Friday Flashback: New Mutants #98 - Deadpool's Debut

Friday Flashback: New Mutants #98

The Merc-With-A-Mouth is back this month, in his all-new, all-solo ongoing series at Marvel. He’s had an ongoing before, most recently sharing the spotlight with fellow Liefeld-creation Cable, but we’re going to keep the focus on the addle-brained assassin, Deadpool.

Deadpool showed up just at the tail end of New Mutants. After Cable’s first appearance about a year earlier, the book had started to drift towards its eventual re-launch as X-Force. In New Mutants #98, a new player entered the fray. Well, three new players, actually, as Domino, Gideon, and Deadpool all made their first appearances in this issue.

The book started with a nice cheesy workout sequence featuring Gideon. As he kicks robot butt, he mentions Sebastian Shaw, and Roberto DaCosta’s dad, both Hellfire Club bigshots, in a nice bit of foreshadowing for both this issue and his future. We progress into another training sequence (this is pretty much every issue of New Mutants from Cable’s first appearance on), before instant payoff on that foreshadowing, as DaCosta the elder is killed. Boom Boom and Rictor argue about Rahne’s fate in front of a random poster of Bart Simpson. Finally, it’s the moment everyone didn’t know they were waiting for, the arrival of the man in black (and red).

As Nathan Christopher Charles Summers Dayspring Askani’son (or NAMBLA) stares at a bookshelf, the merc gets a jump on him. Now, Fabian Nicieza was the co-creator here, and scripted this issue. He’s written some stellar Deadpool stories, with the goofy motor-mouth dialogue. In this first appearance however he talked a lot, it just wasn’t funny. Initially, he even displayed a strange pompous intelligence. He knew everything about the whole team, and made pretty short work of the mutants, young and old. Luckily, everything fell into place as Domino showed up (strangely knowing our time-lost hero) and saved the day.

This first appearance was quite the strange one. While Deadpool’s amazing skill was on display, re-reading how he was written when he first hit the scene just feels wrong. Deadpool without the funny is like Cable without the complicated backstory- it’s just such an essential piece of the character now. Hopefully Daniel Way doesn’t focus too much on his first appearance, and looks to the years of off-the-wall Merc-With-A-Mouth stories that we’ve had since when his new ongoing kicks off this month.

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