Deadpool: World's Greatest Volume 1: Millionaire With A Mouth.
Collecting issues #1-5.
Writer: Gerry Duggan. Artist: Mike Hawthorne.
Last time, things were finally starting to turn around for Deadpool. Axis had been reverted, Ultimatium were dead and it looked like Deadpool might finally have some peace, sailing off into the sunset with his nearest and dearest. Sadly, the thought of Deadpool getting a moderately happy ending was too much for Marvel to take, so they decided to blow up the entire planet, instead. Because, Secret Wars!
But now the Merc with a Mouth is back, and he's... popular?
So, naturally, with loads of fame and money, all of Deadpool's problems are gone...
Issue 1: Sumus Omnes Deadpool. Deadpool is back, and he's better than ever. And this time, he has friends! Well. Work Mates. Underlings. Okay, they all kinda hate him. But they stick around because he's paying them! Only problem is, after funneling most of his money to the Avengers, he doesn't actually HAVE the money to pay them... Also, someone is trying to ruin Deadpool's good name, and for once, it ISN'T Deadpool!
Issue 2: The More We Give, The More We Have. The Heroes For Hire finally have a job that pays a decent amount... but as they say: "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems". And when the details of this particular job turn out to upset even professional Mercs, you know you've taken the wrong job. Then, Adsit tries to help Deadpool, but it doesn't turn out the way he'd hoped.
Issue 3: Just Because You're Paranoid... Someone has framed Deadpool for murder, and oddly enough, the police actually believe him when he says he's innocent! Of course, that still leaves the fact that someone is trying to set up Deadpool. Thankfully, he has a plan! Are you worried, yet?
Issue 4: It Had To Be You. Deadpool's Arch Nemesis is revealed! And it's... not really a huge surprise. Assuming you've ready Deadpool (2012), anyway! But, people who say "Knowing is half the battle!" forget the fact that means there's still half a battle left to fight. And knowing who is after you doesn't necessarily mean you can stop them!
Issue 5: Hunt The Dork Knight. Madcap is hellbent on destroying Deadpool. He doesn't want to kill him; he knows that's all too easy for Deadpool to recover from. He wants to DESTROY him. But don't worry, Deadpool has another plan: to stop him! He's ALL about the plans, this volume!
It's good to be back, with The 'Pool! and we're starting a brand new adventure, with most of the old team. This time around, Deadpool is on top of the world, he's the most popular Avenger, the Richest Avenger, AND he's leading his own team. What could possibly go wrong, right? Man, they really can't let Deadpool be happy for a second, can they?
From the very first page of this new volume, it's clear we're dealing with a new, very different Deadpool! He's slick, he's cool, he's stealthy. He's all things to all people. Women want to be with him, men want to be him! It's like he's a totally different person. Which is probably because he IS a different person!
Yup, this volume begins with a classic fake-out. As we see "Deadpool" breaking into a fancy building using cool tools, to steal a mysterious flash drive. Of course, it's soon revealed to actually be "Solo," a somewhat obscure Marvel side character, who is apparently pretending to be Deadpool right now.
And, through this hilarious fuckery, the basic premise of this run is revealed: Deadpool is now super-rich, popular, and most important, an Avenger! And so, he's decided to put together his own team of Mercs and use them to right wrongs, defeat evil, and charge a reasonable fee to do it.
And therein lies the problem. Because Deadpool is Deadpool, and the Avengers are kinda broke right now, so he's basically working his ass off and working his team as hard as he can, and using 90% of his money to bankroll The Avengers.
It's kinda funny, reading this arc in present day 2021, because it's basically covering very similar ground to the recent Falcon and Winter Soldier comic series, but doing it WAY earlier. The idea that without Tony's money, the Avengers are broke as shit, and that as a business model, the whole Avengers Initiative is basically unsustainable is an interesting angle to take.
And, of course, Deadpool being Deadpool, he talks about how he's only doing this work to bring in money... but the money he DOES make, he sends to the Avengers, and spends most of his own time doing pro bono work for those in real need.
All told, it's CLASSIC Deadpool. It's everything that makes me love this character, summed up in a couple of issues.
He really WANTS to be good. He WANTS to do the right thing. But he just doesn't know HOW. So, he sets up a Merc group to help people... but he mostly works for free, and gives the little money he does make to the "real" heroes. All while taking constant flak from his employees, because their wage cheques keep bouncing.
It's the odd mix of heartwarming and heartbreaking that we've come to expect, from Duggan era Deadpool.
