Created in 1991 by the hugely divisive artist Rob liefeld and solid writer Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool went from standard X-Force/New Mutants villain to pop culture icon over the last two decades. There have a been a few character traits he picked up along the way with tortured anti hero, fourth wall breaking goofball and 4chan favourite meme machine. So what are his best stories I hear you ask…..well then…….
26. Sins Of The Past-1994
If you’ve read any f my comic lists before then would’ve probably seen entries about writer Mark Waid and how he always manage to bring out the human and emotional sides of characters. His take on Deadpool doesn’t really reach the heights of much of his other work and it’s difficult to tell if he’s parodying 90s comic book cliches or going along with them a it’s not his usual style of wiring. The reason I like it so much is the relationship of the villains Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy whose friendship has seeds in Chris Claremont’s X-men run from years earlier. I love wee things like that. Despite the incredibly 90s art from Ian Churchill with characters cutting ridiculous poses all the time Waid manages to make it a sweet story about friendship.
25. Why Is It, To Save Me, I Must Kill You? -1997
Early in the excellent first ongoing series written by Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness in the middle of an arc involving series villain Killbrew, Deadpool gets into a scuffle with The Hulk. Due to The Merc With A Mouth’s near invincibility and regenerating power Kelly gets to have fun with the fight and make it incredibly brutal. This series really nailed the balance between humour and pathos which was sadly lost later as the character became a meme generator. He was always at his best as a severely conflicted and psychotic mercenary with a good heart underneath it all. The beauty and beast relationship with Siryn added to that pathos.
24. Deadpool vs Carnage-2014
The last few years have seen about a million Deadpool mini series with him teaming up or going against various characters in the Marvel universe. Here we see Deadpool amusingly and tenuously feels he is the man to stop Carnage after he escapes from prison for the millionth time. Carnage is a character that divides comic book readers. More casual fans (not an insult) often really like him because of his look etc while more seasoned readers find him shallow and a poorly conceived version of Venom. I’m somewhere in the middle although I probably slightly lean towards the latter as there’s not much to him other than “crazy psycho serial killer” but in the hands of a good writer he can be fun. Cullen Bunn is definitely a good writer and one of the more popular breakouts of the last decade so it works here. Good chemistry and great art from Salva Espin.
23. Why, When I Was Your Age-2005
A stand alone issue from the surprisingly awesome Cable and Deadpool ongoing series. I’ve never been an overly big fan of Cable as a character as he’s just generally characterised as a gruff, miserable bore but that works perfectly in this buddy cop series where he is the straight guy and Deadpool is cutting quips. This standalone issue sees them stopped at a pub and taking some downtime to discuss their youths and how they ended up the way they are. Fabien Nicieza gets to the heart of the duo with the discussion of their youths going to some dark places and expanding the pathos of both characters.
22. Healing Factor: Chapter One: I Forget-2002
I’m just including the first part of this arc for the fun fight with Rhino. At the end of the original ongoing series it had changed a fair bit from it’s origins with Gail Simone writing at this point and the team at Udon on art duties. Their art is divisive and although it doesn’t work brilliantly with Deadpool they absolutely nailed the Street Fighter comics. Anyway this issue sees our anti hero sent to recover the horn from Rhino’s suit by an old billionaire….easier said than done.
21. Dark Reign:Bullseye
Well this is the first entry from the highly divisive Daniel Way run in which the meme heavy content that you see on the internet is omnipresent. There is no doubt the character lost a lot of the depth that made him popular originally but there’s also no denying that Way’s run made him the superstar character he is now so it’s a tough balancing act. Here we see the run caught up in the “Dark Reign” storyline that was running in the Marvel universe at the time in which Norman Osborne has become a national hero and is running his own government backed Avengers team. His team is secretly made of villains though such as Hawkeye being played by Bullseye who is the antagonist in this one.
20. The Circle Chase-1993
Along with it’s sequel Sins Of The Past from earlier, this story is definitely badly dated and tied up in all sorts of convoluted 90s x-men continuity nonsense it still holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the earliest stories I read of the character. It’s sort of to Sins too as Juggernaut and Black Tom are here along with all sorts of other mercs who are after the will of the deceased Mr Tolliver. It ties in with all the X-Force X-this and X-That stuff that was going on at the time so if you’re in no way clued up on it you might be wondering who the hell everyone is and what’s going on but if you do know then there’s lots of fun to be had here.
19.Hawkeye vs Deadpool
Another team up style mini series and one of the better ones. Hawkeye has never been a character I cared for until Matt Fraction began writing him in his ongoing series which was fantastic and I’m not usually a Fraction fan. So having two funny characters interacting, falling out and constantly squabbling is a lot of fun. A mysterious villain is brainwashing people, dressing htem up as superheroes in an attempt to distract the authorities. A big dumb buddy flick with huge set pieces and snappy dialogue.
18.The Annual Race To Benefit Various And Sundry Evil Organizations And Also The Homeless. Now With Beer And Hot Dogs.
A funny wee story by Jonathan Hickman from the 2009Shang Chi super issue. There’s a lot of nonsense crammed into this wee black and white tale with Minotaurs, twin Hitler lookalikes, demons and luchadors all brilliantly drawn by Kody Chamberlain. Good, short fun.
17. Alone Again Naturally-2007-2008
The Skottie Young covers in this arc were stunning. I was reading Cable vs Deadpool as it was coming out at this point and typical to our favourite merc’s luck Cable was taken off the bloody title due to his participation in the admittedly excellent crossover story “Messiah War” in which he was lost in time. It was a ridiculous situation but one that only Deadpool as a character could get around. Writer Fabien Nicieza took on the challenge of finishing the title with a bang in a crazy time traveling adventure that sees him on the wrong end of many Marvel hero’s anger. It’s always good to see Bob:Agent Of Hydra too, such a fun character.
16. The Drowning Man-1998
When people complain about Deadpool having lost his edge, this is whatthey’re talking about. Things get dark in this story of betrayal, misdirection and heartache. The first couple of years saw Deadpool obsessed with Siryn of X-Force and a lot of his sweeter moments came from him trying to be a better person for her. Well here, an early villain T-Ray uses Typhoid Mary to trick Deadpool into sleeping with her whilst thinking she’s Siryn. Deadpool ends up elated and planning his new life as a full on good guy until he realises he’s been tricked. He goes absolutely apeshit and beats his friends to a pulp. It’s dark stuff and shows both sides of why we love the character.
15. Death Comes To Tinseltown (Or The Last Hitler)-2014
When the third ongoing series started in 2013 Marvel brought in the writing team of comedians Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan and it paid off as the series has become a fan favourite. Meh, I’m torn about it….when it’s good it’s excellent, some of the best Deadpool stuff in years but there’s so much filler that brings it down a little. I prefer to focus on the positives though and the flashback issues where they pay homage in tone and look to retro comics are excellent. This crazy story with guest colourist Val Staples who gets that grainy look perfectly along with usual artist Scott Koblish sees Hitler time traveling to the 50s where Deadpool also happens to be, insanity ensues. Deadpool, Fury, Cable and the gang end up in a battle with the evil fascist and end up hilariously killing him and dropping him back off in his own time filled with bullet holes.
Ok let’s have a wee break and come back for the best of the best next time. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think. Cheers, catch me @swing_kinker