I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
Deadpool Hitlist: 10 excellent Deadpool books
And I'm not gonna say that I don't find Deadpool problematic. I do. In particular, the portrayal of mental illness bothers me deeply, to the point that I find it harmful and I worry about liking this character and his series.
But I do. His crazy is used to call out all sorts of societal inequalities, and fuckery that no other character would really be able to get away with. It's very often a clever series, and breaks the fourth wall to the point that Deadpool realizes he's a comic character, says things that make this clear, and the other characters are baffled by his references. What Marvel did was create a character who could comment on comic book creation, and culture, without breaking character.
He's fun, he's somehow lovable, and he's my current addiction. I present my top ten Deadpool books/series for those interested in reading anything about him.
Or where to start:
I'm gonna start with something that seems really out of order. Deadpool Classics 13: Deadpool Team-Up. Why? Because Deadpool is just thrown together with characters for quickie one-shots. It's crazy fun, and it exemplifies what I love best about Deadpool in short doses. It also shows him with a whole bunch of other characters which is nice because it's not the Deadpool show all the time. I think he can be overwhelming, even for me with my love for his character. This. having him split time with characters who are saner than him? Well, it's a nice balance for those who are new to him.
Also, since it's not an involved arc, I'd argue that a lot of the backstory isn't needed, and that which is? Well, that's explained as needed.
"Evidently, the voices in his head aren't enough company for Deadpool! These riotous, ridiculous and outright reprehensible team-ups pair the irrepressible mercenary with Marvel's fi nest characters and creators! Don't expect 'Pool to hog all the glory, though; he'll share the spotlight with his new buddies, and drive them all bonkers in the process. Featuring a roster of Marvel comics all-stars!
COLLECTING: DEADPOOL TEAM-UP (1998) 1, DEADPOOL TEAM-UP (2010) 899-883"
Deadpool Classic Volume 10.
This is a direct continuation from volume nine, although I like the conclusion far better which is why I'm suggesting this instead. Gail Simone does an excellent job on Agent X, and this series ends with a bang. Just ignore the run up until nine, and start with nine so you don't miss the beginning of Agent X is my real suggestion. I know I cheated, but if you have to choose between volume nine and ten, I'd suggest ten to be honest. (There are recap pages for all of these, by the way; in the beginning of each comic, they tell you what happened should you have missed previous issues.)
"After there was Deadpool...and before there was Deadpool again...there was Agent X! He's a merc, check. With a mouth, check. And an uncanny healing factor...hey, what gives here? Prepare to find out as the adventures of Alex "Agent X" Hayden race to a dramatic conclusion - and one way or another, there'll be a Deadpool walkin'! But first, Alex has a business to get off the ground: the merc group Agency X. Only problem is, there's no "Taskmaster" in "team."
COLLECTING: AGENT X 7-15, FIGHT-MAN 1"
Continuing with the classics series.
Deadpool Classic Volume 11: Merc With a Mouth
Look, it's Deadpool bouncing around alternate universes, trying to get back to his home. Because this is how his whole life plays out. And zombie-head him (named Headpool) kinda wants to get back to his home dimension.
As a plus, it's Marvel and zombies, so it's got quite a bit for the horror fan as well.
I also quite enjoy the alternate lady version of Deadpool, aptly named Lady Deadpool. They do kiss, by the way, and I know incest can be a hard line. (It's called incest at some point by Headpool, even though they don't go beyond kissing.) If you don't dig that, though, I'd stay away from this. Or close your eyes when that scene comes up.
This is a fun romp through what might have, and could have been, and the Lady Deadpool issue? Is just a really nice way to get to know Wanda Wilson a little better.
"Under contract with A.I.M., Deadpool ventures into the Savage Land to obtain the ultimate biological weapon...his own dang head! Yup, Zombie Deadpool's decapitated head makes its glorious return, and he's tired of being carried around everywhere. Deadpool will have to keep his own head on straight if he hopes to survive these Savage Land shenanigans and collect his bounty. Then, as if the zombie thing wasn't enough, it's alternate universe mayhem as Deadpool encounters a multitude of malevolent mirror images: S.H.I.E.L.D Major Wilson, Wanda Wilson and the Deadpool Kid! But what happens when Deadpool, A.I.M. agents and his foxy new ladylove travel into the Marvel Zombieverse to try to return "Headpool" home?
