Deadpool (2nd series) #35

Issue Date: 
December 1999
Story Title: 
Sending in the Clowns: Chapter X Verse Two

Christopher Priest (writer), Paco Diaz & Andy Smith (pencils), Smith, Holdredge & Pepoy (inks), Shannon Blanchard (colors), RS & Comicraft’s Troy Peteri (letters), Ruben Diaz (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Deadpool desperately tries to escape from his holding tank to rescue a captured Death, but fails and discovers that his body can somehow completely turn into snot. The scientist claims that it’s because of the recent trauma Wade went through. He also wants to know why Wade cares so much about Death, but he claims that it’s a long story and that they are just very good friends. But this entire event makes him wonder what’s in store for him next, and remembers another time when he tried to figure out that question. It was a time before he started working for the Kingpin, after he had escaped from the Weapon X Program about a month or two. He tried to earn a living by becoming a merc and was hired to kill a nun who was working for the mob but had betrayed them. Filled with life questions, Wade was approached by a mysterious man who hired Wade to join his team. Wade decided to let the nun live and accepted the invitation. But, he went to the wrong meeting house and instead was hired to become a substitute for the Hobgoblin! After realizing he made a mistake, Wade got again contacted by the mysterious benefactor, who revealed himself to be the Wizard. After getting a proper introduction course, Wade, alongside with the Constrictor and the Taskmaster, joined the Wizard’s new team of Frightful Four. They broke into the Baxter Building, and attacked the Thing, who was home alone with Franklin. Though thanks to Franklin’s cunningness and the Thing’s powerful muscles, the team was soon defeated and Wade decided to run away from the Frightful Four before the rest of the Fantastic Four got home to take them out. After telling this story, Wade escapes from his holding tank and is ready to kill the scientist!

Full Summary: 

Deadpool has just seen Death in a similar holding tube he is in at the moment and freaks out. He shouts at the scientist to leaver her out this instant, and “whumps” his head against the tank in a failed attempt to escape from it. Wade jokes that he meant to call the scientist a “son of a whump.” He wants out of the tank so he can save Death and starts kicking the tank, until his face changes into snot! He quickly pulls back and his face turns back to normal. Wade doesn’t exactly know what’s going on there, but he’ll bet it’s nothing good.

The scientist informs Deadpool he doesn’t have to worry because, as he can see, Death is taking a… vacation. Wade is disgusted, because Death looks, well… dead. And he means that in a very bad way. The scientist is interested in finding out why Wade worries so much about her. How he can form emotional attachment to an abstract concept? He thinks Death is a childish personification of a natural transitory state. He believes that Death is not a person, and not nearly the most traumatic one.

Wade claims that Death is much more than that. He admits that he and Death are… friends. It’s too complex and part of old continuity to explain right here, so Wade suggests to just skip it where the egghead explains him why his head is now made out of rubber! The scientist claims that he already explained that: it’s because it’s a result of his recent trauma, and his body chemistry has broken down. He is no longer made out of flesh and blood, and is now… Snot-Man. And Wade is now even more powerful than he was before.

If that’s true, Wade wants to know why he can’t save Death. Or himself, even. And he wonders: if he ever gets out of the tank, what’s next in store for him? This reminds him of another time when he was full of questions, which was a time before he was working for the Kingpin. He had been out of the Weapon X Project for maybe a month or two. He was freelancing… a totally jacked-up way to make a living. He was taking one rat-faced job after another just to pay the rent. He was on a routine snatch-and-croak when his life changed forever.

Wade remembers kidnapping a nun, and telling her this would go a lot easier if she would stop the squirming and wind breaking. He ran up the Golden Gate Bridge. Wade told the sister he doesn’t know anything about her work with the East side mob. He jokes that his name is Paul and that’s between them. What he did know was that he was late six weeks on his Mastercard, so he didn’t have a choice but to take on this job. He hoped there aren’t any hard feelings. But he did have to tell her though that his job was getting so routine. And, doing the long division, he was looking at a lifetime of putting out the trash. The Weapon X Program gave him enhanced abilities while disfiguring him just a tad and, now that he’s on his own, Wade is just treading water, kind of like the nun was about to do.

While hanging the nun upside down, almost about to drop her off the bridge, Wade wanted to know from her if there was more to life than this. Life can’t be all about just a paycheck. He takes out his mission notes, which include a letter which reads, “Tracy, because you opened your big mouth and forced us into hiding.” Wade stops reading, showing the letter to the nun to point out that she opened her mouth, it said so right there.

Anyway, as Wade was saying, he felt like, somehow, there has to be more to life than this. These powers he has, his healing factor and enhanced strength, they should mean something. Something more than just icing guys (and nuns) he never even met before. Wade gently put the nun down on the bridge. He asked her if she talked to God. She believed in something. He wondered what that was like. It has been years for Wade since he knew his own name.

