Read These Deadpool Comics Before Seeing the Movie

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Embrace Deadpool's history!

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. 20th Century Fox

Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, made his cinematic debut back in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. While actor Ryan Reynolds did a solid job as Wade Wilson, the movie took the dangerous character in a completely new - and noticeably different - direction. The end result left many fans - including the one typing this article - disappointed. Several years later, 20th Century Fox is giving fans the live action version of Deadpool they've always wanted! With a costume heavily inspired by the source material and an 'R' rating, the Merc With a Mouth's first solo movie - which is appropriately titled Deadpool - finally gives the popular anti-hero a whole lot of love. Colossus is a supporting character, too! Sorry, the X-Men fan in me couldn't resist mentioning that since the strong and durable mutant hasn't received nearly enough focus in the other X-Men films.

Deadpool has a lot of fans, but many people haven't actually read his comics yet. There are a lot of good options to choose from, and I've already recommended reading Volume 3 - yes, all of it! But to prepare for the movie, there are seven issues you must read! Yes, there's this whole cosmic subplot that serves as buildup for future issues and that may be a little confusing to new readers, but these issues focus on three very important things: the villain appearing in the film, Deadpool's morality, and his relationship with Blind Al. This is important stuff, people!

Obviously, the film isn't a direct adaptation of the source material and understandably so. There's a lot of changes to Wade's origin and the supporting cast, but I still think it's important  for you to see where the movie draws its inspiration from. 

From the first volume of Deadpool, you need to read #14-19, plus the Deadpool and Death 1998 annual issue (which should be read right after #17). If you can't obtain the individual issues, these can be found in Deadpool Classics Vol. 3 and 4. You'll have a much better understanding of Deadpool's history after you read this story! If you're interested in going above and beyond just those issues (which would make me so very proud of you), I'll list some other reading recommendations at the end of the article, too.

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Ajax

Deadpool and Ajax by Steve Harris, Reggie Jones, and Chris Sotomayor
Deadpool and Ajax by Steve Harris, Reggie Jones, and Chris Sotomayor. Marvel Comics

Wolverine has Sabretooth. Captain America has the Red Skull. Thor has Loki. Deadpool has...? Deadpool may be ridiculously popular, but his rogues gallery sure isn't. Just so you know, T-Ray would be the right answer, but the intimidating pale dude isn't the big bad in the movie. Instead, the film is going with someone who plays a big role in Wade Wilson becoming Deadpool: Ajax.

Without spoiling anything, I'll just say Ajax - who has boosted speed - causes Deadpool a tremendous amount of physical and emotional pain. He enjoys tormenting Wade and he serves a huge role in Wade's origin. For quite some time Deadpool is unable to physically harm Ajax, so he finds a way to get under the evil guy's skin. Some villains have layers to them, but Ajax simply isn't a good fellow. The physically enhanced foe played a critical part in Wade Wilson transforming into Deadpool, and this character-defining dynamic takes up a good portion of the annual issue. It also reveals why Wade Wilson is called Deadpool!

A big showdown between the two is built up through #14-17 before they finally face off in #18 and #19. Even if you can't get your hands on all of the issues, the annual is critical if you want to have a proper understanding of Deadpool's personality and backstory. That said, I definitely recommend getting all of them. The ending between Wade and Ajax is especially compelling. Deadpool loves to run his mouth, but getting a look at the inside of his head - seeing his real thoughts, the ones he purposefully hides from everyone else - is always a nice reminder that the character is so much more than just a formidable comedian with an accelerating healing factor. The mask isn't the only way he hides who he really is.

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Blind Al

Deadpool and Blind Al by Walter McDaniel, John Livesay, and Chris Sotomayor
Deadpool and Blind Al by Walter McDaniel, John Livesay, and Chris Sotomayor. Marvel Comics

The situation between Deadpool and his "roommate", Blind Al, is... well, really complicated, and that's putting it lightly. You see, for quite some time, she's technically his prisoner and he even created a terrifying - and not to mention potentially deadly - room just for her. Deadpool started as a villain, and in writer Joe Kelly's comics, you can tell Deadpool is stuck in a morally grey area. You can understand that, deep down, Deadpool wants to be good, but he doesn't believe in himself and he does things that admirable heroes would never consider (like placing a blind, old lady in a room that's full of sharp objects). Despite the unhealthy relationship, Blind Al sees the good in Wade and firmly believes that she could help him become a better person. Without her in his life, she fears what he may become. She believes he doesn't need to be dark and he doesn't need to be twisted; he can be a good guy despite all of the violent and cruel things he's done.

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Bullseye and morality

Deadpool and Bullseye by Walter McDaniel, Anibal Rodriguez. and Chris Sotomayor
Deadpool and Bullseye by Walter McDaniel, Anibal Rodriguez. and Chris Sotomayor. Marvel Comics

In Deadpool's first appearance (Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza's New Mutants #98), the funny, fictional character makes his debut as a bad guy. Since then, Wade has undergone quite a lot of development. Joe Kelly, the writer of the issues I'm recommending, put a huge emphasis on Deadpool's mentality. Can Deadpool eventually become a hero, or at least something closer to one? Or is he destined to remain a man who has given up on hope? In Deadpool #16, Kelly finds a fun way to further highlight Deadpool's conflicted psyche: a team-up with Bullseye, a ruthless assassin with phenomenal accuracy and a potty mouth. There's plenty of amusing banter between the two, but when all is said and done, Daredevil's infamous enemy warns Deadpool that he's getting soft. It may be a side mission that's technically filler, but this interaction - along with the Blind Al story - is a great way to remind us just how torn Deadpool truly is about who he was versus who he possibly could be. It's entirely possible this isn't the last time the two will see each other in the volume, too...

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Read these, too!

Deadpool by Tom Raney and Edgar Delgado
Deadpool by Tom Raney and Edgar Delgado. Marvel Comics

Deadpool Classics Vol 1 & 2: If you're looking to really expand your Deadpool knowledge, these two collections should be very obvious purchases. They're surprisingly affordable and they include the earliest Deadpool stories (minus his X-Force appearances). If you decide to get them, you should obviously read these before jumping into #14-19 (plus the annual).

Deadpool Vol. 3: I already wrote an entire article about this one! Click here to see why Deadpool's third solo volume deserves your attention. If you're working with a very tight budget, just get the third trade (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly).

Cable & Deadpool: Yes, this is a lot to read, but the issues are so worth it. Exceptional from start to finish, this is a hugely enjoyable series that manages to include a ton of fun action, consistently great artwork, big laughs, intriguing stories, and a thorough amount of character insight. Make sure you get around to reading this volume one day.  

Deadpool: Suicide Kings: Writer Mike Benson's story is pure popcorn entertainment. It's loaded with cameos - including Spider-Man and Punisher - and offers non-stop action and comedy. Also, artist Carlo Barbieri, inker Sandu Florea, and colorist Marte Gracia's pages are full of energy. I wouldn't say this limited series is mandatory reading, but it sure is a blast.

Night of the Living DeadpoolMuch to my surprise, this limited series wasn't totally over-the-top and pure comedy. Cullen Bunn's story is pretty much a character study... one that also happens to have zombies! I was really impressed by the writer's handling of Wade while the anti-hero was placed in such a horrifying scenario. Meanwhile, artist Ramon Rosanas did a brilliant job making sure the panels matched the tone. Plus, I simply love how everything - except for Deadpool - was in black and white, which is a blatant nod to Night of the Living Dead and, of course, Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead.