Deadpool (2nd series) #39

Issue Date: 
April 2000
Story Title: 
Johnny Handsome: Scene 2

Christopher Priest (writer), Paco Diaz (pencils), John Holdredge, Rich Perrotta, Czop & Elmer (inks), Sharpefront & PT (letters), Shannon Blanchard (colors), Frank Dunkerley (assistant editor), Ruben Diaz (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Deadpool, believing that the Constrictor and Titania have been sent to kill him, fights and defeats them. After doing that, Wade decides to take the new place. A few weeks pass, and Wade has already become a little more acquainted with his new roommates. They visit a Russian Tea Room, as it’s the only place where Wade’s “Thom Cruz” face won’t get noticed, as the café gets visited by lots of shady figures, like the Red Ghost, Unicorn and the Grey Gargoyle. Wade and the Constrictor discuss a new mission, and don’t really get out of who of their friends get to help. Titania mentions that she gave up Wade as her new employer, as she got some trouble at the dentist for not working for someone. She lied that she’s Wade’s new pilot. As they return home, the three villains discover that their home has already been broken into. They find a tape, which has a message recorded, which comes from none other than… the Taskmaster! Though “Barney” specifically asks for Titania to a mission because she still knows Baron Zemo’s old access codes to his old platform the Taskmaster wants, Wade believes this is all a set-up of the Taskmaster to get back at him. Titania gives Wade the codes she knows, and he travels to the Taskmaster’s hideout. There, he kills some of his followers, until being confronted by the Taskmaster himself. Titania convinces the Taskmaster to let Wade go on the job instead of her. However, little does Wade know that Titania and Constrictor have a scheme plotted, wanting payback for getting beaten up by him. Deadpool attends the Taskmaster’s class, where he gets briefed. Wade also gets introduced to his partners for the mission, namely Electa, Pyron and Malovick. After the proper introductions, the Taskmaster wants his team to strike at dawn.

Full Summary: 

The salesman tries to get out of the apartment, as the battle between Deadpool, Constrictor and Titania is at full rage! But Deadpool holds him back, as he’s got some words to say to Fang after he won the battle.

Titania smiles that she’s glad to finally meet Deadpool. Deadpool jokes that Skeeter can call him Wade, but warns her that, if she’s working for Landau, Luckman & Lake, or T-Ray or even Regis, she can tell her boss that Wade told them to blow off! Constrictor wonders if Wade is always this paranoid or if that’s just for their benefit. He tries to explain to Wade that nobody is trying to kill him, since they all live in this place. Wade refuses to believe that. He grabs the Constrictor’s coil, and throws his knife through electrical wires, causing a polar loop to give both Titania and the Constrictor electrical shocks. Titania has had enough of this nonsense and decides to demonstrate her approach.

She picks up the refrigerator, and throws it on Wade! She asks him to calm down and to get a life, since there really isn’t anybody trying to kill him. Wade thinks he believes her now. Skeeter lifts the fridge up, but notices that Wade has a strange look in his eyes. He smiles, and quickly kisses her! This makes Titania angry, and holds Wade hostage, promising this act will get him killed. Wade doesn’t think so. He takes something out of his sleeve, and sprays it over Skeeter, causing her to faint!

Wade explains that Titania may be super-strong, near invulnerable (though he also bets she’s about 50% silicone) but he realized that, if she sucked in enough bio-inhibitor, she would just faint like anyone else would. The Constrictor tries to calm Wade down and tell him that they’re all in this together, but he doesn’t think so. He explains to Frank that he and Skeeter kill, but Wade sees himself as a killer. He warns Frank that he may want to take notes at this point. A few hard punches follow, and the Constrictor ends up defeated. Wade jokes that he’ll take the place now.

A few, short weeks later things are much better…

Wade and the Constrictor visit a Russian Tea Room and discuss a new mission. Frank thinks that his guy will be much better for the job, due to his intellect and strategy skills, but Wade doesn’t think so. He explains to Frank that he’s always wrong, and that’s also why he always has to pay for dinner. He mentions that he studied their target’s techniques and knows how to take him down. Frank just isn’t sure and wants to hear one explanation where he can figure out that the plan will work.

Skeeter enters, noticing that the boys are at it again. She wonders what the discussion is about… Titanic versus Star Wars, probably. Frank explains it’s more like Bugs Bunny versus Dracula. Wade jokes that it’s the rabbit taking a walk. Frank doesn’t agree with that statement, as he hates Bugs Bunny and refuses to include him on those grounds. Besides, he doesn’t have super-magnetism as a power. Titania wants to tell the boys something that happened to her today while she was at the dentist.

After the visit, she paid the secretary cash with eight hundred dollars, but the crazy woman decided to act tough, wanting to know who Skeeter’s boss is. She notices that neither Frank nor Wade are listening to her. Wade fakes that he is, but Skeeter realizes otherwise. She thinks he’s still thinking about rabbits, and jokes that vampires can turn into mist. That’s exactly what Frank was saying and what he is afraid of. Wade doesn’t think so and explains a different scenario: the rabbit pulls an Acme vacuum cleaner out of nowhere, causing Dracula to turn into toast. Skeeter mentions that she had a fight. Wade wonders if that was with Dracula.

Titania denies that, correcting that it was with the secretary. She had just went out 3 out of 5 falls with the She-Hulk, and she couldn’t handle an argument about the fact she doesn’t work for anyone. Frank gets angry and refuses to talk to Wade anymore. Titania continues to say that, because of what happened to her at the dentist, she decided to put Wade up as her new boss. Wade is surprised to hear that. Frank mocks that Wade also still owes him money for those movie tickets. Wade doesn’t see what kind of services Titania could provide him, besides the obvious ones. Skeeter smiles that she’ll be his new pilot. Wade didn’t even know he had a plane. Skeeter jokes that he has one now.

Frank also angrily wants to know why they have to come eat at the Russian Tea Room every day. Titania thinks that’s obvious: it is because this is the only place where Wade’s “Thom Cruz” face won’t be noticed by anyone, since the place gets visits by lots of creepy people. For instance, as she looks around the restaurant, she easily recognizes Unicorn, the Red Ghost and the Grey Gargoyle eating. Frank doesn’t think he’s seeing the Grey Gargoyle sitting on a table with his dinner date. He walks over to the Gargoyle to prove his point. But as he does, the Gargoyle, who had overheard Frank, touches his arm and turns it into a grey matter. Frank angrily stands corrected.

Upset with his arm having turned into partly cement, Frank, Wade and Titania leave the Tea Room. Frank wants to know how long this is going to last, and mentions he’s really starting to hate Wade. He also wants to know why he can’t be his pilot, since they’ve known each other much longer. As they continue their walk, two guys think they recognize Titania as Thundra. Wade sarcastically remarks that it’s understandable to mistake a 500-pound muscle redhead woman with someone named “Thundra.” Skeeter freaks out and lifts up a street post, ready to attack the two guys. Frank jokes that this happens a lot actually, and that Titania is a little touchy.

The two guys freak out, but calm down when they recognize Wade as Thom Cruz. This upsets him, and he and Titania beat the guys up together. Frank wants to know what’s up with Wade’s face and how long Loki’s curse is going to last. Wade doesn’t know for sure, but thinks the face will last until he submits to Loki or something. This reminds him that they should invite Asgard and open a can of Gracie Jiu Jitsu on Loki, who by the way Wade thinks comes off more than just a little fem. He isn’t passing any judgment, but just sharing his thoughts.

They enter the costume shop, and the salesman hands Wade his new costume. The salesman warns Wade to be careful with this one. Wade wants to know why his costume looks different. The salesman admits that he couldn’t find the original pattern, but is glad that at least it’s close enough. And it isn’t like Wade is Captain America, so he doesn’t care much either. And he also suggests that Wade loses his ridiculous Thom Cruz look. The salesmen mentions to a surprised Titania that her costume is ready as well. She didn’t even know she ordered one. The salesman shows her a Thundra costume, mentioning he had to smuggle the fabric from Attilan and that it took thirteen treatments to dye it, so he warns her to better brace herself for the bill.

