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Deadpool (real name Wade Winston Wilson) is a fictional antihero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by artist/writer Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza, the character first appeared in The New Mutants #98 (cover-dated February 1991). Initially Deadpool was depicted as a supervillain when he made his first appearance in The New Mutants and later in issues of X-Force, but later evolved into his more recognizable antiheroic persona. Deadpool is a disfigured and mentally unstable mercenary with the superhuman ability of an accelerated healing factorand physical prowess. He is known as the "Merc with a Mouth" because of his talkative nature and tendency to break the fourth wall, which is used by writers for humorous effect and running gags.

The character's popularity has seen him feature in numerous other media. In the 2004 series Cable & Deadpool, he refers to his own scarred appearance as "Ryan Reynolds crossed with a Shar Pei",[6][7] leading to Reynolds eventually portraying the character in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine and reprising the role in the 2016 film Deadpool.

Publication history

1990s

Created by artist/writer Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza,[11][12][13] Deadpool made his first appearance in the pages of The New Mutants #98 cover dated February 1991.[14] According to Nicieza, Liefeld came up with the character's visual design and name, and Nicieza himself came up with the character's speech mannerisms.[15] Liefeld, a fan of the Teen Titans comics, showed his new character to then-writer Fabian Nicieza. Upon seeing the costume and noting his characteristics (killer with super agility), Nicieza contacted Liefeld, saying "this is Deathstroke from Teen Titans". Nicieza gave Deadpool the real name of "Wade Wilson" as an inside-joke to being "related" to "Slade Wilson", Deathstroke.[16]

Other inspirations were Spider-Man and Wolverine. Liefeld states: "Wolverine and Spider-Man were the two properties I was competing with at all times. I didn't have those, I didn't have access to those. I had to make my own Spider-Man and Wolverine. That's what Cable and Deadpool were meant to be, my own Spider-Man and my own Wolverine."[17] Both Deadpool and Cable were also meant to be tied into Wolverine’s history already from the start, as Liefeld describes: "Wolverine was my guy. If I could tie anything into Wolverine, I was winning." What Danny DeVito's character was to Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Twins, Deadpool was intended to be to Wolverine. And because Liefeld's favorite comic title before X-Men was Avengers, who had weapons like Captain America's shield, Thor's hammer and Hawkeye's bow and arrow, he decided to weaponize his new characters as well.[18]

The character's co-creator,Rob Liefeld, holding up a copy ofNew Mutants #98, in which the character first appeared

In his first appearance, Deadpool is hired by Tolliver to attack Cable and the New Mutants. After subsequently appearing in X-Force as a recurring character, Deadpool began making guest appearances in a number of different Marvel Comics titles such as The AvengersDaredevil, and Heroes for Hire. In 1993, the character received his own miniseries, titled The Circle Chase, written by Fabian Nicieza and pencilled by Joe Madureira. It was a relative success and Deadpool starred in a second, self-titled miniseries written in 1994 by Mark Waid, pencilled by Ian Churchill, and inked by Jason Temujin Minor and Bud LaRosa. Waid later commented, "Frankly, if I'd known Deadpool was such a creep when I agreed to write the mini-series, I wouldn't have done it. Someone who hasn't paid for their crimes presents a problem for me."[19]

In 1997, Deadpool was given his own ongoing title, initially written by Joe Kelly, with then-newcomer Ed McGuinness as an artist. Deadpool became an action comedy parody of the cosmic drama, antihero-heavy comics of the time. The series firmly established his supporting cast, including his prisoner/den mother Blind Al and his best friend Weasel. The ongoing series gained cult popularity for its unorthodox main character and its balance of angst and pop culture slapstick and the character became less of a villain, though the element of his moral ambiguity remained. The writer Joe Kelly noted, "With Deadpool, we could do anything we wanted because everybody just expected the book to be cancelled every five seconds, so nobody was paying attention. And we could get away with it."[20] Reportedly Kelly introduced the fourth wallbreaking gimmick.[21]

