The Tragedy of Deadpool

Deadpool may have just opened in theaters today, but Fox is apparently pleased enough with how the film is tracking that they’ve already greenlit a sequel. Deadpool is set to become the first X-Men character apart from Wolverine to have his own little Hollywood franchise. But if we’re going to be seeing more of the Merc With a Mouth in theaters, it’s important that all involved remember there’s more to Deadpool than self-aware humor and chimichangas. It’s the tragic side of Deadpool that’s kept the character relevant all this time.

That tragic element is something that took a while to take shape. Deadpool was a pretty straightforward character in his early Marvel appearances – basically just a wisecracking assassin who had the good fortune to debut at a time when X-Men comics were worth their weight in gold. It wasn’t until writer Joe Kelly got a hold of the character in the first Deadpool ongoing series that Deadpool became a character defined by tragedy. His origin story established him as a dying man who resorted to extreme measures for a second chance at life, only to emerge as a psychotic, horribly disfigured killer who lost all chance at normality. He lost everything that once mattered to him, and the real kicker is that he doesn’t even remember what he lost. Deadpool’s healing powers are also the source of his mental instability, and like the Joker, there’s some question as to whether what he claims to remember about his past is even real.

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