The untold truth of Domino

With much of the Deadpool 2 hype surrounding the titular character's "odd couple" comrade Cable and his debut, the fact that the film will also see the debut of another Marvel mutant mercenary, Domino, played by Zazie Beetz, has almost been completely overshadowed. A longtime ally of Cable and Deadpool, Domino has spent the last couple of decades in comics shooting, stabbing, and punching her way through any threat. Not as widely known as Deadpool, we decided it's time to break down some of the more interesting corners of Domino's comic book history to get you familiar with her just in time for her onscreen debut. 

Her first appearance is a fakeout

Any X-Men fan worth their salt knows that death and immediate resurrection, as well as clones and doppelgängers are practically a rite of passage if you're trying to run with team leader Xavier's crew. Everyone from Jean Grey to Cable has been subject to a litany of bizarre, contrived sci-fi tropes over the course of their time with the team. On a genuinely surprising note, Domino (created in the '90s heyday of X-Men alternate timelines and clones) actually has a pretty straightforward history, albeit with one exception: Her first appearance in comics.

In the grand scheme of things, Domino appears for the first time in New Mutants #98 alongside Deadpool, who also debuted in the issue. If you want to get technical though, Domino's real debut is X-Force #8. See, it's revealed that the Domino we meet in New Mutants #98 is actually the mutant Copycat, a shapeshifter. It isn't until several issues later (New Mutants and X-Force occur back-to-back) that the real Domino reveals herself. It's appropriate, really. There's nothing more quintessentially X-Men than a doppelgänger, and Domino covered that base immediately upon her debut.

She had a fling with Colossus

In the wake of big crossover story Avengers vs. X-Men, Domino finds herself joining Cable's newest incarnation of X-spinoff team X-Force, which includes Forge, Colossus, and others. The team, all of whom are fugitives, spends a lot of time on the run from a team of Avengers. Post AvX, many characters cope with the fallout of that cataclysmic war. Relationships are torn apart and lives lost. Former X-Man Colossus in particular found himself grieving the loss of his relationship with Kitty Pryde, his former girlfriend who fought on the opposite side of him in the war.

Enter Domino, who quickly hits it off with the big guy. The two act on their impulses pretty quickly, with Colossus doing so as a sort of rebound from his relationship with Kitty. The new relationship doesn't last too long. And with Domino finding herself romantically involved on and off with Cable, and Colossus' relationship with Kitty Pryde spanning decades of comics history, it's nothing but a strange, brief footnote in both of their lives. 

She's part of the original Six Pack

We don't know for sure how Domino's introduction in Deadpool 2 is going to work. If we had to guess though, we'd say Cable is going to bring her into the mix. The two have a storied history together in comics as best friends, teammates, and sometime love interests. When they team up, it's usually as members of the X-Force, but that's not actually where the two first met. The two first encounter each other on a mercenary team strangely similar to X-Force.

Cable and Domino first met as members of the mercenary team Six Pack (formerly known as Wild Pack). The squad has a reputation for being particularly brutal, the kind of team we joke about embodying the worst of '90s comics. Cable and Domino met as members of the team, and, even after it, disbanded they found themselves sticking together. Eventually, Cable joined the New Mutants team, which later became X-Force, at which point Cable got Domino her gig with the group.

She tried to go legit once

Domino is, at the end of the day, a mercenary and an assassin. She's trained for black-ops work, dirty deeds that aren't necessarily befitting of a conventional superhero. She's racked up plenty of kills over the years and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. That's not to say, however, that she hasn't made the occasional effort to go legit. 

At one point, Xavier opens up X-Corporation, an outreach program for mutants that deals with both charity work and legal assistance. Think of it as the Red Cross or American Civil Liberties Union for Marvel's mutants. The goal of the company, which has branches everywhere from New York to Singapore, is mutant outreach on a more societal level. Rather than punching Sentinels, it focuses on helping civilian populations in practical ways, often in cooperation with local and national governments. Domino serves as an emissary at the Hong Kong branch alongside fellow X-Man Risque for a short time — X-Corporation folded after the mutant population was drastically reduced in the wake of House of M

She was raised in a church

Domino is one of the deadliest people in the world of Marvel, a truly elite gun-for-hire with powers that thus make her trained abilities even more terrifying. She's the product of a human weapon program, not unlike Wolverine, and the body count she's racked up over the years is astoundingly high. Would you believe that, despite all of this, she was raised in a church?

In the Domino miniseries released in 2003, Dom escapes the human weapon program she was a part of with the help of her biological mother, who leaves her — in classic parent-abandonment fashion — in a church in Chicago. Domino is then raised under the care of Father Rudolpho Boschelli. Unfortunately, all the churchgoing in the world couldn't stop her from eventually leaving to become one of the world's greatest mercenaries. Oh well. 