The series was taken over by Christopher Priest who noted that he found Kelly's issues to be "complex and a little hostile to new readers like me" and that by issue 37, he realized that "it was okay to make Deadpool look stupid."[22] Kelly may have introduced Deadpool to breaking the fourth wall, but Priest "could be credited for establishing it as an essential part of the character’s personality and worldview." Priest left the series after only one year at issue #45.[21]

2000s

For a time, writers who followed generally ignored the fourth wall entirely, until Gail Simone took over with issue #65. Her version is remembered for the frequent use of the "little yellow boxes."[21] Deadpoollasted until issue #69, at which point it was relaunched as a new title with a similar character called Agent X in 2002. This occurred during a line-wide revamp of X-Men related comics, with Cable becomingSoldier X and X-Force becoming X-Statix. Simone notes that "When I took the Deadpool job, the revamp hadn't been planned, so it was a complete surprise. Thankfully, we heard about it in time to make adjustments to the early scripts."[23] It appeared that Deadpool was killed in an explosion fighting the supervillain Black Swan. Deadpool's manager, Sandi Brandenberg later founded Agency X with a mysterious man called Alex Hayden, who took the name dubbed Agent X. Deadpool later returned to the series. Simone left the title after seven issues due to creative differences with the series editor, but then returned to conclude with issues 13–15.[24][better source needed]

Deadpool's next starring appearance came in 2004 with the launch of Cable & Deadpool written by Fabian Nicieza, where Deadpool became partnered with his former enemy, Cable, teaming up in various adventures. This title was canceled with issue #50 and replaced by a new Cable series in March 2008.[25] Deadpool then appeared briefly in the Wolverine: Origins title by writer Daniel Way before Way and Paco Medina launched another Deadpool title in September 2008.[26] Medina was the main series artist, with Carlo Barberi filling in on the first issue after the "Secret Invasion" tie-in.[27]

A new Deadpool ongoing series written by Daniel Way with artist Paco Medina began as a Secret Invasion tie-in. In the first arc, the character is seen working with Nick Fury to steal data on how to kill theSkrull queen Veranke.[28][29] Norman Osborn steals the information that Deadpool had stolen from the Skrulls, and subsequent stories deal with the fallout from that. Writer Daniel Way explained, "the first thing Osborn does to try and take care of the situation is to bring in a hired gun to take Deadpool down, which would be Tiger-Shark. That would be the standard thing to do, but of course everything about Deadpool is non-standard. So it goes completely awry and Norman has to get more serious about things." The story also sees the return of Bob, Agent of HYDRA; "I don't want the book to become 'Deadpool and Friends' so characters will drift in and out, but Bob was someone I definitely wanted to bring in. It just had to be at the perfect moment and when I was putting this storyline together that moment presented itself." This all led directly to a confrontation with the new Thunderbolts in "Magnum Opus" which crossed over between Deadpool vol. 2 #8–9 and Thunderbolts #130–131.[30]Thunderbolts writer Andy Diggle said, "it's a natural progression for Deadpool to go after Norman, and for Norman to send his personal hit-squad after Deadpool."[31] In Deadpool #15, Deadpool decides to become a hero resulting in conflicts with proper heroes like Spider-Man[32] (who he had recently encountered in The Amazing Spider-Man #611 as part of "The Gauntlet"[33]) and leading to a 3-issue arc where he takes on Hit-Monkey,[34] a character who debuted in the same month in a digital, then print, one-shot.[35][36]

Another ongoing Deadpool series, Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth launched in July 2009, written by Victor Gischler, with art by Bong Dazo. In it Deadpool teams with Headpool from Marvel Zombies 3 and4.[37][38][39]

A special anniversary issue titled Deadpool #900 was released in October 2009. It features stories written by several authors, with the main feature written by the original Deadpool series writer Joe Kelly and drawn by Deadpool's creator Rob Liefeld. A third Deadpool ongoing series, Deadpool Team-Up, launched in November 2009 (with issue numbers counting in reverse starting with issue #899), written by Fred Van Lente, with art by Dalibor Talajic. This series features Deadpool teaming up with different heroes from the Marvel Universe in each issue, such as Hercules.[40] Deadpool also joined the cast of the new Uncanny X-Force team.[41]

2010s

Another Deadpool series, titled Deadpool Corps also by Gischler, was released in April 2010. Besides Deadpool himself, this series featured alternate versions of Deadpool, including Lady Deadpool (who debuted in Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth #7), Headpool (the Marvel Zombies universe incarnation, now reduced to a severed head), and two new characters; Kidpool, a child, and Dogpool, a dog.[42] The series lasted twelve issues.

