Merc With A Mouth To Feed: Daniel Way Talks Deadpool

For months now, Earth has been under siege by the forces of the Skrull Empire. Heroes like the Avengers, Nick Fury's Secret Warriors and the X-Men have stepped forward to defend their home planet from this Secret Invasion. But there's one hero who's gone on the offensive, and his actions might have just saved the world. His name… Deadpool?

That's right, the opening issues of Marvel's all-new “Deadpool” series saw Wade Wilson, the Merc with a Mouth, infiltrate a Skrull base, decimate its forces and retrieve valuable data that could cripple the Skrull invasion force. There's just one problem, though. At the end of “Deadpool” #3, that data didn't make it to Deadpool's employer; it was intercepted by one of the most insidious figures in the Marvel Universe. CBR News spoke with writer Daniel Way about “Deadpool” and what's next for his lethal, loquacious and loony protagonist.

In “Deadpool” #1 it looked like Wade Wilson had turned traitor when he offered his services to the Skrulls, but at the end of issue #2, readers learned it was an all act to get him inside a Skrull facility so he could carry out a mission for his employer, Nick Fury. This left some wondering why Fury would entrust Deadpool of all people with such an important mission, but the Merc with the Mouth was the ideal and really the only candidate for the task.

“Let's say Nick Fury sends in a good guy. The Skrulls have been watching us for some time now and they're going to know it's completely out of character and out of that guy's moral comfort zone,” Daniel Way told CBR News. “If Fury sends a bad guy, what's preventing that character from stabbing him in the back? So you go with the wild card. Deadpool is a fairly unknown quantity. The Skrulls don't trust him but at the same time this isn't without precedent. There are defectors and Deadpool is a great candidate to be one. He's pretty morally ambiguous, has no real loyalties, is not tied down to anyone, and is potentially a hell of an asset.

“Plus, Deadpool may be unpredictable but the fact of the matter is that he's displayed this intense capability. His mental state has in no way impacted his ability to perform as a mercenary. He's an extremely competent and proficient killer and he can get in there and do the job.”

During the course of his job, Deadpool has had some pretty interesting conversations -- many of them with himself, depicting on the page as two separate inner monologues. Some might think this is Deadpool chatting with his Ego and Superego, but Way cautions readers against trying to psychoanalyze Wade Wilson. “There are times when it sort of does play out like that,” the writer said. “The white first person narrative caption box is kind of what he's really thinking. Then there's the yellow box which is his diary and that's kind of what he wants you to think he's thinking, but there are times when that completely flip flops. It's like he can't keep things straight. Deadpool very much lives in a world of his own construction so he's not very big on rules and order. Everybody has those warring impulses, the angel and the devil on your shoulders. It's just that in Deadpool's case, they're both devils.”

Deadpool's extraordinary healing factor was one of the big reasons the Skrulls were able to overlook his “eccentricities” and bring him inside their secret bio facility. The alien shapeshifters sought to replicate his healing ability and give it to a new line of un-killable Super Skrulls. They thought they were successful, but at the end of “Deadpool” #3 the new Super Skrulls began to explode. This happened because, as he explained to the chief Skrull scientist, Deadpool's healing factor works because there's something keeping it in check: cancer.

Way sees that cancer as an integral part of Deadpool’s character. “There are a number of ways you could dissect and deconstruct that, thematically, but the fact that he's this walking dead man, that he's both perpetually living and dying, is what I think really defines him as a character,” the writer remarked. “He's a character with one foot in the grave and the other in La-La Land. That's just where he lives. It's that push and pull between those two extremes; that hyper activity and the voracious thing that's eating him. He lands in the middle, crazy as fuck.”

Unfortunately for Deadpool, sabotaging the Super Skrull program was not what Nick Fury was actually paying him to do. His real mission was to send Fury top-secret data on how to kill the leader of the Skrull invaders, Queen Veranke. Now, Deadpool did just that in issue #3, except the information was intercepted by Norman Osborn, the former Green Goblin and current leader of the Thunderbolts.

“The magic in that last scene is that Deadpool does it. If but for one little sad circumstance, Deadpool would have saved the Earth right then and there,” Way said. “He would have delivered the magic bullet to the good guys and things would have gone in a brand new shiny direction for Deadpool. But it doesn’t and all of a sudden he’s on Nick Fury’s shit list. He’s also handed the keys to the kingdom over to a complete psychopath. His moment of greatest triumph is the moment that might just actually destroy him.”

It wasn’t a coincidence that Norman Osborn collected the data Deadpool was sending out. Osborn had been watching and waiting for the chance to make such a grab. “That’s really Osborn’s strength. He’s the guy waiting in the shadows looking to scoop up all of these bits,” Way stated. “And this is something that plays out in ‘Secret Invasion.’ Bendis has plans for him. He’s been kind of waiting in the wings, taking his shots and gathering info. This is one of those outside maneuvers that’s going to pay dividends later for him.”

