In Marvel's "Wolverine: Origins," the title character's probe into the sins of his past has pitted him against some strange and deadly foes but none of them have been as exasperating as the villain that awaits him in "The Deep End," a new story arc beginning this week in issue #21, which puts Wolverine in the sites of the Merc with a Mouth, Wade Wilson AKA Deadpool. CBR News spoke with series writer Daniel Way about the new arc and some of the revelations of the previous storyline, "Our War."
"Our War" found Logan confronting some difficult memories about a World War II mission during which he fought alongside Captain America and his partner Bucky. At the time, Logan was working for Romulus, the enigmatic head of the organization he's now trying to smash in the present, and his orders were to kill Captain America. But Wolverine's time with Captain America made him a believer in the Sentinel of Liberty, and he didn't want to kill him. Logan concocted a plan to deceive Romulus, and consequent circumstances lead to the first meeting between Captain America and a man who would change his life forever, Baron Zemo.
"It was the mission with Zemo and the drone plane at the end of the War that knocked both Cap and Bucky off into very strange trajectories of life," Daniel Way told CBR News. "If Logan had never arranged that meeting, perhaps Cap never would have been frozen in a block of ice? He feels guilty and somewhat responsible for that."
Baron Strucker, another Nazi villain who would continue to terrorize the planet after World War II, also figured into Logan's memories in "Our War," and with their long, sordid histories, it's a safe bet that Strucker played a role in other episodes from Logan's past as well. "Strucker is kind of intricately woven into the post-World War II history of the Marvel Universe," Way remarked. "His rise was really when the Third Reich fell. His star rose because he made alliances outside of the Third Reich. So we'll probably see him one more time."
The revelations of "Our War" and other arcs in "Wolverine: Origins" are usually shocking, brutal and grim, often prompting Way and editor Axel Alonso to look for ways to lighten the book's dark tone. "The Deep End" was born when they found the perfect way to inject some funny moments into the downbeat series: have Wolverine lock horns with a certain loquacious and lethal mercenary. "You've got Wolverine with this black cloud of regret over his head walking headlong into the storm that is his past, and it's hard to come up with circumstances where he'd crack a joke about it," Way said. "Then we thought, 'What if we had Deadpool come in?' We of course had to think about the angle we'd take with Romulus and down the pyramid Weapon X. Deadpool is a washout, a throw away. He was rejected from the master plan. So there are some similarities but Deadpool brings a fresh perspective to the book."
Deadpool's presence in "Origins" means there will be a lot more laughs, but that doesn't mean "The Deep End" arc is a zany comedy. "I don't want Deadpool to be a joke every panel because than it's just slapstick and dumb," Way stated. "I want him to be taken seriously, so there's certain things you've got to get out the way; like when I wrote Bullseye for the first time, there's a scene where he loves the fact that his costume looks ridiculous. With Deadpool, I wanted to get to the core of why does he keep talking so fucking much? Why is he like that? He's just like everyone else. People talk so they don't have to listen and they act so they don't have to think about things. Deadpool keeps things in motion, always up in the air. That way he never has to pause and look where he's at. Wolverine can't stop looking at his past and Deadpool is deathly afraid of his future. He has to stay in the moment."
In the "Deep End," readers are given the unique opportunity to see the world from Deadpool's perspective. "We've come up with a concept called Pool-O-Vision where every once in awhile you'll see the world as he sees it, and it's a complete fucking horror show," Way explained. "Nothing really makes sense. If people start talking to him and they're boring, they'll start to age in front of him. Or if they're trying to explain something to him, he'll see someone juggling behind them. Then we'll switch points of view and he's just staring off into the distance."
Not only is Deadpool's perspective bizarre but, as "The Deep End" will show, Wade Wilson often has multiple points of view on the same subject. "He talks to himself and he talks to his diary," Way explained. "And often he argues with his diary. This is all happening within the mind of one man. We'll have scenes where you hear him speaking, then you'll hear his narration, and then you'll read the text of his diary and there's a three-way battle going on. It sounds confusing but it's a fantastic way to get across a bunch of ideas in a hurry."
Way believes that Deadpool is a funny character but that ultimately he's a tragic figure. "All the best comedies are built upon tragedy," said Way. "If it's all funny, things just turn into noise. With Deadpool you've got a guy who's half dead so he's only half alive. He's stuck in the middle and it sucks. So he's got to make a place for himself. He's got to create a bubble around himself. He lives in the Deadpool Universe. And the Deadpool-verse is six-and-a-half by three."
