Those who sign on with large espionage agencies operating in the Marvel Universe want to tread lightly these days -- they run the risk of pissing off a number of very powerful, very dangerous people, like Wade Wilson, the super powered mercenary known as Deadpool. Armed with a manic, unpredictable personality and a healing factor that makes him virtually unkillable, 'Pool can be a frightening figure to deal with when he's in the best of moods, but if you anger him, he becomes a deadly, living nightmare.
A rogue faction of S.H.I.E.L.D will find out just how nightmarish an angry Deadpool can be in "Deadpool" #21, the first installment of "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." The new storyline from cowriters Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, illustrated by Mike Hawthorne, finds Wade attempting to collect an overdue fee for S.H.I.E.L.D. services rendered, and when they refuse to pay -- well, events take an ugly turn. CBR News spoke with Duggan about the arc and what it means for Deadpool's future, the fate of Agent Preston and how he'll cope with the loss of the daughter he didn't know he had until it was too late.
CBR News: Gerry, you, Brian and artist Scott Koblish have done a couple of fun inventory-style one-shot issues that have placed Deadpool in different comic book eras, paying homage to and parodying the elements of those eras. Your latest is a '60s era, Jack Kirby-style adventure. What's it like planning these issues? And since they're often a bridge from one story arc to the next, how far ahead do you have to plan them out?
Gerry Duggan: They're planned pretty well in advance. After the first one was successful -- fans seemed to like it and most importantly we liked it -- we started planning them between arcs.
The scripts for issues #7 and #13 [The first two inventory-style issues] were pretty tight, but we've loosened up a little since then. In fact, this issue, #20, is really done in the classic Marvel style. We gave Scott a detailed outline, but he really went to town and surprised us. We called for some adventurous stuff and some creatures that he wanted to draw, and he really took it and ran with it.
"Deadpool" #20 may have planted some seeds for adventures further down the road, but it felt like you set the stage for this latest arc at the end of "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly," by having Deadpool decide it's time to try and save Agent Preston, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent whose consciousness is trapped inside his mind, showing readers that someone who looks a lot like Agent Preston is involved in some dirty deeds.
There will be a carryover from issue #20 into the next arc of "Deadpool," but it's more of an Easter egg. Issue #20 was designed to be a little bit of a palate cleanser since "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly" was such a difficult story. We thought everyone needed a little break.
There are some fun things planned coming out of the next several inventory issues. Issue #26 is really fun, but I can't say anything about that yet. We're actually planning another one right now, which I believe will be in issue #35.
What can you tell us about Wade's mindset when "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." begins? He went through the emotional wringer in "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly." Has he had time to deal with the loss of Carmelita and the daughter he didn't know he had? Or will we see an angry and distraught Wade Wilson?
He's not really had time to absorb much of that. He's sort of thrown back into another fire, but there is some catharsis coming for Wade. Because of the double-edged sword that is Preston, he doesn't have to be alone. The one thing that his experiences in North Korea during "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly" have shown him is that he understands now the pain that Preston feels because she's been removed from her family. Now, his goal is to reunite them in some way, and obviously they're going to need some help from some friends.
The solicits also suggest that he's interested in collecting the money that S.H.I.E.L.D. stiffed him out of at the end of your first arc. Will that be on his mind as well?
No doubt. Some of the threads of this arc go all the way back to our first arc.
I always really enjoyed Lee Marvin's "Parker" adaptation "Point Blank," and this is sort of a similar situation. It would have been better off if everyone had just paid Deadpool, but now, instead of paying Deadpool, there is hell to pay.
Who gets the battle rolling? Is it Deadpool? Or Gorman, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent from your first arc who stiffed Deadpool and promised that he had made an enemy for life?
Yeah, the aggressor sets the tone here. If it were up to Deadpool, he'd be on a beach somewhere trying to wrap his mind around his losses. Unfortunately, Gorman will not let that happen. But he may find that he's bitten off more than he can chew by going after Deadpool in his current mindset.
Right, Deadpool's already dangerous because of his healing factor, and he may come off as scatterbrained to some, but he can be one of the more observant characters in the Marvel Universe when it comes to his surroundings and attacking people.
