The meta king of ultra-violence, Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is riding high right now after Deadpool 2 premiered to shattered box office records and critical acclaim. Some have gone so far as to laud it as even better than the first movie, a box office smash that single-handedly revived the genre of R-rated superhero movies.
Without getting too far into spoilers, Deadpool 2 exemplifies the strange dichotomy that exists in the soul of The Merc With A Mouth: at once, he’s a goofy, endearingly wacky shot of fun that allows superhero movies to take the piss out of themselves.
However, he’s also a brutal assassin, a one-man engine of destruction who could (and has) visit swift destruction on his enemies and friends.
He’s a clown with a heart full of anger, or an assassin with a heart of gold, depending on the story and the day, and at his core is a deep sadness born of a life of loneliness, doubt, and tragedy.
Deadpool 2 captures this strange interplay perfectly, but even the movie version of Deadpool can’t hold a candle to some of the more heinous and violent exploits of the comics version.
For every genuinely heroic and selfless act the comics Deadpool pulls off, he leaves a trail of bodies, deceased ex-presidents, and chimichangas in his wake.
Here are the 8 Worst Things Deadpool Has Ever Done (And 8 Things That Show He Is A Hero).
16 Worst: He broke into and slept in the abandoned home of victims
Desperate times call for desperate measures, but even then the depths to which Deadpool will sink shatter the boundaries of good taste.
It’s not just his willingness to literally sacrifice life and limb in order to complete a mission or destroy a target (in some cases, actually shooting off or severing his own arms and legs if it means escaping or surviving).
In “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”, Deadpool is trying to lie low, thinking that Weapon Plus, the program that cured his cancer and gave him his healing powers, is stalking him and potentially abducting him for experiments.
Does he rent a motel with some cash or camp out in isolated wilderness to avoid them? Nope.
Deadpool crashes in a crime scene-- specifically a house that belonged to recently-deceased occupants with fresh fluids still on the walls.
Not only does the voice in his head protest that this is a new low even for him, but he also raids their fridge for beer afterwards.
It’s a moment where the nihilism behind a character who can’t perish shows itself, but even in an already-dark storyline, the moment stands out as a decidedly blunt example of Deadpool just not caring.
15 Is A Hero: he stopped an invasion of zombie ex-presidents
There’s biting off more than you can chew, and then there’s accidentally raising deceased ex-Presidents as nigh-unkillable super-powered zombies.
A former S.H.I.E.L.D.-employed necromancer named Michael put his natural talents with magic to use and accidentally raised every single deceased President of the United States from their graves in the “Dead Presidents” arc of Deadpool.
Once arisen, Michael finds himself in over his head, and S.H.I.E.L.D. finds itself with a dozen of deceased presidents problem. It’s made worse due to negative publicity after Captain America is forced to decapitate the reanimated Harry Truman.
Enter Deadpool, fresh off of cutting his way out of a giant lizard monster’s belly. S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Emily Preston hires him at the behest of her superiors, figuring that Deadpool’s reputation is already so bad that putting ex-presidents with electrical powers and almost indestructible bodies back in the ground will make little difference to him.
More importantly, it will act as a buffer for S.H.I.E.L.D. from negative public opinion.
Deadpool succeeds in dispatching every ex-president from Adams to Zachary, even getting in a fight with zombie Ronald Reagan in space.
He finally manages to take down zombie George Washington, their leader (naturally), and earns an exceedingly rare “good job” from Captain America, even if Cap then classifies their entire conversation so no one will ever know it.
14 Worst: He lit an endangered elephant on fire
One of the best things about Deadpool comics is their pop-culture savvy. When you read an issue of Deadpool, you’ll find a mix of humor both high-brow and low-brow: one minute will be inappopriate jokes in a firefight, and the next minute, Wade will make a joke about the electrical current wars between Tesla and Edison.
Unfortunately, the joke involved one very endangered, very electrocuted elephant.