Marvel also published Deadpool titles through the Marvel Knights and MAX imprints: Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War, by Duane Swierczynski and Jason Pearson,[43][44][45] and Deadpool MAX by David Lapham and Kyle Baker.[46]

Deadpool (vol. 2) is written by Daniel Way and drawn by Alé Garza. In the story arc "DEAD", Wade is "cured" of his healing ability and becomes mortal. As a side effect, he also has his old, unscarred face once again. Although he spent the majority of the story arc looking forward to dying, he suppresses his desires in order to protect his friend and sidekick Hydra Bob.[citation needed]

After he lost his healing factor, Wilson claimed he felt "more alive than ever."[volume & issue needed] However, after a harsh beating from Intelligencia, Wade realized that he had let his ability to heal compensate for skill so he decided to ask for help from Taskmaster in training.[volume & issue needed] Taskmaster asked Wilson to help him steal Pym Particles from S.H.I.E.L.D., but actually, he allowed Black Box to study Wade in order to prepare his vengeance against Wilson, even letting him know Deadpool lost his healing factor.[volume & issue needed]

Wade managed to defeat Black Box, Black Tom and Black Swan, but in the process, his face was burned and disfigured again.[volume & issue needed] Former FBI agent Allison Kemp wanted to get revenge on Deadpool because of his involvement in an accident which left her in a wheelchair, and she called other enemies of Deadpool such as T-Ray and Slayback and trained them to kill Deadpool.[47][48]Deadpool infiltrated their base and managed to get T-Ray and Slayback killed when Kemp was about to kill herself in an explosion which would kill Wade in the process, he convinced her not to attack him. In that moment, he was surprised by the returned Evil Deadpool, who informed Wade that the serum they took was not permanent, reasons why Wade's face didn't heal or a finger he lost grew back, so Wade would return after Evil Deadpool shot him.[49] Daniel Way's Deadpool series concluded with issue 63.

As part of Marvel's Marvel NOW! initiative a new Deadpool ongoing series was launched, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan and illustrated by Tony Moore.[50] He is also a member of theThunderbolts.[51] In the 27th issue of his new series, as part of "All-New Marvel NOW!", Deadpool was married for the third time. Initially a secret, his bride was revealed in the webcomic Deadpool: The Gauntlet to be Shiklah, Queen of the Undead. Deadpool also discovers that he has a daughter by the name of Eleanor from a former flame of Deadpool named Carmelita.[52]

During the events of "Original Sin", it was revealed that Deadpool was tricked into killing his parents by a scientist known as Butler (who abducted Eleanor and gave her to his brother), however Deadpool does not know about it.[53]

Much later, he clashed with Carnage, believing the universe was telling to defeat him. After several fights and getting torn to pieces, Deadpool bonds with the Mercury Team's four symbiotes Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Agony. Playing mind games, Deadpool tricked Shriek by using his shapeshifting abilities to make her disorient and having her flee. After the symbiotic Deadpool and Carnage fought again, Deadpool captures Shriek and forces her to impersonate himself, making it trick Carnage into almost killing her in the process. Feeling broken after a mental breakdown, Carnage allowed himself to be arrested and was placed in an unlocked cell. While sitting in the cell until he was his own self, Carnage swore vengeance on Deadpool. Deadpool, after defeating Carnage, gives the Mercury Team's symbiotes to Lasher (a war dog who helped Deadpool fight Carnage while also bonded with a symbiote) to deliver to them to the government.[54]

