As time moves forward, more and more people start getting into Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool. A character who has existed for nearly three decades, Deadpool has been featured in a lot of stories. Some are incredibly good. Some are incredibly bad. It’s hard to keep track of what’s worth checking out.
At times, I wake up in a cold sweat, dreaming about someone new to comics coming across a trade of Deadpool Corps and thinking, “Wow! A whole team of Deadpools! This has to be great! I’ll buy it!” The poor souls. The poor, damned souls.
I’ve read an excessive amount of Deadpool books over the years. I’ve experienced his highs and lows. The mainstream books that fell flat and the obscure appearances that are underrated.
We’re going to skip the first couple years of his existence because it’s really not worth looking at. His first appearance in New Mutants #98 is forgettable and he doesn’t do anything memorable in the pages of X-Force. He stars in a miniseries called Deadpool: The Circle Chase by Fabian Nicieza and Joe Madureira, which was okay, but not worth tracking down. He’s still a full-on villain in the comic and thus comes off as unlikeable until a brief moment in the end. You can skip it.
But whatever you do, don’t skip these…
Deadpool v.2 (also known as Deadpool: Sins of the Past) #1-4
Writer: Mark WaidArtist: Ian Churchill1994
Interestingly enough, the first really good Deadpool story came from Mark Waid’s lack of research. Marvel asked him to do a Deadpool mini and he was like, “Yeah, sure, whatever.” Then he read up on who Deadpool was and regretted his decision. Regardless, he was able to work out a pretty rad four issues.
The comic introduces the relationship between Deadpool and Siryn, culminating in a fantastic character moment during a big fight against the Juggernaut in the final issue. Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy are the main villains of the story, during the weird point in the 90s where Cassidy has a wooden hand. The story isn’t the most memorable thing in the world, but it gives us Wade being a good guy, Siryn, Dr. Killbrew, and Ian Churchill’s grotesque depiction of Deadpool without his mask on. Joe Kelly’s run gets all the praise, but Sins of the Past is like the prototype.
Deadpool v.3 #1-33, Daredevil/Deadpool Annual ’97, Deadpool/Death Annual ’98, Baby’s First Deadpool Book
Writer: Joe KellyArtists: Ed McGuinness, Kevin Lau, Bernard Chang, Shannon Denton, Pete Woods, Walter McDaniel, Steve Harris, and Anthony Williams1997-1999
If it wasn’t for Joe Kelly, nobody would care about Deadpool. He’d be an obscure piece of ’90s trivia who would have been killed off years ago. Kelly built on Waid’s miniseries and gave us nearly three years of solid comics that mixed the character’s well-known humor and – this is important – pathos. The main story of the series is that a government group brings in Deadpool because they need him to do a deed they deem heroic. Deadpool then has to prove that he can in fact be a hero.
This opens Pandora’s box for him because it isn’t so simple. While he has his positives, he can’t just suddenly be a good person. There’s a ton of moral baggage in his history and his willpower to walk straight in the light of tragedy is questionable at best. Then there’s the details of his actual mission, which make him question himself even more as it gets closer and closer to go-time.
Despite all the serious stuff and character building, it’s still hilarious. It gave us the classic Street Fighter gag, which was popular enough to be referenced multiple times in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The best use of humor is issue #11 where Deadpool and his housemate/prisoner Blind Al go back in time and end up in an old 60s Spider-Man comic. Old art is reused and edited so that Deadpool is a stand-in for Spider-Man and Al is a stand-in for May. Notable for being one of the first times anyone in comics ever pointed out how ridiculous Norman Osborn’s hair is.
The complete Joe Kelly Deadpool is available in the Deadpool Classic trades. You can buy this volume on Amazon.
Deadpool v.3 #50, 51, 54, 55
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Buddy ScaleraArtists: Darick Robertson and Georges Jeanty2001
If there’s one major flaw in Kelly’s Deadpool run, it’s that he gave him a pretty complete character arc and there was a feeling that whoever followed up was screwed. Christopher Priest got an A for effort, but his run on the character wasn’t really grabbing the heart of the nation. In-between the end of Kelly’s run and the beginning of Simone’s run, this volume of Deadpool was a bunch of hit-or-miss stories.
