So if you are a living human being with the tiniest sliver of nerd cred or even basic pop culture knowledge, you’ve heard about Deadpool at this point. Unless you’re deaf, but then you’ve probably seen about him.
But who exactly is this red and black Spiderman/Deathstroke lovechild thing and why should I care?
Deadpool debuted in New Mutants #98, created by Fabian Nicieza and the infamous Rob Liefeld alongside the team he would eventually star in, the X-Force. Rob Liefeld (the guy who toes the line between genius and total idiot, and both shaped the entire era of 90’s comics and is ridiculed the world over for his bizarre and poorly drawn contributions to 90’s comics) originally came up with the idea; he was a huge Teen Titans fan, and created this character, who Nicieza quickly pointed out was Deathstroke from Teen Titans in every way. As a in-joke, they even named him “Wade Wilson” instead of “Slade Wilson.”
Okay, why should I care?
Well, it may sound cliché, but he’s not your average hero. No, he’s really not. Even though he’s Ryan Reynolds under that mask, he isn’t pretty. Deadpool has cancer and is dying, but he also has an accelerating healing factor and cannot die. This doesn’t stop the cancer from eating at him, which makes him a hideous mess. On top of being invincible, he has superhuman strength, reflexes, agility, stamina, durability and all that fun stuff. He’s also smart enough to understand five languages, and he knows he’s a fictional character.
Deadpool constantly breaks the fourth wall, speaking to the audience and addressing his fictional nature. Other characters tend to ignore this and chalk this up to the fact that Wade is annoying and likes to make jokes, but mostly that he is entirely insane and unpredictable. If you want a hilarious, bizarre, annoying and ugly superhero who still kicks ass, Deadpool is the character for you!
You sold me. What’s some good reading material to get me familiar with the character before the movie?
In no particular order,
- Deadpool: Suicide Kings
This five issue miniseries from 2009 has made many a Deadpool fan. After Deadpool is framed to look like a terrorist, he becomes public enemy number one. Deadpool has to try and figure out what’s going on with friends like Daredevil and Spider-Man, all while trying to avoid the Punisher and stop him from “taking one more criminal off the streets”.
- Deadpool Corps
This comic, starting in 2010, features the adventures of several Deadpools from different universes – including but not limited to Lady Deadpool, as well as the decapitated head of the zombified Deadpool from Marvel Zombies, now known as Headpool. This series lasted five “prelude” issues, twelve issues, and a closing one-shot called “Deadpool Family”.
- Cable & Deadpool
The comic that really helped Deadpool come into his own. This 50-issue 2004 series follows the violent escapades of Deadpool and his X-Force cohort, Cable – a time-travelling son of Cyclops and a clone of Jean Grey from an alternate reality. It’s weird, I know – but an X-Force movie is coming up too, so brush up early and get ahead of the game!
- Hawkeye vs. Deadpool
If you haven’t read Hawkeye or Deadpools critically acclaimed ongoing series’, read them now. Three in one; I know, I’m cheating! This comic is where the two series sort of meet in the middle, with both heroes racing against the clock to save the day before the other. It starts with issue #0 and ends with issue #5.
- Deadpool: Wade Wilson’s War
Something went down in Sinaloa, Mexico – there are a lot of bodies, Deadpool was involved, and the government wants answers. Can Deadpool convince everyone he was doing the right thing? This four issue miniseries features supporting characters like Silver Sable, Domino, and Bullseye.
Thanks! I’ll go read them right now!
Yeah, you’d better! And make sure to see the movie after, too!