WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Despicable Deadpool #295 by Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli, in stores now.
Deadpool is the character you follow for crazy hijinks and uproariously crude laughter. The anti-hero has become synonymous with fun, crazy and explosive action that involves the occasional superhero antic and the much more frequent murder.
However, ever since the Marvel Legacy relaunch, Deadpool's comic has been rebranded as Despicable Deadpool, an apt title that saw the merc' with the mouth embark on a more dastardly adventure than even he has been prepared to handle.
But as different as his current mission has been, the real surprise came in Despicable Deadpool #295, where an already dark storyline took an even darker turn. Deadpool dropped all pretenses of being a joke, and delivered an emotional gut punch -- yes, even worse than that time Deadpool killed Agent Coulson at the behest of (secretly nazi) Captain America. This time is so much worse, because the person Deadpool killed was just a random woman. What's more, the haunting scene plays like an homage to Alan Moore and David Lloyd's classic graphic novel, V For Vendetta.
For the past several issues, Deadpool has been begrudgingly working for Stryfe, the evil clone of 'Pool's only pal, Cable. Recently, Stryfe saved the life of Deadpool's daughter Ellie and two other people Wade cared about, along with one other random person. Instead of doing this out of the goodness of his heart, Stryfe declared that Wade now owed him four lives of the villain's choosing. While Deadpool wanted nothing to do with the deal, Stryfe leveraged Ellie's life; unless Deadpool does what he commands and kills the four people on his list, Ellie will be killed. The first name was Cable (whom Deadpool killed in the far future), the second Irene Merryweather, and the third the young mutant Genesis, aka Evan Sabahnur, aka someone Deadpool actually cares about.
While Deadpool manages to trick Stryfe into thinking Evan has been crossed off the list in #295, the final target, a civilian by the name of Marietta Nelson, isn't so lucky. In the middle of the night, she wakes up in her bed, startled to find Wade Wilson sitting next to her. Immediately, he begins to apologize. He explains the entire situation to her -- how a bad man is threatening to kill his daughter, and the only way for him to save Ellie is to kill her. In her bed, Marietta begins to cry, pleading for Wade to find another way.
He apologizes and somehow, she accepts. She asks him his daughter's name, and, through her tears, she nobly says that dying to save a young girl is not worst reason to die. Then, she asks the brutal question: "Will it hurt?" "No," Deapool replies. "I already did it." An uncharacteristically quiet Deadpool sits broken next to her, and the reader realizes he poisoned his target before she'd woken up.
Intentional or not, the scene plays like an homage to a similar sequence that took place in Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V For Vendetta #3, where the masked terrorist V breaks into the home of his creator in the dead of night. The woman wakes up in her bed, and she instantly knows that he has come to kill her. The two talk about the circumstances that led them to their current situation, and finally V reveals that he had already killed her 10 minutes ago, while she was still asleep. She sees the vial of poison in his hands, and asks if there will be any pain, to which V answers, "No. No pain."
Such a dark and emotional scene is a rare thing for Deadpool, whom we expect to make us laugh more than to make us cry. Although he doesn't say much, his body language, courtesy of artist Matteo Lolli, speak volumes about the torment inside of him, and the hate, disgust and despair he feels toward what he must do. Now, the question remains: why did Stryfe want Marietta Nelson, a seemingly inconsequential civilian, dead?