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Meta-Messages: Deathstroke Stabs...Deadpool?!?

In this feature I explore the context behind (using reader danjack's term) "meta-messages." A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I'll give you the context behind one such "meta-message." Here is an archive of the past installments!

This time around, based on a suggestion from reader Christine S., we take a look at the time that Deathstroke and Deadpool fought in the pages of Superman/Batman...

Superman/Batman Annual #1 was written by Joe Kelly and drawn by a dream team of Ed McGuinness, Ryan Ottley, Sean Murphy and Carlo Barberi, along with seventeen million inkers. It was a hilarious Post-Crisis re-telling of the classic first real team-up of Batman and Superman from Superman #76, with Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent discovering each other's secret identities while on a cruise. Kelly had a lot of fun with tweaking the original story (shades of his brilliant Deadpool #11, where he had Deadpool go into the pages of an old issue of Amazing Spider-Man).

From the original...

From this version...

In any event, Kelly was a writer at Marvel whose most famous run was writing Deadpool (with McGuinness as the original artist on that series). By this time, though, Kelly has been working for DC Comics for the past few years, so now, in this annual, he got to have fun with the fact that Deadpool was very similar to Deathstroke the Terminator from DC Comics. So Deathstroke, you see, has been hired to kill Bruce Wayne by Ultraman. However, Ultraman thinks he has hired Deathstroke to kill the Earth-2 version of Bruce Wayne (who is secretly Owlman), because Wayne is the son of Gotham City's Commissioner Thomas Wayne (who is alive on Earth-2). Deathstroke, though, thinks his assignment is to kill HIS Earth's Bruce Wayne.

Anyhow, after an interdimensional rift comes around, connecting Earth-1 to Earth-2 we meet the Earth-2 version of Deathstroke, a hero who is, basically, Deadpool. Deadpool. Deadpool keeps trying to save Wayne from Deathstroke. Hilarity, as the say, ensues...

Later on, Superwoman, Ultraman and Owlman (from Earth-2) join the fray, as well...

One of the running gags is that "Deadpool" can never get his name out, because they can't officially CALL him Deadpool...

There's a lot of good scenes between "Deadpool" and Deathstroke...

Finally, once Superman and Ultraman team-up to close the rift, "Deadpool" is sucked away right before he can finally reveal his name...

A very fun issue. And there are lots of other good jokes mixed in there (especially Lois Lane trying to figure out the secret identities of everyone involved).

Thanks to Christine for the suggestion! If anyone else has a good meta-messages suggestion, just drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

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