One of the better ones comes in a two-issue tale where Deadpool reluctantly finds himself with a sidekick. After failing to prevent a mob hit, Deadpool is bound by honor to temporarily adopt the victim’s son Christopher and keep him safe. Christopher absolutely hates Deadpool and blames him for his father’s death, but enough of an understanding is met where they agree to take out the man who called the hit. While he lacks the healing factor, Poolboy/Kid Deadpool is quick in understanding sniper gunplay and explosives. It’s a shame he only made a few appearances after and then was completely forgotten about.
Another good story comes a few issues later, where Deadpool meets with the Punisher for the first time. There’s not too much meat on the story other than Deadpool being hired by a mobster to assassinate Frank, but the action is great and gives us a scene that I hold dear to my heart where Deadpool beats Frank with a lead pipe while insisting it’s a delicious Fruit Roll-up. Maybe you had to be there, or maybe you just need to read the issue.
Oh, and Tim Bradstreet – the guy who did all those realistic Punisher covers – draws Deadpool for issue #55‘s cover. It’s totally sweet.
Deadpool v.3 #65-69
Writer: Gail SimoneArtist: Udon2002
Gail Simone’s Deadpool run is probably her best work and it says a lot that she was able to be so memorable with only five issues to her name. She gives Wade a new supporting cast and status quo, where he runs his own business Deadpool, Inc. While the run is mostly about Deadpool being stricken with mental entropy from an evil psychic mercenary named Black Swan, there are all sorts of little adventures in there, including the very memorable subplot where Deadpool carries Spider-Man villain the Rhino around on a keychain.
There are a lot of hilarious gags and sweet moments tossed in there, including a scene in the finale involving Deadpool’s “assistant,” a crazed homeless man named Ratbag. The payoff is really one of the more selfless moments in Deadpool’s history. The run also features appearances by the Taskmaster, back when he had his cool Skull Man from Mega Man 4 redesign. I miss that look.
Agent X #1-7, 13-15
Writer: Gail SimoneArtist: Alvin Lee and Udon2002-2003
When I said that Simone only had five Deadpool issues to her name, that might not have been 100% accurate, depending on how you feel about Agent X. Agent X is a direct follow-up to the last arc of Deadpool v.3, featuring the same supporting cast (Sandi, Outlaw, Taskmaster) and starring a mysterious gentleman named Alex Hayden. The amnesiac Hayden has the same zest for mercenary work, a face-full of scars, and a juvenile sense of humor. This leads several to believe that he’s really Wade Wilson and doesn’t know it.
At the very least, the comic has the same spirit. Unfortunately, Simone and the Udon guys leave after #7 and it’s thrown to various other writers before being cancelled. Normally, that would be fine, but Simone set up a very specific mystery about Hayden’s connections to Deadpool and Deadpool is still missing since the end of his previous solo run. Considering they needed Deadpool back in order to do Cable/Deadpool, Marvel had the original creative team return for three more issues to wrap everything up. It’s a very satisfactory conclusion.
Writer: Fabian NiciezaArtists: Mark Brooks, Patrick Zircher, Lan Medina, Reilly Brown, Staz Johnson, and Ron Lim2004-2008
Cable/Deadpool (or Cable & Deadpool) is rather nice in how self-contained it is for such a respectable run. Sure, it has tie-ins to House of M and Civil War, but there are no confusing crossovers or annuals or specials to muck it up. Just fifty straight issues of strong quality from the guy who co-created one of the two main characters. Other than a brief moment in the Kelly run, Deadpool and Cable have never seen eye-to-glowing-eye, so the series is about two hated enemies with nothing in common growing into a total bromance. It’s wonderful. Nicieza hits all the right character moments and the quality rarely dips.
There are two main flaws with it, though.
One, while Nicieza’s a great writer most of the time, he has the tendency to write plots that only seem to make sense to himself. He’ll have some kind of maguffin in the story that will do something overly complicated and I really have no idea what’s going on no matter how many times Deadpool says, “Oh, I get it now!”
The other big problem is how Cable exits the series during the tail end because of stuff going on in the main X-Men books. For the rest of the comic, it’s all about Deadpool doing his own thing in a series that’s not supposed to just be about him. It’s still good, but not as good and it’s completely understandable that they end it 50 issues in for the sake of relaunching the series.
