Hi, kids! It’s time to walk through the life and times of a certain crimson-headed mercenary named Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool. The “Merc with a Mouth” has a long history of talking trash, wasting ammo, and taking contracts to fund his ever growing need for chimichangas and insane adventures. With Fox’s Deadpool movie now in theaters, Ryan Reynolds is slapping on the mask and bringing Wade to life. Deadpool is joined in his first starring feature by girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), best friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) and de facto mentor/hostage Blind Al (Leslie Uggams). On the villain side of things, Wade will be troubled by villains Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano) who, in the comics, are mutants linked to his own origins within the Weapon X program. Somewhere in between, Deadpool will also run into a few X-Men in the forms of Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Briana Hildebrand).
To get things started, the early days of Wade Wilson has always been something of a mystery, and since ‘Pool isn’t exactly the best, most sane narrator, it may always be the case that we don’t know how he came to have such an eccentric personality prior to the program that granted him his powers and bombastic persona. Ever a soldier however, Wade hailed from the land of Mounties and Maple Syrup, Canada, wherein he discovered that his body was riddled with just about every form of cancer you can think of. With little options ahead of him, Wilson signed up for the Weapon X Program which was also responsible for grafting a certain adamantium to a certain X-Man’s (Wolverine’s to be precise) bones. The experiment was a success, granting Wilson a healing factor that far surpassed even Logan’s and Sabretooth’s yet also caused Deadpool to have a horrifically scarred body, a bi-product of his healing factor always fighting off the cancer inside of him.
With this new “god-like” power, tendency toward violence, and a dark sense of humor, what better role for Wade Wilson to find himself in than that of an assassin for hire? Deadpool’s first appearance in comics took place after he had already donned the mercenary hat in the pages of Marvel’s New Mutants #98, created by comic book legends Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza. Under the employ of Gideon, an X-Man villain with a rather interesting hairstyle, Deadpool butted heads with his future “best friend”, and son of Cyclops, Cable. Cable is a telekinetic soldier with guns, a metal arm, a flashing eye, and a sense of humor that is as small as his tolerance for Wade in nearly every situation. From here, Deadpool began seeping into the Marvel Universe at large, straddling the line between hero, anti-hero, and insane asylum patient as he cracked wise and frequently broke the fourth wall.
When Wade eventually got a series of his own thanks to popular demand, appropriately named “Deadpool” of course, his cast of supporting characters and villains were put into place. Writer Joe Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness originally brought the series crashing into the Marvel Universe by having Wade travel through time, search for his origins, battle the remnants of the Weapon X program, and tick everyone off that he encountered along the way. Aside from being a hysterical addition to the X-Franchise that borders the line between serious and absurd on a regular basis, Wade surprisingly has some rather heartfelt stories up his sleeve. During his adventures, Deadpool has deeply contemplated the idea of being a hero and finding a place for himself in the world, mostly being rejected by other heroes and hated by most everyone else. The Weapon X program left Wade scarred both physically and emotionally, leaving him with problems that he may truly never overcome, but he’ll sure have fun trying.
All is not lost though as little Wade Wilson continued to escalate in popularity over the years, becoming a major player in the events of Marvel comics. Wade, despite his success, has never become an honorary X-Man himself, as his extremely annoying nature originally made him not much of a team player, added on to the fact that he tended to kill quite a few people in his time. After a while though, some folks began to warm up to him, especially the kind of people who had a long list of targets in their sights. Wolverine eventually recruited Deadpool to be a part of his “X-Force”, a team of X-Men assembled for one specific purpose, to put an end to mutant villains threatening the world’s safety, permanently. Joined by teammates Logan, Psylocke, Archangel, and Phatomex, X-Force is arguably the greatest X-Men story of all time, and Deadpool plays a sizable role in that. From here, Deadpool’s popularity has only continued to grow.
The reasoning behind why Deadpool has become so noticeable among comic readers, aside from his amazing fashion sense, is that there never has been a character quite like Wade Wilson. Granted, there have been characters that have wise cracked throughout the years, who have been assassins and mercenaries, and who have been mainstays within the universe of Professor X and his students to be sure. Deadpool however has created a character that is able to take time out of any action sequence or dramatic moment to leap from the comic pages to address the readers directly. Wade’s insanity is something that’s remarkably endearing, allowing for stories that not only push him front and center, but also make him surprisingly relatable to readers in so much as he can appear to be talking directly to each of us, regardless of how out of sorts his lines may come across. In a world of dire situations and seriousness, it’s nice to read a story with a protagonist who can make legitimately funny commentary about the story itself, and the world at large. Also, the fact that if you find Wade annoying, you can see him blown apart on a regular basis doesn’t hurt either.
Deadpool getting his own movie was originally thought of to be a pipe dream, but in this day and age, we’re lucky enough to see some of our favorite heroes and villains brought to life, so why shouldn’t the Merc with a Mouth come along for the ride? Reviews for the upcoming film have been overwhelmingly positive, with trailers and TV spots showing a Deadpool that is so close to his comic book origin it’s almost unbelievable. Regardless of what the future may bring, Wade Wilson seems to have his road paved with gold and his refrigerator filled with chimichangas.