Deadpool is a fictional character and anti-hero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by artist Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza, Deadpool first appeared in ‘The New Mutants’ #98 in 1991. A disfigured and mentally unstable mercenary, Deadpool originally appeared as a villain, but the character has since starred in several ongoing series, which is used by writers for humorous effect. The character is famous for his tendency to break the fourth wall and is frequently referred to by the moniker ‘Merc with a Mouth.’

In 1991 Rob Liefeld, a fan of the ‘Teen Titans’ comics, showed his new character to then writer Fabian Nicieza. Upon seeing the costume and noting his characteristics (killer with super agility), Nicieza said, ‘this is Deathstroke from Teen Titans.’ Nicieza gave Deadpool the real name of ‘Wade Wilson’ as an in-joke to being related to ‘Slade Wilson,’ aka Deathstroke. In his first appearance, Deadpool was hired to attack Cable and the New Mutants. After subsequently appearing in ‘X-Force’ as a recurring character, Deadpool began making guest appearances in various different Marvel Comics titles such as the ‘Avengers,’ ‘Daredevil,’ and ‘Heroes for Hire.’

In 1997, Deadpool was given his own ongoing title, initially written by Joe Kelly, with then-newcomer Ed McGuinness as an artist. The series firmly established his supporting cast, including his prisoner/den mother Blind Al and his best friend Weasel. Deadpool became an action comedy parody of the cosmic drama, antihero-heavy comics of the time. The ongoing series gained cult popularity for its unorthodox main character and its balance of angst and pop culture slapstick and the character became less of a villain, though the element of his moral ambiguity remained. Kelly noted, ‘With Deadpool, we could do anything we wanted because everybody just expected the book to be cancelled every five seconds, so nobody was paying attention. And we could get away with it.’

The series was taken over by Christopher Priest who noted that he found Kelly’s issues to be ‘complex and a little hostile to new readers like me’ and that by issue 37, he realized that ‘it was okay to make Deadpool look stupid.’

Deadpool’s primary power is an accelerated healing factor, depicted by various artists and writers with varying levels of efficiency. Artificially endowed by the Weapon X program (the same program that gave Wolverine his adamantium bones), this enables him to regenerate any destroyed tissues or organs at a super-human rate as well as making him immune to known diseases and infections. An unanticipated side effect was a rapid acceleration of the cancerous tumors he was suffering from at the time, causing them to quickly spread across his entire body as soon as his powers fully activated. Because of this, his healing factor super charged his cancer, resulting in massive scar tissue causing his appearance to be severely disfigured.

Deadpool’s brain cells are similarly affected, with dying brain cells being rejuvenated at a super accelerated rate. This allows him to recover from any and all head wounds, and it renders him nearly invulnerable to psychic and telepathic powers, as the altered or damaged brain cells quickly regenerate to their original state. It is also the cause of his psychosis and mental instability. Deadpool’s healing factor is strong enough that he has previously survived complete incineration and decapitation more than once, though in each of these occurrences, his head had to be reunited with his body to heal the wound instead of his body growing a new head (or vice-versa).

Unlike Wolverine’s natural healing factor, Deadpool’s is mentally driven to a partial extent. Similar to Wolverine, his healing factor also affects a number of his physical attributes by increasing them to superhuman levels heightening at least his endurance and stamina. Though it had been said in earlier years that he also had super-human strength, that detail has apparently been glossed over, if not forgotten, as of late.

Deadpool’s body is highly resistant to most drugs and toxins. For example, it is extremely difficult, though not impossible, for him to become intoxicated. He can, however, be affected by certain drugs such as tranquilizers, if he is exposed to a massive enough dosage. Deadpool’s healing factor also provides him with an extended lifespan by slowing the effects of the aging process to an unknown degree which cannot be measured as of yet, since he is not old enough to see any effect. However, his life span is extended to such a degree that he is still alive as Deadpool 800 years from the present as shown when the new X-Force encountered him in the future.

Aside from his physical advantages, Deadpool is a superb assassin and mercenary, an expert in multiple forms of martial arts, an expert swordsman and marksman. It has also been discussed that, while his psychosis and dissociative identity disorder is a handicap, it is also one of his greatest attributes as it makes him an extremely unpredictable opponent. Taskmaster (who has photo-reflexive memory which allows him to copy anyone’s fighting skills by observation, thus making him their equal in battle) was unable to defeat Deadpool due to his chaotic and improvised fighting style.

Over the years, Deadpool has owned a number of personal teleportation devices. Also, during Deadpool’s first ongoing comic, he possessed a device which projected holographic disguises, allowing him to go undercover or conceal his appearance. In addition, Deadpool is multilingual and has demonstrated the ability to speak German, Spanish, and Japanese. Occasionally, Deadpool has also been shown as having a magic satchel, often pulling weapons out of nowhere.

The character’s back-story has been presented as vague and subject to change, and within the narrative he is unable to remember his personal history due to his mental condition. Whether or not his name was even Wade Wilson is subject to speculation since one of his nemeses, T-Ray, claimed that he is the real Wade Wilson and that Deadpool is a vicious murderer who stole his identity. There have been other dubious stories about his history – at one point the supervillain Loki claimed to be his father. Frequently, revelations are later retconned or ignored altogether, and in one issue, Deadpool himself joked that whether he is actually Wade Wilson depends on which writer the reader prefers best.

Deadpool is one of the primary antagonists of the film ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine,’ portrayed by Ryan Reynolds. He is a highly skilled, wisecracking but greatly immoral mercenary who wields a pair of swords with superhuman speed and skill sufficient to deflect fully automatic weapons fire. He is later killed offscreen by Sabretooth, only to return transformed by Colonel William Stryker into Weapon XI, a mutant killer who possesses other mutants’ powers, including Scott Summers’ optic blasts, John Wraith’s teleportation, Chris Bradley’s technopathy, Wolverine’s healing factor, and a pair of extendable blades resembling Wilson’s prized swords.


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