In the fantastic "Dead Presidents" arc of Deadpool comics written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, Deadpool finds a zombie Teddy Roosevelt hunting animals in the Los Angeles Zoo.
As a result of their fight, an elephant stampedes and impales Deadpool on its tusk, leading to some wonderfully icky sound effects as he slides himself off of it.
As the elephant grabs zombie Teddy Roosevelt with its trunk, Deadpool manages to free his innards from the tusk and rips the wiring out of a power junction, shocking zombie Teddy Roosevelt with it.
It turns out that the deceased ex-presidents are vulnerable to electricity, a trait that they unfortunately share with elephants, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents find him in front of the flaming skeleton of the poor gentle giant.
Deadpool not only name checks Thomas Edison, who famously electrocuted an elephant in order to smear the reputation of Nicola Tesla’s alternating current, but he also uses the opportunity to crack a truly terrible “elephant in the room” joke.
13 Is A Hero: He took care of Cable when he got turned into a baby
It could be argued that Deadpool really came into his own when he was paired with a gruff ball of '90s fads named Cable.
Cable was introduced in the pages of X-Men and The New Mutants as Nathan Summers, the time-displaced son of Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) and Madeline Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey). Aren't comics crazy?
Cable came from a dystopian future with the aim of stopping his archenemy Stryfe (himself a clone of Cable) and the super-powerful mutant Apocalypse before they could both rise to power and dominate the Earth.
Later on, he managed to form an unlikely partnership with Deadpool, and their stories make the most of the buddy-cop dynamic between the overly serious and gritty Cable and the wacky, anarchic Wade Wilson.
Their run in Deadpool and Cable is also marked by moments of genuine emotion and sincerity, such as when Cable is seemingly destroyed and Deadpool goes to the ends of the Earth and beyond into alternate dimensions to track down his partner.
He finds Cable as a baby in the care of Mr. Sinister, and rescues him, taking care of the tiny warrior until the he’s partially restored into the body of a teenager.
12 Worst: He ended the life of every villain & hero in the Marvel Universe
The Marvel universe as a whole should be thankful for Deadpool’s sense of humor and general geniality.
With his special forces experience, plus the fact that his healing factor makes him completely undestroyable, the universe would be in serious trouble if he ever actually got his act totally together, or applied his considerable talent for mayhem to darker pursuits.
In the miniseries Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, an attempt to brainwash Deadpool by the super-villain Psycho Man goes horribly wrong. Gone are the fun voices that Deadpool usually hears in his head; a cold, ruthless voice replaces them, urging him to hurt others.
Over the course of the series, we learn that Deadpool’s much-loved awareness of the fictional nature of his reality has mutated only slightly into something much darker: he now knows that the people in his reality, good and bad, are not real and merely puppets of the writers.
He makes it his mission to end the lives of every hero and villain in existence both out of mercy and tremendous rage.
It’s a genuinely unnerving series, with Deadpool’s characterization veering into the uncanny valley. He still cracks jokes, he’s still ultra-violent, but the cold rage and incredible, calculating creativity with which he dispatches heroes and villains is just off enough from his usual self to be endlessly disturbing.
11 Is A Hero: He saved a bunch of cloned mutants
Deadpool’s best stories come when he empathizes with a character who’s not so different, a character who’s been through trauma or heartbreak that Wade Wilson can relate to. He then attempts to connect with or help said character.
In “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”, he tries to find friendship and empathy in Captain America and Wolverine, both (at the time in Marvel continuity) direct or indirect products of the Weapon Plus program that gave Deadpool his healing factor.
He feels that he’s being watched, followed, but at first, neither Wolverine nor Cap believe it.
He eventually finds out that the sinister Mr. Butler, who is the former employee of the Weapon Plus program, never stopped keeping tabs on him, and only let him go “free range,” observing him and abducting him regularly to harvest tissue.
Butler has been desperately trying to cure his sister of cancer using Deadpool’s tissue, and has conned North Korea into funding his research under the guise of providing them with super-soldiers.