Superman/Batman Annual #1
Writer: Joe KellyArtists: Ed McGuinness, Ryan Ottley, Sean Murphy, and Carlo Barberi2006
Now, you might think it’s kind of weird to have a DC comic on a reading guide for a Marvel character, but bear with me. This one-shot tells the story of how Superman and Batman discover each other’s secret identities as a cruise ship enters the Bermuda Triangle. As crazy things are wont to happen, it opens up a portal to Earth-3 and the Crime Syndicate shows up to cause trouble. Meanwhile, Deathstroke the Terminator is hired to assassinate Bruce Wayne. The only one capable of getting in his way is Earth-3’s answer to Deathstroke…who is a jokey mercenary…written by Joe Kelly.
Yes, Earth-3 Deathstroke is very obviously Deadpool. Presumably, that’s his name too, but every time he gets ready to introduce himself, he gets horribly maimed. The whole issue is a hoot and the idea that we’re getting Deathstroke vs. Deadpool out of it is icing on the cake.
Wolverine Origins #21-25
Writer: Daniel WayArtist: Steve Dillon2008
When Daniel Way was rumored as the new Deadpool writer, I was incredibly apprehensive based on his terrible take on Venom. Granted, Way’s Deadpool was definitely more miss than hit (more on that in a sec), but he did start strong. In fact, his best writing came from his first big take on the merc. In Wolverine Origins, Way and Steve Dillon had Deadpool target Wolverine.
The first few issues are a treat, turning it into a Chuck Jones type of cartoon where Deadpool terrorizes Wolverine by dropping pianos on him and other ridiculous things. It introduces Way’s short-lived Pool-o-Vision, where Wade hallucinates and can’t tell reality from daydreams. It’s a terrible gimmick most of the time, but works here because Steve Dillon is doing it. Dillon’s work is notorious for giving everyone the same ugly horse face, so to see him suddenly go all Tex Avery with the way he draws Wolverine is the best.
Later in the arc, we get a fantastic issue where Deadpool rants about why he hates Wolverine, revealing his own self-hatred. It’s really one of the best single issues for that character and makes it all the more disappointing that Way never hit that promise in all the time he wrote Deadpool after that.
Deadpool v.4 #1-7, 10-12, 15-18
Writer: Daniel WayArtists: Paco Medina and Carlo Barberi2008-2010
Daniel Way got to write a lengthy run on Deadpool with 65 issues (two of them were .1 issues) during a time when Deadpool’s mainstream popularity was really starting to take off. This is too bad as it wasn’t all that good. I mean, it started out pretty good. The first year had a lot of energy and it looked like it was going somewhere, not counting the issues where it does a meaningless crossover with Thunderbolts. Immediately after, though, we get one of the most entertaining Deadpool stories ever when he takes on Dark Avengers‘ Hawkeye (Deadpool’s on-again/off-again friend Bullseye). It’s awesome, funny, off-the-wall, and action-packed. If there’s a reason I stuck with the book longer than I should have, it’s because of these issues.
Afterwards, there’s a decent storyline where he tries to join the X-Men, but the rest of Way’s stuff is for the birds. The humor is flat, there’s zero direction, there’s seemingly never any payoff to anything, the inner-voice gimmick means Way doesn’t need to include a supporting cast (which Deadpool seriously needs), and his Deadpool is simply an unlikeable dick. There’s no reason to actually care about him. Then towards the end, Way starts bringing back old Deadpool antagonists without actually understanding any of them.
Still, that first year or so was pretty sweet. It’s available in Deadpool: The Complete Collection by Daniel Way.
Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu #1 (Super Issue)
Writer: Jonathan HickmanArtist: Kody Chamberlin2009
A few years ago, Marvel had a tendency to release huge 48-page one-shots for random characters. They’re in black and white with various creative teams doing short stories. Shang-Chi got one and it’s every bit worth reading. The cover story is actually called “The Annual Race to Benefit Various and Sundry Evil Organizations and Also the Homeless. Now with Beer and Hot Dogs” and it’s a trip.
