As "Deadpool" readers know, the Merc with a Mouth is married to an ancient succubus queen named Shiklah, ruler of the Monster Metropolis, a vast subterranean city underneath Manhattan that’s home to a multitude of creatures. It sounds like a story straight out of a fantasy novel or movie, but the most fanciful aspect of his marriage has to be that it's lasted as long as it has.
Readers first met Shiklah back in 2014's “Deadpool: The Gauntlet,” by writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and artist Reilly Brownm where she and Wade had a whirlwind courtship and were then married. Since then, their marriage has had its up and downs, and a recent “Deadpool” arc that flash forwarded into the possible future of 2099 showed that the once happy couple is destined to break apart and reunite again at some point in the future.
This March, Wade and Shiklah's marriage finally reaches its breaking point, as a crisis on the surface world forces them to choose between their obligations to each other and the larger worlds they're both part of. That crisis will be chronicled in “Till Death Do Us...,” a six-part crossover that kicks off in “Deadpool” #28 by Duggan and artist Salva Espin and then moves into issues of “Spider-Man/Deadpool” and “Deadpool & the Mercs For Money.” Then, in May, Deadpool is thrust into Marvel's line-wide “Secret Empire” event, where Wade Wilson's relationship with the now Hydra affiliated Steve Rogers will come a head.
CBR: “Till Death Do Us...” is something you've been planning for a while, and the end of the recent 2099 arc in “Deadpool” suggests that you have even larger plans for the story of Wade and Shiklah.
Gerry Duggan: It's been a lot of fun pulling them apart after sort of mashing them together. She lasted longer than most women would have in a marriage to Deadpool. She has a real point of view about what's gone wrong in her marriage, her life, and her responsibilities as a monarch and protector of the Monster Metropolis, so it's been a lot of fun.
It sounds like what kicks off the confrontation between Wade and Shiklah in the crossover is a conflict between her duties to her people versus her duties to her husband.
What's going on could be described as a border conflict. Basically she's got her personal problems and professional problems, and those are going to intertwine.
What's your sense of Shiklah's ruling style? Is she the type of monarch that would allow intense emotions to cloud her judgement?
She knows that she's one of the more powerful figures on the battlefield, and she's not afraid to remind you of that.
We're pulling her and Wade apart, but we showed that by 2099 they had gotten back together at one, and perhaps even several points during the interim between that story and this one. It just feels right to do that. Someday, there will be another “Deadpool” writer, and either they'll want to play with the marriage, or they won't. It can be an on again off again relationship.
I think the funniest thing is to have them fight and come back together. That feels very Sid and Nancy.
With Shiklah attacking the surface world, is Wade being forced to choose between his two families? the one with his wife below and the one with his daughter, her foster family, and his friends above?
For sure. He's not quite of two worlds, but he does have to make a choice. We make the choice that makes good comics. [Laughs]
I have to wonder, with Wade's issues and his self loathing, is there a feeling on his part that this was inevitable? Does some part of him feel that whoever he finds would eventually leave him anyway?
There's definitely a part of that, but there also might be a sigh of relief that something is over. It's not exactly cathartic, but it is a big deal to have a marriage end that began as crazily as theirs did.
“Till Death Do us...” sounds similar to “The Gauntlet,” an arc you did in the last volume of “Deadpool” that made you laugh on one page and then punched you in the heart on the next. Is that a fair characterization?
I would hope so. It would be great if people thought that. We're definitely going to try and mix it up.
“Deadpool's” supporting cast includes family, friends and allies, like Preston and Adsit in S.H.I.E.L.D., and adversaries like Madcap. Will there be room for all those characters in “Till Death Do Us...,” or is the spotlight firmly on Wade versus Shiklah?
The story will have a little bit of both. We tried to have a lot of real estate for those two characters, and I think it ends in a way that feels real, as silly as that sounds. The dominoes have been falling, though. There's a lot of bad things circling Wade at the moment; the stuff in “Uncanny Avengers” with the Red Skull, and now in his own book he's got Madcap in the wind and he doesn't need this marriage thing, but it's going to blow up in his face. Plus the Steve Rogers “Secret Empire” storyline is beginning to heat up and Deadpool will be pulled into that. It's a nice shit storm to throw him into. [Laughs]
This is a crossover between “Deadpool,” “Spider-Man/Deadpool” and “Deadpool & the Mercs for Money,” so you get to play with some characters you've written in the past, but don't normally get to. What's it like returning to those characters for this story?
It always takes a little extra time to write Spider-Man. He's a character that always demands an extra look -- or two, or three, or four. Plus, I love all these characters. Some of them I helped create, and some are older characters that we grew up with. To be able to write them, all these monsters, and Blade has been a lot of fun.
It seems fitting that Blade is part of this story since he was there in “The Gauntlet” when the marriage began.
Yeah, I think this is a fun book end to that story. It's a spiritual successor.
Coordinating with other writers and editorial is a regular part of your job at Marvel, but have you ever been in a position like this, where you're coordinating a crossover story that's now spreading into other books?
I don't know. I don't feel like I'm exactly at the head of the table. This feels like a crossover where we tried to give everyone an amount of flexibility. We said, “Here's where we start and here's where I'd like to end.” Then we talked about some of the fun things that we could do. It was a little story summit that took place over a couple of days and we got everyone into a really fun place.
“Till Death Do Us...” has a team of Deadpool experts on writing and art duties. You and Salva Espin are doing “Deadpool.” Joshua Corin, the writer of the recent “Spider-Man/Deadpool” #1.MU special is returning to the book to write the “Till Death Do Us . . .” issues, and Scott Koblish is drawing those issues. The crossover issues of “Deadpool & the Mercs for Money” are being written by a guest writer, Christopher Hastings, who has done several Wade Wilson stories, and features art by regular series artist Iban Coello.
Totally. To be able to include those other books has been really neat. It feels like the old X-Men crossovers that I grew up with back in the day where you had one or two issues here, some more over there, and before you know it the story is done. The story feels great and digestible right now. I hope everyone has a lot of fun
Our artists on the crossover are killing it and having a lot of fun. Our writers are, too. It's great to work with Scott Koblish again and a lot of the “Deadpool” regulars.
Will Wade be part of the “Secret Empire” storyline? Do you have a “Deadpool” tie-in planned?
I don't know what I can say -- but, yes! Basically, after the Shiklah story ends we'll dive into that world pretty quickly. I also can't say any more about it.
Fair enough. Hopefully readers will get some interesting payoff to the story of the relationship and dynamic between Wade and Steve Rogers.
Back when Steve Rogers was still an old man, he didn't have Logan anymore, so Wade became the force that he could direct somewhere that would get the job done. That made sense to me. It felt like there was some thought behind making Wade an Avenger, and Rogers would trust him at that point.
Between the story that we're telling now in “Deadpool” and the story we're about to jump into, it's going to be a pretty wild ride. So thank you again for reading!