The tag line for the 1979 film “Alien” famously stated that in space, no one can hear you scream. Right now, in the farthest reaches of space, many aliens are crying out in muted howls of agony simply because they’ve had the misfortune of running afoul of a band of lethal, loquacious and highly annoying guns for hire, the titular characters of Marvel Comics’ ongoing series “Deadpool Corps.” Written by writer Victor Gischler and artist Rob Liefeld, issue #7 hit stores this week and kicked off a new story arc titled “Say You Want a Revolution.” We spoke with Gischler about the arc and his plans for the book.
No stranger to writing action packed stories with comedic elements, Gischler has written novels that feature humorous elements like “Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse” and “Vampire A Go-Go,” and before he began writing “Deadpool Corps,” he wrote the series “Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth.” “Deadpool Corps,” however, is a series that features the original Marvel Universe incarnation of Deadpool and four alternate reality versions, which meant that Gischler suddenly found himself in comedic territory that is difficult to navigate; a series where the cast was composed of five crazy characters and nobody sane to play them off of.
“Since it’s all bananas and no straight man, what we have to do to make the book work is to give it scale. Instead of having one crazy person and everyone else being a straight man, you have to take a giant step back and understand that we have a group of crazy people and the entire galaxy around them are the straight men.” Gischler said. “I’ve been wrestling with this and I think these first few issues of ‘Deadpool Corps’ have been good solid entertainment and fun stories that I hope people are enjoying. However, when I was working on issue #8, I really felt that things clicked into place on what I felt I had to do differently with a team of Deadpools than before with ‘Merc With a Mouth’. So there’s kind of been a learning curve. I think the previous issues have been enjoyable and entertaining, but I feel I’ve had to learn how to do things a little differently and what needs to happen to make the book the best it can be is just clicking into place.”
It may have taken a few issues for Gischler to discover the best way to balance the humor in “Deadpool Corps,” but other aspects were clear to the writer from the get-go. For instance, Gischler knew that he was penning a book that was more about a family than a super team.
“They’re all Deadpool. Four of them are alternate reality versions, but there’s still much that’s the same about them. There is a family connection, but they’re an entertainingly dysfunctional family,” Gischler explained. “They’re almost like one part family, the other a group of college friends that might not have been together for a very long time, but they know each other as well as they know themselves.”
One of the members of the “Deadpool Corps” is hiding a secret from the others, though. As a result of the experiment that activated his healing powers the Marvel Universe, Deadpool is horribly disfigured. Up until recently each member of the Corps shared that disfigurement. At the end of “Deadpool Corps” #5, however, Lady Deadpool discovered that her facial scars had mysteriously disappeared. She’s been hiding this from the others while simultaneously using it to her own advantage. In issue #6, she took off her mask and costume and established a secret identity that she used to infiltrate a gang of vicious space pirates.
“That sub plot is going to hang in the background now for a while,” Gischler said. “When I started writing ‘Deadpool Corps,’ it felt like we had a lot of masks, and not only that, they were the same mask. So I wanted the opportunity to change things up a little bit visually. One of the things I thought might give me that opportunity was if we could take Lady Deadpool’s mask off once in a while.”
“In issue #5, you saw that she didn’t have any scars, but this is so new to her that it troubles her a little bit. She feels she’s had her scars for so long, and now that she doesn’t, she not going to just whip that mask off and say, ‘Look at me! I have no scars anymore.’ She’s going to keep that mask on as sort of a safety blanket and only take it off once in a while to very slowly try out this new face and see if it works,” Gischler continued. “So don’t expect her to be running around willy nilly without her mask on all the time. Now we have that option to see a face and change things up a little bit whenever the story calls for it. And knowing the crazy hijinks that the Deadpool Corps gets up to all the time, who knows? Those scars could come back.”