The best way I can even explain it is a surreal and at times nightmarish version of Wacky Races featuring Shang-Chi, Deadpool, and a bunch of outlandish factions on motorcycles. The fact that it’s Jonathan Hickman writing it makes it one of the better “under the radar” comics Marvel’s given us in the past decade. The non-Deadpool stories are worth it as well.
Deadpool: Suicide Kings #1-6
Writers: Mike Benson and Adam GlassArtist: Carlo Barberi2009
Suicide Kings is a miniseries that doesn’t really have much to say. It’s slightly difficult for me to even explain why I have it on the list. There’s nothing high concept and even unique about it. It’s just a Deadpool vs. Tombstone story. I guess it’s just fun. Deadpool gets framed for a terrorist act and has to find who set him up. Doing so gets him into fights and team-ups with Daredevil, Spider-Man, and the Punisher.
The Punisher stuff is the most entertaining, seeing as how this takes place during the brief window of time when Frank has access to lots of black market superhero/villain tech. So if you want to see the Punisher flying around on a Goblin Glider with one of Klaw’s sonic blasters, this is the comic for you. I guess it’s just a good go-to Deadpool story that has no real baggage to it.
Deadpool Team-Up #899, 898, 897, 894, 893, 890, 889, 888, 886
Writers: VariousArtists: Various2010-2011
There was a time when Deadpool had four on-going comics at once along with minis and other madness. While it was a time of quantity over quality, Deadpool Team-Up had a lot of gems in there. A follow-up to Deadpool #900 (making fun of how Spider-Man, Hulk, and others suddenly had #600 comics coming out), we got this series, which was numbered in reverse order.
It’s just as well as there’s no continuity to speak of in Team-Up. Every single issue is a different creative team writing a story about Deadpool working alongside a different character. That means it’s a crapshoot and you don’t know what you’re going to get. Though a lot of the time you’re going to see writers really trying to push characters they want to see get more exposure. Seriously, there’s a crossover with US-Ace that ends with the writer asking you to mail Marvel that you want to see him write more US-Ace comics.
The better team-ups are with Hercules, the Zapata Brothers, the Ghost Riders, Franken-Castle, Captain Britain, Machine Man, Gorilla Man, Thing, and Iron Fist. The two absolute highlights are easily the Captain Britain and Thing issues. If you’re a wrestling fan, the Thing issue is a definite must-read, if only to see Deadpool and Thing take on an intergalactic Randy Savage. Just like that Dexter’s Lab cartoon that’s based on that Thing comic! It all comes full circle.
Deadpool Pulp #1-4
Writers: Adam Glass and Mike BensonArtist: Laurence Campbell2010-2011
For a short while, Marvel did their Noir comic line. Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Wolverine, etc. Everybody had one. Towards the end of that, they gave Deadpool one, only titled “Pulp.”
“Pulp” takes place in the 1950s in a world without superheroes or superpowers. Wade Wilson is a Canadian operative, certifiably insane due to his experiences in the Korean War. He’s hand-picked for a special mission by General Nathan Summers, who feels he owes Wilson as many chances as possible to get himself straight, considering Wilson lost his marbles rescuing Nathan during the war. In a cool story that puts Deadpool on the search for a stolen nuclear device meant to trigger World War III, he runs into reimagined versions of Weasel, Outlaw, and Stryfe.
It’s worth checking out.
Uncanny X-Force #1-35
Writer: Rick RemenderArtists: Jerome Opena, Rafael Albuquerque, Esad Ribic, Billy Tan, Mark Brooks, Greg Tocchini, Phil Noto, Julian Totino Tedesco, Dave Williams, and Robbi Rodriguez2010-2012
Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force is, naturally, a team book and Deadpool is only one piece of the full picture, but Remender’s take on him is so rich that it offsets the lack of panel-time. This incarnation of Deadpool may have more heart to him than any other writer’s version. Despite his reputation, he ends up being the conscience of the team and shows off his character growth rather than just reliving it for the umpteenth time.
This incarnation of X-Force is about going after threats to mutantkind proactively in a squad led by Wolverine. Deadpool claims to be part of the team due to being paid, but it’s pretty apparent that he’s only there in honor of Cable. He’s probably the least important member of the team, but he has a lot of prime moments. You actually see him gain the respect of Wolverine, become an unlikely mentor, and completely obliterate Frank Castle verbally at one point.
“Oh, and Chuck Bronson called – he wants everything he ever did back.”
Fear Itself: Deadpool #1-3
Writer: Christopher HastingsArtist: Bong Dazo2011
Fear Itself was a lousy event and for the most part I hate it, but the Deadpool miniseries was a good time. As evil god hammers rain from the sky and turn seven characters into unstoppable fear demons, Deadpool decides to use this to his advantage and build up his reputation as a badass. Though he isn’t going to fight the actual fear gods. He’s not that stupid. Instead, he decides to bedazzle a big-ass hammer and trick D-list villain the Walrus into picking it up, making him believe himself to be one of the Chosen. Too bad the hammer is actually enchanted (in a way unrelated to the fear god stuff going on), so Walrus is actually pretty powerful and more than a match for Deadpool.
The mini is written by Christopher Hastings, the man behind Dr. McNinja, and to no surprise, he’s a perfect fit with writing Deadpool. I’m hoping to see more of that writer/character pairing in the future.
5 Ronin #1-5
Writer: Peter MilliganArtists: Tom Coker, Dalibor Talajic, Laurence Campbell, Goran Parlov, and Leandro Fernandez2011
5 Ronin is far from being entirely about Deadpool, but I’m putting it on the list because it features my favorite alternate reimagining of the character. The five-issue miniseries takes place in feudal Japan, during the dying days of the samurai.
A villain known as the Daimyo has made a ton of enemies and each issue focuses on a different one, each a powerless, Japanese counterpart to certain Marvel heroes. You have Wolverine, Hulk, Punisher, Psylocke, and finally Deadpool. Other than the Psylocke issue, a crazy village idiot with his scars covered in a wide, straw hat tends to show up and pushes the heroes one way or another. This is, as you can guess, Deadpool, who gets the spotlight in the last issue, mixing his silly nature, a serving a emotional trauma, and a whole lot of badass.
He even gets the sweetest fourth-wall-breaking moment during the climax.
What If Venom Possessed Deadpool?
Writer: Rick RemenderArtist: Shawn Moll2011
While it’s already a funny comic, this What If? is worth a chuckle in retrospect. The story of Deadpool becoming Venom in a failed attempt to assassinate the Beyonder is ultimately Rick Remender’s soap box about superhero stories only “mattering” because of big Marvel events. Then Remender would go on to write Axis, which would feature Deadpool prominently. The difference a few years makes.
There’s a lot going on in the issue, including the Watcher hosting his own Jerry Springer-type show where Beyonder throws a chair at Galactus, but the best part is easily when Venompool finds himself in the middle of a 1990s comic crossover throwdown. An overly-90s Sentry (brown leather jacket, shades, ponytail, pouches) goes on a rant about superheroes concepts that are stupid, most notably going off on the idea of Mummy Moon Knight being stupid because crazy stuff isn’t supposed to ever happen to street-level heroes. This is Remender’s way of letting off steam about those who criticized his awesome “Frank Castle is now a Frankenstein monster” status quo.
Man…I miss Franken-Castle so much, guys.
Deadpool v.5 #1-45, Deadpool: The Gauntlet #1-13
Writers: Gerry Duggan and Brian PosehnArtists: Tony Moore, Scott Koblish, Mike Hawthorne, Declan Shalvey, Mike Hawthorne, Reilly Brown, and John Lucas2012-2015
Even though I start at #1 here, you might want to just skip the first six issues. Truth be told, they’re not that great. If anything, it feels like a four-issue story being told in six issues and the main concept of Deadpool fighting zombie presidents loses its luster pretty quickly. Then again, maybe it reads better in trade. I don’t know.
All I know is that a lot of people have felt reluctant in catching up with the series based on how weak the first storyline is although it’s unanimous from what I’ve seen that people consider everything after it to be far better. So if you want to see some foundation for the new series’ supporting cast and some lovely Tony Moore art, give it a go. If you don’t dig it, just remember that it gets immediately excellent afterwards.
