Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Deadpool 25, originally released January 25, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: Do you ever worry about what kind of legacy you’re going to leave behind? If you have kids, will they carry on values? Or maybe just your faults? If you don’t have kids — as I do not — how do you hope to leave a lasting impact on the generations to follow? Is that even a priority for you? Or can the opposite be true, and we wish to slide into and out of your time on Earth without effecting anything? It’s all impossible to control, each human being a tributary fed by thousands of influential rivers. In Deadpool 25, Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish plumb the depths of Deadpool’s legacy through a dueling pair of inheritors – his daughters. It’s a hard look downstream, hoping for the best, but ultimately resigned to the fact that betterment is slow, painful and costly.
Yup, this is another one of those entries in the Deadpool canon that genuinely comments on Wade Wilson’s humanity, rather than delighting in his misanthropic glee. This insistence on dark, upsetting realism is perhaps best typified by the moment Warda finally gets the upper hand on Ellie. Warda impales her half-sister on her fiery forearm dagger before injecting her with liquid napalm. She’s even sadistic enough to hold Wade in a headlock, forcing both him and audience to witness this awful sight.
Koblish doesn’t pull any punches here, showing the monstrous distortion of Ellie’s face as fireballs shoot out her mouth and eyes. It’s even more horrific when you consider how this story is sequenced with the rest of the series. In Deadpool 24, Wade just made a rotten deal to save his little girl. The” inventory” issues of Duggan’s previous run with this character were amazingly cool, and even introduced Ellie as the result of one of Deadpool’s 90s-era trysts. Behind all the period-appropriate jokes, Duggan was seeding ideas that would emotionally pay off in the real-time stories of the series, but since Secret Wars, that script is flipped, and the 2099 story is paying off emotional beats that have been seeded over the entirety of Duggan’s run with the character. Ellie may have been conceived in a fake inventory issue, but she died in a 2099 issue.
Of course, we have to be careful with that word: “died.” Ellie died in the same way that Deadpool practically dies in every issue, which is to say: she’s not dead. This is where we get to start exploring what each of these girls gets from their father. Duggan makes no bones about it – this is the theme he wants to explore, and Deadpool and Warda simply won’t stop talking about. Right before that liquid napalm injection, Warda taunts “It’s a shame our father didn’t give you what you really need: a healing factor.” And Warda will eventually loop back around to the question of what she inherited from her father, asking explicitly “What did I get?”
Ellie and Warda represent two different sides of the Deadpool character – his immortal persistence and his damaged psyche, respectively. Ellie does die, but she comes back to life, regenerating all at once into a teenage body. Deadpool uses the word “reboot” to describe this process, which is both a nod to Wade’s fourthwall-breakery and an acknowledgement of the nature of Wade’s legacy. He’s a resilient character, rebootable on the same level as Batman or Spider-Man. Just look how Duggan and Koblish offer two perfectly legitimate heirs in this issue.
The absolutely perfect thing about these twin heiresses is that not all inheritance is equal. Ellie’s resurrection is obviously awesome, and Koblish doesn’t give the moment an entire two-page splash, but the real-estate it takes up on these pages communicates the impact of this rebirth flawlessly.
Warda doesn’t get off so easily – she gets all of Wade’s anger and multiplies his abandonment issues by 100.
We don’t ever really get the details about what transpired between Wade and Shiklah, but the few details Duggan drops hint at some very sad stories in Deadpool’s near future. Not only does he have to wage all-out war on his one-time-bride, whatever goes down with Stryfe is enough to turn Warda’s heart almost completely. Duggan’s writing is so tight, he’s even seeding future storylines in his emotional resolutions.
And speaking of emotional resolutions – I love that the final resting place of Shiklah is literally on Deadpool’s heart. That too was telegraphed early in the issue, with the miniaturization of the demon Warda summoned earlier in the issue. There’s even a half-clue in Wade’s inaccurate recollection that Shiklah was buried in Doc Sampson’s grave. Doc Sampson is the Marvel Universe’s resident shrink, so it’s possible that Wade associates his ex-wife with the emotional work he had to do to get over her. That’s actually one of the greatest strengths of Deadpool — and hopefully, an attribute that he passes on to his daughters — his ability to reflect, change and grow. Early in Duggan’s first volume of Deadpool, Agent Preston’s consciousness wound up serving as his conscience. Ellie grew up with that same presence in her life, and through the magic of that holographic Preston-projection, Warda will also have that guidance.