Deadpool explained that he was a merc, like a soldier of fortune. He got cancer, and volunteered for the Weapon X Program in Canada. The treatments got rid of the cancer, while giving him a healing factor and enhanced abilities. It got rid of his life as well. Wade had been wandering from gig into the next ever since he busted out of Weapon X. Maybe he just traded one cancer for another. He asked the sister what he thought of it all. However, with her mouth taped close, the nun couldn’t respond but was scared of something.

On that very moment, a hooded man in a big raincoat stepped forward, apologizing for the interruption. Wade didn’t know where the guy came from. The man claimed that was irrelevant. He explained that he had been observing Wade all evening and was in need of men with special talents. And Wade was the man he was looking for. However, hearing that coming from a man always made Wade feel nervous. He asked if this gig involved either bellbottoms and/or motorcycles. The man started walking away, telling Wade to meet him at Warehouse C-17 on Pier 20, 4:00 AM. He jumped off the bridge, but not before telling Wade he might proved the answers Wade sought.

Wade wasn’t sure and again asked the nun what she thought. But her mouth was still taped and couldn’t say anything. Wade suddenly remembered that. He began cutting the nun lose, smiling that this was her lucky day. She could run away and give his regard to Broadway. Once free, the nun shot Wade in his face and ran away as fast as she could! Wade, surviving the shot, just noticed something: that nun had a mustache. Slight tactical error, for which he, serendipitously, had a remedy. He began chasing the nun and killed her anyway.

The scientist is a bit surprised Wade actually shot a nun. Wade is surprised that the scientist is actually paying attention to his story. Of course the scientist is. All of this backstory material is extremely useful to him as it helps him understand Wade better. Wade is glad he can be of help. He asks the scientist who he works for. Hesitant, the scientist claims he is an… independent contractor, much like Wade is.

Wade angrily defends that the doc is nothing like him. And he knows that there’s more to the scientist than meets the eye if he managed to defeat Death. He wants to see her released, after all, what did she ever do to him?! Hesitant, the scientist claims it’s a long story. And speaking of which, he wants to know if Wade ever met that mysterious stranger at the warehouse. Wade doesn’t know why he would tell the guy that. The scientist jokes he can do it to lull him into letting his guard down for his inevitable escape attempt. That’s a good point.

Yes, Wade did go to the warehouse and ended up getting a new gig as… the Hobgoblin! He terrorized the good citizens with his glider and exploding pumpkin bombs. He joked that the board members of the airport he attacked had refused to bow to his demands. Therefore, the airport and everyone in it must pay the press. As he crashed through a window, Wade’s pager went off. He walked over to a phone both and answered some questions. But one thing he didn’t know: he asked a passerby at which airport they were exactly!

Let’s just say that his stint as one of the Hobgoblin’s decoys was a short-lived one. After going to the bridge again and thinking things over, Wade was approached by his mysterious benefactor again, asking where he has been. Wade angrily replied that he was at the warehouse, where the guy told him to go. The man wondered if Wade was always this stupid, or if it was something special. He showed Wade a map and explained to him that he went to the wrong warehouse. Instead, he went to the warehouse where they were recruiting new Hobgoblin replacements!

The mysterious man revealed himself on that moment as… the Wizard! Wade looked at him, thinking about making a joke but… he had nothing. He wondered what the Wizard was a wizard of. The Wizard angrily revealed that he was the leader of the Frightful Four. Wade thought he was the paste guy. The Wizard denied that, as Wade’s thinking about the Trapster, Wizard’s esteemed colleague. He mentioned that he and his other teammates are currently parting ways. And Wizard believed that Wade’s special abilities may indeed qualify him for the new team. And at the same time maybe finding his true calling. Before Wizard leaves, he tells Wade that, when he shouts that stupid battle cry, it has to be people paying the “price” and not “press.” Wade knew that, hesitantly joking he was only improvising.

And so, the scientist is interested in finding out, Deadpool joined the Frightful Four. That was sort of the case. The Wizard had also recruited two other guys: the Constrictor and the Taskmaster.

The Constrictor wasn’t pleased at their new yellow team-uniforms, as they looked like ducks. Wade smiled that might be true, but they were ducks with guns. The Wizard had heard enough prattling. He opens a viewing screen, explaining that those training uniforms serve a specific purpose. Should they survive through the upcoming mission, the new recruits could wear uniforms of their own choice of design. Wade kind of liked it, joking he might call himself “Death Duck.” The Taskmaster found it an insult that he, founder of the Crime College, should wear a training uniform. Wade joked they needed boxer shorts. The Wizard had enough and didn’t want to hear any more meaningless jokes. He threw gravity discs at Wade and the others.

The Taskmaster and Constrictor started defending themselves, wondering who died and made the Wizard Queen Betty. Wade warned his teammates not to touch the discs, guessing that’s probably what the Wizard wants. He noticed that the discs are setting up a zero gravity field, disorienting his teammates just long enough for the Wizard to make his move. The Wizard confirmed Wade’s theories, and traps the Taskmaster and Constrictor in “pixie disk” glass, explaining that it refracts his otherwise low-grade laser millions of times. The Wizard joked that was the reason why he was the master around the place. Wade quickly reacted and knocked the Wizard down. With everyone else out as well, he wondered what prize he won.