#7 and on? Pure gold. The quality is off the chain here. I think outside of Uncanny X-Force, this is the first take on Deadpool that actually tries to move forward from what Kelly wrote. Nicieza and Way both tried to reinvent the wheel by doing more, “Deadpool’s a crazy jerk mercenary who needs to learn to be a superhero,” stories. Duggan and Posehn start with that. Deadpool’s already proven to have a good enough heart. Now what? Now he has to build relationships. Over the course of the series he doesn’t just gain friends, but family as well.
Which reminds me, after #25, you have to read the Gauntlet series with art by Reilly Brown. It’s a digital thing and lasts 13 issues, but they later turned it into a print miniseries called Dracula’s Gauntlet. You’re better off getting the digital stuff because they use the Marvel Infinite gimmick extremely well.
The series has a perfect balance of humor, nonsense, tragedy, and heart. If anything, definitely read the story arc “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” where Deadpool teams up with Captain America and Wolverine in North Korea. It’s goddamn heartbreaking and ends up being maybe the best Deadpool story ever. Plus I’m quoted on the cover of the hardcover version!
Writer: Christopher HastingsArtist: Reilly Brown2013
Hey, Hastings is back! In a series of two-for-one-shots that feature Avengers characters teaming up with X-Men characters, we have Hawkeye and Deadpool working together. You know, Deadpool is sort of an X-Men guy. This beats the pants off of most of Deadpool Team-Up due to the banter between the two snarky superhero man-children. Their pirate-fighting adventure is a great prelude to the Hawkeye vs. Deadpool miniseries, though they certainly get along better here. While most heroes immediately hate Deadpool, Hawkeye takes a shining to him from the start and the two fight side-by-side like total bros. Also notable for the debut of the exploding Hulk Hands trick arrow.
Hastings would also go on to do the one-shot Deadpool Annual #2, where Deadpool switches costumes with Spider-Man. If you dig the Fear Itself tie-in and this story from A+X, by all means track it down.
Deadpool vs. Carnage #1-4
Writer: Cullen BunnArtist: Salva Espin2014
Carnage is one of those characters people are thinking about when they claim, “There are no bad characters, just bad writers.” As awful as he was in the 90s, his batting average has been way better ever since being brought back a few years ago. With Cullen Bunn getting nothing but Deadpool miniseries to write, Deadpool vs. Carnage worked the best because he ultimately matched up two unrelated characters and made them seem right together as regular archenemies.
Carnage never worked as a Spider-Man villain because all the writers could ever do is make their dynamic a watered-down Batman vs. Joker with superpowers. Spider-Man responds to Carnage’s mass slaughter by punching him, not giving murder much serious thought, and hoping really hard that the authorities can keep him locked up. Deadpool outright wants to make Carnage suffer, both physically and psychologically.
The idea of the series is that Carnage is again on the loose and Deadpool goes after him because they’re on the same insane wavelength. He can understand where Carnage is and what he’s going to do next. This understandably drives Carnage to frustration because he lives by the mantra of chaos. He’s supposed to be unpredictable, yet this idiot claims to know his every move. Toss in some fun and incredibly violent fight scenes that play up their battle strengths and weaknesses and you have a pretty solid miniseries.
Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #0-4
Writer: Gerry DugganArtist: Matteo Lolli2014-2015
On Halloween, Deadpool ends up crossing paths with both Hawkeyes and inserts himself in helping them solve a mystery. They uncover a plot involving Black Cat, Typhoid Mary, and a lot of brainwashed weirdos dressed as superheroes.
With Duggan writing, it feels an awful lot like it’s a missing story arc from the main Deadpool book that just doesn’t tie in with the rest of the series. Clint Barton is written very much like the Matt Fraction version of the character where he’s an Ash Williams type who is either an unlucky badass or a lucky loser depending on how you look at him.
Even though Deadpool plays off Clint extremely well, it becomes even better the more Deadpool and Kate interact, with Deadpool becoming something of a bad superhero influence on her.
Deadpool v.6 #1-27
Writer: Gerry DugganArtists: Mike Hawthorne and Scott Koblish2015-2017
After the whole “Death of Deadpool” think, there’s a Secret Wars tie-in called Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos, but it’s nothing necessary. Plus Deadpool just exists as a ghost narrator throughout.
