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The History Of Deadpool's Relationship With Wolverine

In some ways, Wolverine and Deadpool couldn't be more different. One is a gruff, no-nonsense, cigar-chomping X-Man with unbreakable claws who's bound by a code of honor but willing to cross lines that many of his teammates won't. The other is a wisecracking mercenary who breaks the fourth wall constantly and drives friend and foe alike up a wall with his jokes, pointy swords and big ol' guns.

It's natural to think two people with such contrasting personalities wouldn't exactly get along. Indeed, the relationship between the best there is at what he does (Wolverine) and the Merc with a Mouth (Deadpool) is complicated, to say the least, especially since the two share a lot of history together. They've been teammates, Weapon X test subjects, pains in each other's butts, and of course, proudly Canadian. They've even interacted outside of comics, with "Deadpool 3" being the latest looking to put its own stamp on the pair's unique dynamic. Which, of course, begs the question: just what exactly is their dynamic, anyhow? Make sure your healing factor's in working order and get ready to pit adamantium against chimichanga, as we explore the history of Deadpool's relationship with Wolverine.

Wolverine and Deadpool go back even further than you might think

As it turns out, Wolverine, aka Logan, may have met Deadpool, alias Wade Wilson, far before Wilson's career as a costumed mercenary got underway. In the "Deadpool Nerdy 30" story "Best There Is" by Kelly Thompson and Kevin Libranda, a teen Wade Wilson is happily enjoying having unofficially crowned himself queen of his high school prom — which he's mistaken for his 16th birthday — when Wolverine bursts through the roof while fighting several Hydra agents. Noticing a magical cuff having fallen in with them, Wade picks it up at the same time Logan does, and the cuff mystically traps both characters' wrists together. Wolverine thus ends up pulling double duty, protecting Wade from getting shot while continuing to battle Hydra. Yet the Merc-in-waiting proves that even without fighting skills and a healing factor, he's not all that bad in a fight, as he uses an electric guitar and cymbal to take out a pair of Hydra goons and shield Logan from bullets.

Impressed, Wolverine finds the key to their cuff and counsels Wade to take that special talent within him and "be the best at that, ya know?" Of course, Wolverine admits he's not quite sure what Wade's talent is. It's an early sign of something that eventually comes to define their relationship: that Logan does recognize that there's something admirable about Wade deep down.

Getting off on the wrong foot

Though we may know about Logan's first meeting with a young Wade Wilson, the first time Wolverine meets Wade as Deadpool is trickier to pin down. You could point to "X-Men Premium Edition" #1, in which Logan and his teammates fight Deadpool and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Being a promotional comic made for Toys 'R' Us, however, it's not clear whether it's canon. Enter the next best pick: "Wolverine" #88 by Larry Hama and Adam Kubert. In that issue, Logan finds the Merc With a Mouth on the prowl for both Garrison Kane and Vanessa Carlysle, aka the shapeshifting Copycat. Not down with Wade's plan, Wolverine takes Deadpool on, but their battle ends when Wade sinks his twin swords into Logan's back. Naturally, Wolverine recovers, and later stops Deadpool from stabbing Kane and Copycat with his swords at the Grand Guignol stage theater.

It's a bumpy "reunion" between Logan and Wade, ending with Deadpool using a grenade to cover his escape. Perhaps if Wolverine had known he was fighting the same young man he'd faced Hydra with years earlier, he might have been able to get through to Wade. Naturally, one can't expect them to remark on that meeting in this story, as "Deadpool Nerdy 30" was published 27 years later after "Wolverine" #88. Yet it's still odd that Logan doesn't remember Deadpool, as Wade's costume masks his appearance, not his scent. Given how many people Wolverine's met, however, it does make sense that he'd forget the odor of someone he only briefly interacted with years earlier.

Coming around

The X-Man and the Mouthy Merc cross paths again in "What the Cat Dragged In," a tale in "Wolverine Annual 1995" by Chris Golden and Ben Herrera. Wolverine's approached by a weary David North, alias Maverick, who explains that a mysterious organization has abducted Deadpool to see if his healing factor can produce a cure for the Legacy Virus. Seeing as the group is only concerned with profit and plans on forcibly abducting more people with healing factors, Maverick asks Wolverine to join him in rescuing Wade and shutting the group down. 

At first Logan refuses, viewing Deadpool as a "stone killer," but Maverick wins Wolverine over by appealing to Logan's desire to retain his humanity. While the two rescue Wade, it's ultimately Maverick who needs Deadpool's help in leaving the facility with Logan, as North himself is infected with the Legacy Virus. Logan and North lose track of Wade after the three leap down a waterfall, but Wolverine notes that Deadpool "ain't a monster" after all, and that he'd likely try helping toward a cure in his own way.

