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Friday, 14 August 2015

Comics Explained: Deadpool

Last week the trailer for the new X-Men spin-off Deadpool starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular character was released. Since his debut in 1991 he has remained a fan favorite from comic book enthusiasts for his dark sense of humor and him repeatedly breaking the fourth wall, Deadpool is fully aware that he is in a comic book. Today we'll look at the character and publishing history of Deadpool.

First Appearance
Deadpool first appeared in The New Mutants #98 created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist/writer Rob Liefeld. Liefeld designed his appearance and Nicieza designed his speech and mannerisms. Liefeld happened to be a fan of DC's Teen Titans, an superhero group comprising of teenage heroes similar to how the New Mutants were teenage mutants, and designed Deadpool with the Teen Titans' main villain Deathstroke in mind.
This is Deathstroke
Upon seeing the design Nicieza said 'this is Deathstroke from Teen Titans' so they decided to make Deadpool a parody of Deathstroke. Instead of the serious manner of Deathstroke Deadpool gained a jokey manner (although he was not a jokey as he is today) and even his name (Wade Wilson) was made to parody Deathstroke's name (Slade Wilson). In his first appearance Deadpool is hired by an enemy of the New Mutants called Tollivar to kill the leader of the group, Cable. He failed after a new member of the group called Domino put three knives in his back. 

Further Publications
Following his first appearance Deadpool started making cameo in other Marvel publications such as The Avengers and Daredevil. In Daredevil it was revealed that he was also challenging regular Daredevil villain Bullseye to be the Kingpin's assassin-for-hire. Two years following his initial appearance he gained his own brief comic series called Deadpool: The Circle Chase where his character went from slightly jokey to be more humorous and psychotic. 
The success of The Circle Chase drastically improved Deadpool's popularity and he gained his own series in 1997. Through this we learnt more of Deadpool's backstory. He was once a mercenary but after developing cancer throughout his body he joined the Weapon X program, the same program which gave Wolverine his adamantium claws, to help him find a cure. Due to the extreme mortality rates of people experimented on people would place bets on how long patients would last for. A 'deadpool'. Through the tortuous experiments Wade Wilson gained the healing ability that Wolverine has but the experiments also mentally broke him and left him visibly scarred. This also allowed him to see the true existence of the Marvel Universe, basically he realized that everyone in the Marvel Universe were comic book characters. After he had his heart ripped out a mixture of a thirst for vengeance and his healing factor allowed him to break out of the Weapon X facility with other patients. Adopting the name Deadpool the 'Merc with a Mouth' adopted mercenary work again. In his first real title his breaking of the fourth wall and dark humor became more prevalent earning himself a cult following among comic book fans. His slapstick violence against his best friend Weasel and playing violent pranks on Blind Al, a blind woman who he was supposed to assassinate but ended up kidnapping her to be his cleaner. Although Al would get revenge on him by putting laxatives in his food.

After his own series finished in Deadpool #69 it was believed that someone called Agent X was Deadpool but with amnesia. This Agent X teamed up with Deadpool's old foe Cable to form the team Agency X. It was revealed that Agent X was actually a different person and that the real Deadpool was being nursed slowly back to health. The real Deadpool teamed up with Cable to stop a terrorist plot which was trying to release the shapeshifting 'Facade Virus' into the world. This started Cable and Deadpool, a series where the former enemies teamed up to help save the world. The person who stabbed Deadpool with three knives in his first appearance, Domino, developed a friendship with him which turned romantic. Although Deadpool's narcissism and homicidal mentality meant that it did not last it was hinted that he did actually have some feelings for Domino with many people believing that his fear of chickens was put on because Domino had a fear of chickens. 

Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth and After
In 2009 Deadpool gained another publication called Merc with a Mouth where he founded the Deadpool Corps. He got multiple different versions of him to form a superhero group which would go from universe to universe fighting villains, eating chimichangas and spouting pop culture references. Most of the comic covers were even parodies of film posters or famous comic covers including Jurassic Park, Jaws, Dawn of the Dead and Wolverine #1. Members of the Deadpool Corps. included the original Deadpool, Kidpool, Lady Deadpool, Dogpool and Headpool (the decapitated by still living zombified head of Deadpool from the Marvel Zombies universe). He left his Deadpool Corp. to their own devices so he could go off on his own adventures. Briefly he joined the more violent branch of the X-Men called the X-Force and during an invasion of the Earth by the creator of Asgard itself he stole a magic hammer from some werewolf hunters and gave it to someone  (called Walrus) who thought it would give him strength to rival the Hulk. Deadpool would then defeat him when Walrus rampaged through a town and the grateful townspeople would give him a tonne of Confederate gold. This plan failed when he had to return the hammer to the werewolf hunters to stop a werewolf invasion and when he found out that the town's gold had been stolen years ago. He was briefly institutionalized in an asylum in England resulting him taking the Queen hostage who convinces him to release her after giving Deadpool relationship advice. 

Deadpool vs. Deadpool
Deadpool has fought himself twice in the last few years. One was Evil Deadpool who was formed when Deadpool threw his frozen, desiccated body parts in a bin which thawed and joined together. It only ends when Evil Deadpool is shot by police and a mysterious assassin who had a dart nullifying his healing factor. The second time he fought himself was in Deadpool kills Deadpool. The origin of that stems from the special Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe where in an alternate reality a sadistic voice comes into Deadpool's head after a failed mind control experiment which convinces him to kill all the Marvel characters in his universe and then the authors of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. This alternate Deadpool, Dreadpool, decides to kill all the alternate versions of himself and manages to wipe out the entire Deadpool Corp, including my favorite PandaPool who Deadpool describes as being 'black and white and red all over', except for the original Deadpool. The battle between Deadpool and Dreadpool culminates in Dreadpool's original universe. During the battle Deadpool convinces Dreadpool that 'he did bad' and is killed by Deadpool.

Fun facts
Deadpool's favorite food is chimichangas although that is only through their long name. He also has very elequent handwriting saying that: I think it's a crime the way schools neglect the fundamental. Deadpool's awareness that he is in a fictional medium has transcended into cartoon, video game and even movie appearances. In the video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 after you beat him in a boss fight he mentions how he needs to get a bigger life bar. His own video game, incidentally called Deadpool, breaks the fourth wall virtually every other sentence ranging from criticizing the player when his life gets too low and repeatedly says that his video game 'is the best ever'. Although he was completely ruined in X-Men Origins: Wolverine he seems to be his famous self again judging by the trailers which have shown he has broken the fourth wall. In the teaser trailer he says 'from the studio that inexplicably sowed his f****** mouth shut the first time' as a reference to what happened to him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In the actual trailer he says as well 'don't make the suit green or animated' as a little joke at the expense of the Green Lantern film which also starred Ryan Reynolds.

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