The spaceways of the Marvel Universe are home to numerous threats, and a person would have to be insane, foolhardy and extremely hard to kill in order to combat these dangers. Fortunately, the MU's newest team is full of characters who fit that very description. They are the Deadpool Corps, and their new ongoing series launched on April 7. We spoke with writer Victor Gischler about the book and his other Deadpool series, "Merc With a Mouth," which comes to a conclusion in July.
In the recently concluded "Prelude to the Deadpool Corps" miniseries, Wade Wilson learned of a coming intergalactic crisis and that he would need to lead an army of heroes to stop it. In Deadpool's mind, there's no better hero than himself, so the Merc with a Mouth visited several different dimensions to find and recruit alternate versions of himself. His recruits were: the buxom and loquacious Lady Deadpool, the wisecracking preteen Kidpool, the canine Dogpool and Headpool, the severed head of the Deadpool from the Zombieverse.
In the final issue of "Prelude," readers learned that the character who tasked Deadpool with saving the galaxy was the Elder of the Universe known as the Contemplator. Gischler revealed that he and his fellow Elders will continue to play roles in "Deadpool Corps." "I like to recycle and bring back characters that haven't been seen in awhile," the writer told CBR News. "Plus, the Elders also served the purpose of being higher powered beings. We needed some higher powered beings who had the ability to introduce Deadpool to a galactic level villain that he needs to battle. They also have the ability to send him around to these different dimensions to do these things."
The Contemplator believes in the Deadpool Corps, but his fellow Elders aren't exactly convinced that a team of unkillable, overly-chatty lunatics are the right people to save the universe. At least one of the Elders will voice his suspicions in the opening arc of "Deadpool Corps." Unfortunately for him though, the members of the Deadpool Corps aren't likely to care what he thinks.
"When you think of Deadpool and his alternaverse buddies, they're not a respect authority type group. So while normal people might be in awe of an Elder of the Universe, Deadpool is more likely to make fun of the Elder's costume," Gischler explained. "So we have a relationship where these Elders are sending Deadpool on a mission, and he takes the mission, but he doesn't really consider the Elders his bosses. He doesn't think they really have authority over him, because he's just not built for that type of respect."
The Deadpool Corps' inaugural mission will send them to a new sector of space, one that hasn't been explored in other Marvel titles. "It's in the Marvel Universe, but it's off in a corner of deep space. We're not going to be running into anybody else's characters, at least for this first arc and the way we have things planned now. With Deadpool, you never can tell what he's going to do or where he's going to pop up, so who can say for future arcs?" Gischler remarked. "For this first arc, though, he's way off in deep space doing his own thing; meeting exciting new aliens, killing many of them and annoying the rest."
When "Deadpool Corps" begins, the identity of the team's chief target will remain a mystery. "They're after a sort of an omnipresent bad guy at the beginning. They don't even know quite the form this villain is taking yet," Gischler said. "So part of the story is who or what this villain even is. There's a mystery element. Not that everyone is looking for clues like Sherlock Holmes, but there is a sort of, 'How do we even battle this force when we're not ever sure what it is or where it comes from?'"
Given that each member of the Deadpool Corps has Deadpool's huge ego and self loathing streak, readers might think that the team's greatest enemies are each other. "The Deadpool Corps is the super team that, on paper, shouldn't work, because we've got three people, a dog and a disembodied head, and they all think they are the center of the universe. They all hate themselves, too. So, on paper, this should just be a mess, and there are tensions sometimes within the team about what the right thing to do is, but somehow things work out in spite of the fact that they shouldn't," Gischler stated. "Groups like the X-Men or the Avengers might plan things, and the Deadpool Corps tries to plan things, but somehow they end up being successful by accident. If their plan goes awry, they almost don't even notice because they're all Deadpool and they do things on the fly. So they work as a team, but even they don't always know why and how they work as a team, but somehow it works."
Rounding out the supporting cast of the first "Deadpool Corps" story arc are The Elder of the Universe known as the Champion, another Elder whose identity Gischler is keeping under wraps and a host of new characters. "They are fun alien characters," Gischler remarked."As you may have deduced, this series is kind of a fun, playful riff on the Green Lantern Corps, so I want to put Deadpool on that big, cosmic stage. That's why we chose this as the book's environment and the story we're taking on."
Gischler is very grateful to have Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld as a collaborator for the first arc of "Deadpool Corps." "He's great. He's a professional, and one of the things he brings is just the prestige of being the Deadpool guy. He's the man. So I feel honored that somebody at his level is looking at my script and bringing it to life," the writer said. "He did the Lady Deadpool portion of 'Merc With a Mouth' #7. There were a lot of great artists on that book, but certainly one of the reasons that issue spiked up in sales was because of Rob. He brings a lot of excitement and he's got a lot of fans. So I think it's great that he's doing the first arc of the book."
The first arc of "The Deadpool Corps" will run for five issues, satirizing and embracing the conventions of the space opera genre. "You've got this space opera grandeur and you've got this smart ass guy coming in to take all of the wind out of it's sails. How can we have that grandeur, when we've got these Deadpools cracking wise? So that's where a lot of the comedy comes from; that juxtaposition of Deadpool having no business taking on cosmic level bad guys," Gischler said. "That's what we have the Fantastic Four for, not Deadpool. Yet that's who we've chosen. For reasons which will become evident as the arc progresses, It had to be the Deadpool Corps. These were the only characters who could do this job. That's so ridiculous though and that's where a lot of the comedy comes from."