Deadpool's chosen occupation of gun-for-hire is a way to further isolate and protect himself from the rest of the world. "Being a mercenary allows him to live in that space where no one expects anything from him," Way said. "It's pretty comfortable for him. People will say, 'Wow I can't believe you did that! That's a really low life thing to do. And he can say, 'What did you expect? I'm a mercenary you idiot! What did you think I'm going to do?' It's a way to deflect people and keep them away.
"But at the same time, he wants to affect some change and amount to something. He's been less than zero for so long. Thus far in life, his crowning achievement was to become king of the garbage; when he busted loose he proved he was the most able reject from Weapon X."
In the "Deep End," Deadpool is pursuing a goal that he believes will prove to the world and himself that he's more than human garbage: he's out to take down Wolverine. "Deadpool is a failed attempt to recreate Wolverine. He's such a failure that he was physically thrown away," Way stated. "So they could have offered him $14 for the task of putting Wolverine down and he would have agreed. He didn't hear anything about the money. That was just a front. If he can take out Wolverine it proves that not only is he as good as him, he's fucking better."
For Deadpool, taking out Wolverine may not be about the $20 million pay day, but he's certainly put the money he was offered to good use. "Deadpool wants to force a confrontation and as you'll see he's put a lot of thought into this," Way explained. "All that money he got to do the job? He spent every fucking dime of it. He's got a plan and he broke himself to do it. All that money is gone because the stuff he's using doesn't come cheap. Deadpool has a master plan but it might not be the only plan working as we'll find out later."
Wolverine's master plan at the beginning of "The Deep End" is to avoid Deadpool at all costs. "Wolverine doesn't want to cut loose on Deadpool for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he doesn't have time for it and it's such a sticky situation," Way explained. "Getting into a tangle with Deadpool, another guy who can't really die is an open-ended proposition. There's no telling how long and messy things could get and overwhelming odds say it's going to be extremely long and messy. There will be collateral damage and all kinds of shit. So it's better just to break him off and send him on his way."
Another reason Wolverine doesn't want to take on Deadpool is because he feels partly responsible for Wade Wilson's plight, as he felt with Nuke in "Born In Blood," the premiere storyline of "Wolverine: Origins." "Some of the responsibility does lie at Logan's feet and ultimately it's something he has to deal with," said Way. "But it's different when Wade Wilson is there and in your face. It's different when it's not a memory shooting at you and chattering like an idiot while trapdoors are opening and weird Rube Goldberg style explosives are going off. That kind of shit will frustrate you!"
Deadpool won't be the only threat Wolverine has to contend with in "The Deep End." "We're going to have to keep what the other threat is under wraps for now," Way said. "But there's going to be a serious problem that arises at the eleventh hour."
Along with the mysterious last minute danger, a supporting character, whose identity Way also wants to keep on the down low, also factors into the events of "The Deep End." "It's someone we've seen before," Way teased. "They'll show up and play a major role."
In addition to featuring the stellar art of regular "Origins" illustrator Steve Dillon, "The Deep End" will sport covers by red-hot artist Simone Bianchi. "I appreciate it a lot, especially from a guy like Simone who's on fire now," Way stated. "Cover artists sometimes have a hired-gun status. They come in, bang out an iconic shot and go, but not Simone. He got into the story. He came up with a theme for the covers. Two of them are straight up companion pieces."
With the completion of "Our War" and the beginning of "The Deep End," Way has almost reached the halfway point of "Origins." The writer has an ending planned for the series, which should come around issue #60. Despite some reports to the contrary, Way will remain with the series through its conclusion.
A one-shot issue of "Wolverine: Origins" follows "The Deep End," and following that comes a multi-part arc with the working title of "Fathers and Sons," which just might feature the endgame between Wolverine and his villainous son Daken. Readers of the "Swift and Terrible" arc of "Origins" may recall at the end of the story, Wolverine enlisted Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier to help in his plans for Daken. Barnes is to use his sniping skills to shoot Daken with three bullets made of Carbonadium, an unstable metal with radioactive properties that Wolverine hopes will neutralize Daken's healing factor without killing him.
Of course, as shown in the most recent issue of "Captain America," Bucky Barnes has abandoned the identity of The Winter Soldier to become the new Captain America but this doesn't mean he won't be helping Wolverine when the time comes to take down Daken. "A plan has been set up," Way said. "Ed Brubaker and I were on the phone months and months ago working all that out because we want that scene to have some payoff. Now obviously, you can't have Captain America sniping from the shadows. That's not a very heroic thing to do. So the trick is to frame it in a way that's respectable. It's a cool scene and it's one that I have written. It's coming up soon."
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