Duggan appears without Posehn to write some more Deadpool with a brand new status quo. Due to actions that aren’t immediately apparent to the reader, Deadpool has become the most popular superhero in the world. He’s so popular and so beloved that he’s merchandised himself and has used the money to fund two different ventures. One is the Avengers, as shown in the pages of Uncanny Avengers (also by Duggan). Yes, Deadpool is an Avenger. God help us.
The other venture is Deadpool’s Mercs for Money. He’s franchised himself out to other goofball hero/antihero characters, including Slapstick, Terror, Solo, and others so that they can dress like him and fulfill jobs like him. Despite his success, Deadpool has a bit too much going on and it starts taking its toll on his life. Plus one of his employees is out to get him. I won’t spoil who it is, but at least now Deadpool has a fitting archnemesis.
There’s also an interesting side-story told piece-by-piece through the series. We peer into the year 2099 to see what kind of legacy Wade’s carved for himself. It ties into the present day stuff, though we won’t know how much for a while.
As for Uncanny Avengers, while it’s okay, it’s not required reading. It shows Wade’s financial downfall and pairs him up with Rogue romantically, but the latter part is over before it can begin.
Writer: Joe Kelly and variousArtist: Ed McGuinness and various2016-2017
Yep. Kelly and McGuinness are back. It mainly follows up on the events of the first issue of Uncanny Avengers where Spider-Man left the team due to Deadpool’s inclusion. Now Deadpool wants help in being a better hero and intends to hire Spider-Man to help him. Wade kind of goes the wrong way about it every step of the way, including attempted murder on Spider-Man’s current boss…Peter Parker.
The two jokey heroes end up becoming a bit closer, which is good, since Wolverine’s dead and Deadpool really needs a reluctant BFF. The main story has been about a mysterious villain obsessed with killing them and a strange hybrid creature.
There are also a bunch of fill-in issues that tell one-shot stories of the two, like earlier meetings or an issue where the two save Christmas. All good stuff.
Deadpool and the Mercs for Money v.2 #1-8
Writer: Cullen BunnArtist: Iban Coello2016-2017
So Cullen Bunn did a miniseries about the Mercs for Money and it was…fine. It wasn’t bad, but felt very by-the-numbers by tossing in the likes of Taskmaster and Evil Deadpool. Despite doing well enough to get an ongoing, it’s entirely skippable.
Also, by this point, several members of the team have gotten their own solo stories that shat the bed. That means that this ongoing is about taking apart the old team and creating a new and more interesting line-up. Now the Mercs for Money includes Gorilla Man, Hit-Monkey, Machine Man, the new leader Domino, and – most importantly – Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
Negasonic’s name is Ellie. Kind of weird that Deadpool has both a daughter and a daughter figure named Ellie.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool #12-13
Writer: Christopher HastingsArtist: Alti Firmansyah and Gurihiru2017
Gwenpool is the new hotness these days, even though she’ll probably fall into obscurity by 2019. Too bad, since she’s a load of fun. Coming from the “real world” and being drawn into the Marvel Universe, Gwen Poole is more Superboy Prime than Deadpool. Regardless, she is fully aware that she’s in a fictional comic book world and is more of a thematic counterpart.
In this story, where she’s captured by Arcade, she finally gets to meet and fight Deadpool. Shockingly, this isn’t a fangirl-meeting-hero moment like Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel. Nope. Turns out Gwen doesn’t actually read Deadpool comics and think his sense of humor is whack.
Deadpool: ‘Til Death Do Us… (Deadpool #28, Spider-Man/Deadpool #15, Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #9, Spider-Man/Deadpool #16, Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #10, Deadpool #29)
Writers: Gerry Duggan, Joshua Corin, and Christopher HastingsArtists: Salva Espin, Scott Koblish, and Iban Coello2017
Wow, an actual Deadpool event! About time we got one of these. Told across three books, Shiklah finally decides to start an uprising and take over New York City. While the Mercs for Money keep her busy, Deadpool and Spider-Man take a trip to Europe to bring in the only monster capable of putting a stop to this: Dracula.
…this plan isn’t going to end well, is it?
