Your guide to Marvel’s greatest Deadpool comics!
On Friday, February 12, Ryan Reynolds will get the ultimate mulligan as Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth gets his own solo movie (following a disastrous turn in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Judging from the early trailers and the off-the-wall marketing campaign, it seems like Reynolds and 20th Century Fox have gotten Deadpool right this time.
But casual comic book movie fans are probably still wondering, “who the hell is Deadpool?!” Originally created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza back in 1991, Deadpool made his debut in New Mutants #98. From there, several of Deadpool’s subsequent writers (including Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, Daniel Way, Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Nicieza himself) added different layers to Deadpool’s character and backstory. Deadpool has always been played for laughs, but the added drama and gravitas of his origin helped give the character additional shadings. Deadpool has become one of the most popular Marvel characters who wasn’t a part of the initial explosion of Marvel heroes in the ‘60s. And if the Deadpool movie is a hit, he’s only going to become even more popular.
In anticipation for the Deadpool movie, Marvel is flooding comic shops and bookstores with reprints of Deadpool comics. It can be a daunting task for a new fan to figure out where to start! Although a quick rule of thumb is to start with the Joe Kelly classic Deadpool in paperback or the hardcover omnibus that collects his entire run.
Ahead of Deadpool’s release, ComingSoon.net has composed a list of the 10 best Deadpool comics. Share your own favorite Deadpool comics adventures in the comment section below!
Best Deadpool Comics: “Sins of the Past” (Miniseries #1-4)
While Joe Kelly gets a lot of the credit for turning Deadpool into a worthwhile character, a lot of Deadpool’s defining traits originated in his second solo miniseries, Sins of the Past, as written by Mark Waid with art by Ian Churchill.
This was the first story that portrayed a heroic side to Deadpool and it started his long-running courtship with Siryn of X-Force. More importantly, this miniseries was also the first time that Deadpool was unmasked, with the reveal of his scarred face and his extreme disfigurement from the experimental healing factor and the cancer that ravaged his body. Almost everything you love about Deadpool began here.
Best Deadpool Comics: “Hey, It’s Deadpool!” (Volume 1, #1-5)
Get used to the name Joe Kelly, you’re gonna it a lot when you look at the history of Deadpool. Even in the ‘90s, Deadpool was beginning to breakout as a lead character. Kelly and artist Ed McGuinness were given the reigns of the very first Deadpool ongoing series.
Kelly built upon the foundation that Waid and Churchill created by retaining Siryn as Wade Wilson’s conscience and love interest as he tried to fix his failing healing factor and get his vengeance on the man who made him what he is. This series also established the slapstick tone that has remained with Deadpool ever since.
Best Deadpool Comics: “With Great Power Comes Great Coincidence” (Vol. 1, #11)
This issue is widely regarded as the funniest story in Kelly’s run. Deadpool and his elderly sidekick/hostage Blind Al find themselves trapped in the past, and they disguise themselves as Peter Parker and Aunt May. Essentially the issue was a remix of John Romita Sr.’s artwork from Amazing Spider-Man #47 with new material drawn by Pete Woods. In terms of Deadpool’s best comedy stories, this one hasn’t been topped.
Best Deadpool Comics: “A Kiss, A Curse, A Cure” (Deadpool/Death Annual ‘98)
In lieu of a regular annual, Kelly and artist Steve Harris collaborated on the Deadpool and Death Annual ‘98, which fleshed out Wade Wilson’s origin story for the first time and adds Wolverine to Deadpool’s backstory by revealing that his healing factor was based on Logan’s, before it was corrupted by the cancer ravaging his body.
Within the Marvel Universe, Death is personified as a woman. And she shares an attraction to Deadpool that can’t be consummated, because he simply can not die!
Best Deadpool Comics: “Payback” (Vol. 1, #18-19)
Back in the early days of Deadpool’s ongoing series, Deadpool’s nemesis was Ajax, a killer who was even more dangerous than Deadpool himself! After Ajax came a little too close to ending Deadpool’s life, Wilson went on a revenge quest to take down Ajax once and for all. Kelly and artist Walter McDaniel composed this two-part tale that gave Deadpool what he wanted…more or less.
Best Deadpool Comics: “Dead Reckoning” (Vol. 1, #23-25)
Kelly was convinced that Deadpool would be cancelled due to low sales, so he set up his epic finale with McDaniel illustrating the story that had been building since the ongoing series began. Deadpool had been groomed to take on the mysterious Tiamat which was seemingly an insurmountable threat to the Earth. Even Captain America failed to stop Tiamat, which left the burden to Deadpool.
Tiamat’s conquest of the Earth had the potential to make humanity happy at the expense of its collective freewill. It was up to Deadpool to save the planet, even at the cost of worldwide peace. Kelly remained on Deadpool’s ongoing series for a few additional issues, but this was his endgame with the character.
Best Deadpool Comics: “If Looks Could Kill” (Cable & Deadpool #1-6)
By 2004, neither Cable nor Deadpool could carry a monthly title by themselves. They were too overexposed, and fans had seemingly tired of their adventures. Someone at Marvel made the decision to pair up Cable and Deadpool in a single ongoing series written by Fabian Nicieza, the man who co-created both characters.
It turned out to be exactly what both characters needed. Nicieza’s first storyline (with artists Mark Brooks and Patrick Zircher) gave the two former enemies a reason to stay together in an unlikely “buddy” relationship. The entire 50 issue series is great (and is available as a single hardcover omnibus), but the first six issues helped redefine both characters.
Best Deadpool Comics: “”Whatever Happened to the White Caption Boxes?” (2013 Annual)
During Daniel Way’s Deadpool run, he established that Deadpool had another voice in his head whom he spoke with as if it was real. Most of the readers assumed that Deadpool had developed another personality, and the multiple voices within Deadpool’s mind even made it into the Deadpool video game that Way wrote.
Because the new Deadpool creative team of Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn were going in their own direction with the character, the Deadpool 2013 Annual #1 by writers Ben Acker & Ben Blacker, and artist Doc Shaner revealed that the other voice in Deadpool’s mind was Madcap, a lower tier Captain America villain who was essentially Deadpool before there was a Deadpool!
The “separation” of Madcap and Deadpool was one of the more insane moments in both characters’ history. And that’s saying a lot!
Best Deadpool Comics: “Hawkeye vs. Deadpool” (Miniseries, # 0-4)
Gerry Duggan wrote a miniseries pairing up Deadpool with Hawkeye from the Avengers, and Kate Bishop, the other Hawkeye from the Marvel Universe who was being mentored by the original Hawkeye. Matteo Lolli was the artist for this unexpectedly hilarious story that eventually pits Kate and Deadpool against a brainwashed Hawkeye, and lets Deadpool be a very bad influence on Kate.
Best Deadpool Comics: “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” (Vol. 3, #15-19)
The Deadpool reign of Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn hit its high point in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” a five issue storyline that legitimized Deadpool as a hero in the eyes of Wolverine and Captain America. All three men were survivors of the program known as Weapon Plus, and the modern day fallout led Deadpool and his newfound friends to North Korea, where they discovered that Deadpool’s stolen organs were used to create unstable imitations of the X-Men.
Deadpool also received one of the most stunning and heartbreaking moments in his entire life. Duggan and Posehn may excel at comedy, but they nailed the dramatic beats in this story.