Deadpool (2nd series) #44

Issue Date: 
September 2000
Story Title: 
Cat Trap: part 1 (or: Wakanda, Merc Are You?)

Christopher Priest (writer), J. Calafiore (pencils), Jon Holdredge (inks), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Shannon Blanchard (colors), Mike Marts (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

King T’Challa, better known as the Wakandan super-hero the Black Panther, is finally out of his coma. However, he is still too weak to move on his own and attached to a wheelchair. He retreats to his techno-jungle, where he has a meeting with his servant, Taku. Taku explains that they’ve got incoming messages from the Avengers, but T’Challa refuses to talk to them. Meanwhile at the Deadlounge, Deadpool, Constrictor and Titania have gotten a visit from Achebe, who wishes to hire their services. He has got something interesting for them all in return, and also mentions that Titania has a secret. The three villains accept the mission, which is to retrieve Eric Killmonger’s leopard, who Achebe claims actually belongs to him. At Avengers Mansion, Killmonger, who is now trying to join the Avengers as the new Black Panther, shares some quality time with Triathlon. At the same time, Iron Man has a discussion with the Wasp and Hank concerning Eric’s status. Wade uses his image inducer to fake he’s an animal rights inspector, and the She-Hulk lets him enter the mansion. Achebe also uses a device which he uses to distract Iron Man into believing he’s talking to T’Challa. During the confusion, both Preyy and Triathlon are teleported away! Deadpool’s cover is blown and a battle results from it. Constrictor and Titania rush to Wade’s aid, and they manage to startle the Avengers and escape using their truck. As they try to go back home, the villains notice that both Achebe and Preyy the leopard have vanished from sight. Wasp and Giant-Man catch up with the three villains and defeat them. Later, Iron Man learns from Jarvis that they have gotten a possible lead to where Triathlon was transported to: Wakanda!

Full Summary: 

The story thus far:

Although King T’Challa of Wakanda is finally out of his coma, he is still too weak to move about on his own and is attached to a hovercraft wheelchair. Dr. Tambak confined him to a zero-G transport, which T’Challa immediately took down into his techno-jungle. A Stanley Kubrick-James Cameron Nightmare, the Techno-Jungle was an eerie shadow world, meaning a city beneath the city of central Wakanda. It’s an impossible maze jammed with tangles of fiber optic cabling and high-tech devices. Very few people are authorized to be down there, and least of all State Department Agent Everett Ross. Any poor slob that’s dumb enough to find his way down there could wander lost for weeks, before dying of dehydration.

There is no light there. No sky to navigate there. No “you are here” arrow signs posted. There is even a jigsaw of interlocking tunnels that had no rhyme or reason to most anyone but the king himself, which fairly mirrors his personality. Until the recent collapse of the Wakandan economy, T’Challa was one of the world’s richest and most technologically proficient men. It’s like Bill Gates meeting Shaka Zulu. T’Challa was king of one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.

Agent Ross has known T’Challa for a while now, but the man is still a mystery to him. T’Challa was, ultimately, a bit unknowable. He has compassionate eyes that told you absolutely nothing about what he is thinking. He does most everything for reasons of his own. Like the jungle cats his religion defied, he is a cunning man, always three steps ahead of his enemies.

T’Challa sits alone in his techno-jungle, looking at some monitors, and thinks. He contacts his most loyal servant, Taku, who is observing Iron Man on his monitors. T’Challa asks Taku if he has found her yet. He unfortunately has to deny that. There’s no sign of the woman. He explains to his king that this whole thing might be a hoax, like a misdirection on Killmonger’s part. T’Challa doubts that. He reminds Taku that Brother Voodoo was almost fatally wounded, and his throat cut by an unseen assailant. But she did tell him her name: “Malice.”

T’Challa is aware of the fact that Malice is Killmonger’s protégé, and even has a picture of her which he displays on Katu’s monitors. Malice is a deadly, genetically-enhanced woman with vast strength and unerring accuracy. It stands to reason: if Killmonger has returned from the grave, she must have done the very same thing. Katu explains that none of Avengers Mansion’s internal sensors, which he is hacking on, have picked up anyone matching Malice’s description. He reminds his king that Voodoo didn’t saw her, but only heard the woman whisper her name before she vanished.

