Deadpool splits Marvel fans a lot. Some like the character’s abrasive style, while others feel that he represents the continued legacy of the 1990s for the books. It took some time, but I’ve found myself growing quite fond of the Merc with a Mouth. Beginning as one of the Weapon X lot, Deadpool started life as an obvious rip-off of Deathstroke the Terminator. Hell, most of Liefeld’s time on New Mutants was spent telling the world how much he loved the Wolfman/Perez era of “New Teen Titans”. The character would break out in a series of mini-series that people can’t remember outside of the art. But, it did start his love affair with Siryn. That means something, right?
Whenever, we learn about Wade Wilson’s life before becoming the Merc with a Mouth…it just becomes more and more depressing. He had cancer, but he had a healing factor. So, the Weapon X super soldier project deal burned him into a Krueger style mess. But, he lost his mind and gained a super healing factor. The fourth wall breaks and comicdom gets to learn about those quaint yellow self-aware narration boxes. The healing factor constantly replaces aging and damaged brain cells, so this has been used to explain away massive head trauma and how he can deflect telepathic attacks. It’s also the source of his insanity and ability to see the readers. But, everyone he has ever loved has died. Well, he recently found his long lost daughter. I guess that means it all worked out.
When Deadpool joined X-Force, a lot of Old School fans thought we were getting a return to slice-and-dice Wade Wilson from his early days. Deadpool participated in the murder of the Apocalypse child clone, plus other mercenary shenanigans that the X-Men did a Black Ops fashion. I bring this up, because Deadpool also had a ton of terrible solo series work following the end of Kelly’s work on the character. If you like constant pop culture references and manipulations to Deadpool’s healing factor, then that will do it for you. Otherwise, it’s a forgettable time for the character. Everyone should take a moment to thank Rick Remender for saving him.
Deadpool is a character that has sparked many interpretations. The Daniel Way era played up the dark hilarity, while not offering much to the overall legacy. Christopher Priest spent his time trying to run away from what Joe Kelly did. Gail Simone barely got a chance to make a dent before she split and we’re currently in the Remender/Duggan/Posehn era. Who knows what we’re going to see in a post Secret Wars Marvel for Deadpool? Hopefully, there’s a third mode outside of happy kill man and Deathstroke merc style kill man. Duggan and Posehn are using their flashback issues of their current run to help explain a lot of this personality shifts, so there might be something emerging. I’m not quite sure yet, as that’s the issue with commenting on an ongoing run.
However, everyone keeps returning to the work that Joe Kelly did back in the 1990s. The video game did it, that test reel trailer with Ryan Reynolds did it and almost every writer evokes the happy killer mode. Mark Waid went on record about the take after he wrote the second mini-series. Waid told Wizard back in 1997 that he didn’t feel comfortable writing a criminal that hadn’t paid for his crimes. Later writers would show that Wade Wilson had his memory tampered with or insanity caused him to do many of the acts that made him famous. Honestly, it feels like a bit of a cop out. Remender addressed the issue during his X-Force run, but the focus was mainly throw on Wolverine with Deadpool and the others getting the backwash.
There is one thing missing from a lot of the current use of Deadpool. So much of his early years were spent showing that Deadpool had a long history of working with the Marvel Universe’s mercenaries. Most of the early Joe Kelly issues show that Bullseye was practically his best friend. Then, there’s the constant battling with Taskmaster. Deadpool is supposed to be one of the top mercenaries in the game, but he rarely is shown killing for profit anymore. The 00s turned him more into the X-Men’s weird friend or kept forcing him to hang out with Cable. There’s something about the character’s personality that is lost through constant team-ups. While he’s not a loner, his criminal background shouldn’t be ignored.
One thing I do miss with Deadpool is the use of sidekicks. I first started following the character when he kept Blind Al and Weasel around. Then, there was Bob – Agent of Hydra. Now, he’s got a SHIELD Agent friend and his long lost daughter. Deadpool needs a family to give him a reason to keep fighting. That excellent flashback issue (-1) showed what happens to Wade Wilson when he’s down and out with nobody for support. He makes stupid decisions like joining Weapon X. It has become a bit of a Marvel cliche with the Weapon X characters since Wolverine joined the X-Men, but friends tend to calm psychos down. At least, that’s what Chris Claremont taught me. Chris Claremont and a heaping helping of anti-psychotic pills.
As we come to a close on our second section of the project, I’d like to thank everyone for sticking it out so far. If you haven’t seen a particular favorite appear yet, you’re going to start seeing more events and teams getting covered en masse. We’re picking up speed and heading right into our next project timed for the release of “Age of Ultron”. When everything is said and done, all readers will be able to look at the three collected projects as a fun giant Wiki to explain away the weirdness of the Marvel Universe. That is unless Jonathan Hickman wrecks it all in “Secret Wars”. HICKMAN!
That final panel isn’t terribly related to anything I said, I just find head shots in comics to be funny. Plus, Star Wars. Corporate synergy!