It’s been almost sixteen years since 20th Century Fox brought the “X-Men” to the big screen wearing black leather as opposed to their more colorful comic costumes. Since then, comic book fans have gotten used to making concessions when seeing their favorite superheroes on the big screen. That was definitely the case when “X-Men: The Last Stand” took a stab at adapting “The Dark Phoenix Saga” in 2006. Things changed in 2008 when “Iron Man” introduced the world to the somewhat more comic-accurate Marvel Cinematic Universe, some changes (sometimes involving character origins or power descriptions) are still made from time to time.
And then there’s “Deadpool.” The Merc suffered from inaccuracy greatly when he was first adapted in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” A sewn-up mouth and forearm blades made that character unrecognizable as Deadpool. Thankfully, the “Deadpool” film took a rocket launcher to that version of the character and the real DP emerged from the ashes — wearing a totally comic-accurate suit. Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool performs in the movie as if he jumped right off the printed page and, surprisingly, the lead character isn’t the only thing that comes right from the comics.
The bar featured in the film bears the name Sister Margaret’s Home for Wayward Children and yes, it served as Wade Wilson’s home base for picking up jobs in his first ongoing series, originally published in 1997. The version on film bears a striking resemblance to the one presented in the comics; it’s a dimly lit powder keg in both mediums, each packed scumbags and tough guys. And, yes, just to be nitpicky — while the setting itself comes straight out of Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness’ run, the comics’ version was run by Patch and not Weasel (T.J. Miller). But the screenwriters admitted that they combined the two in order to streamline the script and decrease the budget. So as accurate as Sister Margaret’s was, it was originally even more accurate.
Sometimes characters are adapted in name only, like “Deadpool’s” version on the very seldom seen minor character Negasonic Teenage Warhead. When it comes to Ajax, though, the phrase “in name only” can be interpreted in a good way. First, the fact that the film elevated a bad guy that tormented Deadpool for just a few issues to major villain status is a feat; Ajax is a deep cut character. On top of that, the fact that screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick pulled so many elements from a little-discussed issue like the “Deadpool/Death ’98” Annual is surprising. The annual details Wade’s trip to a program for castoffs of Weapon X (which, no, isn’t called Weapon X in “Deadpool”) and documents his agonizing torture at the hands of Dr. Killebrew (who was combined with Ajax for the film). The similarities begin when Wade learns that Ajax’s real name is Francis and begins to verbally taunt his abuser; not only is this part adapted for the film, it becomes a running gag culminating in an elaborate visual joke involving dead bodies in the third act. Also like in the film, the annual shows Ajax torturing one of Wade’s cellmates just to mess with the proto-Deadpool’s head.
VANESSA & WADE
Vanessa and Wade’s relationship is a major plot point in the film — yeah, so much so that it actually kinda legitimizes the fake romance movie advertisements the film released. It was established very, very early on in the comics that Deadpool and Vanessa (who was using her empathic shape-shifting powers to pose as X-Force’s Domino — yes, something that wasn’t included in the film) were at one point an item. The flashback issue “Deadpool” #-1 dances around the details of their relationship, establishing that Vanessa had worked as a prostitute (like in the movie) and had a mercenary boyfriend Wade (ditto). Just like in the comics, Wade breaks things off with Vanessa when he gets diagnosed with cancer. And while the film doesn’t deal with Vanessa’s mutant powers at all, it’s worth pointing out that the character hasn’t discovered her powers yet in this flashback issue either. So the fact that Vanessa’s presented as a human in the film could be seen as an accurate adaptation of the character as depicted in this issue. Shape-shifting Vanessa in “Deadpool 2,” maybe?
Remember the pizza delivery scene that takes place in the film during Deadpool’s origin story? That comes more or less from 2009’s “Deadpool” #10, which — despite it taking place well after Wilson’s transformation into Deadpool — was adapted almost beat-for-beat for the film. Deadpool orders a pineapple and olives pizza in both, both scenes contain the “who was I hired to kill” switcheroo from bystander resident to the delivery guy, and the crime at play involves high school. The scene does end differently — and by “differently” we mean “not well at all for the delivery guy.”
This one’s purely visual. When DP is cutting through Ajax’s goons on the highway, he pauses on one after he skewers him “like a kebab.” His twin swords pierce through the goon’s body, crossing in an X pattern along the way. If that looks vaguely familiar, it’s because that’s what Wade did to Wolverine on the cover of “Wolverine” #88. See?