The events of Dark Reign have left Norman Osborn one of the most powerful figures in the Marvel Universe, so many of its costumed champions should think twice about messing with him.
But Wade Wilson isn't a hero, and thinking things through was never one of his strong suits. In the recent "Magnum Opus" crossover between "Deadpool" and "Thunderbolts" the Merc With a Mouth went after Osborn, which resulted in the villain sicking his covert kill squad, the Thunderbolts, on Wilson. Deadpool was almost killed several times, but he escaped his encounter with the T-Bolts relatively unscathed.
However, Deadpool's business with Osborn isn't finished. In the current "Deadpool" arc, "Bullseye," Norman Osborn decided enough is enough and dispatched his chief assassin, Bullseye, to take care of Deadpool permanently. CBR News spoke with "Deadpool" writer Daniel Way about the Bullseye versus Deadpool match-up, as well as the repercussions of "Magnum Opus."
Going toe-to-toe with killers like the Thunderbolts would be a harrowing experience for most people, but for Deadpool, it proved to be loads of fun. He even made a possible love connection in the form of the Thunderbolts' field leader, Yelena Belova, also known as the Black Widow.
"The love of Deadpool's life is Death. We've seen that in previous stories and he envisions her as this skeletal woman who's both dangerous and terrifying; and those adjectives describe Black Widow from top to bottom," Way told CBR News. "She's his kind of gal; dangerous, gun-toting, ass-kicking. That's his dream girl."
While she didn't appear to be as infatuated with Deadpool as he with her, it was clear that Black Widow did feel something for Wade. "He's fearless and Black Widow is Russian," Way said. "Russian women in general don't tend to go for the sensitive guy. They like men who maybe aren't as off kilter and insane as Deadpool, but he definitely has something going for him and in his own weird sort of way he does have a certain amount of charm."
The possibility of a relationship between Black Widow and Deadpool is something that will be explored at a later date. In the meantime, Wade Wilson had no plans to become a strictly one-woman guy. "It's not something we have to hurry up and do," Way said. "And Deadpool falling in love is a great story that me and my editor Axel Alonso like the idea of. So whenever we're given the opportunity, we like to have him try to get himself a girlfriend."
The notion of Deadpool finding love is amusingly complicated by his decidedly unique - and dangerous -- personality. "He's a character who's constantly trying to make a connection with people and it's often through very violent ways," Way said. "There's a reason why he's always talking to people. He could just kill them without saying anything, but instead he engages them. It's a very weird dynamic going on in his head, and often he has this behavior pattern that emerges where he feels like no one wants him. So he makes himself a desirable commodity. It's almost like he thinks, 'We're friends now, right?' of the people that hire him. And with the people that he kills it's like, 'We're pretty close right now. We're almost like friends, right?'"
It's that need to connect that has made Deadpool's grudge against Norman Osborn so personal. The vendetta began when Osborn interfered with Deadpool's mission during the Skrull invasion and intercepted data that Wade had recovered. Osborn used that data to kill the Skrull Queen on live TV, which lead to his newfound status among America's power elite. What bothered Deadpool wasn't the fact that a villain had been dubiously elevated to power, but that Osborn made the cardinal sin of never offering to thank or pay Deadpool for his trouble.
"Deadpool wants to be noticed. He will not be ignored and that's what Osborn is trying to do to him as far as he's concerned," Way explained. "It's insulting but it's also depressing. It's like, 'You don't care enough to engage me? I don't matter enough?' So antagonizing Osborn is what Deadpool is doing now. He considers it his job. He's fixated on it. It's fun and a challenge and Osborn has fucked up hair. It's the big game and Deadpool wants in."
The fiasco with the Thunderbolts was too much for Osborn, though, and he's had enough of Deadpool's game playing, In "Deadpool" #10, the first part of the "Bullseye" arc, Osborn gave the titular killer a seemingly herculean task: shut Deadpool up for good.
Bullseye versus Deadpool is a story that Way, who's written two miniseries featuring Bullseye, has wanted to tell for some time. "I love writing Bullseye and it's an organic occurrence since he's employed by Norman Osborn," the writer said. "Initially it starts as kind of a standard fight. Bullseye is tasked by Osborn to do what the Thunderbolt couldn't, take Deadpool out. That's the kind of job that Bullseye likes. He likes to do things that make other people look bad. That's his thing, whereas Deadpool likes to do things that make himself look good.
"They're two guys who come up with these really contrived Rube Goldberg style schemes because there's a long list of characters who can just shoot someone," Way continued. "But there are very few people who can do what Bullseye does and there's almost no one who can do what Deadpool does. So the two of them going at each other makes for an interesting engagement."
Bullseye's current role, impersonating Hawkeye in Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers, sometimes hampers his ability to kill affectively in public, but that won't be a problem with Deadpool. "This isn't something that's playing out in public. That's not Bullseye's style, at least not in this case. Because even though he won't admit it, he's not going to risk looking bad on TV. That's really what it comes down to for Bullseye. He doesn't want to get chumped on this. He doesn't want to look bad," Way remarked. "So their first engagement actually happens out in the suburbs. The second takes place out in the country in a slaughterhouse. It gets bigger and bigger as the story goes on."
