disappoint.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a superhero group story if it didn’t involve some recruitment effort. Enter Japanese Popstar Neiro, who has merged with a symbiote and treats him like a pet. This unlikely bunch has the mission to stop Loki from destroying Japan.
If you thought this premise was too crazy, you’re not the only one. I had some difficulty in the beginning following everything that was going on. Mainly because the character’s motives weren’t clear from the start. But I promise you; it gets better. There is a payoff in the end that makes everything fall into place.
Deadpool’s good old pals
One of the most exciting things about Deadpool Samurai is that it brings together many old and original characters. The author even throws in a cameo from a super famous manga. This time Deadpool won’t be able to joke about licensing issues. I love when characters I know and love appear on something I’m reading out of the blue. So this was a joy for me. Let’s see who pops up in this crazy manga!
My Hero Academia’s greatest hero makes a fantastic cameo and helps Deadpool in a fight. All Might’s appearance excited me because it meant manga creators are willing to collaborate with a Western Publisher. As a fan of both manga and comics, my heart sparks with joy at the prospect of a big crossover between my favorite manga characters and superheroes from Marvel.
Since the Marvel and DC crossovers from the late 90s and early 2000s, there hasn’t been something as exciting for me. So I hope Marvel keeps the trend, and we get to see these different worlds interacting in an epic event. Marvel, I know you can do a multiverse story well, so don’t disappoint me. I want a big crossover with the best manga on Secret Wars scale!
He is the villain we love to hate. Hell, sometimes we even love him. I can’t resist Loki’s charms; his presence is always magnificent. Thus, I think he was the perfect villain choice for this manga. Mainly because his banter with Deadpool is hilarious. Besides, Loki’s over-the-top nature is perfect for the story’s tone.
Even though now I am adamant about Loki’s presence, I must confess it wasn’t so in the beginning. I was confused about what he was doing there and his motives. Thankfully I got an answer in the end, and it paid off. However, I must warn you that it is something in line with the manga’s tone. So expect something funny and not to be taken very seriously.
It is not a worthwhile manga if you don’t have a J-pop superstar in it. Neiro does the part really well as the self-centered singer merged with a symbiote. She lives a double life performing in concerts and saving the world. Kind of like a twisted Hannah Montana.
Neiro’s obsession with never hurting a fan of hers, even when they are downright psychopaths, annoyed me. But of course, this comic doesn’t waste a chance to make fun of cheesy superhero origins. Thus there is an explanation for everything. I thought the reason was intense but kind of crazy. But that’s the essence behind most mangas and animes.
Besides, the fact that I could somehow hear Neiro screaming in my head in a Japanese kind of sound when she explained herself proves this manga is true to the genre. Or maybe I’m just watching too much anime.
This is a Deadpool manga, and he loves Spiderman. So why not put a Spiderman ripoff in it? Sakura has the exact same origin and superpowers as Peter Parker, and this is the running gag in the comic. According to Deadpool, nobody cares about original characters. So making versions of those heroes people already love might be the best option.
I understood the character was supposed to be bland and cliché. Still, I couldn’t care about Sakura. Even though Neiro was the same in this respect, she was a bit more interesting. That’s not to say Sakura doesn’t have an important role. I thought that her opposition to Deadpool and her disapproval of his actions made an engaging dynamic.
He is Deadpool’s best friend, or so the mercenary thinks. Spiderman is not part of the main story, but his flashback scene is vital for the manga. I like this scene so much that I almost chose it as the best moment from the manga. But in the end, the award went to Captain America.
Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, and Hawkeye all make appearances in the manga. Since we’ll be talking about Captain America later on, I’ll highlight my other two favorite Avengers participations.
First, I’ll go with Iron Man. I found his no-nonsense attitude toward Deadpool quite entertaining to read. Besides, how he convinced the mercenary to work for him with an absurd amount of money was hilarious and a more critical moment than one might initially think.
Secondly, there’s Hulk. I love how he first appears as the sweet and kind Bruce Banner to help, stating that he doesn’t get mad as frequently anymore. Give it a few seconds and an annoying remark from Deadpool; he transforms. Healing factor aside, being irritating is Deadpool’s real superpower.
Deadpool Samurai’ art is by Hirako Uesugi. The art is up to manga standards, and I found it well done. Western comics rely more on color to cause an effect, but manga uses details and texture to stand out. I especially like how the texture is added in some characters and places. Venom is an excellent example of that; he’s all shiny.
As weird as it sounds, I must confess that one of the things I thought was most well drawn in this manga was Venom’s tongue. It had lots of details and texture, even more than other elements. Plus, the weird elongated shape of his tongue creates a strangely beautiful drawing. By now, you may be thinking I’m crazy! But please, check it out before you judge me! I swear you’ll understand.
Just go to the beginning pages of chapter 4 to see what I’m talking about.
Another thing that stood out was some characters’ features. Deadpool states The Avengers are drawn in such a general way they are not recognizable. I agree, but that is also true of western comics, cartoons, and most of the things that are made of drawings. It makes sense. I don’t think it would be possible for the artist to draw completely different faces and still deliver the pages on schedule.
