By Brett White
After making a bloody splash as an X-Force villain just over 20 years ago, Deadpool has grown from a cult favorite second banana to Marvel's most notorious leading mercenary.
On June 25, 2013, comic book fans everywhere will get to experience life in the red and black tights when Deadpool's first ever video game breaks its way into stores. This marks Wade Wilson's first time headlining a game after appearing in other titles like “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” and the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, we're giving you an in-depth look at Deadpool's history, from his humble beginnings as X-Force's snarkiest foe all the way to today.
Deadpool came into the Marvel Universe kicking and screaming, as well as stabbing and blasting, in 1991's NEW MUTANTS #98. While mostly wisecracking free agent nowadays, the Merc with a Mouth started out strictly business with a side of snark. That business? Breaking into the X-Mansion and killing Cable at the request of the shadowy crime boss Tolliver.
But Tolliver didn't count on Cable's new brat pack, the New Mutants, to go on the offensive. Deadpool made quick work of Rictor, Cannonball and the others before making his way to his target. If not for a last minute save by Domino and handful of daggers to Deadpool's back, the merc might have finished his job. Instead, the soon-to-be X-Force laughed off his attack and shipped him back to his employer.
Despite his failed hit on Cable, Deadpool maintained Tolliver’s trust for a variety of other jobs. In his next appearance in X-FORCE #2, Deadpool clashed with Garrison Kane, also known as the all-new and half-machine agent code-named Weapon X. Their tussle over a shipment of Japanese software caused Deadpool to reveal his contempt for the Weapon X program, giving readers their first hint at his tortured back-story. DP got a few good punches and puns in before getting shot in the back. He cut his losses and teleported out.
Deadpool laid low for the next few months, with Tolliver only hiring him to teleport the battered and bruised Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut out of harm's way after their defeat in X-FORCE #5.
By now Deadpool had become a popular supporting character, with a fan base loyal enough to keep him around. But ‘Pool had been attacked from behind and disposed of in half of his appearances; not exactly the making of a modern comic book icon. In X-FORCE #11, readers finally got a taste of how vicious this character could be.
After going stir crazy in an island base off the coast of Italy, Deadpool headed out to check up on the spy Tolliver had planted in X-Force's midst. It turned out Deadpool's initial assault way back in NEW MUTANTS #98 served as merely a cover to get his old flame, the shape-shifting Copycat, implanted into the team's ranks, posing as Domino. Now after months undercover, Vanessa had gone radio silent, prompting a visit from her ex.
Deadpool fared well in his rematch, quickly taking out Siryn—a lady he wouldn’t soon forget—and sparring with Shatterstar before confronting Vanessa one-on-one. The two engaged in a brutal fight, demonstrating to Copycat that Tolliver tolerated no less than absolute obedience. Deadpool exited, leaving X-Force wondering why the mercenary took such special interest in their "teammate."
Vanessa came clean in X-FORCE #14, revealing herself to be an imposter and spy. She agreed to lead a vengeful Cable straight to Tolliver's base. The duo blasted their way into the enemy compound in X-FORCE #15, only to find a surprise in the villa's lower levels: the real Domino, alive and chained up. Deadpool got the jump on the would-be rescuers, slicing through Vanessa and getting punchy with Cable until Domino blasted him from behind in a painful case of déjà vu. When DP regained consciousness, he noted a trail of blood in place of Vanessa, signaling her escape. 'Pool then teleported away, swearing revenge and hoping that people would just lay off attacking his back.
With Tolliver out of the picture, Deadpool hunted down the traitorous Vanessa, finding Tolliver's file on the shape-shifter in X-FORCE #21, which contained her last known address.
Cut to: Vanessa hanging out with her old pal Tina in a Boston bar. The pair, now twins thanks to Copycat’s mutant powers, fell victim to an ambush by Deadpool. Before he could discern his target, the dim-witted Sluggo blasted one of them away. The surviving twin fled, making Deadpool do a pretty big face palm.
In X-FORCE #23, Deadpool and Sluggo bust into the dearly departed Tina's apartment and try to capture Vanessa. And, as if on cue, Deadpool and Sluggo get blasted by Domino, who's tracked Copycat down to help her find X-Force. Domino takes Vanessa, but not before plugging a few more rounds into Deadpool and Sluggo.
Deadpool's tenure as a supporting player in X-FORCE contained more backstabbing—or back blasting—than a whole season of "Beverly Hills 90210." Next up: Deadpool steps into the spotlight for the first time in his own limited series.