Deadpool: World's Greatest! Volume 10: Secret Empire.
Collecting Deadpool issues #31-36.
Script by Gerry Duggan. Pencils by Matteo Lolli (#31-34/36) & Mike Hawthorne (#33-35). Inks by Christian Dalla Vecchia (31-14/36) & Terry Pallot (#33-35) Colours by Ruth Redmond.
Last time, Deadpool went to space! His task? To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations... and murder them all, as horribly as possible. And his mission was an absolute success. Along the way, he also needed to find some way to deal with Madcap, and he sorta did that, I think. It's hard to tell, he was being rather secretive. But then, he returned home, and was met by his old friend, The Hero with a capitol H: Captain America. Who is totally not about to try to take over the country and install a HYDRA dictatorship. This time around, Deadpool deals with the fallout, as Captain America installs a HYDRA Dictatorship. D'oh!
Issue 31: Meifumado. Wade is given a mission by Captain America. It's a mission that if anyone else gave it, he'd probably have turned down, or at least questioned. But this is Captain Freakin America, so he takes it on. In hindsight, this was probably not Deadpool's best idea.
Issue 32: Situation: Normalization. Everything has gone a bit... green. HYDRA have taken over, Deadpool is living in Washington, D.C. with Ellie, and everything is just kinda wrong. Deadpool is hired for another simple job: Track down the last of the Resistance!
Issue 33: Douchebag. I mean... Airbag. Deadpool thinks back on how he got himself into this position, and realises he just might have messed up. Ellie decides it's time to leave school, and Preston reacts poorly to Deadpool's mission.
Issue 34: Keep Stirring The Sauce. Deadpool's plan starts to take shape. Meanwhile, things reach breaking point between Deadpool and Preston, and everyone ends up broken, in one way or another.
Issue 35: Karma Police. Deadpool takes his plan to the only person who can see it put into action: Maria Hill! Maria decides to be a dick about it. Things don't end well.
Issue 36: Si, Change. Deadpool is now the FBI's Most Wanted. The Secret Empire has fallen and all is right with the world. Unless your name is Deadpool, in which case everything is awful. Then, to make things worse, an old "friend" contacts Wade, to call in a chit...
Oh god, the pain. Deadpool: World's Greatest comes to its bitter conclusion and everything is awful and everyone hates Deadpool. Now, admittedly, they're not totally wrong to feel that way. But in this specific case, they should probably cut him some slack... They won't, thought. Because everything must be awful for Deadpool at all times, because... reasons.
It's kind of ironic, really. This run began with Deadpool on top of the world. Everyone loved him, he was an Avenger, had his own little side hustle with the Mercs for Money. Everything was grand! And it was all because of something he didn't do...
Now? He's the most hated man in the world, one of the FBI's Most Wanted, the few family members he has left won't talk to him, and his businesses are all ruined... and all this, despite him doing the right thing.
Once again, that recurring theme has recurred! The Recurrence is here! Every time Deadpool does the right thing, it ends up hurting him. And never moreso than now, when Deadpool literally came up with the plan that was instrumental in saving the whole world from Stevil... and ends up getting the shaft for it!
People often ask, how quickly Carol was able to win back followers, after being a bit mean during Civil War II. Because that run hit her character HARD and fans were slow to forgive her.
But the real question, the one no one ever asks, but should: Will we ever forgive Maria Hill, for what she did to Deadpool during this run?
For me? The jury is still out. It's been about five years and honestly I'm still just as mad about it now as I was when I first read this issue. It's not just that she dropped a building on him, we've all wanted to do that to Wade at one point or another... it's taking credit for his plan and leaving him out in the cold that really hurts. She straight up destroyed his life, and for seemingly no reason. Maria has always been a fairly cold character, but even by her standards, that is SAVAGE.
I think the part that really angers me, is it feels like Deadpool was the only one that really took a hit, for what happened. A lot of people were on the 'wrong' side, during Secret Empire. There were mistakes made. Lots of them. REALLY bad ones. Yet it feels like most people were forgiven FAR faster than Wade was, for doing far worse things.
It's a fairly strong example of one of my least favourite tropes in fiction (and one that occurs quite often in real life, but let's not get into that here...)
To put it simply: People will forgive a lot. IF they like you.
People are willing to hand wave away Snape being a horrible person and an awful teacher, because they think his obsession with Lily Potter is "Romantic" (it's not).
