Duggan's Deadpool Investigates the "Death of Wolverine," and "AXIS" Reveals 'Zenpool'

FACT: Wade Wilson, better known to the public at large as Deadpool, is a manic motormouth. As such, he can be a hard person to get to know, but the heroes who have taken the time to look beyond the unkillable mercenary's bluster and warped sense of humor have found qualities that lead them to respect 'Pool, and in some cases, even call him a friend. Overall, the Merc With the Mouth has a small group of Marvel heroes he can call allies, a slightly larger group that respect what he's capable of, and an even larger number of heroes and villains who hate his guts.

This fall, Deadpool will those who fall into the final category a chance to change -- or exacerbate -- their opinions about him as he embarks upon a series of high profile adventures through the Marvel Universe. Under the guidance of writer Gerry Duggan, the "Death of Wolverine: Deadpool and Captain America" one-shot, featuring art by Scott Kolins, teams Wilson with the now elderly Steve Rogers in the aftermath of the passing of their mutual friend. Meanwhile, the ongoing "Deadpool" solo series, co-written with Brian Posehn, just released an "Original Sin" tie-in issue that revisited the title character's '90s roots (illustrated by Scott Koblish), and the next arc, drawn by Mike Hawthorne, explores how the "inversions" of the upcoming "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" will impact Wade's already topsy-turvy world.

CBR News: "Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America" is a one-shot that both ties into the "Death of Wolverine" event and stands on it's own. How did this done-in-one book come about?

Gerry Duggan: I had pitched something when I heard that Wolverine would not be moving with us into 2015. I had an idea about reuniting "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly" [Cap, Wade and Logan], but it was going to be Wolverine's corpse. It was going to be Wade Wilson and old man Steve Rogers in a little bit of a "Weekend at Bernie's" situation, but it was going to be very serious.

I quickly abandoned that idea because it's a little too jokey. You can make that work in a "Deadpool" book, but I wanted to make sure me and my editors gave readers a story that showed what Logan meant to Wade, and what better way than to do that with Rogers? They had this big adventure in North Korea that I think humanized Wade, so this is definitely a spiritual epilogue for Rogers and Deadpool. And potentially, it could one day be a very important book.

I know that's an annoying note to sort of hang on there, but it's something that I was really happy with how it turned out, and Scott Kolins is just killing it on art.

This is Scott's first Marvel book in several years. What's it like to be the writer welcoming him back to the Marvel Universe?

We're having so much fun. I've been very lucky with my collaborators. It's an embarrassment of riches. Wait until you see how detailed these 30 pages are. There's so much love and attention in these pages from Scott.

As you said, Scott is drawing the now elderly Steve Rogers, and you're friends with "Captain America" writer Rick Remender, so you knew what his plans for Steve were. What was your initial reaction upon hearing Rogers would age rapidly? And what's it like bouncing the elderly Rogers off of Deadpool?

My fastball is really "The Odd Couple," whether it's a Shane Black style "Odd Couple" or a true Neil Simon style one. Having an old man and Deadpool together is a fun combination.

To answer the first part of your question, I was totally floored when I heard Steve was going to lose the Super Soldier Serum and age. It gives Rick a lot of opportunity to tell a great story about who Steve Rogers is when he doesn't have his shield, and who Sam is when he picks it up.

It would be very easy for Rick and Jason Aaron [whose Thor book will soon have a female title character] to just play the hits with their books. I think they're doing very interesting and challenging stories and that's where great books come from; the desire to shake things up.

What can you tell us about the shared adventure Rogers and Deadpool will embark on in this one-shot? What events bring the still living members of "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly" back together?

I'll be very up front at the risk of spoiling it, but there is a threat in Wolverine's DNA being out there. It needs to be tied off in such a way that nobody can do anything nefarious with it. Deadpool is so concerned that he's actually scrubbing Logan's toilet and bathroom in the Avengers' Mansion when we first meet him.

It's a story with a lot of fun action and fun heartfelt moments. It's an oversized issue, and it's one my favorite Deadpool scripts in a long time. The adventure is personal for these characters.

So, is a direct sequel to "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly," seeing that the bond Cap, Deadpool and Wolverine formed there came about because they were trying to stop people from doing nefarious things with Deapool's DNA.

There's sort of a complicating factor, but yes. If that story was one you enjoyed, you'll love this one. I almost sort of regret that this comic won't come bundled with that story, because it does, spiritually, belong there.

And "The Death of Wolverine" special isn't the only place where you're revisiting and exploring established "Deadpool" stories. In this month's "Deadpool" #34 you, co-writer Brian Posehn and artist Scott Koblish revisited the title character's early days with an issue that flashes back to the '90s. What can you tell us about this issue?

At the end of "Deadpool" #33, we learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Scott Adsit saw Deadpool kill his parents when the Watcher's eyeball exploded in "Original Sin." Then, in #34, our '90s flashback issue, you experience the unfortunate scene that Adsit also experienced.

We usually try to find threads in our inventory issues to pull forward, and this is one of the biggest threads we've pulled forward. Plus, I believe it has an appropriate amount of heart and gags, but it's really a heartbreaker of a chapter in his life. I'm really proud of how it all came together. Scott and [colorist] Val [Staples] did a wonderful job making this look like a '90s book, and we're going to get some more stories out of the events in the book.

Some of my favorite issues of "Deadpool" have had moments that made you laugh genuinely, but they've also had moments where you laughed to keep yourself from crying or made uncomfortable by the events going on.

Yes, if you don't know whether to laugh or cry, either is be appropriate at almost any moment. So yes, it is sort of a maniacal issue.

When you catch back up with Deadpool's present day status quo in issue #35, it sounds like he'll be a man pulled in many directions. He's got new marriage, his daughter he recently discovered was still alive, and his Korean friend with the powers and appearance of Nightcrawler needing his help.

Yes, his wife Shiklah is feeling a little neglected. Her new husband all of a sudden has a daughter, and as you said, the end of "Deadpool" #33 is really Wade being pulled in a million different directions, as if he were Mister Fantastic.

His Korean friends need him. His daughter may certainly need him after what she's been through, and his wife doesn't need him, but would like him by her side. All of this is a little much for Deadpool who had been doing just fine without too much real human interaction for a long time. I hope it will be interesting to see how he reacts to all of this.

On the other side of issue #34, Mike Hawthorne is drawing this fall's books, which are "AXIS" tie-ins. This is another time where we're getting to make good use of an event that dovetails nicely with some things that we wanted to explore with Deadpool. I think that some of our funnier, sadder, and more violent moments are actually coming up in this new arc.

We know that these "AXIS" tie-in issues will involve a Deadpool whose alignment has been "inverted." What does that mean for Wade and how it will affect him?

We've seen the cover to "Deadpool" #37, which features Zenpool, what our team has been calling him internally. We try to play a really long game. When you do 18 issues a year, you have to -- we first mentioned Deadpool's daughter, Ellie back in issue #9, I believe.

The fun thing is, we had access to the "AXIS" information, so we seeded Zenpool a long time ago. You met him once already in Deadpool's mind, when the transfer happened and Preston left. He's a very different facet of Deadpool, and it will be interesting to see him sort of take the wheel so to speak. Mike Hawthorne did a great job redesigning Deadpool for this story, and an inverted Deadpool is a pacifist -- so we're having fun with that!

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