One of the most famous quotes in Walt Kelly's classic comic strip series "Pogo" is, "We have met the enemy and it is us." Marvel Comics' Deadpool doesn't strike us as a "Pogo" fan, but that quote will soon be very relevant to him. Wade Wilson is about to come face to face with his own worst enemy, Evil Deadpool, a patchwork monstrosity composed of old body parts the Merc With a Mouth lost and regrew thanks to his powerful healing factor. CBR News spoke with "Deadpool" writer Daniel Way about the upcoming "Evil Deadpool" arc and the conclusion of the current arc, "You Complete Me," which puts Evil Deadpool into play.
"You Complete Me" spun out of the events of the series' previous arc, "Institutionalized." In "Institutionalized" Deadpool was sent to a British asylum for the criminally insane after an attempt to commit suicide by Incredible Hulk backfired. While in the asylum Deadpool ran afoul of Doctor Ella Whitby, the facility's chief psychiatrist, who, much to his chagrin, was completely obsessed with him. By the end of "Institutionalized" Deadpool escaped the asylum, but not Doctor Whitby. In "Deadpool" #43, the first part of "You Complete Me," the title character was forced to violently rebuff her advances.
The attention starved and girl crazy Deadpool usually doesn't try to push women away, but Whitby's fixation on him has rubbed the Merc With a Mouth the wrong way. "It really comes down to the fact that for all his overcompensation and his hyperactive ego, he really has an extremely low opinion of himself," Way told CBR News. "Deadpool hates himself to the point that he wants to die, so anyone that madly in love with him can't be worth loving. Wade thinks, 'If she loves me she must be even worse off than I am.' He doesn't understand healthy relationships. It's something he's never had."
Whitby's obsession with Deadpool stems in large part from a fascination with his ability to cause carnage. "I think anybody who goes into working with violent criminals is at least curious. They want to know why they do what they do. There's something about Deadpool and his approach to what he does that is unique. She actually can see how unique he is, but the parts she fixates on are the parts that Deadpool really doesn't care that much about," Way explained. "In 'Institutionalized' she was showing him these puzzles and talking about body count. He was really bummed out that she didn't see what was behind the curtain and that's what he's all about. The end result of what he does is pretty boring and he tells her as much."
"You Complete Me" comes to an end in "Deadpool" #44, on sale now. In the issue, Deadpool finally sets his unconventional and unhinged tactical mind on taking down Whitby. But is the Merc With a Mouth ready to face an opponent who has obsessively studied his special brand of insanity? "Up until now Wade wasn't really trying to deal with Whitby. He just wanted to get away from her. Now he's ready to step into the ring and tackle things head on. Whitby has been studying Deadpool for years and years though. If anyone knows what he's going to do or how he would do something it's her, because that level of obsession is what it takes," Way remarked. "I've always said that you can never figure out Deadpool's plans by applying logic to them. She's actually applying her insanity and it's a pretty good decoder ring."
Knowledge isn't the only weapon that Whitby can bring to bear against Deadpool. Over the years the crazed psychiatrist has been collecting severed body parts that once belonged to the object of her affection. In "Deadpool" #44 those body parts will be stitched together to form a monstrosity known as Evil Deadpool. "I think the level of darkness in the second part is going to surprise people because essentially you're going to see the violent, psychopathic side of Deadpool disembodied from his good natured jokester personality," Way said. "It's also a kind of mirror that gets held up to Deadpool and that actually continues throughout the next arc, 'Evil Deadpool.'"
The seeds for Evil Deadpool, the character and the arc, were planted several years ago when Way was writing an issue of "Agent X." "That series was essentially 'Deadpool' and in the issue I wrote a character asks Agent X, 'If I were to cut your head off would the head grow a new body and would your body grow a new head? And if so would there be two of you?' I always thought that would be a cool Deadpool story. You don't want it to be exactly that though, because it makes his powers too broad in scope," Way explained. "We looked for a way to tee that story up so it doesn't completely rock the boat. Also, Deadpool is on this journey of self discovery, for lack of a better phrase, and essentially he's about to come face to face with everything bad about him made into flesh and it's shooting back at him. I thought that was pretty compelling."
In "Evil Deadpool," Wade Wilson will have his hands full because his titular adversary will be working hard to live up to his name. "The big difference between the two Deadpools is everything Evil Deadpool does is to create sorrow, pain and just misery. He's extremely selfish, not that Deadpool isn't, but he just wants to go out there and destroy, whereas Deadpool actually loves to create things," Way stated. "They are temporary things because he has an extremely short attention span, but there's a reason why he constructs these massive Rube Goldberg like plans. He really likes making things and Evil Deadpool just wants to tear them down.
