Deadpool Was a Better Hero BEFORE He Got His Powers
While Deadpool is known for being the morally ambiguous Merc with a Mouth, Wade Wilson wasn’t always that way, and even proved to be a better Marvel Comics hero before he got his powers.
Deadpool made his first appearance in New Mutants #98 by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza where he wasn’t just ‘not a hero’, but was actually a full-on villain. In that issue, Deadpool is hired by the villainous Mr. Tolliver to kill Cable, along with anyone who got in his way. Since Cable was staying at the X-Mansion at the time, the implication here is that Deadpool was okay with killing kids, with further evidence all but solidifying that claim as he launched deadly strikes against the young mutants Cannonball and Boom Boom in Deadpool’s mission to assassinate Cable. Over time, Deadpool stopped working for people who essentially required him to harm children and instead only killed people who deserved it, thus earning Deadpool his ‘antihero’ title.
In X-Men Origins: Deadpool by Duane Swiercynski and Leandro Fernandez, Deadpool does as the title of the comic demands of him and tells his life story to the reader. While the majority of the book either delves into the torture Deadpool suffered through Weapon X, the cancer that led Wade to going through that torture, or as a meta narrative showing his life play out on a film screen that he is watching along with the reader (offering little information about his origin that fans didn’t already know), Wilson does reveal an interesting tidbit about himself that wasn’t clear before: his time as a human mercenary was spent being a hero.
Given the fact that Deadpool was a villain upon his debut, it was assumed that, as a human mercenary, he was just as morally corrupt. Fans knew that Wade Wilson was a trained killer before becoming a mutate courtesy of Weapon X’s experimentation, and his first on-panel display of those skills were in a villainous light–but this issue explaining his origin in more detail completely derails that original assumption. Wade Wilson was a mercenary, but he only accepted jobs where he was killing evil people–including dictators and those who committed human rights atrocities. While this revelation is a relief for fans of the more heroic interpretations of Deadpool, it also makes his story so much more tragic.
The fact that Wade was a good man before he got his powers means that he was temporarily corrupted by them after his time with Weapon X. Not only was Wade’s sanity and physical appearance stripped away during the mutating experimentation, but so, too, was his humanity. Wade went into Weapon X’s life-saving treatment as a hero who killed the most vile people on the face of the Earth, and he left as a super powered mutate who was willing to kill children in order to get his target. While Deadpool eventually reverted to his antihero ways, he still became a villain who was just as bad as the people he spent his entire adult life eliminating–proving that Deadpool was a better hero before he got his powers.