He’s not laughing this time.
With the release of The Despicable Deadpool #300, writer Gerry Duggan ended a long run on one of Marvel’s most popular ongoing comics. In fact, Duggan has now written more issues of Deadpool than any other writer. It’s not hard to understand why. Duggan clearly understands as well as anyone that you can’t build a good, lasting Deadpool saga without emphasizing the tragedy of Wade Wilson as much as the comedy.
Warning: spoilers for The Despicable Deadpool #300 ahead!
That blend of silliness and pathos was established early on, back when Duggan and co-writer Brian Posehn were setting the stage for everything that came later. The 2013 storyline “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” is where their approach to Deadpool truly clicked. That story took what had been a running joke in the series – that Wade was being periodically knocked unconscious and having his organs harvested – and used it as fodder for one of the darkest Deadpool stories to date. Wade learned that his own body was being used as materials for a new generation of genetically engineered super-soldiers. It’s fitting that this story also paired Wade with Wolverine and Captain America, two heroes who know a thing or two about being used and experimented upon by secret government agencies.
“The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” really set the tone for the series going forward. No matter how zany Deadpool’s antics became after that, his life was always bombarded with hardship and suffering. He married a vampire queen named Shiklah, but that romance quickly turned sour when it became clear Wade lacked both the ability and desire to balance work and home. Wade discovered his long-lost daughter, only for it to be revealed that he was once brainwashed into murdering his own parents. He became a member and financial backer of the Avengers Unity Squad, but had to resort to questionable methods to keep the money flowing in.