COLLECTING: Deadpool : Merc With a Mouth 1-13, Lady Deadpool 1"
Deadpool Classic Voume 12: Deadpool Corps
The prelude worked more for me than the main series, but it's still worth a read. An intergalactic romp with a bunch of Deadpools - Lady Deadpool, Kid Deadpool, Dogpool, Headpool and Deadpool - to save the universe. As I mention in my review, I'm not a fan of storylines that push Deadpool into the spotlight as a savior, but this worked better than Kelly's take on that storyline in my opinion.
The Deadpool Family one-shot was hit or miss, but read it for the amazing story about the original Deadpool, Garden State Slaughter. For once, he has the best intentions, and through no real fault of his own, things go south. It was one of the more emotionally resonant stories for me of all the Deadpool stories. Ever.
This would have gotten on that list for that story alone but the rest is quite a bit of fun. Deadpool Corps worked on many levels, even if not my favorite storylines, and Deadpool Corps Prelude was too much fun to miss.
"Deadpool gears up for an intergalactic adventure, but to succeed, he'll need to assemble a crack team of special operatives! So naturally he recruits four other versions of himself! What could go wrong? Lady Deadpool, Kid Deadpool, Dogpool, Headpool and the original Merc With a Mouth form...the Deadpool Corps! First, the consciousness-sapping Awareness has wiped out the free will of millions of planets, and the Corps must stop it from destroying the galaxy! If they can keep the in-fighting and binge drinking to a minimum, they just might just stand a chance.
COLLECTING: Prelude to Deadpool Corps 1-5, Deadpool Corps 1-12, Deadpool Family 1"
Deadpool Classic 14: Suicide Kings
I'm not gonna lie: the X-Men Origins: Deadpool story is the main reason this is on here. Yes, it's one short story, but like Garden State Slaughter, it packed a real emotional punch. Suicide Kings, Games of Death, and the specials - issues 900 and 1000 and the Deadpool story from the Holiday special 2 - didn't slouch at all. They were all fun, but I'm not sure they would have been enough to make the best of/what to read.
The origin story is.
"Deadpool continues his quest for truth, justice and cold hard cash! Eleven desperate men compete in a deadly, illegal reality game show that will leave one of them rich and the rest dead. One of the competitors is Wade Wilson...but what is his hidden agenda? (Besides the cash.) Then, framed for killing innocents, Deadpool winds up in the Punisher's sights! Luckily for Wade, Daredevil and Spider-Man come to his defense...but can the red-clad trio unravel the web of lies and clear Deadpool's name?
COLLECTING: DEADPOOL: GAMES OF DEATH 1; DEADPOOL: SUICIDE KINGS 1-5; DEADPOOL 900, 1000; X-MEN ORIGINS: DEADPOOL; MATERIAL FROM MARVEL DIGITAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2, MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: DEADPOOL"
Deadpool and Cable
This series is filled with innuendo about the two, heavily implying that they were in a relationship. Deadpool has made comments about men for a long time, although he's clearly into women as well. He's been shown bedding women, while he's only made comments about men.
This manifesto convinced me they were a couple before I read this series, to be honest.
It's a lot of fun. Cable seems to be a messiah at this point, and when Deadpool seems to have made an attempt on Cable's life, no one will hire the Merc with a Mouth.
He ends up living on Cable's manmade, and metal, island, trying to help him save everyone. It makes sense in this case, because it's not thrust upon him as a destiny; it's something he's doing for someone he cares about. Deadpool is also is shown literally inside Cable at one point, although it's clearly not a sexual situation. It still made me squee.
It's also just freaking adorable. Start with volume one here.
"Collects Cable/Deadpool (2004) #1-6. Wade Wilson and Nathan Summers are back, and this time they're stuck with each other! Can two grown men armed to the teeth with deadly genetic weaponry live together without driving each other crazy?!"
Deadpool: The Daniel Way series
This series is amazing: over-the-top, hilarious, and one of my favorites series,. I just finished reading it, and I'm sorry that Way is no longer writing any Deadpool. Although I enjoy the writers who took over for him, as well, so I have that to look forward to as a reread.
I don't know if I can properly go over this as the series covers so much ground, hinting at Wade's childhood aspirations, and problems, as well as delving into how mentally ill he is now, and how the world perceives him.
The last storyline, where he enacts a plan to die, ties a lot of loose ends together, and really just paves the way for the new series.