It turns out that Butler has made good on his promise, giving North Korea an entire team of superheroes with the powers of the X-Men.
It also turns out that Captain America and Wolverine come to Wade’s rescue, and follow his lead as he breaks out every North Korean X-Men copy, then liberates their families too.
Deadpool knows what it’s like to be a science experiment, and to feel completely trapped and alone, and it gives the entire story arc dramatic heft.
10 Worst: He ended the life of a random pilot for no real reason
The Star Wars prequels have their defenders, and the legacy of the prequels has been partially redeemed by TV series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels.
The fact remains that the prequel movies The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith are generally hampered by weak direction, unimaginative cinematography, and terrible writing and characterization.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to find a fan who thinks that defending Star Wars’ honor worth hurting others over, even the dedicated fans who wail that George Lucas ruined their childhood. Tell that to Deadpool, who apparently thinks that Star Wars is serious business.
In the maxi-series Deadpool: The Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool is contracted by the organization A.I.M. to steal the head of a zombified version of Deadpool from an alternate dimension.
A.I.M. want to get it before their rival Hydra does, and Deadpool realizes how completely terrible it would be if either faction learned how to make zombies and decides to steal it back.
In the course of going back to an A.I.M. spaceship to steal it, he quotes Return of the Jedi, and the pilot of his craft blurts out his love of the prequels. This earns him a swift bullet to the head-- and while it’s true that A.I.M. are an evil terrorist organization, liking bad movies shouldn’t be a crime.
9 Is a Hero: He changed the destiny of Kid Apocalypse
The storyline that most closely matches Deadpool 2’s comes from “The Final Execution” storyline in Uncanny X-Force.
Readers who have seen Deadpool 2 will know that X-Force is the name of the ill-fated special-ops strike team that Deadpool assembles in the movie, but it has a much longer life (literally and figuratively) in the comics.
In Uncanny X-Force, the X-Men have created a team headed by Weapon Plus alumni Wade Wilson and Wolverine to act as a hit squad that can take out threats proactively, before they become menaces that threaten entire cities and require The Avengers or the main X-Men team to deal with.
One of the threats that they are dispatched to deal with happens to be a younger version of the mutant known as Apocalypse.
Apocalypse would later go on to enslave the entire world, so it seems that it’s a no-brainer to take him out before he can bring about a dystopic future for the entire planet.
However, comic Deadpool, like his movies counterpart, balks at harming a child before he’s actually done anything evil.
Thanks to a heart-to-heart talk, Kid Apocalypse is steered away from the path of destruction and despotism, and ends up being trained as a student at the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters.
8 Worst: He used his own young daughter as live bait
The super-villain Madcap is like an even darker version of Deadpool, possessing a similar healing factor and lust for chaos and mayhem. However, where Deadpool has a heart of gold somewhere deep beneath his scarred exterior, Madcap is evil and dangerous all the way down.
Though they were friendly adversaries at first, even shooting the breeze and comparing their respective healing factors, a devastating fight that almost destroyed them both left Madcap trapped inside Deadpool’s mind.
When he managed to escape into his own body again, he was considerably more unbalanced.
Now more powerful and crazy, Madcap began targeting innocents and inciting chaos in New York City while disguised as Deadpool in a bid to make the public fear and hate him.
Deadpool drew the line at innocent people being threatened, and decided to take down Madcap for good. His tactic? Use his own daughter, whose mother he had abandoned years prior, to act as bait for his super-crazy, super-powerful counterpart.
His daughter Ellie had been revealed in “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”, but it wasn’t until later that Deadpool met her and realized just how badly he’d screwed up in abandoning her mother.
Disgustingly, it was right after their reunion that he used her as live bait to ensnare and defeat Madcap.
7 Is A Hero: He convinced An Agent of Hydra to join the good side
Bob, Agent of Hydra and sidekick extraordinaire, is the patron saint of sidekicks and redshirts everywhere. As a lowly henchman of the villainous Hydra organization, he only joined up because it offered a steady job and he thought that they had a dental plan.