Titania freaks out again and angrily destroys the salesman’s shop. They all leave, and Wade thinks Skeeter needs to take a little Midol for that attitude problem of hers. Frank mentions that he won’t let go of this fake pilot thing. He defends that he’s paying half of the rent and thinks this is completely unfair. Wade makes it clear to Frank: they are villains, and they don’t play fair. They dive into a sewer. Frank goes in first. Wade mentions that the guy is giving him a headache. As they return home, Wade finds an open door. Since it’s not his birthday, he suspects this means bad news.

And it is: they find Hayden all tied up! Someone busted into their home and strung the guy up. Wade corrects Frank, denying that they actually did that. Frank apologizes, remembering that. But Wade can feel that somebody has been into their home, thinking that if they are lucky the culprits are still here. Titania finds a disk in Hayden’s mouth and takes it. He explains that the villains left, and only came here to deliver a message. He also wants to know when he’s going to be brought back down again.

Wade tells Hayden to shut up. Titania believes that the burglars left and that the disk she holds proves that. She believes it’s a DVD with a message on it. Frank can’t believe it. Somebody’s leaving them messages on videos now. Who are they, the Super-Friends? Wade isn’t pleased that the burglars aren’t here anymore. He feels ripped off. Titania puts the DVD into the player so they can watch it.

It’s the Taskmaster! The Taskmaster recognizes Titania, and angrily replies that he can see she has taken to slumming with the likes of Frank, and apparently Thom Cruz. He finds that odd. At any rate, the Taskmaster mentions he’s got a mission suited uniquely to Skeeter’s abilities. He explains that, as a former member of Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil, the Taskmaster believes she holds the answer to some of his questions. Both Wade and Frank find this boring. Titania wants to at least hear what the Taskmaster has to say.

Wade believes that the Taskmaster wants to get even for the time he beat the guy up. He knows that they are pals and all that, but he knows that neither Frank nor Skeeter is mature enough to accept their little housewarming butt-kicking. He figures that both of them will sooner or later make their move, which, he guesses, is when they will get a real sense of responsibility. Skeeter thinks that Wade is being ridiculous as they are all friends here. She explains that the Taskmaster trains hundreds of wanna-be super-villains in Nevada at his crime college, and at least one of them was good enough to break into their home. She can’t believe that bothers him.

Wade claims it doesn’t, because he just isn’t falling for it. The Taskmaster tells Titania to meet him at his crime college – if she dares. Wade believes that, if the Taskmaster leads Titania to wherever, an hour later he and Frank will receive a distress call, and he’ll end up whacked. Wade is confident this is all a set-up, and a mighty lame one to boot. Titania wants to know what makes Wade so sure she’s setting him up. Wade believes it’s because they are villains, and that’s what they do. Skeeter believes otherwise, but Wade ignores her. Wade defends that he would sell Titania out for a pair of really good socks. And also for some Taco Bell, or Broncos Tickets.

Skeeter tries to explain to Wade that he’s way off. Wade defends that this is just the way things are. He believes that the difference between him and Skeeter is that is that he would cut her in on the VIG. He figures TM’s in for Low Seven figures, which Skeeter keeps whether he would get snuffed or not. Wade defends he would even sell Titania out if he would get Oprah tickets. Titania holds Wade, telling him he’s insane. He doesn’t get the point. She defends that nobody is trying to hurt him. Wade tells her to front him the dentist money and skip to chapter two of the story, where he hopefully will get summoned out there. She considers that done.

A few hours later, Deadpool arrives in Nevada. Wade calls out to the Taskmaster, calling him Jack Boot in the hope to get a response. He explains that he knows the Taskmaster suspected Titania to show up, but jokes that she was busy getting her stack re-stacked. Besides, Wade claims, he knows he is the merc the Taskmaster really wanted in the first place, so he suggests they drop the All My Children act and get this party started. Wade doesn’t get a response. He wanders around, noticing that he isn’t exactly in Nevada, but instead in the Himalayas! He tries activating his teleporter, but it doesn’t work.

On that very moment, ninjas on jet skies enter at full speed and open fire, shouting they want to kill Wade! They throw some bombs at Wade, which he dodges. He jokes that the 32nd lesson to how to be a super-villain is that, when an enemy is being attacked, they can’t scream like little girls and wish their opponent dead, as that may tend to alert them to their presence, giving the hero the split-second he needs to reach out to his sword and finish the short battle. Wade takes out his swords and guns, and defeats and kills all of them.