Wade defends that it was all a contest, like, pin the Wizard to the mat, win a big bowl of flan. He figured that ray gun he gave him was rigged so he chose not to fire it during the battle. After a brief stop at the emergency room, the new Frightful Four team moved on to the real test… at the Baxter Building. In case you’ve been a Guam for the last decade: this is where the Fantastic Four used to live. Wade never got that, by the way. Why they’d be so public with their home address. He means, being camped out their in mid-Manhattan, their phone number listed, it just made them targets for all kinds of crazy people.

At the Baxter Building, Franklin taped some bunny ears to Ben’s head. Once he woke up, Ben wasn’t pleased at the gag and shouted that, if fell victim to one more, he’d put little Franklin in the oven himself. Franklin laughed, confident his uncle would never do that, but Ben claimed otherwise.

Wade had never seen another “super” hero before. He wanted to ask the Thing an autograph! That seems silly to him now. Here was a guy who had found himself. A man who had been disfigured and shunned by the public, but somehow had come to terms with things. Wade wanted to ask Ben how he did it. Buy the guy a brewskie. Instead, he was there to shoot him. The Baxter Building had impressive security systems. The fact that we made it all inside made the Wizard impressive, though Wade disliked that big hat of his.

Wade opened fire on the Thing, but he managed to jump into safety. The Constrictor pumped 35,000 volts of electricity into Ben, while strangling the life out of him at the same time. The Taskmaster fired off a wide-band focused particle explosive arrow, which, in any language, meant stage left! Wade himself turned towards little Franklin and grabbed him before he got caught in the explosion.

With the Thing down, the Wizard entered and congratulated his teammates for the fine work. The Wizard wished Ben sarcastically a good night, wanting to let him know he could have easily destroyed him if he had chosen to. But he didn’t thought now was the right time to do that because he wanted to destroy the entire Fantastic Four at the same time. And he wanted to use Franklin as bait.

Deadpool was really impressed by the whole “heroes” and “villains” idea. As though life was actually that simple. Wade never truly thought of himself to be a villain: he was a merc. The hero of his own story. The good guys were the ones with a checkbook. Suddenly, though, something was different. Like, all of a sudden, it mattered how he defined himself. All those guys with tights. White hats and black belts. Just like that, it suddenly mattered to Wade, which one he wore, where the line was. And, just like that, he realized he had a moral code. A line he wouldn’t cross. It was one of those moments in your life you wish you could edit out. Followed, oddly enough, by another.

Wade remembers how he continued chasing little Franklin through the big building. When he lost track of the boy, the trail led to the elevator. Wade found some of Franklin’s clothes like his shoe and jacket, fearing the kid might have fallen down the elevator! Wade tried to find out if he was alright, as he didn’t have an interest in kids dying. But, Franklin was safe, sitting on the entrance of the next floor, holding a gun ready. He asked Wade who he was, but before Wade could enter, Franklin shot at him! On that very moment, an angry Thing returned and slapped Wade out. Not wanting to die that day, Wade decided to just run away from the Thing, realizing that the rest of the Fantastic Four team were probably underway.

The Wizard underestimated how much force it would it would take to render the Thing unconscious. The scientist, while taking notes, wants to know who won the battle. Wade jokes that he gave the story as good as he could. The scientist wants to know if that’s what really happened. Wade confirms that he ran away from the Thing, as that seemed the right thing to do. The scientist asks Wade if he has any more inspiring tales to tell him. Wade has just one. Escaping out of the tank, Wade quickly grabs the scientist by his throat, shouting that his story is called “The Egghead Who Got Himself Whacked!”

Characters Involved: 



a scientist (unnamed)

throughout Deadpool’s flashbacks:

Constrictor, Deadpool, Taskmaster, Wizard (all Frightful Four)

Hobgoblin (Wade in disguise)

Franklin Richards, the Thing (both Fantastic Four)

Tracy (a nun)

airport residents (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

A more detailed explanation of Wade and Death’s relationship can be found in Deadpool/Death Annual 1998. Wade’s past with the Weapon X Program can also be found in said Annual. This story reveals what Wade did after escaping from the Program.

As the Wizard shows Deadpool a map of warehouses, other places indicate one as Mysterio’s hideout, one being the Taskmaster’s secret villain academy, one is Mandarin’s ring storage place, another is a Hydra regional office, another is Electro’s lair and a final being a stargate to Dormammu’s realm.

First use of Wade’s guise as the Hobgoblin fill-in and him having been part of the Frightful Four. This is the seventh incarnation of the team.

Bellbottoms are a tragic style of trousers, which become wider from the knees downward, culminating in a bell-shaped at the end of the legs.

Deadpool’s “Paste guy” reference to the Traspter refers to his original nom de guerre as “Paste Pot Pete.”

Guam is an island in the Pacific, which has been an unincorporated US held territory since 1898.

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