Still, there is an effort to differentiate some characters. For instance, I love the way Loki is drawn. His nose and eye shapes differ from other characters, making him look mischievous and insane. I like this difference because it shows the artist knows when to apply the necessary effort. The drawings don’t need to be drastically different, except when it reveals something about the character.
Lastly, I loved the use of different art styles in specific situations. There are two pages drawn in western comic style during a fight which is a nice little twist. In addition, we get a sequence at the end of the comic where Deadpool is trying to publish the story he wrote as a manga. In this part, the panels are made of photos of real people and places. I thought the mix of real-world and drawing looked really funny.
Awesome or lame?
This manga is hard to pinpoint on such a strict scale. I’d say it’s awesome overall but lame in a few points. This manga is awesome due to how well Deadpool is written, various cameos, great jokes, and fantastic commentary about comics and manga. I’ve already expressed my love for the cameos, so I’ll focus on the jokes and writing references.
I laughed in more than a few moments in this manga. It pulls off excellent references to comic effect. One such moment is when Deadpool tries to evade bullets Matrix-style and gets hit anyway. That type of expectation break creates an incredible comic effect.
Breaking the fourth wall to talk about the comic is also very entertaining. When Deadpool called me a monster for turning a page that assistants took hours to draw in a few seconds, I felt that. Other comments about writing and characters are a joy for any manga and comic fans.
This type of joke reminded me of Invincible, a comic I am crazy about. Even though Invincible doesn’t break the fourth wall in the way Deadpool does, the comic is sprinkled with comments about the comic industry. Something I always appreciate reading and laughing about.
Now, going to the bad part, the story is disappointing. I didn’t like how villains appeared out of the blue without a well-written connection to the story. Many fights are thrown around with no purpose, and characters just drift through. I found the plot to be confusing and loose at many points.
Of course, this is Deadpool; I didn’t expect something dense. But even Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe, with all its failures, has a more well-crafted string of events. The comic created a sense of expectation on how Deadpool would kill each character, which made the story easy to follow.
Even with the criticism, that’s not to say Deadpool Samurai is not enjoyable, because it is. Besides, the manga manages to lessen a few of its problems by the end of the run. Overall, I had a good time reading it. But if there is a next installment, I would like to see more cohesion and better pacing to the narrative.
Behind the Manga
I love reading about the people behind the media I consume. Every time I research an author, I find that listening to what they have to say gives me powerful insight into the work I’m interested in. That is certainly the case with Deadpool Samurai.
Author Sanshiro Kasama is a big fan of Deadpool. So when the Jump+ editor asked him to write a story for a Marvel character, the choice was obvious. According to Sanshiro, Deadpool is a character like none other, so instead of creating an elaborate storyline, he made a simple one, so he could focus on the Merc with a mouth.
Reading that statement was vital for me to understand the fundamental flaw in the manga. There was a reason the story wasn’t that clever; the author put all his efforts into making the main character shine, and he reached his goal. I found this iteration of Deadpool hilarious, whacky, and full of life. Sanshiro nailed the mercenary’s essence, and I would love to see what else he can do with the character.
However, that doesn’t change my mind about the story. I can see Sanshiro’s reasoning and better understand the manga. Still, I don’t think that makes an excuse for the lackluster narrative. You can make a simple story and still manage to make it feel cohesive and well put together. That just wasn’t the case with the manga.
And the award for the best moment goes to…
There are many noteworthy moments in Deadpool Samurai. So if yours is completely different, that’s okay! Don’t come banging through my door to complain. But one moment kept coming back to my mind after I read, and it was Deadpool’s welcoming party. Even though technically, this party didn’t exist, as it was just a ploy to scare Loki away.
Deadpool invited the Avengers to his welcoming party in Japan. When he was about to lose a fight against Loki, he told the Norse god about it. Loki knew he wouldn’t be able to defeat all heroes together, so he left. If he only knew, the Avengers rejected the mercenary’s invite one by one… That is except for Captain America!
I like this moment because it depicts a sweet version of Captain America. He is the epitome of what a hero should be and cares about everyone, even crazy people like Deadpool. To make things even better, he appears wearing Groucho glasses in the next panel. The absurdity of it all made me laugh extensively.
Question: Is Deadpool Samurai canon?
Answer: No, it isn’t. It is set in a different continuity where it shares the reality with the Manga My Hero Academia. The hero All Might even makes an appearance to prove so.
Question: Is Deadpool Samurai over?
Answer: The story of the manga was completed after the release of chapter 15. Despite the numerous jokes throughout the pages about being picked up for a second season, there is no news or official statement about a sequel.
Question: How many Deadpool Samurai volumes are there?
Answer: Deadpool Samurai was released in 15 chapters in the Jump+ app. Later it was collected into two volumes available in both Kindle and paperback formats.
You’re still here? It’s over. Go home!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Deadpool Samurai Manga, even with my criticisms. This is a fantastic book if you like superheroes and manga or are starting at the genre. It has fan service for everyone. That’s the book I’ll grab when I’m having a bad day. It has the kind of energy necessary to lift one’s spirit.