As a regular opponent of Spider-Man, Norman Osborn thought he knew how to deal with an annoying smart-ass, but in the months ahead he'll come to understand what it truly means to be irritated.
You see, Osborn stole from the most annoying man in the Marvel Universe: Wade Wilson, also known as Deadpool, the Merc With A Mouth!
This March, Deadpool comes looking for a little payback in a story called "Magnum Opus," a four-part crossover between Daniel Way and Paco Medina's "Deadpool" and Andy Diggle and Roberto De la Torre's "Thunderbolts." CBR News spoke with Way about the story as well as "How Low Can You Go?," a new two-part "Deadpool" arc beginning in January's issue #6.
"How Low Can You Go?" begins Deadpook's involvement in Marvel's ongoing Dark Reign saga. The storyline involves Norman Osborn taking steps to cover up the fact that he stole information from Wade in "Deadpool" #3; information that lead to the unjust attainment his new lofty government position and the immense power that comes with it. As such, Osborn has a huge interest in seeing the Merc's Mouth shut - permanently.
"The first thing Osborn does to try and take care of the situation is to bring in a hired gun to take Deadpool down, which would be Tiger-Shark," Daniel Way told CBR News. "That would be the standard thing to do, but of course everything about Deadpool is non-standard. So it goes completely awry and Norman has to to get more serious about things."
"How Low Can You Go?" also reunites Deadpool with his former "pet" and minion, Bob: Agent of Hydra. "From day one I was looking for a way to bring in Bob," Way confirmed. "I don't want the book to become 'Deadpool and Friends' so characters will drift in and out, but Bob was someone I definitely wanted to bring in. It just had to be at the perfect moment and when I was putting this storyline together that moment presented itself. It had to be the moment where only Bob could show up. That's because he's not even a D-List character. He's more like a K-Lister. There's not much 'get' to having him show up on his own. That's why we had to bring him in with Tiger Shark and Norman Osborn so he gets elevated by his company."
Daniel Way finds Bob's relationship with and perception of Deadpool to be the character's most compelling traits. "He's like Deadpool's biggest and only fan. He thinks Wade is a guy who's got it together, which speaks volumes about how monumentally dysfunctional Bob is," the writer remarked. "He's kind of a supplicating sycophant, but I wanted to explore more of who Bob is and see if there's more to him than just that. I didn't want to do some crazy in-depth exploration of the character and his psyche, I just wanted to show another one of his facets."
It's too early to tell if Deadpool's reunion with Bob will be a happy one, but even if it is, the good times will be fleeting, because when "Magnum Opus" begins in March, the Merc with a Mouth is pissed off! "From issues #1-7 he's going to have failure after failure," Way revealed. "He's had some successes but that's the way it goes with Deadpool, he succeeds and than he fails, like in 'One of Us,' the Secret Invasion tie-in arc. He pulled that mission off and then blew it, and when we finish [the current arc] 'Horror Business' you'll find out that things don't go as planned.
"And 'How Low Can You Go?' doesn't go as planned either. So as you'll see in issue #8, this is about as focused as Deadpool gets. It's very simple to him. Norman Osborn owes him a lot of money for services rendered and he's going to go get it. He's going about it in the most direct possible way. Now, he does have a plan, but part one of that plan is to really just storm through Norman's front door. So yes, this is his assault on Avengers Tower.
"After the attacks during Secret Invasion and all that followed, Avengers Tower is basically empty. And Deadpool has warned Norman Osborn that he's coming. So basically Deadpool has to get from street level to I believe the 91st floor of Avengers Tower. Therein lies the story. How to get from here to there? Norman Osborn, though, isn't going to be wiling away his time not preparing for Deadpool's visit. It's going to be like a house of horrors from here to there."
Many of those horrors come in the form of Osborn's new Thunderbolts team. Tackling a group like the Thunderbolts is a new experience for Daniel Way, whose body of work primarily consists of stories featuring lone characters. "It's cool. There's definitely a whole new set of dynamics when you're writing a team as opposed to a single character," the writer said. "There's so much there; the choreography and you've got to keep in mind that every character out there is someone's favorite. You've got to make sure that everybody gets a little screen time, serves a purpose in the story, and gets that cool line or visual moment. You've got to spread things around and I'm finding this as well in 'Wolverine: Origins' right now because I'm writing a whole team of X-Men.
"It's something that I'm hopefully learning on the job. I will say that it's a lot of fun. It presents you with exponential opportunities for scenes, especially action ones."
The new cast of Thunderbolts have given Way plenty of interesting ideas for scenes, especially former Iron Man foe, Ghost. "There's a cool scene later on in the story arc involving Ghost that I'm just stoked to see," he said. "I can't wait to see how it's going to turn out."
While certain Thunderbolts like Ghost have inspired Way, others like Eric O'Grady, the Irredeemable Ant-Man, have challenged him. "Talk about a tough character to write. It's not necessarily the character part, it's his abilities, because when Ant-Man is really doing his thing you can't see him," Way explained. "So you have to be constantly thinking of ways to visually get across that Ant-Man is in fact in play and not just crawling around."
Facing off against a seven-person team like the new Thunderbolts means Deadpool is outnumbered, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's outgunned. "He's going into a battle with group of vicious killers so he's going to do whatever it takes to disrupt any sort of unity or cohesiveness they may have," Way said. "He's going to throw the whole thing into chaos as quickly as possible. That's how Deadpool does things."
As Deadpool goes toe-to-toe with the Thunderbolts, readers will see the team as they really are as well as how they appea through Deadpool's demented perspective, a point-of-view that's come to be known as Pool-O-Vision. "The Thunderbolts are young turks. They're vicious and looking to make a name for themselves, so you're going to see an even more extreme version of Pool-O-Vision," Way remarked. "As the situation becomes more extreme so does Deadpool. Not only is he going to get a bit crazier at times but he's also going to get a lot more capable. He might be doing a bit more acting and bit less talking. When they're coming at him from six or seven different angles there's not much time to get that punchline in there."
While Deadpool and the Thunderbolts may be at odds in the "Magnum Opus" crossover, their writers are not. Daniel Way has found co-writer Andy Diggle to be a great collaborator. "He's a real pro and a great communicator. He's not the kind of guy who gets married to an idea and stubbornly sticks to it at the expense of creativity," Way said. "And he is the kind of guy who understands the medium. He's a great scene writer. He knows when to peak a scene and get that moment of greatest tension. So I've been stoked to work with him. We've talked back and forth about certain things. I like to keep stirring the pot until it's done. It's kind of the same thing Mike Carey and I did with the 'Original Sin' crossover in 'X-Men: Legacy' and 'Wolverine: Origins.'"
"Magnum Opus" comes to a conclusion in April, but Deadpool's involvement in Dark Reign does not. "It's actually just beginning," Way said. "Because 'Magnum Opus' is going to lead to a monumental throwdown. I can't give away the ending, but let's just say that Norman Osborn is left with only one other option . . ."
"Deadpool" #5 is on sale this week from Marvel Comics.