Start with volume one.
"Collects DEADPOOL (2008) #1-5.The Skrulls are here and everything’s gone topsy-turvy but, in Deadpool’s world, that just means it’s Monday! Like it or not, Deadpool may be the only person on the planet who can save us…but who’s to say he wants to?"
The Remender run. It was dark, but also a lot of fun, and some of the best moments were between Wolverine and Deadpool. Wolverine's X-Force was a kill squad, doing the dirty work so no one else - no one with cleaner hands - had to. I have to admit I have a character crush on both Wolverine and Fantomex, who are also on the team, so I was probably gonna like this no matter what.
But it helps that it was smartly written and gorgeously illustrated, and that it presented some truly heinous situations with a lot of character defining moments. What would you do if pressed further than you thought? A lot of characters found out, and some just weren't okay with the decisions they made.
If you can handle how down and dirty and gritty this gets, it's an excellent run.
Also, this team plays a part in the last story arc of Way's Deadpool series.
"Rick Remender puts the uncanny into X-Force in an epic, criti cally acclaimed run! Psylocke, Archangel, Deadpool and Fantomex sign up to Wolverine's secret squad of assassins, but their first mission - to find and deal with the reborn Apocalypse - casts a long shadow. As X-Force struggles to come to terms with their actions, one among them unravels in what could only be called the Dark Angel Saga. Startlingly familiar Deathloks, a return to the Age of Apocalypse, a warring Otherworld, and the all-new, all-deadly Brotherhood of Evil Mutants await in Remender's extraordinary exploration of the ethics of execution.
COLLECTING: UNCANNY X-FORCE 1-35, 5.1, 19.1; WOLVERINE: ROAD TO HELL 1; X-MEN SPOTLIGHT"
I haven't written a review of this omnibus as I read most of this as issues as they came out. I do, however, plan on rereading this on Marvel Unlimited soon, so I'll review this omnibus when I do.
The latest Deadpool series.
Which just wrapped up. I haven't quite finished it, but I have read the majority and enjoy it immensely. It has all kinds of messed up, continues the social commentary in ways that made me incredibly happy, and is all around fun.
It does get dark at times, like when Deadpool fathers a child, and believes that both the mother and his daughter have been killed. It delves into Weapon X, and how he's been used, and actually builds upon that in a volume that left me wrecked. There were tears. There was almost throwing the book against the wall I was so angry at one character.
I can't suggest this series enough.
"Collects Deadpool #1-6. Dead former United States presidents, from George Washington to Gerald Ford, have been resurrected--and that's bad. Someone is needed with the reputation, skills and plausible deniability to take out these com-monsters in chiefs. Deadpool's time is NOW! Be here as Deadpool de-un-deadifies ex-Presidents left and right...matching wits with Tricky Dick Nixon, fighting a grudge match against Honest Abe Lincoln, and battling Ronald Reagan--in space!"
I was clearly having the hate part of the love/hate relationship. Because sometimes I don't think clearly.
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe
What happens when Deadpool realizes that he's in a comic book? Well, he might just decide that it's degrading, he wants to die, and everyone else should, too. Y'know, to spare them from being puppets of writers and illustrators.
Of course, Deadpool says the voice telling him this has always been there, but in this scenario, it kills the other two voices, and tells Deadpool what to do. It's some gory, exploding the fourth wall fun. One of the darker stories, this is an offbeat tale kicking off a trilogy that follows with Deadpool Killustrated, and ends with Deadpool Kills Deadpool - which I'm about an issue and a couple pages away from finishing. All three of the volumes are worth reading, especially if you read this one and find you love the first in the trilogy. (Killogy, I believe it's been called.)
"What if everything you thought was funny about Deadpool was actually just disturbing? What if he decided to kill everyone and everything that makes up the Marvel Universe? What if he actually pulled it off? Would that be FUN for you? The Merc with a Mouth takes a turn for the twisted in a horror comic like no other! Collecting DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1-4."
Those are a mix: my favorite Deadpool books, trying to balance it with those who are just getting started.
I unfortunately can't in good conscience suggest anything before Deadpool Classic Volume 9, because those made me want to claw my eyes out to end the pain.
Next up? Wolverine. Although this took way longer than I thought, so I may cut down the number of volumes for him, and I may not do this for another couple days. Maybe just make it a weekly Friday thing?