Some heroes are born. Some are created. Some are destined for greatness. And then there’s Deadpool. Marvels’ most popular anti-hero hits cinemas next week. A fourth-wall breaking meme factory, Deadpool isn’t what you’d call a traditional superhero. He’s a mouthy mercenary, a regeneratin’ degenerate and a clown dressed in crimson.
With the upcoming R-rated film that features a cast led by Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin, director Tim Miller is finally giving Deadpool his due after his last big screen appearance made the mind-numbingly stupid decision to sew his f***ing mouth shut. Thanks X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For a lot of you, this is the comic book movie that you’ve been waiting for.
For the rest of you, you’re still massively confused as to why comic book conventions regularly feature dozens of fans running around in red spandex that is a bit too tight around the groin area.Who is Deadpool? Well buckle up buckaroos, because I’m about to explain all this and more.
Wade Wilson was just your average mercenary who happened to be really good at killing people UNTIL ONE DAY! He got diagnosed with the big C, cancer. Which is totally crap, as the bastard disease has already made 2016 a super-sh**ty year so far. In a terminal stage and looking at an early death, Wade decides to enlist in the Canadian Weapon X program to find a way to save his life.
Y’know, the same program that thought it would be a good idea to graft an unbreakable metal onto the skeleton of a fast-healing berserker who has built-in Ginsu knives on each hand, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Anyway, the Weapon X program may also tried to brainwash Wilson into becoming a government weapon as it tested out various treatments on the patients locked up there to see what worked.
One by one, most of the inmates died, while the rest of them ran a betting deadpool on who would be the next to croak. And that’s how superhero names are made, kids. Wilson eventually survived the process, and found himself with a handy healing factor that was tied to his cancer. Good news was, he could pretty much survive any wound inflicted on him. Bad news? The treatment also permanently scarred his body and left him looking completely “unf***able”:
Wilson breaks out of the Weapon X program shortly afterwards, and embarks on a new life as a mercenary for hire who just so happens to be unkillable. A handy skill for his line of work. In his original appearance in New Mutants #98 by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool wasn’t a catch-phrase contract killer, but an assassin who was only supposed to stick around for a single issue as an inside-joke to DC Comic’s popular Deathstroke.
Years later, Deadpool’s full potential as a comic relief character would be realised when he got his own solo series and ran wild with the wackiest of hijinks. Good times man, good times. Right now, if you need a mercenary to handle a suicide mission, Deadpool is your man.
Powers and skills
Regenerative Healing Factor
Deadpool’s primary ability is a healing factor which can heal any wound. Stab him, shoot him, set him on fire or slice him to bits. It doesn’t matter, as Deadpool will always heal and come back as good as new. Deadpool has survived all manner of injury from being gored by an elephant, incinerated into ashes by lightning from Thor and even regenerating his entire torso after the Hulk smashed it into liquid chunks. Other cool side-effects of his healing factor include:
- Foreign chemical resistance – Wilson can shrug off most normal doses of various chemicals and alcohol to an absurd degree. Only massively large doses temporarily affect him
- Disease Immunity – Thanks to the odd nature of his Cancer and healing factor, Wilson doesn’t have to worry about any other diseases picking away at him
- Immortality – Yeah, Wilson will pretty much be around forever, as his healing factor has stopped the aging process for him. In one alternate future, he even spent around 900 years locked in a room
- Telepathic Immunity – All that craziness pays off. Because his mind happens to be in a constant state of flux, even the best Marvel psychic can’t get a lock on him
- Possession Resistance – That same mental state extends to anyone trying to mentally control Wilson, as well as his soul thanks to a pact with Death herself
But wait, there’s more! The Weapon X program also grafted various other superhuman skills onto Deadpool when comic book writers remember them, such as:
- Enhanced Strength – Capable of lifting up to 2 tons
- Enhanced Speed – Wilson can reach speeds of up to 80 mph, and has lightning-quick attacks
- Superhuman Stamina – Wilson can fight for days on end without needing a break
- Superhuman Agility – Wilson can give Spider-Man a run for his money when it comes to being flexible
- Superhuman Reflexes – Auto-reflexes so fine, that Wilson can even dodge gunfire if he can stay focused
- Superhuman Durability – Even though he finds himself being chopped to pieces regularly, Wilson’s skin, bone and muscles are actually considerably tougher than any normal human and remains in a constant state of muscular readiness. Except for that one time when he was force-fed In ‘n Out burgers for several months.
- Fourth-Wall Awareness – Wilson knows that he happens to be a comic book character. He doesn’t care.
When it comes to abilities, Wilson has plenty of them.
- Martial Arts Master – An expert in multiple techniques and disciplines, Wilson can engage the best fighters of the Marvel universe and easily hold his own in hand to hand combat
- Assassination expert – If he wasn’t insane, Deadpool would be an even better covert ops agent who happens to be skilled at infiltration methods, escape artistry, marksmanship and swordsmanship
Deadpool’s prime adventures came in the late 1990s, where his more comedic appeal was highlighted. Thing is, these comics haven’t exactly aged well. The real Deadpool renaissance however, came from Cable & Deadpool, a comic book series that ran from 2004 – 2008 and saw the merc with a mouth tag-teamed with the X-Men telepathic cyborg soldier from the future. It sounds weird when I read it out loud.
After that series ended, Deadpool was EVERYWHERE. The series written by Daniel Way features Deadpool at his best, as does the Marvel Now! relaunch where Wilson gets hired to kill an entire congress of evil dead resurrected zombie US presidents. Here’s a list of some good reading material:
Deadpool Vol. 2
- Volume 1: Secret Invasion
- Volume 2: Dark Reign
- Dark Reign: Deadpool/Thunderbolts
- Volume 3: X Marks the Spot
- Volume 4: Monkey Business
- Volume 5: What Happens in Vegas
- Volume 6: I Rule, You Suck
- Volume 7: Space Oddity
- Volume 8: Operation Annihilation
- Volume 9: Institutionalized
- Volume 10: Evil Deadpool
- Volume 11: DEAD
And plenty of other trades such as:
- Wade Wilson’s War
- Suicide Kings
- Deadpool Killustrated
- Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe
- Deadpool Kills Deadpool
- Night of the Living Deadpool
- Deadpool vs. Carnage
- Deadpool vs. X-Force
- Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet
- Deadpool: The Ones with Deadpool
- Deadpool vs. Hawkeye
- Deadpool’s Art of War
Film is out next week. Bring a date for the most romantic February flick ever.
Last Updated: February 5, 2016