All hail Marvel Comic's most underappreciated and brilliant creation, The Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool. A byproduct of Weapon X, Wade Wilson was saved from a cancerous demise when he was successfully granted a healing factor derived from Wolverine. But the procedure left him physically deformed and made a mercenary with already outrageous personality insane to boot. Always in a mood for black comedy, he named himself after a betting pool among the Weapon X staffers concerning which test subject would die next: the Deadpool. After pestering various X-Men offshoots he received his own series in the late 90's and graduated from villain to anti-hero status. After all, what good is a villain you can't hate? People who don't like Deadpool also hate sunshine, chocolate chip cookies, Elvis, and probably kick puppies too.
Satire, parody, and bizarre pop-culture references pervade every page of a Deadpool comic. Nothing is off limits, even breaking the fourth wall, which is essentially geekspeak for referencing the fact that you are a character in a fictional medium. For example, he once noted an issue's guest star and hoped aloud that the appearance of a big name like The Silver Surfer would sell more copies. He also occasionally accosts and confuses fellow Marvel Universe denizens with references to the real-world, like when he told Spider-Man that he's seen his movies and knew that he was really "doe-eyed Tobey Maguire" under his mask. But my favorite Deadpool moment remains the time he picked a fight with an uncooperative Wolverine by asking Kitty Pryde if she'd ever played Street Fighter II before shouting "SHORYUKEN!" and blasting her with a Dragon Punch, an attack from the game.
Cable and Deadpool debuted in 2004, teaming the Three Stooges fanatic up with the ultimate straight man, time-traveling mutant messiah Cable. The series lasted 50 awesome issues with the final MArvel Universe-spanning run being collected in this book. With Cable having passed on, The 'Pool was left with a new support team and sent on a time-travel adventure where he encountered everybody from The Fantastic Four (the Storm/Black Panther line-up and the classic) to Dr. Strange to WWII-era Captain America and Bucky (who had a major potty-mouth, it turns out) and even teamed up with rival Wolverine (who lops off his head, leading Deadpool to accuse him of giving him "drain bamage") along the way. Hell, he even gets to battle zombies. It's a heck of a ride, even by comic book standards.
Of Deadpool's new friends, my favorite has got to be Bob, Agent of Hydra. The man is a pure parody of comic book henchmen and is a perfect target for a fourth-wall busting satirical comedian like Deadpool. After having done Strange's bidding in The Savage Land, 'Pool returns to New York in a portal and inadvertently brings a herd of dinosaurs with him. The Avengers happen by, escorting the Venom symbiote aaaaaaannnnnddd...you can see where this is going, yeah? Venomosauri! In a major action extravaganza, Deadpool fights along with Earth' Mightiest Heroes and others including quip-rival Spider-Man to turn the tide and save The Big Apple, referencing his.....comedic...tendency to...channel...the great...William Shatner as he often does in times of stress. A fitting end to the second series run of my favorite character in all of comicdom.
This TPB is not a bad place to start if you are unfamiliar with the character and don't want to read the triple-digit figure of prior Deadpool adventures. You won't get all of the references to past events, but the comedy is laugh-out-loud in every issue and the carnage is lovely. Author Fabian Nicieza has always been the go-to guy for quality DP stories and most any title featuring Wade suffers when he is not writing it. The man is a bonafide genius when it comes to comedic comic book dialogue. It was his idea to take the character -who looks very similar to DC Comics villain Deathstroke- and name him Wade Wilson (Deathstroke's name is SLADE Wilson). It's been a running gag ever since in both DC and Marvel titles. The series is full of this kind of stuff that makes comic geeks bust a gut, but flies over the layman's head without making them feel like they've missed something.
Deadpool has a new series beginning with a "Secret Invasion" storyline where he infiltrates the Skrulls (now massproducing Super Skrulls and using them to secretly replace established heroes) and tricks them into creating a unit based on him. What the aliens didn't take into account is that the clones would gain not only his capacity for violence, but his insane (inane?) personality as well and destroy them from within. That's just the way Deadpool comics work and that's why I love them. If you haven't read any yet, you have missed out on one of the funniest and most bada$z comic book characters of all time. Don't keep screwing up, check this out and get ready to hop on the DP bandwagon.