Making things even more challenging for Bullseye is the fact that Deadpool's healing factor and "unique" perspective makes him an opponent unlike any the assassin's faced before. "Deadpool is so fucked in the head that if he starts to see the shape of Bullseye's plan and he likes it, he might just go with it, just to see it happen," Way stated. "Which is great he'll essentially guarantee that Bullseye's plans will work."
In "Bullseye," Deadpool and Bullseye's attempts to kill each other in increasingly creative ways will gradually lead them to a revelation about their little conflict. "As the pendulum swings back and forth as far as who's at an advantage and who's at a disadvantage, what both characters come to realize in very different ways is that this is most fun they've ever had. There's no reason for either one of them to hold back. They both get to bring their A-games," Way revealed. "Bullseye is not the type of guy who is often challenged. And with Deadpool, most people realize once they engage him is that things become so maddening it's practically impossible. Because he'll blow himself up before you can. He's the guy that will pull the grenade and throw the pin. You don't know what he's going to do. So they both realize that they're having a very good time and they both have objectives. So the question becomes how can both of them get what they want out of this?"
The primary supporting character in the "Bullseye" arc is Norman Osborn, who isn't happy with how long things are taking. "He's hoping this would be a nice, quick, in-and-out, bring me his head style operation; because the deal with the Thunderbolts was a bit of a loud disaster that happened in the middle of New York City," Way said. "So he's not exactly happy with Bullseye, but Bullseye doesn't give a shit. As far as he's concerned, this isn't Norman Osborn versus Deadpool this is Bullseye versus Deadpool. This is his thing. He doesn't care about Norman Osborn's problems and probably never will!"
Way has been extremely pleased with the work all of his artistic collaborators: penciller Paco Medina, inker Juan Vlasco, and colorist Marte Gracia.. "We're already joking that there's one page in particular in this arc where it's like 'Hello, Eisner!'" Way said. "Everybody has been enjoying this arc. They've always been enthusiastic about the series, but it seems like with this story arc they're really bringing everything they have to the table. As a writer, and I'm guessing as an artist, usually your favorite thing is whatever you're doing now, and right now they're coloring issue #11, which is like the coolest issue of 'Deadpool' so far. It's a knockdown drag out fight between Bullseye and Deadpool in a slaughterhouse. Jason Pearson, our cover artist, was looking at the pages and said, 'It's like 'Watchmen' meets 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' And I'm like, 'Wow! Can we get any higher praise?' So Paco's stuff is looking fantastic and Marte and Juan really knocked it out of the park on this one."
The "Bullseye" arc finishes in "Deadpool" #12 and brings Wade Wilson's vendetta against Norman Osborn to a close. "We wrap it up. That's been our first year and it's time to move on to the next thing," Way confirmed. "Issue #13 begins a two-issue arc titled 'Wave of Mutilation.' It's almost like an epilogue to our Osborn story but it also tees up where we're going for the next year of stories. Shawn Crystal is going to do the pencils and inks for this arc and if everything goes according to plan we'll double-ship in August. His stuff has been looking great. Shawn and I are buddies and we've always wanted to work together on something and we've finally found the right book."
When "Wave of Mutilation" begins, Deadpool is laying low. "The events at the end of the 'Bullseye' arc mean that Deadpool doesn't have to stump for work anymore. So now that you've gotten paid and have all this money the question is, 'Now what are you going to do?' Deadpool's answer is to go to a remote cluster of islands and become a pirate. It's a fairly immature dream to have, but it fits him," Way rexplained. "There are a couple of problems, though. Deadpool has no idea how to pilot a boat and he doesn't know anything about pirating other than what he's seen on television. And to make matters worse, his only crewmember is Bob, Agent of Hydra.
"During the course of this story, Deadpool kind of has a change of heart. He realizes that just being a gun for hire isn't enough for him anymore," Way continued. "He did that and did it to the nines. He went all the way the way with that and now it's time to do something else. So the question we're left with at the end of the story is what's next for Deadpool? If he's not a mercenary, what is he?"
With the July release of writer Victor Gischler and artist Bong Dazo's new ongoing series "Deadpool: Merc with a Mouth," Wade Wilson fans will have two chances to read about their favorite character every month, and Way couldn't be happier. "The only thing I know about Victor is that Axel thinks he's a tremendous writer and that's good enough for me. Axel is always finding good writers like Duane Swierczynski and Greg Hurwitz. I dig their writing," Way said. "It looks like Deadpool has gotten popular again and Axel called me and said, 'We'd like to get this other series up and running.' I was really stoked to hear that because I like reading Deadpool stories. Mike Benson's 'Deadpool: Suicide Kings' miniseries is cracking me up. It's great to write these stories and be involved in their creation, but the more I write Deadpool the more I like him. So the chance to enjoy him from a fan perspective as well is pretty cool."