"I look at it this way -- Deadpool was born. He was a normal human being. He had a childhood. It wasn't a great childhood, but then -- and this was highlighted in that issue with Ghost Rider from several months back -- everything that brought him here was a choice. That's why when Ghost Rider hit him with the Penance Stare, which makes you see through the eyes of your victims, Deadpool saw through his own eyes. Every bad turn was always voluntary. He always had a choice. Either turn back or turn into it and he always took the wrong path. I don't think he intentionally did it, but I think that kind of informs his morality as it stands now," Way continued. "Evil Deadpool was born in a dumpster. He has no background and is not attached to anything. He's got some short term memories. There's no childhood there. He's never experienced love. He's never experienced loss. He's basically what Deadpool would be if he had never been one of us."
Evil Deadpool's vicious inhuman personality is housed in a monstrous, patched together form made even more bizarre by him possessing two right arms. "He uses that to his advantage. I was looking for a way to differentiate him visually from Deadpool. His costume is a patch work of past costumes. Then to take it to the next level I was like, 'What if we gave him two of the same arm?'" Way remarked. "Then we had to figure out the physiology of how it would work. That kind of informed how he positions his weapons on his belt. It all worked out nicely."
Deadpool and Evil Deadpool may differ greatly in terms of physical appearance and personality, but they share the same incredible healing factor that makes Wade Wilson virtually unkillable. "In that regard, pound for pound, they are the same person," Way said. "They also have the same skewed sort of perception that allows him to come up these crazy plans and traps. Throughout the 'Evil Deadpool' arc they're constantly trying to out game each other. It's kind of maddening really for both of them because they each know what the other would do so they have to figure out what the other one would do if they knew what they were going to do because they knew what the other person was going to do. It's like holding two mirrors up to each other. The reflection is infinite. So you really get to see them working their A-game."
An epic battle needs a large arena and in "Evil Deadpool" Wade Wilson and his patchwork evil twin will match wits and one-liners on the streets of New York. "Deadpool actually had a pretty good thing going. He had escaped from prison and left a ringer behind. He could have stayed hidden, but Evil Deadpool blows that almost immediately," Way explained. "So now the world knows Deadpool is out, which means Interpol is going to be after him. The NYPD gets involved. Captain America gets involved and he's not very happy. He and Bruce Banner had given Deadpool a chance by sending him to prison and it's literally blown up in their faces. So Captain America in particular is looking to clean up this mess once and for all.
"This is definitely a big story. It's a cat and mouse duel between Deadpool and Evil Deadpool, while all these other factions are out there hunting him," Way continued. "Complicating things even further is the fact that no one other than Deadpool realizes there are two of him. Everyone else thinks that it's just Deadpool. So everything that Evil Deadpool does gets hung on Deadpool. That's not by accident."
Way's "Evil Deadpool" scripts are fast-paced and packed with huge action and character moments, so he's pleased that an artist like Salva Espin has been tasked with bringing them to life. "He's a great draftsman and a great artist, but what I really love about his stuff is the enthusiasm. He really goes for it and it shines through in his pages," Way said of his collaborator on the arc. "That's the kind of thing that pays dividends in comics because they're only 20 pages long nowadays, so you've got to make them explode. The more you pour into a story the more that comes out."
"Evil Deadpool" comes to a conclusion in January's "Deadpool" #49 and the ending of the arc sets the stage for what promises to be Way's biggest "Deadpool" story yet. "After 'Evil Deadpool' I'm doing a Point One issue, which is going to be a primer. For anyone who has taken a break from the book or is coming to the book fresh, we're doing 'Deadpool: The Musical.' It's a one-off tale that's going to encapsulate everything that's happened in the first 49 issues and bring us up to the current point," Way said. "Plus, it's all going to be in the form of a musical so it will be nice and concise. That should bring us right up to issue #50, which I believe is coming in at 28 pages. That's a big issue. It's got a big cast and repercussions.
"Everything is leading into this big story called 'Dead,' which is the result of a conversation I had with Jody LeHeup, who was the editor on 'Deadpool' at the time," Way continued. "At that time the question was put to me, 'What in your opinion is the ultimate Deadpool story?' We were really looking to make a mark on the book. So 'Dead' is a result of that conversation. It came together really quickly. I even knew right away what the teaser image was going to be. So this is something I'm looking forward to getting out there."
Want to know more about the upcoming "Dead" arc? Check back with CBR the weekend of October 13-16 for our coverage of all the Marvel announcements at this year's New York Comic Con!