Back in 1991, Fabian Nicieza Rob Liefeld ripped off DC Comics anti-hero Deathstroke and pitched the results to Marvel. It was among the most shameless examples of character theft in the history of the industry, yet somehow, it resulted in the creation of one of the most unique superheroes of his generation.
That hero was Deadpool, a pallet-swapped version of DC’s Slade Wilson with many of the same powers and similar origins, who has since become so much more than that.
Many of Marvel’s most recognisable heroes are family-friendly do-gooders who are often guilty of taking themselves too seriously, so when the Merc With a Mouth came along in all of his gun-toting, fourth-wall-breaking glory, he was a breath of fresh air.
Despite his dubious beginnings, Deadpool stuck a chord with fans when they realised this was a hero who tickles funny bones one minute, and breaks bones the next. But in the Marvel Universe, brutal crimefighting methods like these often go down poorly with other heroes, and as a result, Wade Wilson has made a long list of enemies.
10. Mercedes Wilson
During the mid-1990s, Marvel Comics shed light on Wade Wilson’s pre-Deadpool career with a storyline that took a deep dive into his origin, introducing fans to an unhinged mercenary who was yet to gain self-healing abilities.
The arc revealed how a man named Wade T Wilson and his wife Mercedes rescued a guy from an icy river in Maine and nursed him back to health, only to discover their patient is a ruthless merc whose grasp on reality is faltering.
This, of course, is Deadpool, and it isn’t long before he begins fantasising about becoming Wade T, a twisted dream he tries to realise by attempting to murder the man who fished him out of that river, only to accidentally kill his wife instead.
At the time, readers were led to believe Deadpool also killed Wade T and made off with his identity, but one plot twist later, he returned to the mouthy merc’s life as the villainous T-Ray. What’s more, he went on to resurrect Mercedes, adding further fuel to the theory that Marvel characters never stay dead unless they’re named Uncle Ben.