In the first arc of “Deadpool Corps,” the group was assembled in order to save the universe from an intergalactic threat. In issue #7, Gischler kicks off a new arc which embroils his team in some less altruistic action. “Part of the gag for the first arc of ‘Deadpool Corps’ was that they were called in on a mission that would generally be above Wade Wilson’s pay grade; a universe saving mission that you usually call groups like the Fantastic Four or the Avengers for. Having said that, when I started ‘Say You Want a Revolution,’ I thought, we’ve got a big stage. We’ve got planets and galaxies,” Gischler remarked. “That is one of the ways ‘Deadpool Corps’ can be a little bit different than the other Deadpool books. Not only do we have multiple Deadpools, but the scope is different. Stories are planet-wide, system-wide, and galaxy-wide. After the Deadpool Corps saves the universe, it’s like, ‘Thanks and all that, but now we’ve got earn a living. We are mercenaries.’ I wanted to give them mercenary work that was appropriate for the large galactic stage. That’s how I approached ‘Say You Want a Revolution.'”
“Say You Want a Revolution” begins with the Deadpool Corps being hired by the Omega Confederation, the vast intergalactic bureaucratic body that also employed them in issue #6 to put down a revolution on a mining planet. ” The Omega Confederation says to them, ‘This world is a cash cow, but we want to keep the locals under our boot heel so we can take the natural resources from the planet. Also, we don’t want to just nuke the whole planet because we like to use the locals for labor. So we need somebody to go in there, put down the revolution, and restore order so we can get our operations going again.’ They offer the Deadpool Corps an obscene amount of money to do this, and Deadpool is like, ‘That’s a lot of Hot-Pockets! We’re in!'” Gischler revealed. “There’s always part of Deadpool’s brain, though, that is forming another plan that is better – or at least he thinks is better. So he sees a way to make even more money off of this revolution than even they first thought of. That’s when things start getting complicated and so forth.”
Mercenary work is almost always morally questionable work, so Deadpool’s plans in “Say You Want a Revolution” will become complicated because of his need for approval and the differing perspectives of the other Corps members. ” There’s a very strong selfish streak in Deadpool. He wants to play his games, but he has this very immature but understandable desire for other people to like him and think he’s a good guy. He wants to do his mercenary work, but he wants people to pat him on the back for it and say, ‘Good job! What a great guy you are!’ And sometimes, you can’t have both,” Gischler stated. “That creates a little bit of a conflict, and a couple of issues into this arc there might be a divide within the Corps itself about how to proceed and whether or not they should proceed. There might be a little bit of dissension among the ranks to add to the confusion.”
Further complicating and muddying things in “Say You Want a Revolution”are the indigenous populace of the planet that the Deadpool Corps are sent to by their employers. “The native population is a warrior race called The Kreuk. They’re a primitive people in that they have spears and swords, but they’re nor primitive in thought. They choose to be primitive because they want to live a simple life. They’re actually very sophisticated people, and they just want their world back,” Gischler explained. “However, their princess Teela is a maybe a little bit more ambitious. She doesn’t want to just live the primitive life on this planet. She whispers some things into Deadpool’s ear. It doesn’t hurt that she’s kind of attractive – that always makes Deadpool stop and pay attention. So partly based on Deadpool’s own manic ambition and partly based on Princess Teela’s whisperings, we go from issue 7 to issue 8 and things really escalate beyond anything anybody had planned for the Kreuk homeworld.”
While the action in “Say You Want a Revolution” may be a bit more morally complex, the tone of the arc is not significantly different than the first arc of “Deadpool Corps.” “Deadpool still is Deadpool. He makes his pop culture references and things happen in a crazy way in Deadpool’s world,” Gischler said. “So it’s not dramatically darker.”
And neither will be future arcs of “Deadpool Corps.” The creators involved view the series first and foremost as a science fiction comedy, and many of their inspirations for the book are television shows that have successfully blended those two elements. “If you were to make a ‘Deadpool Corps’ Venn Diagram, ‘Futurama’ might on there somewhere. I also saw a Rob Liefeld tweet that ‘Deadpool Corps’ was ‘Family Guy’ meets ‘Robot Chicken,'” Gischler remarked. “That would be on the Venn Diagram someplace too. And somewhere on the Diagram is ‘Red Dwarf,’ with more violence. So there are a lot of elements going into that Venn Diagram.”