Deadpool v.6 #30-36
Writer: Gerry DugganArtists: Mike Hawthorne, Matteo Lolli2017
What goes up must come down. Deadpool’s been involved in a lot of perilous situations but nothing is worse than the dreaded Secret Empire tie-in! Good God, no! Yes, Deadpool’s status quo is rocked forever because of his alliance with Retcon Sci-Fi-Nazi Steve Rogers. The Real-Captain-America-Who-Has-Been-Hydra-All-Along-Or-Something gives Deadpool the mission of killing off Agent Coulson, meaning Deadpool has to succeed at a job that even low TV ratings can’t pull off.
Deadpool’s actions put him at odds with some of his closest friends and it’s only going to get worse from here.
Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #1-5
Writer: Declan ShalveyArtist: Mike Henderson2017
While Deadpool became somewhat close with Wolverine prior to the latter’s death, he doesn’t have many good things to say about Wolverine’s elderly, alternate future self. Old Man Logan goes on a one-man mission to save a mutant girl named Maddie from being experimented on by a shadowy government organization and Deadpool tries to beat him to the punch just to steal his thunder.
Maddie’s power is that she can teleport matter, but only objects and not people. She’s very reluctant to take help from either quick-healing mass murderer, but is stuck with them anyway. As the story unfolds, we begin to wonder if maybe it’s better that they take her advice.
Either way, a whole lot of goons are going to get stabbed, including our heroes. Because, again, they don’t like each other.
Deadpool vs. the Punisher #1-5
Writer: Fred Van LenteArtist: Pere Perez2017
Frank Castle is out to take down The Bank, the world’s biggest money launderer. As it turns out, Deadpool is good friends with “Banksy” and is especially close with his son Hudson. The Bank’s wife Mariana tries to escape their life of crime and brings Hudson with her. Deadpool wants them safe but Frank wants them for information and continually lies to Deadpool to use him.
He also shoots him in the head a few times.
What makes this one so fun is that Fred Van Lente gets to do a quasi-follow-up to his amazing Taskmaster miniseries from years earlier. Not only does Taskmaster himself show up for a bit, but underrated D-list villain Don of the Dead gets to strut his stuff.
Spider-Man vs. Deadpool #23-34
Writer: Robbie ThompsonArtists: Chris Bachalo, Scott Hepburn, Elmo Bondoc, Matt Horak2017-2018
The Agent Coulson situation has ruined what was a budding friendship between red-clad wise-crackers. Spider-Man is now out to catch Deadpool and bring him to justice, but that won’t stop them from getting wrapped up in a plot involving Chameleon and a bigass army of LMD copies of various heroes and villains.
The story also bounces back and forth between the present and the future, decades on where Wade and Peter living at the same retirement home. A guilt-ridden Deadpool constantly keeps an eye on his reluctant buddy to secretly keep him alive and it all ties into their LMD adventure. Soon Old Man Wade will have no choice but to use a time machine to reach the present and make things right.
The Despicable Deadpool #287-300
Writer: Gerry DugganArtists: Scott Koblish, Matteo Lolli, Mike Hawthorne2017-2018
Deadpool’s house of cards have begun to crumble. His redemption has folded. Not only is he catching flak for his Secret Empire actions, but Stryfe has him blackmailed to do his bidding. And seriously, if an evil time-traveler is blackmailing you, there’s nothing that you can really do about it because your loved ones can never truly be safe. Now he’s tasked with killing certain people – including Cable himself – or Stryfe is going to kill Ellie.
Unable to simply turn himself in, Deadpool instead struggles as everyone is out to get him. Not only is every superhero out to bring him in, but he’s also put a massive bounty on his own head so that every villain will want to finally end his life. This all culminates in a huge final issue for Duggan’s lengthy run that includes the most disgusting Avengers battle you’ve ever seen.
Any other good Deadpool stories I should have included? Take it to the comments.
Also, I was going to have the Charles Soule run of Thunderbolts in here, but Deadpool doesn’t really get to do all that much and is mainly there to crack jokes in the background. Still a good comic.
Note: This article originally ran in April of 2015. It has been updated with new information since then.
Gavin Jasper likes that someone at Marvel read that Shang-Chi comic and figured, “Yes, that’s the writer we can trust to blow up the Marvel multiverse.” Follow Gavin on Twitter!