T’Challa adds that Killmonger returned from the grave radically changed. He believes it’s possible that Malice is among them, and they don’t have a clue who or even what they are looking for. Taku reminds T’Challa that, also, N’Jadaka is at Avengers Mansion. And Iron Man continues to call him, but Taku hasn’t a clue what to say to the armored hero. T’Challa doesn’t want Taku to tell Iron Man anything. After all, the man Stark is calling for no longer exists…

The Deadlounge…

Deadpool threatens to kill Achebe’s hand puppet should anyone move. It’s the end of the line for that rat-boy. Achebe slaps Wade’s gun out of his hands, claiming that they are going to do great things together. But first, he wants to do a little house-cleaning. Achebe jokes that he hopes Deadpool is enjoying himself, smiling that Daki can be most entertaining. However, he does want Wade to realize that Daki is merely a hand puppet. Wade was threatening his own hand! But that’s just a common mistake. Achebe admits that he even uses post-its to remind himself of that.

Constrictor holds his gun ready to fire upon Achebe, should he try anything. Wade wants to know what the guy wants. While drinking, Achebe smiles that he wants peace, a long life and happiness. He also wants justice for Dialo and Tyra Banks’ phone number. Just the usual things. Titania remembers reading something about Achebe. He tried to take over the Black Panther’s kingdom. Frank wants to know if that means they can’t kill him. But he reminds Achebe that this house belongs to them three happy mercs (at least two and a half happy mercs) so, so far, they can’t let any Tom, Dick and Achebe waltz in like this anymore. He wants to hear one good reason why not to kill Achebe.

Achebe can give Frank 15 good reasons not to kill him! He claims to know the 11-digit account number to Deadpool’s secret slush fund where he deposited over 1.4 million dollars in just over the last few weeks. He can even kill Frank before he knows it, and also reminds everyone that Titania has a little secret, which he is aware of! He shows the trio a statue of his beloved pet, Ukatana. She’s a rare, spotted leopard and was stolen from his modest home some weeks ago and brought to America for sale. Achebe is willing to pay any price to have her back. Frank wants to know what secret concerning Titania Achebe is talking about, but Wade intervenes and accepts the deal. But he promises that if he finds out Achebe is double-crossing them somehow, he’ll have him killed. Oh, and one more thing: he asks Achebe if he can keep his hand puppet.

Some time later at the garden of Avengers Mansion…

Triathlon and the Black Panther are playing Frisbee with Ukatana. Triathlon is happy, thinking he could get used to this. He asks the Panther if “Preyy” is completely domesticated. The Panther confirms she is, after a certain fashion. But he doesn’t think she’s so domesticated as socialized. He just wants to say Preyy and him have an understanding. He wishes he had an understanding with the Avengers as well. Triathlon doesn’t want to put a too fine point towards it, but tells the Panther – he tells Triathlon he can call him Erik – that he is technically a villain.

Eric thinks that’s stupid. He defends that he has never harmed anyone outside of a legitimate tribal conflict. Triathlon adds that’s the reason why Eric isn’t in restraints right now. Triathlon also wants to know if Eric is simply the Black Panther’s villain, or everyone’s villain.

Iron Man’s office…

Tony, while having a video-call with Goliath and the Wasp, believes that’s the question. He means, membership concerning Eric should certainly be out of the question, but he isn’t sure if they should lock him up or not. He explains that the State Department confirms T’Challa lost a tribal challenge to Eric. Hank understands Tony’s point, but Eric Killmonger has been implicated in one or two other crimes. Tony is aware of that, but he has fought against Eric before, and there is no concrete evidence. The man has been dead so often. Tony believes it’s impossible to make a case against him. Janet thinks that’s not a good reason to let the guy play Frisbee.

Tony doesn’t understand why not, since now they at least know where he is. She wants to know if there has been any word from T’Challa. Tony denies that, explaining that nothing got through since he dissolved Wakanda. If it were anyone else, Tony would guess this was a major communications failure, but he sure wants to know who on Earth knows what T’Challa is up to these days. The only thing Tony is certain about is that, to protect the Avengers’ security interests, he has acquired all of the outstanding shares of the Wakanda Design Group, which is the firm that provides the Avengers’ Quinjets and some other tools. Tony plans to sell them all back to T’Challa, at least if he can get a hold of the guy.

Hank thinks that Tony is saying that they are on their own with Killmonger. Tony supposes that they could turn him over to the I.N.S., but he doesn’t know if Tribal Chieftain counts as a state of head. Janet believes that the real question could be why they are trying so hard. She wonders if it is really that important for the Avengers to make an enemy out of Killmonger. She realizes that the worst thing Killmonger has done is to let his leopard make a mess on their lawn. And she can live with that. She suggests they let Killmonger play his hand, and sooner or later, they will know what he is all about.