People were willing to forgive Angel for killing Jenny Calender, because it wasn't him, it was "Angelus" (that's still him, though.)
And even within Secret Empire: There were VAST numbers of people that sided with Stevil, even after they knew that he was evil, because he had something over them, or for any number of equally weak reasons. And they were all forgiven. Because we LIKE them.
But, honestly, what was Deadpool's big crime? The ONLY actually bad thing he does, is kill Phil Coulson. And when he does that, it's BEFORE Cap has his big reveal, when everyone still thinks he's a good guy. He comes to Wade, in a big secret meeting and tells him that he thinks Coulson might be up to something, and that he needs to be taken off the board. So Wade does, because this is CAPTAIN FREAKIN AMERICA asking.
This is the point where I feel the need to go on the record: Agent Phil Coulson is one of my favourite Marvel characters ever. Easily my second favourite MCU character (behind Agent Fitz), and before his current shenanigans, he was one of my favourite 616 characters too. I LOVE that dude. So it's not exactly like I was happy to see his fate. I was just as upset as everyone else, when Deadpool had to kill him.
But this whole run, Deadpool has only wanted to be accepted. He's only ever wanted to be the good guy. One of the Avengers. A HERO. He's done everything in his powers to achieve that. So when Cap asked him to join the Unity Squad, he'd have done anything to make that happen, and to stay on that team.
So, it really hurts, to see that used against him, and then see the whole world turn on him for it. Honestly, I don't think Duggan could have found a more painful way to end this run. In this whole era of Deadpool, we've seen multiple times how Deadpool trying to do the right thing, invariably leads to pain for him, and those nearest to him. And then, the whole journey is capped off with him losing everything, because he thought he was doing a mission for the Avengers? That HAS to hurt.
It's worse, because even when he was a "HYDRA" Agent, he mostly brought in villains and low tier heroes (SO many Speedball jokes, I can't take it). And then when he had the chance to tip HYDRA off to the location of the Resistance base.. he didn't!
But no one will ever know that. NO ONE will know that if it wasn't for Deadpool, there's a good chance that Stevil would still be in charge, and the Resistance would have been wiped out, long before they had a chance to snatch victory.
But none of that matters. Because Deadpool is kind of annoying, so it's easy to discard him when given half a chance.
Honestly? That says a lot more about the "Heroes" that it does about Deadpool.
But of course, it's not just the heroes that drop Wade... even those that should know better are all too quick to discard him. This leads to quite possibly the most heartbreaking fight in Marvel's recent history. As Agent Preston, who probably knows Wade better than anyone, turns on him for taking down Coulson.
It's as beautiful as it is soul crushing. The limited colour palette in the flashbacks, just black, white, and red, is more than enough to tell the full story. As probably the closest thing Deadpool has to a family turns on him, just like everyone else did. Absolute credit to the art teams, for creating such a haunting sequence, using the limited colours and much darker tone of this fight, (both literally and figuratively), in contrast to the much brighter, almost pastel scenes of Stevil's HYDRAmerica, to really make the moment hit like a freight train. You've probably ruined my soul, but it was totally worth it.
Honestly, there are a few more points I probably need to cover, but this last volume has left me so sad, angry, and frustrated, that I can't think properly. So, mission achieved, Duggan, you evil mastermind!
Overall, Deadpool Volume 10 was a fantastic end to a somewhat up and down run. I do remember this run being a little better, the last time I read it. Or maybe, it's more accurate to say that I mostly just remember the amazing parts of this arc, and had forgotten the more... Shakespearean filler parts. But, unlike the Avengers, I'm willing to forgive people. Mostly because while this run does miss a few times, when it hits, it hits HARD and the good times far more than make up for the bad ones.
And would you believe it, there's more left to come! Because Stryfe is back, and he's got a mission for Deadpool. Yup, Wade's Faustian Bargain is coming home to roost (does that even work? I don't know anymore. My brain is crying.).
So come back next time, friends. Because thing are about to get Despicable!
So join us next time, if you're ready, for Despicable Deadpool Volume 1: Deadpool Kills Cable! Collecting Despicable Deadpool #287-291. DEADPOOL KILLS CABLE! You heard that right. No more being a hero; Deadpool is a wanted man, and he's back to doing what he does best: killing people. What better way to show you're serious about going bad, than by killing your best friend? Get ready for a brutal fight.
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.