Just weeks after the end of the Deadpool & The Mercs For Money miniseries, writer Cullen Bunn is in the final stages of planning its return in July with an ongoing series and he's bringing along a new friend for Wade - or an old one if you could the Deadpool movie.
Launching July 20, Deadpool & The Mercs for Money re-introduces Negasonic Teenage Warhead as the merc team is hired to track down and eliminate all radioactive criminals. But some of Wade's team could be considered criminals as well, given its line-up: Solo, Foolkiller, Stingray, Terror, Slapstick, Masacre, and... well, Deadpool.
Newsarama talked with Bunn about this successful miniseries-turned-ongoing, figuring out a team that could have Deadpool as a leader, and how he's bringing Negasonic Teenage Warhead back into the Marvel Comics' fold after her successful cinematic debut.
Newsarama: Cullen, what is Deadpool & The Mercs For Money about exactly?
Cullen Bunn: Deadpool can't handle every job on his own, so he pays a group of mercenaries to act as his personal strike team (composed of characters who have fallen into obscurity) and take on missions no one else is crazy enough to try. That's the basic premise, I guess. Within those guidelines, the story is also about Deadpool trying to be a leader and failing miserably at it. It's about working with a team that hates your guts. It's about trying to make things right, but lacking self-awareness and only making the situation worse.
Nrama: We’ve seen some characters in the advance art, but can you tell us who the whole team is?
Bunn: Let's see if I can be cryptic while teasing the future of the team. When the series begins, you will see the squad we've been following all along: Deadpool, Solo, Foolkiller, Stingray, Terror, Slapstick, and Masacre. You know how mercenaries can be, though, right? It's very likely with a team like this that there will be changes ahead. Maybe big changes! I mean, maybe you'll see some women join the team. Maybe you'll see a major shake-up! Or maybe not. Maybe I'm just joshing you. You'd have to wait until the third or fourth issue for something like that anyhow.
Nrama: You mentioned women possibly joining the team, and the solicits for #2 advertise Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who has earned a new level of popularity with the Deadpool movie. Can you talk about her involvement in the series? And will it be like her comic counterpart, or more like the movie version?
Bunn: I don't want to give away too much about Negasonic's role in the book, but I will say she is heavily featured in the first issue and she has a very important part to play in the series going forward. This is not the Negasonic from the movie. I know what you're saying. "Wait a minute, Cullen (or Mr. Bunn if you're nasty)! The comic book version of Negasonic Teenage Warhead has really only appeared in a panel or two when she wasn't dead!" And you're right about that. So maybe you haven't really seen this version of the character, either. Except you have. Weird, huh?
Nrama: The solicits say the team is hired to take out "radioactive super villians." Who's hired him, and why?
Bunn: In the first arc of the series, Deadpool and his crew have been hired to take on a "no questions asked" mission. They've been hired by a shadowy corporate entity called Umbral Dynamics. Their goal is to apprehend as many radioactive characters (not necessarily villains) as possible, "for their own good."
But why anyone would want to hire Deadpool to go after radioactive characters?
I certainly hope there's not a sinister plan at work behind the scenes.
Nrama: What other radioactive characters can readers look forward to?
Bunn: Deadpool and the mercs are going to target a number of very powerful characters, including Radioactive Man and Cobalt Man. But they might also be going after some characters who are a little lower on the radioactivity scale. With Deadpool leading the missions, it's extremely likely that he's just going to try to nab anyone whose name sounds radioactive. That could account for a lot of folks.
Nrama: Cullen, You've done copious amounts of superhero team books and Deadpool books, but how is this unique?
Bunn: Whenever you throw Deadpool on a team, it makes for a unique experience. When you put him in charge of a team, that's when things get really strange. There's a really broad spectrum of stories that can be told with this group, and the dynamic between the different mercenaries really opens up a lot of storytelling possibilities. I also think that because Deadpool is, in theory, the star of the book, that makes it a slightly different animal. But there is an upcoming shift in the team dynamic (dare I say "leadership") that will put a completely new spin on Deadpool's role in the series.
Nrama: I can't help but ask about Slapstick. He's in this book, and is also in one of this week’s “Marvel NOW!” teasers with Captain Marvel. Can you speak to that at all?
Bunn: The less said about Slapstick, the better.
He's a pretty popular character in Mercs for Money. He's gotten a lot of attention since his return. I think he's a fun character because of the terrible, terrible darkness lurking beneath his cartoon exterior. Obviously, there's something being cooked up with him, but I'm sworn to secrecy for the time being.
Nrama: Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first time you've worked with Iban Coello. How are you two meshing?
Bunn: This is the first time I've worked with Iban and it's going swimmingly. His style is perfect for this book, and I think readers are going to flip for his art. I know I did! I hope to make this a long partnership with him.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals for this book?
Bunn: The goal is to tell as many fun, entertaining stories as I can. I've mapped out several arcs worth of story for Deadpool & The Mercs For Money. There are humorous tales, tragic tales, and even a cosmic story in the mix. Some of these stories will follow up on story seeds that were planted in the original Mercs For Money limited series and the main DEADPOOL book, but I also have high hopes for weaving in elements from some of the other Deadpool limited series. I'm going to introduce new ongoing supporting characters to the Deadpool universe and play with the team dynamic a bit. Since this isn't a limited series, I get to play the long game a bit, and I really want this series to showcase many facets of Wade Wilson and the wide range of stories that can be told with the character.
But... really... I'm just waiting to reveal the Mercs for Murder.