On that moment, Deadpool arrives in front of the Mansion, using his image inducer to look like an animal inspector. He gets welcomed by the She-Hulk but she doesn’t understand what this is all about. Wade explains that his division got a report about a wild leopard. Jennifer asks Wade if he isn’t Thom Cruz. Wade jokes he is, at least sometimes. She-Hulk lets Wade in and looks at Eric’s leopard, which looks harmless. Wade claims that they all do before they start biting in people’s body parts. He mentions that the Avengers can’t keep this animal here unauthorized. He calls the leopard to him, wanting to give the animal a Scooby snack.

Eric angrily demands to know what this is all about. Jennifer tries to calm him down, confidant that this is all just a routine. Wade tells Eric to shut up. Eric defends that his leopard is part of his diplomatic pouch. Jennifer tries to explain that for as long as the animal is disease-free, she’s sure everything will be just fine. Suddenly, the leopard starts to growl and angrily looks at Triathlon! He doesn’t know what he did. Eric tells Preyy to come towards him, but instead the leopard jumps at Triathlon and they both get teleported away!

Wade cheerfully claps into his hands, but soon realizes that by doing this he blew his cover. All of the Avengers angrily gather around him. Wade tries to fake that he’s stunned by the teleportation and wanting to know what’s going on there.

Nearby, sitting in their truck…

Constrictor believes that Achebe was right and that Titania does have a secret. He remembers the way she hid from her husband the other day, and wonders why Creel thought she was at their home lying in bed. He demands to know what Titania is up to. He mentions that if she and Creel are trying to gaslight Deadpool, he warns them that they are way too late for that. Frank realizes that Wade is nuts, as, after all, he drank from the milk carton. Frank wonders if Titania’s secret is… that she is actually a man!

Titania defends that Achebe was merely bluffing and that she doesn’t have a secret. Achebe tells them to be quiet, not wanting to hear them discuss about the secret non-stop the way they do. Frank jokes that it’s villains, and that’s what they do. Achebe reminds them that they are on a mission there, and needs absolute quiet so he can concentrate himself to complete his plan. Titania doesn’t know why they should care about Achebe’s plan, whatever it is. Achebe reminds them about the bank codes he mentioned, and adds that taking Deadpool’s money has to be at least as much fun for her as killing him. Titania gets the point. Frank doesn’t, as he still wants Wilson dead. He again asks Titania if she is a man. Achebe orders them to be quiet or else the deal is off. He starts searching for his digital imager.

Stark asks his employee, Lewis, if there has been any word from Wakanda yet. Lewis explains that, even though the channel is open, they haven’t heard anything yet. Tony thinks that’s fine and suggests they call it a day. Suddenly, T’Challa finally answers the call, apologizing towards his old friend, claiming he has been busy with manners of state since they have been reconstructing in Wakanda. Tony realizes that T’Challa is busy, but wants to say a few things. He explains that they’ve got Killmonger here at the mansion, who is trying to claim T’Challa’s inactive Avengers slot.

T’Challa smiles that he thinks that’s a capital idea. He knows that Killmonger has truly and literally been born again. He votes “yes” to let him join the Avengers. Not sure what to say to that, Tony adds that the Avengers aren’t ready to put this to a vote yet. T’Challa understands and wants to hear what else Tony has to say. Tony mentions the shares in WDG, and wanted to reassure T’Challa that he merely assumed them as a custodial manner. Achebe, faking T’Challa’s identity during the conversation with Tony, tells him he can keep the shares. Tony doesn’t understand that. Achebe claims that by U.S. law, those shares are supposed to be in American hands. Tony understands that, but still isn’t sure. Achebe lies that he is a king and doesn’t see why he should be bothered with this. He abruptly closes the communication claiming he has king stuff to do. Tony gets contacted by Jarvis who reminds him about the battle outside.

Deadpool is busy fighting the Avengers. Eric demands to know what happened to his leopard and Triathlon, wanting them both back. Wade claims that the cat has been brought back to his rightful owner. Eric doesn’t understand that Wade could possibly believe that. Wade explains that since he’s a merc, the “truth” is relative in his business. He transforms back to his “normal” self and gets back into his costume. Wade jokes that normally, him fighting the Avengers all by himself would normally give him pause, but he has convinced himself that none of this is really happening. He does wonder where all the original members of the Avengers are, like Captain America and Thor.

