When a shirtless Ryan Reynolds on the cover of this week's Entertainment Weekly greeted me in my mailbox yesterday, I wiped the drool and began thinking of the actor starring in this year's X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the assassin, Deadpool. Even more exciting, it was recently announced that Mr. Reynolds would be playing the lead in the Deadpool spin-off film franchise. In the EW article the actor talks about his love for the character and how he wants to do him justice by staying true to the source material in the upcoming film. With shirtless scenes (hopefully) already being storyboarded, I thought it would be wise to brush up on the history of Deadpool while waiting to see Mr. ScarJo in action.
With a name like Deadpool, you might think it'd be hard for the guy to be likable or friendly, but Deadpool is actually almost like X-Men's Spider-Man. Wade Wilson (Deadpool's real name) is a wise-cracking, pop culture junkie who regularly breaks the fourth wall and pokes fun at the absurdity of comic book superheroes in general. Marvel Comics was smart: they could've made the lethal mercenary a cold blooded, run of the mill mutant (a la Cable), but instead they went the lighter route and he became an instant fan favorite. Wade was an early test subject of the Weapon X program, where he met Wolverine, but the genetic process he underwent failed and he was left horribly disfigured (hence the face mask -- hopefully this will not happen with Ryan), but with the same healing factor that Wolverine possesses (in fact he's died three times in the comics) and the ability to absorb others' powers.
Since being introduced in 1991, Deadpool has starred in two of his own titles, both of which ran for a number of years, and a new title, Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth is set to debut in July. Though he is little known to the general public, Deadpool has a large fan base in the comics community, and with Ryan Reynolds playing the mercenary in Wolverine, and also spearheading the Deadpool franchise, it looks like 2009 could finally be the year that Deadpool gets his due.
-- CHRISTOPHER RUDOLPH
Previously > Batman & Robin: Are they or aren't they?