Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe is exactly what it sounds like. Deadpool, finally fed up with the knowledge that he's fictional, goes on a rampage. One that ends with every major hero and villain in the Marvel universe dead (or otherwise taken out of commission).
The miniseries started as a send-up of Garth Ennis' one-shot: Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe. However, it rather quickly spun out into its own saga of stories which set the precedent for a string of Deadpool miniseries that has continued to this day. All of this despite the fact that the original mini is kind of terrible.
Oh, sure. The premise is sound. Put Wade "The Canadian Katana" Wilson up against each and every Marvel character of note? It's the perfect vehicle for banter and shenanigans. And Deadpool is about nothing if not banter and shenanigans.
Instead, the story is about as nihilistic as its namesake. Even Marvel itself describes the series as more of a horror story -- what with Wade murdering beneficent characters like the Fantastic Four in front of each other -- than a comedic romp.
That changes over time, however. After working his way through his own universe this alternate Deadpool (christened "Dreadpool" by writer Cullen Bunn) the Merc with an Existential Crisis goes on to kill his own creators, readers, inspirations, and cross-dimensional doubles. All with the express intention of erasing his need and ability to exist in fiction.
Of course, only one Deadpool can stop him in the end. Our Deadpool. The one that doesn't care about the horrors of being an ageless, immortal, and unchanging ball of crazy caught in the inescapable flow of continuity. In that way Deadpool has rarely felt more like us, as we try to navigate this horrible existence which does not include a living T-Rex dressed up in red spandex.
The Marvel vs. Capcom series already starts off in the right frame of mind for Deadpool's brand of reality-bending humor. The entire game is, itself, a massive break in the fourth wall with characters coming not just from completely different universes, but totally separate company brands. So, of course the developers had to take Wade's antics up a notch in accordance with the setting. After all, the bar had already been raised.
They must have taken that metaphor literally, however. Besides constantly referencing the fact that he's in a video game Deadpool literally uses this new medium against his opponent. The fighter's level three Hyper Combo is, directly enough, referred to as "4th-Wall Crisis." It is, essentially, a finishing move which sends his opponents into the stratosphere using his own hyper meter and health bar as blunt instruments.
That's certainly the most flashy inclusion, but the reality checks don't end there. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is filled to the brim with character-specific callbacks and mockery. When fighting Magneto, Deadpool taunts the master of magnetism with the snipe "Welcome to die!" That's a callback to a simpler, less quality-assured era of video games during which Capcom rival company Konami published an X-Men game for arcades.
Then there are more on-brand references. Like when Deadpool matches up against fellow red costume lover Spider-Man. At this point he makes mention of roughing up Spidey "like a Broadway musical." Only to conclude by lamenting his foe's decision not to "turn off the dark." That's cold, Wade. Ice. Cold.
It's just a shame that a game with such an irreverent take on cross-promotion and branding seemingly fell prey to the very thing it mocked. In 2013 Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and all of the games' DLC were delisted from the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live. In fact, rather a lot of Marvel games started disappearing around this time. Even Deadpool's own game (titled, uh, Deadpool) was de-listed before Activision ponied up the dough for a re-release around the time the movie came out.
Rumors abound that this was because Disney wanted control of the video game licenses it had purchased several years earlier. Which was fine, except that it makes finding those legacy games that much harder for those who didn't know what they were missing at the time.