During the "AXIS" storyline, Deadpool appears as a member of Magneto's unnamed supervillain group during the fight against Red Skull's Red Onslaught form.[55] The group of villains becomes inverted to heroes, after a spell cast by Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom.[volume & issue needed] This group was later named the Astonishing Avengers.[56] This Deadpool, referred to as "Zenpool" was pivotal in turning Apocalypse to fighting the Inverted Avengers.[57]

Deadpool's death occurs in Deadpool #250, involving story ideas that cowriters Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn have had in mind since the beginning of the NOW series.[58] Issue #250 was technically issue #45, but was so named as it was the cumulative 250th issue of the character's solo series.[citation needed] Deadpool faces off in a final showdown with ULTIMATUM and Flag-Smasher, killing all of them, and gives up the "Deadpool" identity, wishing to have a better life. He, along with his family and friends, (and presumably everyone on Earth) are all killed when the Earth collides with an alternate universe's Earth. Deadpool laments that the Secret Wars should have stayed an Avengers event, but then dies at peace, content that everybody else is dying with him.[59]

All New, All Different Marvel

Eight months after the events of Secret Wars and the restoration of Earth, Deadpool is seen working for Steve Rogers. After stealing some potentially life-saving chemicals needed by an ailing Rogue, he is offered membership in the Avengers Unity Squad.[60]

In the course of the following months, Deadpool's popularity skyrocketed after the mercenary Solo impersonated him to piggyback on Deadpool's reputation and take jobs at a higher pay rate. One of Solo's jobs in Washington, D.C. had Deadpool's public opinion drastically change for the better when he saved an ambassador from his telepathically-manipulated agents. After learning of Solo's impersonation, Deadpool came up with the idea to form a group of mercenaries called the Mercs for Money to extend his reach across the globe. However, Deadpool's newfound popularity forced him to leave his family behind, fearing his enemies could endanger them. Deadpool additionally joined the Avengers Unity Division and used his popularity as a means of funding the team, with the profit from merchandise.[61]

Fictional character biography

The character's back-story has been presented as vague and subject to change, and within the narrative he is unable to remember his personal history due to a mental condition. Whether or not his name was even Wade Wilson is subject to speculation since one of his nemeses, T-Ray, claims in Deadpool #33 that he is the real Wade Wilson and that Deadpool is a vicious murderer who stole his identity.[62]There have been other dubious stories about his history—at one point the supervillain Loki claimed to be his father.[63] Frequently, revelations are later retconned or ignored altogether, and in one issue, Deadpool himself joked that whether he is actually Wade Wilson depends on which the writer or the reader prefers.[64]

He has professed to be Canadian.[65] The original story had him joining the Weapon X program after being kicked out of the United States Army Special Forces and given an artificial healing factor based on Wolverine's thanks to Dr. Emrys Killebrew, one of the head scientists.[66]

Wade Wilson grew up in Clair, Saskatchewan, and went to school in Wadena, Saskatchewan.[67]

Personality

Deadpool is aware that he is a fictional comic book character.[68] He commonly breaks the fourth wall, which is done by few other characters in the Marvel Universe, and this is used to humorous effect. He often has conversations with his two internal monologues, which are shown as caption boxes in his panels; in Deadpool #28 it is revealed that the villain Doctor Bong, a foe of Howard the Duck, is the logical voice appearing in yellow captions,[69] and in Deadpool Annual #1 (2014) it is revealed that Madcap, a foe of Captain America, is the psychotic voice appearing in white captions with a typewriter serif.[70]

Deadpool is depicted as having a regenerative healing factor, which not only prevents him from being permanently injured through enhanced cell regeneration throughout his body, but also causes psychosis and mental instability, as his neurons are also affected by the accelerated regeneration. It is thought that while his psychoses are a handicap, they are also one of his assets as they make him an extremely unpredictable opponent. Taskmaster, who has photo-reflexive memory which allows him to copy anyone's fighting skills by observation, was unable to defeat Deadpool due to his chaotic and improvised fighting style.[71] Taskmaster has also stated that Deadpool is an expert at distracting his opponents.[71]

The character, known for his talkative nature, has been nicknamed the "Merc with a Mouth".[72]