Gischler is currently finishing up the first arc of "Deadpool Corps" and brainstorming what he wants to do next with the series. One thing is for certain though, he's not interested in sending his team back to Earth. "A lot of people have noticed that there is plenty of Deadpool right now. So I think 'Deadpool Corps' gives us something a little different. At its heart it's still Deadpool and what we like about the character, but it's packaged in a way that gives us something a little different," the writer stated. "That's how I think it fits into the scheme of things. So I'm excited about it and I'm happy to be writing it. And I'm having a lot of fun. That's what I'm hoping translates for readers. That they'll sense the fun I'm having writing it and that they'll tune into that and have fun too."
Issue #4 of "Prelude to the Deadpool Corps" revealed that Gischler's other ongoing Deadpool series ' Deadpool Merc With a Mouth,' occurs before and lays some of the groundwork for "Deadpool Corps." Come July, that ground laying is complete and "Merc With a Mouth" comes to a close. "The story I'm working on comes to a natural end with issue #13, and since I'm transitioning into 'Deadpool Corps,' I believe editorial felt that since my 'Merc With a Mouth' story was coming to a natural wrap-up, why not let it wrap up?" Gischler explained. "And then I could move my efforts over to 'Deadpool Corps.'
"What I feel is fun about 'Merc With a Mouth' is the ride," Gischler continued. "So, yeah, readers should hang on. We've still got issues 10-13. There are a few twists and turns left, but mostly just good laughs, action and a lot of fun."
The current arc of "Merc With a Mouth" takes place in the Zombieverse, the home dimension for the "Marvel Zombies" characters. Deadpool and his associates, former A.I.M. scientist Doctor Betty and Bill, agent of A.I.M., are there because they wanted to bring Headpool home. Now that they're there, however, the severed head of Wade Wilson's zombie doppelganger isn't sure he wants to stay, and Deadpool has misgivings about leaving him behind.
"Headpool is great. I think he's grown, and he probably wouldn't think about it like this, but his place is at Deadpool's side. Even severed zombie heads want and need a purpose in life, and where else would he be accepted if not among his fellow Deadpools?" Gischler remarked. "I also think Deadpool would be disappointed if Headpool wasn't allowed to be there, and I like that. Those first couple of issues of 'Merc With a Mouth,' Deadpool wanted to toss him into the lava. He was this disgusting, slobbering zombie head that had to go. Now they're buddies, though. He's part of the team."
Deadpool and Headpool's trip to the Zombieverse allowed Gischler to expand the Marvel Zombies world with his creation of an organized and underground group of humans. "I've read the 'Marvel Zombies' books and I've enjoyed them. They are very fun, but it's like, who's left? If Deadpool goes to the zombie world, there's got to be some sort of connection, some people there worth seeing." Gischler remarked. "So I thought, 'What if there was this hidden resistance style enclave?' And there are going to be some nifty surprises with those fine folks in the coming issues as well."
If the human underground is to survive the final issues of "Merc With a Mouth," they're going to need to employ all the tricks at their disposal...and hope Deadpool comes through, too. At the end of issue #9, which is in stores now, Deadpool and all his allies were surrounded by an army of super powered zombies, and leading the charge was the zombified Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man.
"There are some A.I.M. Agents that followed Deadpool and company to the Zombieverse and are just begging to be eaten. So, yeah, there are some zombies chomping down, but honestly, not in a way that I think changes the tone of these last few issues. It's still fun. It's like "Oh, those guys just got eaten? That's great!'" Gischler stated. "I'm hoping to take the awfulness of a flesh hungry zombie attack and make it fun and funny. It's a special reader who enjoys things like the movie 'Zombieland' and what I'm hoping to do here. Fortunately, I've gotten a lot of great feedback from readers. Deadpool readers are awesome. It's been very cool, and I think I'll be giving them what they want with these next few issues."
Gischler feels that his collaborator, artist Bong Dazo, will also be giving fans what they want with the final few issues of "Merc With a Mouth." "Bong's art is the star of this book. I would love for people to think that I'm a genius writer, but Bong is the star. I turn in my script and he consistently gives me back something ten times better than I had envisioned. He's very detailed and he's fast," Gischler stated. "He does these detailed drawings, but so quickly, it amazes me. I'm really in awe of him. He's just the perfect match for 'Merc With a Mouth.' The tone of the comedy just goes so well with his art. I don't know where Bong is going to end up after issue #13, but I would team with him again any day if that's what Marvel wanted, because he's just great."
Readers who may have missed out on the earlier issues of "Deadpool Merc With a Mouth" will get a chance to enjoy the whole saga before the year is out. "I believe in the next few months they are going to put together a great hardcover of the entire series," Gischler revealed. "So it will be all put together in a handy, dandy volume."
The rest of the Marvel Universe may find Deadpool, Headpool and their fellow Corps members to be incredibly annoying, but not Gischler. The writer has enjoyed all the time he's spent with Wade Wilson and hopes to be chronicling his stories for quite a while to come. "Someone asked me at a recent signing I did for a local comic book store if I asked my editor if I could write Deadpool, and my answer was, 'No, they came to me and asked if I would be interested in it,'" Gischler said. "So I didn't pick Deadpool, but I realize now after having written him for awhile that if I could have picked, I would have picked Deadpool. I just feel extremely happy and comfortable writing the character. I enjoy it."