There are times where Deadpool will screw around with someone, like a cat playing with its prey. That is not the Deadpool you're going to get here. He's in no mood for any of it, and his actions will definitely show that. The escalating violence Deadpool exhibits will be a wedge between himself and Preston. She'll really want out of his head at that point.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is a rather large organization with a lot of agents, including fan-favorite character Agent Coulson. On screen, Coulson has an amazing way with words, which has found its way into his comic book incarnation. What's it like writing a character like that? It seems like Coulson's way with words would make him a good foil for the Merc With a Mouth.
Yeah, right off the top, we have nice three-way dialogue between Deadpool, Coulson and Scott Adsit [A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who debuted in Duggan and Posehn's first arc. He's physically based on and named after actor Scott Adsit]. So we now have two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are modeled after real human beings, with Deadpool, who can break the fourth wall. That's a lot of fun. They have a great back and forth.
The story of "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." pits Wade against a certain part of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's not quite a civil war, but S.H.I.E.L.D. will be very happy that Deadpool is going to finish the fight that was brought to him. Coulson is part of that, as are a lot of the guest stars from our first arc. You'll see characters like Michael, the S.H.I.E.L.D.-trained necromancer, and the Ghost of Ben Franklin, again. You'll also see Doctor Strange. Deadpool will need his help during one of his battles.
There are battles of the mind in this story and physical battles, which are very one sided. After everything Deadpool has been through, he's not in the mood to deal with things that are being thrown his way. That's a lot of fun. We put Deadpool through the wringer in the last arc. He's angry at the world, and he'll enjoy the fact that he has some people to take it out on.
How does the overall tone of this arc compare to "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly?"
"The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly" was obviously dark, but it had its moments of light that balanced it. I think that's what will make it memorable in the long run. The tone of this arc seems quite light on the surface. We have a lot of big jokes and the return of some characters that are known for comedy. Under the surface, though, there's a lot of darkness in "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." Deadpool is dealing with horrific things that he hasn't had time to process, and by the end of it, he'll need a vacation.
His relationship with Preston will have changed. I can't reveal if it's in a good way or a bad way, but it's time for them to sort of take the next step. There's also a fun bit of business with the villain Crossbones. I hope it's a little unexpected. I'm looking forward to it. Mike Hawthorne is really bringing the goods in this arc.
Let's talk a little bit more about Mike's work, and of artist Mark Brooks, who's doing the covers for "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." What do you feel these guys bring to this story in particular?
A real fun sense of adventure. Mark's covers have just been fantastic. They're some of the most striking ones we've had. We've been very lucky with not just our interiors, but our covers. The cover to issue #23 is a great gag inspired by the "Alien" movies, but it also has a lot to do with how Deadpool is viewed in that story. It goes back to what I was alluding to before, with Deadpool's state of mind. These guys picked a fight with Deadpool, and now they have to deal with the consequences of having picked that fight.
Mike is part of the heart of this team. With this arc, he'll have done more of our run than any of the other artists that have worked on it. He has such a feel for the character. He's funny when we need him to be funny, and he can go dark. There's a wonderful sense of energy in all of his work, even the panels that are just a couple of guys talking. And we're really pleased that Jordie [Bellaire] can stick around and color him. The pages look fantastic.
Finally, "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." comes to a close in issue #25.NOW, which was previously #25.1. Point One issues are meant to signify a good jumping on point, so they usually come at the beginning of an arc. Why did you choose to close an arc with one?
I don't want to spoil anything, but the reason we put that issue there is that it sort of turns the page in our run. It's an important moment for Wade, personally, and if you've never read "Deadpool," you'll get all of the sense of fun and horror of being Deadpool in that one issue.
I imagine it also made sense with the unique nature of the character to put his Point One issue in a place where they're usually not found.
It does feel good in that regard. It also provides us a natural sort of on ramp into our Marvel Infinite comic, "Deadpool: The Gauntlet."
If you liked "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly," all of your questions will eventually be answered. Wade will not get a chance to reflect upon what happened to him immediately, but that will happen in the course of this arc. He'll have his moment. If you've been reading "Deadpool," keep reading, and if you haven't, "Deadpool Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D." is a good place to jump on!