It turned out that they didn’t, and Bob would have been stuck destroying and perpetrating Hydra’s atrocities if it weren’t for the intervention of Deadpool.
Granted, Deadpool had to torture Bob into helping him, but Bob eventually joined Deadpool as his guy Friday, and saved not only Wade Wilson’s life multiple times, but also joined Deadpool in rescuing countless other lives. The two went on numerous adventures.
Bob was always been reluctant and a bit of a scaredy-cat, but he always ended up risking his hide to back up Deadpool. He grew as a character from a downtrodden minion into a downtrodden but dogged hero, displaying an uncanny and plucky ability to make things up as he goes along.
It’s telling that aside from Cable, Bob has spent the longest time as Deadpool’s sidekick/partner, and Wade shows genuine affection for the former Hydra lackey.
Whether this is due to genuine affection or amusement at bringing an innocent into increasingly insane adventures and schemes is anyone’s guess.
6 Worst: He fed pieces of himself to Angel
Going back to Uncanny X-Force, part of what leads the team to preemptive assassinations is the fact that early on in the comic’s run, the team is roundly defeated by Apocalypse’ acolytes, the Four Horsemen.
Deadpool is left alone with teammate Angel, who is played by Ben Foster in X-Men: The Last Stand and Ben Hardy in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Angel is himself a former Horseman of Apocalypse, having served under the super-powerful mutant in the '90s as “Archangel.”
In Uncanny X-Force, Angel is slowly losing his life due to starvation, withering away, and Deadpool is the only team member who can render assistance. When Wade realizes that Angel is in dire need of sustenance, he doesn’t forage for food nearby.
Instead, he starts cutting off chunks of his own body and feeding them to the ailing Angel. At first, Angel is too weak to refuse, but at some point, he begins asking Deadpool what exactly he’s eating, and Deadpool refuses to come clean.
You could argue that Deadpool is doing what needs to be done in a horrible situation, but there are some lines that can only be crossed with consent, and one of them is becoming a cannibal, and turning his teammate into an unwitting one is one of the more screwed-up things that Deadpool has done.
5 Is A Hero: He saved the world Red Skull
Even when Deadpool saves the world, or the universe, or the Multiverse, he gets no respect.
After saving the United States from zombified super-powered ex-Presidents, the most he gets is a thank you from Captain America that even Cap admits he’ll never acknowledge publicly.
However, his respect for the heroes who he wishes he could be leads him to stick his neck out for them time and again, and he’s saved their collective butts more than once.
In Uncanny Avengers, he learns that The Avengers have been brainwashed by the Red Skull, the persistent nemesis of Captain America.
This time, Skull has grafted the brain of the dead Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, to his own brain and used his newly-gained psychic powers to enslave Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Deadpool is immune to the Skull’s brainwashing due to his unstable and completely fractured personality, and busts into Avengers Mansion to topple the Teutonic terror.
He doesn’t get far, though, since the Skull forces Rogue of the X-Men to beat Wade Wilson to a pulp.
She almost manages too, but not before Wade retrieves Magneto’s telepathy-blocking helmet and puts it on Rogue, allowing her to break free from the Skull’s mind control and defeat him.
4 Worst: He enlisted kids to fight a '70s-era villain
Deadpool was created in 1991 by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, also known as He Of Many Pouches And Tiny Feet. However, given Deadpool’s later status as meta commentator on comic books in general, it should be no surprise that the bounds of space and time have no meaning to him or his stories.
In the lead-up to “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly”, Deadpool stars in a tale taking place in the 1970s where he forces himself into a team-up with Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
They end up defeating a villain known as The White Man, who uses a magical cane to turn people into stone (because the 1970s).
At the end of one issue, the Heroes for Hire manage to turn the tables and turn him to stone, only for him to be restored in the present day and come for revenge against Deadpool, Cage, and Iron Fist.
Eventually only Deadpool is left to save the heroes.
