Deadpool: Excuse Me While I Wax Nostalgic
The Merc With a Mouth
Ah, Deadpool. We met in the 90's. You made me laugh. You introduced me to Gail Simone. You taught me that, yes, giving your superfluous battle suit mech a snazzy paint job and a pair of fuzzy dice testicles does make it way cooler.
But now I can't quite seem to get away from you. Every Wednesday a new release from one of your many titles. I pick up another Marvel U. title, and you're making a cameo. Impossibly, I even once found you in a DC comic.
You were my Saturday morning pancakes, Deadpool. I looked forward to your syrupy goodness with giddy fangirl glee Now I'm being served pancakes every morning, and I'm getting a little sick of it.
That last analogy went somewhere weird but, point is, I'm getting sick of the 'Pool. However, there was in fact a time when I loved that crimson nutcase to itty bitty tumorous bits. So let's take a look back of some of his late, great titles, shall we?
Before he had so much as a limited series, Deadpool was just another villain. A villain dubbed Wade Wilson by writer Fabian Nicieza; after he saw Rob Liefeld's character designs and noted striking similarities between our merc and a certain big name villain in the DC universe.
New Mutants #98 was where Wade made his debut. He returned to menace Cable on more than one occasion, finding his way into the pages of X-Force and Heroes for Hire, among a few other titles.
But it was the Limited Series that really kicked things off. Fabian Nicieza offered us our first juicy bits of back story; teasing us with the the idea that Wade could be more than a villain, and offering us our first glimpse beneath the mask.
The second limited series certainly carved out a little nostalgic niche in my heart when it introduced me to one of my favorite will they/won't they comic book romances of all time: Deadpool and Siryn.
Deadpool Vol. 2
This is it. This is the Golden Age. Things kicked off in 1997 with Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness. We had our very first villain to antihero story arc; before the concept of a villain to hero arc had become overdone and cliche in the world of the 'Pool. We had awesome old lady Blind Al, best bud Weasel, and... that seeing-eye dog they stole from Matthew Murdock for LOLs.
Monty, Taskmaster, Landau Luckman & Lake. It ran for 69 glorious issues. Well... mostly glorious. There were arcs that dragged, issues that flat-out sucked, the usual - but, bottom line, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't give this run a read.
More Gail Simone? Oh, Marvel, you're too good to me sometimes.
By the end of Deadpool Vol. 2, the title character is out of the picture. Thus begins to tale of Alex Hayden AKA Agent X, AKA some mysterious sort of off-brand Deadpool with amnesia. This one is under-appreciated, over-looked, and absolutely hilarious.
Simone has this uncanny ability to take characters I cared nothing about and turn them into characters I love. Agent X did for Taskmaster what Secret Six is doing for Catman... admittedly to a lesser extent what with Agent X's short run and a (mostly) frustrating author shuffle occurring between issues 7 and 13.
Cable and Deadpool
Some fans will argue about this one. Some fans think this is where the whole Deadpool franchise started to go south. This fan thinks it was awesome, and it remains one of her favorite Marvel titles if only for... wait for it...
Deadpool finds himself stuck with arch nemesis Cable after the latter swallows him and subsequently pukes him back out. And, no, giving that statement context will not help. What follows is funny, tear-jerking, and... vaguely homoerotic.
Toward the end, things did wind down a bit. Cable was taken off the title to go star in Messiah Complex and his own lackluster title. It became more of a team-up and was canceled shortly after - though it does win some major last-minute brownie points for adding to the cast, Bob Agent of Hydra.
And then there were the annuals, the oneshots, the oh-so-awesome "activity book", and the AUs. The cameos in X-Force were often a treat, awkwardly fanning the flames of unresolved sexual tension between Deadpool and the subject of his stalkerish affections, Siryn.
A few honorable mentions go to the Deadpool & Death Annual 1998, Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular and the AOA AU, Excalibur - featuring my favorite of all AU Deadpools, Dead Man Wade.
And You Know the Rest...
Do I think any subsequent Deadpool title has been all bad? No. For instance, I quite enjoyed Suicide Kings and a few of the comics from the on-going series I came across before I found myself getting sick of all this overexposure.
I fully intend to return to reading about Wade Wilson when all the hype dies down... or when I get a taste for pancakes again... whichever comes first.