She was part of a human weapon program, but NOT Weapon X

Most of the time, if you hear somebody mention a weapon program in the Marvel world, it's safe to assume they're referring to Weapon X. That's the program that saw the creation of Marvel mainstays Wolverine and Deadpool. Because Domino so frequently rolls with Wolverine and Deadpool, it's totally understandable to draw the conclusion that she knows them because of Weapon X. However, Domino wasn't part of Weapon X but, rather, a different program with effectively the same goals.

Domino gained her skills as a mercenary through the Perfect Weapon program, which aimed to create the perfect human weapon. This was explored in the aforementioned 2003 miniseries, which is actually titled Domino: Perfect Weapon

Usually, in stories like these, our protagonist is the person that finally helps realize the goal of the program, much in the way Wolverine did. Domino's story is a bit more interesting in that she's actually one of Perfect Weapon's failures. She was deemed to not have the potential to realize the project's goals, and as a result her mother went on to break her out of the project. What's more, Domino goes on to become one of the world's foremost mercenaries. Maybe Perfect Weapon was wrong about her, after all. 

She bought Wolverine a pretty great birthday present once

One of Domino's more interesting relationships is with Wolverine. The two have a long-standing …something or another. It always seems to be changing. Sometimes it's a friendship, sometimes a rivalry, and other times it's even been a full-fledged relationship. One of the highlights of their time together has been the time Domino cheekily bought Wolverine a car for his birthday.

It happens in the comic mini-series X-Force: Sex and Violence. The story wraps up with Wolverine realizing that Domino kept $37 million of a $237 million score and lied to him about it. Right as he's about to get mad, she rolls up outside with a pristine classic Mustang and wishes him a happy birthday. It's a little sleazy (she bought the car with illicitly gained money!) and a little sweet — the perfect combination for Domino and Wolverine. Oh, and as they drive off, Wolverine realizes Domino has stashed their nemesis Razorfist in the trunk. We guess she can only do so many nice things in a single day. 

She tried to take down the Punisher (sort of)

There are few people in the Marvel universe more terrifying than Frank Castle. The Punisher is less a man and more a force of nature. It's telling that the guy doesn't have a single superpower and still hasn't been taken down by a single superhero who's tried to end his vigilante days. Still, it hasn't stopped people from trying, and one of those people is Domino.

Admittedly, we should clarify something about this particular mission: Domino goes after Castle because he's been accused of intentionally killing civilians. Tasked with taking him down by an old acquaintance, Domino is the only person on the team that maintains that Castle is probably innocent. She turns out to be right, which is good because it means she doesn't kill the Punisher. Admittedly there's a slight downside: We don't get to find out who would win between these two warriors in a knock-down, drag-out brawl. We certainly can't knock the gal's intuition, but dang if we weren't a little sad about that.

She killed her mother to save her brother

Domino wouldn't have been able to become one of the world's foremost mercenaries if not for her mother. You'd think the whole having your life saved by your biological mom thing would foster a whole lot of goodwill, but unfortunately you'd be wrong. As it turns out, Domino eventually kills her mom. How's that for a plot twist?

Years into her career as a mercenary, Domino meets a boy named Lazarus who has the same distinctive eye tattoo as she does. Lazarus is revealed to be Domino's half-brother. That's not all he is, though. Lazarus is, as it turns out, the Perfect Weapon. He's the result the Perfect Weapon program was looking for all those years. Unfortunately, their mom isn't quite so keen on the family reunion and, with a crew of violent religious zealots, is set on killing both of them. However, Domino kills her mom — to protect Lazarus — and then takes her brother to the church she herself was raised in to keep him safe.

She takes on the moniker of Stryfe in an alternate future

Perhaps no other X-Men character better embodies the spirit and aesthetic of the '90s than Stryfe. He's a clone of Cable from the future whose suit can best be described as "made of giant knives." Stryfe is basically the kind of character a 12-year-old would design for the X-Men, and we mean that as a compliment. Being an X-Men character, there are plenty of alternate-universe versions of Stryfe. There happen to be a number of different versions of Domino in those alternate universes as well. In a particular one though, they're one and the same.

In an alternate future appearing in X-Force, vol. 2 #4, Domino has taken on the identity of Stryfe. This version of Domino comes to the primary Marvel universe (aka Earth-616) and joins a new incarnation of the Mutant Liberation Front founded by Cable and former X-Force teammate Shatterstar, with their goal being to take down the Helix, a group trying to resurrect alien supervillain Skornn. Of the alternate Dominos, including Ultimate Domino and Age of Apocalypse Domino among others, this is one of the coolest. Domino as Stryfe is awesome, in part due to the idea of a skilled mercenary like Domino having Stryfe's armor and also due to the thematic resonance of Domino claiming the moniker of her best friend's arch nemesis (an arch nemesis who's an evil version of her best friend — comics are wild).