So, it turns out Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, is going to die. But, you know, for real this time (or so we're told). DEADPOOL #45 is a massive issue that'll go on sale this April and the solicit says the merc with a mouth will end up dead. We don't know how he'll meet his end and we won't bother speculating, but it turns out this issue will also be the last one in the volume. We'll give you a minute to flip a table or something if this is your first time hearing the news. Better now? Okay, for many Deadpool fans, the immediate response to this announcement is a mix of sadness and anger. Why kill Wade, especially when this volume has done such great work with him? Isn't there so much story potential left with this dude and his supporting cast? For others, it comes off as a cheap gimmick. Is this just a cash grab? Could this be connected to conspiracies that Marvel isn't being kind to movie characters that are owned by 20th Century Fox? Let's talk about it.
Just like many others out there, my knee-jerk reaction was a negative one. I love the stories by co-writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn. Every month, I look forward to a new chapter of this series, so to hear that it and the awesome character are coming to an end is kind of heartbreaking. I know that sounds silly since we're talking about a fictional character, but for many of us, this is a hobby we're very passionate about and, assuming the creative team does their job well, we establish an emotional connection to these characters.
When the announcement was made, many were quick to call it a cheap gimmick and a way for the publisher to rake in more money. So, let's discuss that before anything else. First and foremost, it's important to recognize that Marvel is a business. It knows killing off a popular character is sure to get attention and it sure as hell knows it's a way to earn a lot of money with a single issue. Seeing as this is an enormous issue (like, the size of Agent X when he was morbidly obese), odds are it's going to cost you more than you were expecting to spend on comics that week. Deadpool's wedding cost a whopping $9.99 yet that still sold very well. That took place in DEADPOOL #27 and, for the month's top 100 comics, it took 16th place. The issue before that one came in 33rd place. Not as epic as a "Colbert bump," but it's a noticeable jump in sales. Again, that's just Wade settling down. Now imagine how many people will be willing to shell out a few extra bucks to see how the popular character is killed?
If DEATH OF WOLVERINE was a bad story and blatant cash grab, it would leave a good amount of readers with a bad impression and that may make them less likely to pick this up. That, of course, would probably lead to a slight decrease in sales. However, it wasn't a weak story and Charles Soule and Steve McNiven did an awesome job. They knew and respected the character while also embracing his history. It showed they didn't kill Logan just so they could earn a quick buck. They had a solid story they wanted to tell and it happened to end with the death of a character who has existed for quite some time. And you know what? I firmly believe the creative team behind DEADPOOL #45 will do an awesome job as well. Do I want Deadpool to die? Hell no. Do I think they can give him a great final issue (for now), though? Absolutely.
"Shame on them for killing a character just to earn more money." Who said it's just to earn more money? Obviously they want to make a profit, but why does that mean the product won't be worth what it costs and it's just a gimmick? When the announcement was made, Duggan said they've been building up to this since his first issue. Maybe I'm gullible, but I believe him and I have no good reason not to. The guy and Posehn have done a brilliant job handling the character and definitely appear to care about his story. Sure, the volume began with an arc that was all about over-the-top comedy and violence, but it quickly began to add a ton of heart and just the right amount of compelling and dark material. They've placed Deadpool on a rough path and it looks like it's been leading him to his
temporary final resting place; something he could use after all the terrible stuff he's been through.The only real hiccup has been the Original Sin tie-in and that's mostly because many of us weren't a fan of the art. The style would have worked for a sillier story, but that wasn't the case. Even if this chapter is a staggering $9.99, I'm confident in Duggan and Posehn's ability to make it a story that'll be worth that intimidating cover price. They have yet to let me down and if this is how they're ending their run, why wouldn't they give it their all? Who wants to end a bad note?
Will the extra stories be worth the additional cash? Only time will tell, but one of them has Deadpool wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, so that alone has the potential to offer a huge amount of crazy fun. As much as I appreciate the volume's writing, that's only half of the final product. Luckily, the co-writers have worked with some very talented artists, and fortunately for our eyes, Mike Hawthorne and Scott Koblish are working on the last issue. The solicit says there's more artists involved, so fingers crossed they're bringing back Declan Shalvey and Tony Moore. Koblish can adapt to whatever script is put in front of him (check out the "lost" issues to see his range) and Hawthorne's style sells the comedic and serious beats equally well. Whether a scene is horrifying, heartfelt or hilarious, history has proven these two artists have what it takes to bring the story to life incredibly well. Plus, they're insanely talented when it comes to the action and it's looking like this last issue will have plenty of it. See below for a little teaser of the issue that Hawthorne shared via Twitter.
"Okay, maybe the issue will be pretty cool. But still, I think it's petty that Marvel is killing him just because they apparently don't have a good relationship with 20th Century Fox." If that's true -- and that's a big if -- then yeah, that's petty and it probably won't impact ticket sales for the eventual Deadpool movie all that much. What will impact sales is how the studio promotes the movie and, of course, the quality of the final product. Having Deadpool dead at the time doesn't suddenly erase his fans or remove his dozens upon dozens of collections from being sold in comic book shops or online stores. Maybe that is the case and Marvel will deny it until the end of time, but honestly, who cares? What's important on our end is whether they're able to produce good stories, and when it comes to Deadpool, they've been doing a mighty fine job. I'm not here to speculate about that gossipy stuff; I'm here to say whether the death of Deadpool has potential. Given the volume's history, I say the answer should be a firm yes.
Who else would much rather have Duggan and Posehen conclude their run on a high note instead of dragging it on and on and it eventually becomes clear when they begin to really struggle for good ideas? If this has been the idea for the conclusion of the volume since get-go -- which is what Duggan claims -- then I'm optimistic about these final issues. Is it a bummer? Sure, no one wants to see one of their favorite characters die, but a good story is a good story, and given the creative team's work with the mercenary, I'm betting this is going to be a memorable one. So, what does the death of Deadpool mean? To me, it means Duggan and Posehn want to conclude their excellent run on an unforgettable note and I seriously hope they deliver. If that means we have to wait a long time before someone else comes up with a great story for the character's return, then so be it. Besides, there's plenty of Deadpool stories to read until the character is eventually brought back. We just hope whoever brings him back takes note of the work Duggan and Posehn have done. You know, assuming the ending isn't terrible. And who says someone won't take his place while he's gone? Marvel has lately been all about changing the status quo, so maybe if we're lucky Agent X will make his return. We're not saying we want someone else to step into Deadpool's costume ("Bob, the merc with a mouth!"), but having some follow-up to Wade's death would give his supporting cast some much-needed time in the spotlight. Just don't tell the tale in a $3.99 weekly comic, okay? Many of us are already spending more than we should on comics every single week!
Feel free to jump to conclusions about the death of Deadpool in the comments section below. But seriously, are you going to voice your disappointment with your money and not buy the issue or are you going to pick it up and hope for the best?