The Taskmaster jumps out of the shadows, and is surprised to see Deadpool, as he specifically asked for Titania to come meet him. Deadpool tells “Barney” to shut up, mentioning that the Taskmaster’s photographic reflexes will only do him any good if they fight, which Wade won’t do. Taskmaster swears he’ll kill Wade. Wade tells Barney he can try that, claiming that Titania sent him instead. Taskmaster wants to know why Wade calls him Barney. Wade thought that the Taskmaster’s real name was Barney Toastmaster. Skipping the funny, Wade wants to know what the job is and how much it will pay (the stock options would be nice as well). Taskmaster claims that this mission is only for Titania and nobody else. He tells Deadpool that he wasted his time coming there.

Wade thinks about it, and comes to the conclusion that the earlier Dracula story Titania claimed, occurred. The Taskmaster opens a video screen to Titania. She wants to know what he wants from her, revealing she hadn’t had anything to do with Zemo for years. The Taskmaster is aware of that, but he believes that the access codes she used while in Zemo’s employ may still be of value to the mission. Titania mentions that she has given all the codes she knows to Deadpool, claiming he’s the best she can give the Taskmaster. She closes the communication.

The Constrictor enters, believing this is the end of the saga of Wade Wilson. Titania isn’t sure, but thinks that if Wade does survive, they need to be prepared. She promises that one way or another, Deadpool is in for a serious life lesson, because nobody gets to beat her up and lives to tell it. Later, Deadpool has joined the Taskmaster’s ninja’s school, but has the hardest time staying awake. Wade jokes that he can sleep so quietly through Barney’s lectures.

The Taskmaster is confident that will be Wade’s undoing someday. He explains to his class that, with Titania’s access codes, they might be able to gain control of Baron Zemo’s orbital platform. He explains that the platform was abandoned some years ago, but its orbit has decayed and he believes it will be destroyed on re-entry. Wade agrees, thinking that will happen unless they get to it first. Taskmaster claims there won’t be a “they.” Taskmaster explains to Deadpool that he will be working with three of his graduate candidates: Electa, Pyton and Malovick!

Upon seeing the rather ridiculous team he has to work with, Wade feels like he’s dying. He jokes that his job price just went way up. The Taskmaster wants the four of them to strike… at dawn! Wade wants to know what that girl ever did to them.

Characters Involved: 





Electa, Malovick, Pyron (Taskmaster’s team)

Grey Gargoyle, Red Ghost, Unicorn (villains visiting the restaurant)

restaurant waiters & visitors (all unnamed)

salesmen (unnamed)

Taskmaster’s ninja’s (all unnamed)

on computer screen during Taskmaster’s presentation:

Baron Heinrich and Helmut Zemo

on painting at the costume shop:


Story Notes: 

Grey Gargoyle’s real name is Pierre Duval, and first appeared in Journey Into Mystery #107. Ivan Kragoff is better known as the Red Ghost and first appeared in Fantastic Four (1st series) #13. Unicorn’s real name is Milos Masaryk and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #56.

Deadpool and Constrictor have known each other from their shared time as members of the Frightful Four, as seen in Deadpool (2nd series) #35. The Taskmaster was also a part of said group. Deadpool believes the Taskmaster wants to get back at him because of their confrontation in Deadpool (2nd series) #2.

First appearance of Electa, Malovick and Pyron.

Baron Zemo’s platform was abandoned in Captain America (1st series) #100.

When the Taskmaster explains he wants his team to strike at dawn and Wade jokingly wants to know what “Dawn” ever did to them, he’s making a joke reference to Dawn, the sister of Buffy Summers of the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” show.

“Regis” refers to Regis Philbin, best known for his morning show on ABC.

Thom Cruz most likely is a thinly veiled alias for “Tom Cruise.”

Super-Friends was a series of animated cartoons starring characters from DC Comics.

All My Children is an American daytime soap opera series, which has aired on ABC since 1970.

The theme song Deadpool, Constrictor & Titania are listening to on the cover is from the sitcom, "Three's Company."

Issue Information: 
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