And then, just when you think this is going to be a fairly standard "You've got to work twice as hard, when it's honest" arc, Adsit shows up, apparently to inform Deadpool of his pyromaniac past... only to find that the 'Pool he's dealing with is an imposter! And that they've got a dastardly plan to unleash on poor Wade.
The back half of the volume focuses mostly on the battle between Deadpool and Madcap. Remember him? He's the creepy bastard that got merged with Deadpool when they were both blown up by Thor. He shared Wade's mind for a while, and it turns out he didn't really enjoy the experience.
I know some people weren't fans of it, but personally, I LOVE the Madcap arc. I really dig the idea that being in Wade's head for even the short while he was there is enough to send someone totally over the edge and drive them into a murderous frenzy.
I particularly enjoy that Madcap was working with Deadpool and the other mercs for quite a while before they even realised that he wasn't there to assist them. Reading this run through again now, you can see there are a few hints as you read, that he's not as harmless as he first seems. Little hints are dropped as you go, things like Solo noting that Madcap was never actually hired to join the Mercs, he just showed up one day and refused to leave, and everyone was too creeped out to tell him to go.
Reading through initially, it just seems like he's a friendly crazy, who saw them doing good things and wanted to help... but once you know his true motives, the whole thing becomes far more sinister and I LOVE that.
I've always said the best twists are the ones that you don't see coming, at first... But when you revisit, you start to notice small hints along the way, and realise you were a fool to miss them. Madcap being a villain is a near perfect example of this, and honestly I only have one small problem with the whole thing.
It's over WAY too soon. Duggan does a fantastic job breadcrumbing the Madcap reveal, I kinda wish he'd drawn it out a little longer.
I'll be honest, this first volume is amazing. It does what you need a first volume to do: sets up the characters, clues you in on the world, and establishes a solid recurring villain. That's all good. But it feels like it lacks punch. They spin the Madcap stuff out WAY to fast, going from "Deadpool" murdering a guy, to Adsit confessing about what The Watcher showed him, to Madcap being revealed as the villain, all within 5 issues.
I feel like they could have played the long game a little better. Establish early on that it's one of the Mercs behind it all, but tease us a little as to WHICH one. Make us think it's one person, then swap to another, then bounce us to a third. They throw away the fact that Stingray is secretly working for Old Man Cap, and that Deadpool knows... why not play that out a little more? Make us think that Stingray is the one that's after Deadpool, only to reveal he's working for Cap at a later point, and throw us all for a loop.
All the while, have Madcap being harmlessly crazy and vaguely hilarious in the background. Make us believe that the mole is anyone BUT Madcap, because surely THAT dumbass could never be the evil mastermind who's trying to ruin Deadpool's life. He's just some weirdo who showed up wanting to be nice, I mean... he's not even asking to be paid. It's almost like he's there for some other reason...
Then, BOOM, drop the Big Reveal, and we're all floored! The way it's handled in Volume 1 is good; it's maybe a 6/10. But it could easily have been a 8/10, if they'd teased us a little more, before blowing a Madcap-sized load all over Deadpool, and leaving him to try and defeat a guy that does everything he does, but a little better...
Overall, Deadpool: World's Greatest Volume 1 is a solid start to the new(ish) era of Deadpool. Duggan continues to really understand what makes the character of Deadpool so appealing, and gives us everything we could want... except for a little tension.
So, while this run won't be blowing anyone's mind, it sets the scene perfectly for what can only be described as the defining run of this character.
I can't wait for the pain to begin again!
If you can't either, join me next time for Deadpool: World's Greatest! Volume 2: End of Error. Collecting Deadpool (2015) #3.1: Tres Punto Uno, #6-7. The regenerating degenerate is now one of the most popular heroes in the world: a freaking Avenger, for crying out loud! But enough about Wade; If you like Deadpool, you'll go crazy for yet more Deadpools! Like the Mercs for Money he's recruited, in their own madcap adventures! And how about Deadpool 2099? You're about to jump decades into the future to meet an all-new Merc with an all-different Mouth! But who is...she?! Plus: Say "hola" to Massacre — the Deadpool of Mexico! He'll slaughter his way into your hearts in an entirely Spanish-language tale written, drawn, and edited by folks who don't speak it! It doesn't get any Deadpoolier than this!
If you want to read along, you can find this volume on Comixology, collected volumes on Amazon, or from your Local Comic Shop! Enjoy!
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.