NYCC: Way Puts the "Dead" in "Deadpool"

When you're one of the Marvel Universe's most obnoxious costumed characters it helps to have a healing factor that allows you to recover from any wound. Such is the case with Deadpool. His smart mouth has gotten him shot, stabbed, blown up and torn to pieces, but because of his healing ability he's able to literally pull himself together and deliver a snappy comeback. Lately that power has become a bit of a burden -- that's because Deadpool has decided he wants to die.

This February writer Daniel Way and artist Carlo Barberi will kick of a new arc titled "Dead," which finds Wade Wilson desperately pursuing one last plan that will finally allow him to drift off into the "Big Sleep." CBR News spoke with Way about the "Dead" arc, which begins in the oversized "Deadpool" #50 and was announced by Marvel yesterday at their "X-Men: Regenesis" panel at New York Comic Con.

It is true that deep down inside Deadpool doesn't like himself very much. However, Wade Wilson is not an overly introspective guy so his suicide attempts don't stem from feelings of deep depression or anguish.

"Even when he allows himself a moment of self reflection it doesn't really stick with him. He dwells on it for a second and then he's off to something else. He doesn't have the attention span for something like that. He obsesses over other things," Way told CBR News. "The only reason he's not moving on from this is that he's kind of bored with everything and feels like he's kind of been there and done that. He wants to get to that next level; that next thing that he can completely obsesses over. Because that's what he does, he locks onto something and just does the hell out of it until it's not fun any more. This is kind of the crowning jewel. This is the one thing that he supposedly just can't pull off. He loves a challenge and this is the ultimate challenge.

"In Deadpool's mind what he's doing isn't suicide," Way continued. "This is him attempting to win an unwinnable game and he's willing to die to do it. So it's not really a matter of introspection, although that does come in and out of focus for him. It's just that he has a goal in mind, and to him Death is a beautiful woman who loves him just as he is. In his mind if he does this he gets the girl and gets to tell everybody, 'Fuck you. I pulled it off.' He's not really comprehending what he's doing. The people around him are going to provide that perspective."

Deadpool's quest to die began in "Deadpool" #37, the start of an arc called "Operation Annihilation," which saw him try to provoke the Incredible Hulk into killing him. Unfortunately for Deadpool Bruce Banner took pity on him and delivered a beating the Merc With a Mouth could recover from. That recovery took weeks, and when Deadpool woke up from it, he found he had been shipped off to an asylum for the criminally insane in England. In the "Institutionalized" arc Deadpool carried out a plan that allowed him to escape from the asylum, but not the psychiatrist who was obsessed with him. In the recently completed "You Complete Me" arc Deadpool dealt with his insane admirer and discovered her gruesome trophy collection of body parts that he had lost on various adventures.

Those body parts were knitted together to form the villainous patchwork antagonist in the current "Evil Deadpool" arc, who Deadpool will battle in issues #45-49. During that battle he'll discover the existence of something that might help him in his quest to die.

"This actually comes into play in issue #49. Unfortunately it's beyond his reach at that point. 'Dead' is really about him obtaining this thing that he needs. He doesn't know who has his 'kryptonite.' He doesn't know where this thing came from, why it's out there, or where it's at," Way explained. "The discovery of this thing opens up a world of possibilities. Wade realizes what he has to do is somehow narrow the field and get what he's after back out in the open."

"Dead" begins in "Deadpool" #50, but before that Deadpool's past exploits are recapped in a fun and appropriately bizarre Point One issue. "Issue #49.1 is a musical issue that encapsulates the first 49 issues of the series into four musical numbers. It's a primer of sorts and it builds a ramp towards 'Dead' by bringing people up to speed and refreshing their memories," Way said. "It's a hell of a lot of fun. John McCrea [DC Comics' "Hitman"] is doing the art and it's totally gonzo. I've seen the first several pages from this story and they're nuts."

When "Dead" begins Deadpool devises a plan to help him recover the mysterious thing he needs to die. As the arc progresses several major players in the Marvel Universe will find themselves embroiled in this plan, much to their chagrin.

"Deadpool's plan is massive. He's building a trap for himself, which he can't escape. He's going to eliminate as many possibilities of his own survival as possible. That means getting everybody to point all of their weapons at him and hopefully one of those weapons is the one that can actually kill him," Way said. "This arc takes place in New York, and as Marvel fans know that's the Kingpin's town. Normally he'd be aware of something this big. That's how it starts. By the time he's wrapped his head around it he's surrounded by it. Once he's involved we'll see characters like Typhoid Mary and the Hand.

"Deadpool's teammates on X-Force are also going to be part of 'Dead,'" Way continued. "Since he's one of their own they feel some responsibility for what's going on, so they get drawn into the chaos and before they know it they're deeply enmeshed in things."

The events of "Dead" sprung out of a conversation Way had about "Deadpool" with his former editor, Jody LeHeup. "This was a little over a year ago. He asked me, 'What is the ultimate Deadpool story?' I said, 'That's the one where he actually gets what he wants.' Because he always wins and loses. He pulls off what he's attempting, but fails in some other way. Or he gets what he's after, but then realizes he doesn't want it. What if he actually got an unqualified win though? And what is his ultimate goal?" Way remarked. "He's been obsessing over this image of Death as a beautiful woman with a skeletal face for so long and what if he did everything perfectly and got the girl? Then Jody asked me how do you follow that? I said, 'You wouldn't because he's dead.' And that's really where this arc started."

Giving Deadpool exactly what he wants will have some interesting and immediate repercussions. "There have been several 'Death Of' stories in recent years, but to my knowledge this is a pretty unique take on those stories and readers should be prepared," Way said. "It's going to be tough writing the epilogue to this story. Because one of the themes is be careful what you wish for. What happens if Deadpool gets what he wants and then decides he's done with being dead? At that point it will of course be too late."

Way was unable to comment definitively on whether or not Deadpool dies as the end of "Dead" and what his plans are for the character after the story line. He might not even have any. At the time of this interview the writer hinted that he only had "Deadpool" planned out as far as issue #55, the final issue of "Dead." If "Dead" does turn out to be Way's final issue of the series fans can rest assured he's going to end his run with a bang.

"I like the conversations that I've already been hearing about this story. This is a five-issue arc and the first issue is 28 pages. Deadpool's discovery that he can die happens in the first eight pages of the first part. So there's a lot happening in this story," the writer said. "Our story arcs have been very intertwined lately. 'Operation Annihilation' led right into 'Institutionalized,' which flowed right into 'You Complete Me,' which would have led right into 'Dead' but we did 'Evil Deadpool' beforehand. So for fans that have been reading all the story arcs 'Dead' is the ultimate payoff and I'm extremely grateful for those fans. It's kind of unique to have this long of a run on a book nowadays. That only happens because readers are buying the book."

"Dead" begins in the oversized "Deadpool" #50, on sale in February.

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