SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Black Panther vs. Deadpool #1 from Daniel Kibblesmith, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Felipe Sobreiro and VC's Joe Sabino, on sale now.
In spite of his endless barrage of jokes and incessant talking, Deadpool has proven over the years to be one of the Marvel Universe's deadliest assassins. Since his first appearance in 1991's New Mutants #98, he's become a member of X-Force and the Avengers, and while his time on those teams has a lot to do with him being a walking, talking one-man army, it ultimately comes down to the anti-hero really wanting to do good in the world.
Of course, it helps if you can boast on your mercenary résumé that your speed, stamina, agility, reflexes and strength are all superhuman. But come Black Panther vs. Deadpool #1, one of Wade Wilson's biggest assets -- arguably his most important -- gets redefined in a big way: His healing factor.
When a grief-stricken Wade joined the Weapon X program, his cancer was temporarily stopped thanks to the implantation of a healing factor derived from Wolverine. As time progressed, though, the healing factor evolved. Apart from regenerating limbs, Deadpool basically became immortal; not only could he stitch on body parts form other people, he grew immune to diseases and chemicals, and was even resistant to telepaths and demonic possession, all proving just how different his power was from Wolverine's.
However, this new series here paints a different picture of the healing factor, redefining it as a dying factor. The revelation comes after the soldier invades Wakanda to steal some vibranium to help Marvel's iconic mailman, Willie Lumpkin, pay for surgery after an accident Wade caused. Of course, T'Challa and Shuri take his request with a grain of salt, and a melee ensues which sees the king shoot off Wade's arm with a special medical gun he's just made. Shockingly, the limb doesn't grow back, leaving the Wakandans to conduct a quick diagnosis as to why.
It turns out the gun's "Star Cells" (unique bio-nanites that heal wounds as they cut into human flesh) have neutralized Wade's healing factor. However, Black Panther realizes that because the gun only stops infections or dead cells from regenerating, this means that all this time Wade has been regenerating dead tissue i.e. his cancer. Basically, when he heals, it's not "life" growing back, but death, which is why T'Challa relabels his ability as a "dying factor."
This is a big change to the character, and one which will surely take him time to process. It leaves us wondering if Wade's cancer mutated Logan's healing factor back in the day, or if it's something that happened recently. Marvel has toyed with Deadpool's healing factor multiple times, ranging from Thanos cursing the mercenary so he could live forever and not end up hitched to the avatar of Death, to the time Wade actually found a temporary cure thanks to his clone, Evil Deadpool.
Other things to consider include the fact that Wade was subjected to an "inversion" during Axis, he fought Apocalypse and his minions on numerous occasions in Uncanny X-Force, and he's also crossed paths with Celestials, not to mention his inter-dimensional adventures with a multitude of other Deadpools. In short, there's no telling if he could have been experimented upon, even unknowingly. This change may well be a side-effect from battling such overpowered beings, with the energies they emit possibly changing his physiology on a cellular level.
Right now, though, all we can do is make assumptions. Wade's such a traveled character, it's difficult to pinpoint when exactly this happened, but what we know thus far is that right now, Wade is as mortal as can be. And that's cause for concern, because if an immortal Deadpool was unhinged, with the secret to his healing now unlocked, it's anyone's guess how dangerous a mortal Merc with a Mouth might end up being for the Marvel Universe.