Osborn’s interception might prove valuable for him, but stealing from Deadpool means he’ll have to contend with reprisals from someone just as dangerous and perhaps even crazier than he is. Way's plans for “Deadpool” call for the Osborn plot thread to be picked up very soon. “This is a story point that’s going to reverberate in the ‘Deadpool’ book for at least a year’s worth of stories, because Deadpool having successfully saved the world isn’t going to sit back passively and have nobody know about it,” the writer confirmed. “It’s like he ran the ball up to the goal line and then the quarterback ran up stole the ball and crossed into the end zone. That’s bullshit! This is Deadpool’s time and it’s been snatched from him. So he’s going to endeavor to get back into the spotlight.”

However, before Deadpool can confront Norman Osborn, he’s got to look after some more immediate problems, like money. Enter “Horror Business,” a two-part story arc in “Deadpool” #4-5. “Having done this job for Nick Fury that went bust at the 11th hour, Deadpool of course did not get paid. This is strike two for him. The job he took from S.H.I.E.L.D. to kill Wolverine [in the recent ‘Wolverine: Origins’ arc ‘The Deep End’] also went bust, and really wasn’t a job at all,” Way explained. “That huge payout never happened and Fury’s not going to pay him for not delivering, so Deadpool is broke. He can’t afford ammunition. All he’s got to his name is a stack of Semtex explosives, which he actually uses to make a chair, so he at least can have someplace to sit.”

When “Deadpool” #4 begins, Wade’s dire financial situation and the current climate of the Marvel Universe means he’s going to have scrape the bottom of the barrel to find work. “The Marvel U is in turmoil. No one is hiring because everyone is focusing their efforts on fighting off the Skrull invasion,” explained Way. “So Deadpool has to go to the people who don’t care that there’s an invasion going on; the lowest of the low and he touches base with a guy from his past. He's a new character but I'm establishing that he's linked to Deadpool's past. His name is Colonel Zeke.

“Zeke is fit but he's also old and has a bit of a Peter Pan complex. He's got a really bad hair piece. He's done extremely well for himself by being a scumbag. He played things really greasy and profiteer like. So he's become a successful mercenary, whereas Deadpool is sitting on a shitty home made chair made out of plastic explosives and has to beg for a job.”

Fortunately for Deadpool, Zeke just happens to be in need of a mercenary with his particular skill set. “Zeke's young, ex-supermodel trophy wife went to Eastern Europe to undergo this illegal, experimental new plastic surgery technique that's turned her into a flesh eating zombie,” Way explained. “She's beautiful but if she stops eating flesh she gets all zombified. So Deadpool's task is to retrieve her and kill the doctor who did this to her. Why is this job perfect for Deadpool? Because the doctor is also a zombie. So you can see why Deadpool is perfect for the job. Of course when he gets there though things get really weird and all is not as it seems.”

Taking out the zombie doctor won't be an easy task for Deadpool, because unlike his shambling, brain munching brethren, Doctor Lobosno is a particularly clever and insightful ghoul. “Dr. Lobosno is a canny guy. He's a suave and smooth operator who the ladies love. He's a plastic surgeon who's cooked up this new technique that involves a zombie like strain of bacteria,” Way said. “Once a person is infected with it they have to feed off live tissue and as long as they keep the bacteria fed they look like a million bucks. It almost reverses aging. It's a fountain of youth but it's also a fountain of blood because if you don't eat you end up looking worse than when you walked through the door.

“This story is also my poke in the eye to the youth obsessed plastic surgery culture,” Way continued. “And I took particular joy in having Deadpool, the ugliest man in the Marvel Universe, go in there to straighten things out.”

Following “Horror Business,” another two-part arc begins: “How Low Can You Go.” “That leads into a big crossover that I can't talk about yet but it's pretty exciting,” Way teased.

Drawing part one of “Horror Business” (artist Carlo Barberi fills in for part two) and future Deadpool arcs is series artist Paco Medina, who is regularly wowing Way with both his craftsmanship and professionalism. “Paco is my hero,” the writer said. “Especially lately. He's always been enthusiastic about the book but now the pages are looking even better and coming in faster. I was just talking with my editor today and we'll probably be doing in the neighborhood of 13 or 14 issues a year.”

The first three issues of “Deadpool” were both a commercial and critical success, and Way is incredibly grateful to everyone who's supported the series. “Thanks to retailers for ordering the book and fans for supporting it. And thanks to Paco and Carlo who are turning in some nice work on issues #4-5,” the writer said. “I hope some of the people who came to the series either because of Secret Invasion or morbid curiosity stick around because if you thought the first three issues of 'Deadpool' were funny, you'll think the next five are fucking hilarious.”

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