Deadpool is my second-favourite Marvel Comics character. Seeing him come to life (courtesy of IGN) at the hands of the studio that brought me two stellar Transformers games should be a dream come true, but the more I see of the Deadpool game the more I realise the character I fell in love with back in 1997 has spiralled out of control.
To High Moon Studios’ credit, it is staying amazingly faithful to the character in his current incarnation. Feeling up Cable, cutting to a half-naked bouncing woman holding an “I Love DP!” (ha. ha.) sign wouldn’t be out of place in any comic currently harbouring the “Merc’ With a Mouth”. What was once a subtle, almost charming sort of mania has devolved over the years into batshit crazy. He’s become a parody of his own parody.
I wasn’t all that fond of Deadpool when he first showed up. His 1997 debut took place in New Mutants, a comic book I had subscribed to since its debut that was in the midst of being completely ruined by artist (well, he does draw things) Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza. Liefeld’s design reminded Nicieza of DC Comics’ mercenary Deathstroke (titter), so Deadpool was eventually given the real name of Wade Wilson, a play on Deathstroke’s Slade Wilson.
The love came in 1997 with Deadpool’s first ongoing, with words by Joe Kelly and visuals by the amazing Ed McGuinness, the only comic book artist I’ve ever taken the time to bug for a sketch. Deadpool was crazy here, sure, but he had a heart as well. There was a depth to the character that only grew when Christopher Priest (Quantum and Woody!) took over writing duties.
Once that series ended I took a break from comics. I’d check in with Deadpool now and again, but more often than not found that creators had a hard time reining themselves in when faced with the freedom of a character capable of breaking the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience. I still loved his video game cameos, and Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson was the best thing about the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, but in comics I felt him slipping away.
Now Deadpool is in a new series, written by Brian Posehn (I do not look like him) and Gerry Duggan and illustrated by Tony Moore. The first several issues had him fighting zombie versions of dead American presidents. It was pretty hideous. He’s also in the new Thunderbolts, completely out-of-place among the likes of Elektra, Flash Thompson’s Venom, The Punisher and General Red Hulk Ross. That’s four of my least favourite Marvel characters, and the low point of the book Deadpool.
I should be excited about the Deadpool video game. This trailer neatly summarises why I am not.