In their truck, Constrictor refuses to let go of Titania’s secret, confident that she is actually a man since he has never seen her naked, and doesn’t think that’s fair. Titania still claims she has nothing to hide.

She-Hulk slams Deadpool down and is ready to take him out. Suddenly, Wade gets teleported away! The other villains drive through the wall of the mansion with their truck, and another battle immediately begins. Titania faces Hank, at first believing he is Clint Barton back into his old costume. Hank explains who he really is, joking that he is actually facing Thundra and not Titania. Contrictor helps the angry woman out. Wade merges back on the Avengers lawn and thinks it’s about time somebody’s butt gets kicked.

Eric agrees with that statement and angrily punches Wade. Eric demands his cat back, as they are friends from each other. Wade doesn’t buy that and starts fighting Killmonger again. He claims he has read all about Deadpool and is aware of the fact that Wade is inane. Wade jokes that everyone is insane, at least a little bit, but that only some of them are really good at it. Wade explains that he too had friends once, but that didn’t work out. Now, he lives with two people who would kill him for a bag of Gummy Bear candies. And in an odd way, their relationship is actually… working. It’s a wrapped up perversion of friendship, and that’s apparently the only kind Wade is capable of keeping. He asks Eric if maybe he wants to move in with them.

Titania thinks it’s about time for them to leave. Constrictor, while holding the She-Hulk in his holding grip, doesn’t think so as they are winning. Skeeter doesn’t think so, realizing they just aren’t losing yet. She knows there’s a big difference between winning and losing. She reminds Frank that their job was to distract the Avengers so that Deadpool could escape. She doesn’t care if Wade wants to get all caught up fighting the Black Panther – that’s his problem.

Wade takes out his blade, but Eric kicks it out of his hands. Wade is impressed by that move. Eric explains he picked up the move when he was in Malayisa. Wade likes it, and he and Eric actually start sharing battle techniques with each other! Suddenly, a blast fires, and it takes Eric out. Titania calls out to Wade, telling it it’s time for them to beat it, before they get beaten. The villains go back to their truck, but Achebe is already gone. Wade explains he teleported the leopard to the Deadlounge. Frank doesn’t think so, as his remote sensors don’t give any presence at their home. On that moment, both Wasp and Giant-Man catch up with the villains and start fighting again.

At Avengers Mansion, Iron Man lands in front of Jarvis and asks him what’s going on. Jarvis explains that Triathlon is still missing, but that the mansion’s sensor array has been able to discern a possible transport location: Wakanda!

At Wakanda, Taku mentions to his lord that a transport signature warning has come up on his security grid. And they are receiving another priority alert from the Avengers. T’Challa tells his servant to ignore them both. He suggests that Taku also gets some rest, as before the next dawn, a battle will come to their country.

Characters Involved: 




Black Panther I (T’Challa)

Black Panther II (Eric Killmonger), Giant-Man, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Triathlon, Wasp (all Avengers)

Edwin Jarvis (butler to the Avengers)

Achebe (and his hand puppet Daki)

Preyy (the leopard)

Taku (employee of the Panther)

on computer screens:

Goliath, Iron Man (both Avengers)


Story Notes: 

The story continues in Black Panther (3rd series) #23.

Brother Voodoo was badly injured in Black Panther (3rd series) #12, and luckily recovered in Black Panther (3rd series) #22. The latter issue also had Eric Killmonger, the current Black Panther, and his stolen leopard arrive at Avengers Mansion, demanding membership.

The establishment of the Panther’s techno-jungle and the collapse of the Wakandan economy all occurred throughout Black Panther (3rd series) #18-22.

Achebe’s showdown with the Black Panther when he took over Wakanda occurred in Black Panther (3rd series) #12.

Constrictor faced Absorbing Man, Titania’s husband, last issue. Titania was at the scene when the battle began, but during it mysteriously vanished with her refusing to give an explanation for it.

Hawkeye once was Giant-Man, Hank Pym’s super-hero identity, from Avengers (1st series) #63-98.

Shaka Zulu was a man widely credited with transforming the Zulu tribe from a small clan to an influential nation.

Gummy Bears are rubbery-textured & multi-colored candies, shaped in the form of teddy bears.

Issue Information: 
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