But I think Duggan and Koblish are making the case that Preston rubbed off on Deadpool, making him a better, more aware, human being.
Deadpool’s right, of course – that’s a fucked up thing to do to an alien race, a totally out-sized reaction on the part of the Avengers. I like to think that Deadpool is acting as an ambassador for all comic books here: it’s a medium full of crappy idoscyncracies, but it is growing and bettering itself to be one of the more progressive mediums out there. Deadpool is fixing his own mistakes by helping the new generation inspired by him, and that’s fucking beautiful.
Taylor! I understand you may have fallen behind on Deadpool at one point, so I’m curious to know whether this one worked for you. It’s extremely light on the LOLs — I think the only joke that I smirked at was that “thanks Malia Obama” joke, and even that is a statement on legacy and daughters. Also, what do you think Iron Fist is referring to when he says they have other business to attend to? There’s so much left here in 2099, I really hope we make it back here some time in the future.
Taylor: Oh I don’t know about this issue being light on the LOLs, it’s just that they are harder to spot among all of the family drama and carnage. Notably, however, must of the laughs come towards the beginning of the issue before Duggan decides to get down to business and get all psychological on our asses. Still sequences like the one below actually made me laugh out loud – something which is a rarity for me.
When the prison holding Shiklah’s secret monster weapon was opened, a tiny little monster popped out that had everyone exclaiming how cute it was. It quickly grows back to normal size, the Pym particles wearing off it would seem, without Wade noticing. Instead of showing this happening on the page, Koblish has it happen off-panel to great comic effect. This is all because of what’s happening in the background of these panels. As Wade tries to recall what happened last time he fought this monster, his allies watch on with horrified expressions. What really sells the joke is how their heads all move up in unison as they see the multi-eyed demon grow. So even though there aren’t a lot of laughs to be had coming from Wade, there’s still quite a few to be had throughout this issue.
What’s no laughing matter is that it’s true, Patrick, I have fallen behind several issues on Deadpool. Lucky for me your observations are always on point and you do a great job of connecting this issue to the many story-arcs and previous monthlies it ties into. More lucky for me is that this issue also stands by itself as a single issue too.
As you mentioned, the heart of this issue revolves around Wade’s relationship with his family. Now, few would ever peg Wade for a family man, but here we are watching him scold both of his daughters while also trying to mend his relationship with each. This whole scenario becomes too much for Wade and he lets slip that this “family” was never in his plans to begin with, just as we suspected all along.
Telling your child that you don’t want them ranks up there as one of the worst things you can possibly do as a human being. It shows that you not only don’t care about your children in that instance, but conceivably since forever. More, it shows them in no uncertain terms that any love they thought you showed them in the past was just a lie put on to disguise your true feelings. This is a pretty despicable moment for Wade but I can’t help almost (ALMOST) feeling sorry for him when he admits that sometimes in life you “don’t always get a vote.” It’s a hard truth but damn if it isn’t one any adult is familiar with. Even when he’s being a monster, Wade is a sympathetic character.
This ability to feel for Wade is something Duggan has perfected. He does this by daring to make Wade vulnerable and self-doubting, traits we all recognize in ourselves and thereby find it hard to dislike those who also show them. Wade admitting that sometimes life decides things for you resonates because it’s a true. What makes the moment successful is that Duggan earlier showed us Wade’s self-hatred, so we’re already basically on his side no matter what.
He straight up says his life sucks and he gives the best evidence he can think of to prove his point – himself. Wade knows he’s a fuck-up. He also knows that everyone else knows that he’s a fuck-up. His plea to his daughters to stop fighting comes off as authentic because once again there’s no denying the truth of Wade’s words. He knows he’s led a terrible life and damn if I don’t believe him when he says he doesn’t want his daughters to lead their lives the same way.
All of this fails to even mention the seeds planted here for future 2099 stories. Iron-Fist is the obvious choice and one can only speculate what exactly his future role will be in future Deadpool. And that’s what’s exciting about this series and what reminds me that I need to go and explore some back-issues – literally anything can happen. But with Wade anchoring the scene with his humor and self-pity/hatred it’s hard to think any 2099 issues we get from here on out will be anything but wonderful.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?