In the modern day, Iron Fist has started teaching martial arts classes for children in his spare time, and against all good sense, Deadpool decides to drag Iron Fist’s students into a final fight against The White Man.
One of them turns him to stone again with his own staff, and Deadpool lets The White Man sink to the bottom of the Hudson River, where he’s forgotten for thousands of years. Not that he didn’t deserve it, but it’s an incredibly dark fate for a goofy '70s villain.
3 Is a hero: He saved a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent by sharing his body with her consciousness
Poor Agent Preston. She was saddled with a terrible assignment in the “Dead Presidents” arc of Deadpool: find a way to re-destroy zombified Presidents of the United States while protecting S.H.I.E.L.D. from a PR fiasco that would surely result.
Worse, she realized that she was unwittingly covering up the mistakes of her immediate superior, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Gorman, who had been the handler of the former S.H.I.E.L.D. necromancer who raised the dead presidents and was desperate to cover it up.
Agent Preston manages to pull it off, hiring Deadpool to do the dirty work, but her life is taken tragically just before Deadpool’s final battle with zombie George Washington.
Deadpool walks into that fight with a vengeance, angry that the one friend he’s made in the whole affair gave her life for him. However, in the aftermath, the necromancer responsible for the entire affair reveals that he’s managed to shunt Preston’s consciousness into Deadpool’s brain, and Deadpool dutifully carries her soul inside him until S.H.I.E.L.D. manages to put her consciousness into a robot replica of her body.
It’s a heartwarming arc, and one that leads Deadpool to become a better person, but it probably could have happened without losing the one woman of color in a story arc just to motivate the hero.
2 Wort: He ended the life of Phil Coulson
Phil Coulson is kind of like the Harley Quinn of the Marvel Universe. Stick with this.
Both were introduced in media outside of comic books, became fan-favorites, and were so popular that they were introduced into comic book continuity, growing as characters within their respective comic universes.
Harley Quinn came out of the massively popular Batman: The Animated Series and broke out in no small part thanks to a tremendous voice actor performance from Arleen Sorkin.
Phil Coulson was embodied by the consistently awesome character actor Clark Gregg in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before heading up his own TV show in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
So you’d think a character that popular would be safe from passing away. Alas, Captain America had other plans.
After being revealed as a Hydra agent during the Secret Empire comics event, he realized that Agent Coulson was on to him, and ordered Deadpool to get rid of Coulson.
What makes it so heartbreaking is not only the fact that a fan-favorite character dies, but also the fact that Deadpool is so broken as a person that when a hero he admires shows him some respect and attention, he’s blinded to any possibility that the deed he’s been tasked with could have ulterior motives.
Thus Wade Wilson shoots Coulson’s flying car out of the sky, and puts a bullet through his heart.
1 Is A Hero: He saved the Multiverse with the Deadpool Corps
There’s a Deadpool for every dimension, and a surprising amount of variety and differences between them.
Different versions of Captain America exist in every dimension, but are at least recognizable as variations on a common theme, but for different events that have shaped them in different ways.
Deadpool’s alternate versions, however, count amongst their ranks Lady Deadpool, also known as Wanda Wilson of Earth-3010, Galactipool, a version of Deadpool that somehow became a tremendously powerful devourer of worlds, and Dogpool: just what it sounds like.
When an ancient evil with cosmic powers known as The Awareness began devouring the consciousness and minds of the every universe across every dimension, a being known as The Contemplator recruited Deadpool to amass a legion of alternate versions of himself to destroy The Awareness and save the Multiverse.
Why Deadpool? He and every version of himself were immune to The Awareness on account of all of their minds being, you know, a little bit off.
They defeated The Awareness, only to cross paths with another alternate Deadpool, nicknamed “Dreadpool.”
It turns out that he had amassed his own army of evil Deadpools, and was none other than the Deadpool who had destroyed the entire Marvel universe previously on this list.
Can you think of any other heroic or evil things that Deadpool has done? Sound off in the comments!