In Deadpool’s case, the formula for his success was simple – leverage connections with the biggest X-Men (Wolverine, Cable, etc), create maximum distraction (continuous breaking of the Fourth Wall between the comic and the reader), constant emphasis that the end is nigh (each issue released could be the final one), and selective plagiarism (from Deathstroke to Weapon X).
Complicated as it sounds, beneath Deadpool’s slapstick persona is actually the product of an incomprehensible thought process. While that may sound like an oxymoron, my opinion that Deadpool is a freakin’ genius (and cash cow) was reaffirmed after watching the upcoming Deadpool movie’s trailer.
Unlike the awful treatment of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, next February’s solo movie looks set to establish the “Merc with a Mouth” as one of Marvel’s biggest silver screen names. While comic-book movie trailers can be misleading (think Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider and Green Lantern), somehow, Deadpool’s 174-second trailer was enough to convince me that we have the next Marvel blockbuster in the making.
I loved everything – the costume, the weaponry, the supporting cast, the strike-a-pose action scenes – and have come to the conclusion that this Deadpool is going to be like Ant-Man’s Scott Lang on steroids or Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Star-Lord in perpetual dance-off mode!
With the movie just five months away, let’s get reacquainted with Deadpool, shall we?
Rob’s your dad
What’s worse than finding out that Darth Vader is your dad? Well, how about … having Rob Liefeld as your co-creator?
Yes, the much-maligned comic creator actually came up with the character together with writer Fabian Nicieza. It’s hard to believe that other than Youngblood, Youngblood 2.0, 3.0 … and all his other Youngblood creations, the man actually came up with one world-beater in Deadpool!
But don’t rejoice too soon, Liefeld fans (if there are any). His “inspiration” for Deadpool came from the creator’s love for DC Comics’ Teen Titans – in fact, the concept of Deadpool is, er, a dead ringer for the Teen Titans’ nemesis Deathstroke, who also happens to be a mercenary and a one-man killing machine. Even their real names – Deadpool is Wade Wilson and Deathstroke is Slade Wilson – sound the same. How uncanny is that, huh? Now, if only the two companies would agree to a Deadpool-Deathstroke team-up!
The Merc with a Mouth
One of the first things you should know about Deadpool is that he is not your usual superhero. He’s not even your usual anti-hero. His constant quips, wisecracks, and jokes put Spider-Man to shame, his methods are inexplicably violent and reckless to the point where his regenerative abilities are even more overworked than Wolverine’s, and he loves to hang out with other super-folk, even though none of them like having him around.
Like Wolverine, Deadpool is Canadian, and is so proud of it that he has a tendency to “spite” his American neighbours by using the metric system. And like all heroes, he also has his weaknesses … namely, cows, kittens and anti-regenerative rayguns. Oh, you can add “responsibilities” to that list too, though now that he has a daughter, that’s become a bit of a conundrum for him these days.
The Fourth Wall
Deadpool may not possess cosmic awareness like Captain Universe, but he does have comic awareness – the ability to be aware that one’s universe is fictional, and potentially capitalise on this to act in (otherwise) impossible ways within the fictional universe.
Nonsensical or offbeat as it may sound/seem, Deadpool’s constant off-fiction rapport with readers is actually one of the most engaging things about him.
For a mercenary with supposedly no affiliations, Deadpool has been involved in more teams than even Wolverine. He has “contributed” to the likes of Agency X, Astonishing Avengers, Code Red, Frightful Four, Great Lakes Initiative, Heroes For Hire, Landau Luckman and Lake, Maggia, Secret Defenders, S.H.I.E.L.D., Six Pack, Thunderbolts, Weapon X, X-Force and X-Men. In between, he even had time to start his very own Deadpool Corps!
Also, he was in the same Weapon X torture chamber as Wolverine, making him one of the facility’s “finest graduates”.
Still, Deadpool’s true persona only comes through when he’s with those who matter most, namely Weasel (his sidekick, an arms dealer), Blind Al (his prisoner/friend/housekeeper and mother figure), and Copycat (a mutant shapeshifter and Deadpool’s on-off girl).
He is also friends with Cable (who was best man at his wedding!), and in the latest Deadpool series, he has been hanging out with a posse that includes Agent Emily Preston of S.H.I.E.L.D. (who got killed, had her consciousness stuck in his head for a while, and got her own Life Model Decoy body later), the pervy ghost of Benjamin Franklin (don’t ask), and Michael the necromancer. Oh, and he has a daughter named Ellie, and married Shiklah, the succubus queen, in last year’s Deadpool #27. Phew!
Why should every hero carry the burden of a deceased uncle every time he saves the day? Deadpool’s “with great power comes great irresponsibility” mantra gives him free rein to do whatever a spider can’t!
But he’s not always irresponsible – Deadpool can be a selfless guy if he wants. He has even put his regenerative ability to greater use, by donating his internal organs! OK, maybe it was done against his will by the Weapon Plus programme, and his organs were used to create a group of knock-off X-Men for North Korea; but at least he makes up for all that with the amount of time he spends slicing and dicing his enemies, right? Right?