Deadpool has sometimes been portrayed to have a strong sense of core morality. In Uncanny X-Force, he storms out after Wolverine tries to rationalize Fantomex killing Apocalypse, who was at the time in a child form. After Wolverine argues that Deadpool is motivated solely by money, Archangel reveals that Deadpool never cashed any of his checks.[73]

Sexual orientation

In December 2013, Deadpool was confirmed as being pansexual by Deadpool writer Gerry Duggan via Twitter.[74] When asked about Deadpool's sexuality, co-creator Fabian Nicieza stated, "Deadpool is whatever sexual inclination his brain tells him he is in THAT moment. And then the moment passes."[75] Nicieza has also stated, "Not trying to be dismissive, but readers always want to 'make a character their own' and often that is to the exclusion of what the character might mean to other fans. I've been dogged with the DP sexuality questions for YEARS. It is a bit tiring. He is NO sex and ALL sexes. He is yours and everyone else's. So not dismissive, but rather the epitome of inclusive."[76]

Powers and abilities

Deadpool's primary power is an accelerated healing factor, depicted by various writers at differing levels of efficiency. Artificially endowed by Dr. Killebrew for the Weapon X program, this enables him to regenerate any destroyed tissue at a superhuman rate, as well as making him immune to diseases. Deadpool's healing factor is strong enough that he has survived complete incineration and decapitation more than once.[citation needed] Although his head normally has to be reunited with his body to heal a decapitation wound,[77][78][79] he was able to regrow his head after having it pulverized by the Hulk in the graphic novel Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe.[volume & issue needed]

Deadpool's brain cells are similarly affected, with dying neurons being rejuvenated at a super accelerated rate. This allows Deadpool to recover from any head wounds, and it renders him nearly invulnerable to psychic and telepathic powers,[80][81] although this ability is inconsistent.[82][83] It has been revealed that at the time his healing ability was given to him, Deadpool suffered from some form of cancer; after the healing factor was given to him, it made his normal cells as well as his cancerous cells unable to die, giving him a heavily scarred appearance beneath his suit.[volume & issue needed]

Deadpool's body is highly resistant to most drugs and toxins, due to his enhanced cell regeneration. For example, it is extremely difficult for him to become intoxicated.[84] He can be affected by certain drugs, such as tranquilizers if he is exposed to a large enough dosage.[citation needed]

Deadpool is effectively immortal, although he has died several times.[85][86] He is still alive 800 years in the future when the new X-Force encounters him.[87] In addition, Thanos once declared that Deadpool should "consider yourself cursed ... with life!" out of jealousy over Deadpool's status as Lady Death's love interest.[88] His enemy T-Ray later resurrected him,[85] under Thanos' instruction, using an artifact he had given him.[89] Later, Deadpool was informed that Thanos had placed a curse on him, and tracked Thanos down. He revealed that the only thing keeping Wade alive was his "spell of darkest necromancy". Although Thanos removed this curse in order to kill Deadpool, he felt forced to immediately bring him back using "a fusion of necromancy and science" in order to request his aid in tracking down Mistress Death, who had gone missing.[90]

Deadpool is a highly trained assassin and mercenary, adept in multiple forms of martial arts, and an expert swordsman and marksman. Although in earlier years he was originally portrayed as having superhuman strength, he is no longer depicted as having this ability.[91]

Over the years, Deadpool has owned a number of personal teleportation devices. Also, during Deadpool's first ongoing comic, he possesses a device which projected holographic disguises, allowing him to go undercover or conceal his appearance. He also has a magic satchel containing all of his unlimited weaponry and ammo.[92][93] Deadpool is multilingual, with the ability to speak fluently in German, Spanish, ASL, and Japanese, in addition to his native English.[citation needed]

Since Deadpool is aware that he is a fictional character,[68] he uses this knowledge to his advantage to deal with opponents or gain knowledge to which he should not normally have access, such as reading past issues of his and others' comics.[94] Deadpool knows he has a Wikipedia article and hopes his fans keep his page updated.

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