Deadpool is Wade Wilson, a certifiable loon, yet also a wisecracking, high-tech “Merc with a Mouth”. Here, following events too ludicrous to mention (detailed in Prelude to Deadpool Corps), Wilson has linked up with a quartet of alternate Deadpools from very different alternate Earths. It’s the strangest team in Marvel’s history (and yes, that includes the Pet Avengers). The manic mayhem comes courtesy of Victor Gischler and penciller Rob Liefeld, making a return to the character he designed in 1991.

Deadpool’s new comrades are the strikingly female Lady Deadpool; killer bad boy and errant pre-teen Kidpool; a floating masked cranium from the Marvel Zombiverse dubbed Headpool; and a costumed mutt who answers to Dogpool. They’re hired by the Elder of the Universe known as The Contemplator to expunge a horrific threat to creation from a universe preceding The Big Bang, an unstoppable force that absorbs intelligence. Thousands if not millions of planets have succumbed to the power of the Awareness, their sentience and independence subsumed into a slavish nullity. Protected as they are by their own innate, intrinsic imbecility, Contemplator wants the Deadpools to go kill it.

In a bit of a dudgeon over their selection is another Elder calling himself the Champion. The mightiest physical specimen in existence feels the honour of saving universal intellect should be his, but although he’s no big brain either he just isn’t in the Wilson squad’s league. Whizzing across the cosmos in the super ship “Bea Arthur” – with plenty of pit-stops in the skeeviest bars, cantinas and dives for information and violent recreation – the team soon confront and readily outwit their brawny rival.

Further Elders of the Universe are introduced, and the team go undercover, drinking, beating up lots of aliens, shopping and even colluding and cohabiting with legendary star smuggler The Broken Blade, but eventually they near the end of their quest.

More a superb succession of gags from Gischler than a plot, the adventure follows the Crazy Corps as they bumble and smart-mouth their way across the universe until finally they confront The Awareness and despite – or rather because of – their uniquely skewed mentalities, triumph in the strangest way possible.

But that’s only the beginning. Rewarded with wishing rings by the exultant Contemplator, the Silly Squad stay in space where this initial compilation concludes with the bombastic ballad of ‘The Blue Buccaneer’, illustrated by Marat Mychaels.

Those who loved art by Liefeld and Mychaels back in the day will exult at their return. Others will note little has changed.

Surreal, wickedly irreverent and excessively violent in the grand Bugs Bunny/Road Runner tradition, Deadpool Corps is frat boy foolish and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. More follows in Vol. 2: Say You Want a Revolution. Alternatively, they’re combined in Deadpool Classic Vol. 12.