Sure enough, Logan's hunch proves right and Deadpool sends blood and cell samples to the X-Mansion for analysis. While no cure is found, it's the first time since meeting Deadpool in costume that Logan acknowledges Wade ain't all bad ... even if he does also admit that he still "can't stand the sight of the little mercenary twerp."

Street Fighter Psychology

Just because Logan recognizes something special about Deadpool doesn't mean they start getting along right away. In "Deadpool" #27 by Joe Kelly and Walter McDaniel, Wade commits the ultimate superhero faux pas: clocking another hero's crimefighting partner. The incident occurs in San Francisco's Chinatown district, where Deadpool literally uses Ken's Shoryuken move from "Street Fighter" on Shadowcat to provoke Wolverine into fighting him. 

Infuriated by Deadpool sucker-punching Kitty, Logan breaks into one of his berserker rages, but is soon brought back to lucidity by Wade's incessant bantering ... and getting stabbed. Hoping that fighting Wolverine would help him deal with his recent hallucinations, Deadpool accidentally ends up shooting Logan's acquaintance Black Crane, prompting Wolverine to accuse Wade of having no honor or remorse. Yet Logan seems to simultaneously sympathize with Wilson, noting he'd once been like him, due to their similar histories. 

Thanks to Logan encouraging him to deal with his past, as well as Doctor Bong helping him understand what his visions represent, Wade is able to make the hallucinations disappear and recall a woman he had met years ago: namely his wife, Mercedes Wilson. Thus Logan plays a key role in helping Deadpool's memory and mental health improve, even if their encounter does end with Wolverine stabbing Deadpool with all six claws while hoisting Wade's body in the air.

Wolfin' it

Logan's all too happy to face Wade again in the "Wolverine Annual '99" story "Crying Wolf!" by Walter McDaniel and Marc Andrekyo — mainly because he can now get back at him for the Shoryuken incident. Wolverine finds Deadpool breaking into the home of one of Kitty's favorite horror authors, Duncan Vess, who Wade's been hired to kill. As they fight, they run into a werewolf called Lycus, who also has a beef with Vess. As it turns out, Vess is secretly a werewolf himself. 

Wolverine ropes Deadpool into keeping Vess safe from Lycus, but Wade has no problems ignoring Logan's wishes when he falsely believes Lycus has killed the X-Man. Luckily for Vess, Logan resurfaces before Deadpool can fulfill his contract, fending off both Lycus and the people who hired Deadpool: a council of werewolves peeved at Vess for abandoning their kind and writing about them in his books. Deadpool then tries to square things with Wolverine, and after a solid punch to Wade's face, Logan decides all feuds between them are settled.

The issue marks somewhat of a turning point in the characters' relationship. While Deadpool explicitly states that he and Wolverine aren't friends when he tries to kill Vess, Logan seems somewhat keen on making amends by the story's end, even inviting a dazed Wade for a beer after the face punch. The catch, of course, being that the beer's only for Logan and Wade's paying.

Ganging up

Circumstances pit Wolverine and Deadpool against each other anew in "Wolverine" #154 and 155 by Rob Liefeld and Eric Stephenson. This time, Logan is Deadpool's target, and he finds himself outnumbered by Wade and a quintet of fellow mercenaries known as the Scourge. Recalling their amicable parting of ways in "Wolverine Annual '99," Logan tries to get Wade to reconsider. Deadpool fights Wolverine anyway, citing money woes, and downs Logan with a ton of potent tranquilizer darts. In reality, however, Deadpool's employer, an organization called the Watchtower, has offered to use Logan's healing factor to treat the injuries of Theresa Cassidy, aka Siryn, even if it means dissecting the X-Man in the process.

Interestingly enough, Wolverine doesn't hold Wade kidnapping him for a job against him, reasoning, "You can't change what you are." Their fight ends when Deadpool is shot into the healing vat containing Siryn, who's fully recuperated. Finally understanding Wade's actual intentions, Wolverine lets Deadpool leave with Siryn while he continues pursuing Watchtower with a group of superbeings led by Geronimo Crowe.

The whole ordeal is proof that their dynamic's already changing. Rather than looking to start a scrap with Deadpool, Logan instead tries to deescalate hostilities. Wade, meanwhile, again gets agitated when someone calls Logan his "friend," but this time out of guilt for kidnapping him.

Last respects

Both Wolverine and Deadpool are abducted — well, semi-abducted in Wade's case — by Malcolm Concord, who offers them the opportunity to join a new version of the Weapon X program. Deadpool accepts, but turns on the organization after fellow weapon Sabretooth kills Wade's old flame, Copycat. Weapon X retaliates by turning Wade's body to mush and shooting him several times before sending one of Wade's hands to Wolverine as a warning. Logan brings Wade's hand to the Merc's funeral in "Deadpool" #61 by Frank Tieri and Jim Calafiore, placing it in a casket with Deadpool's costume — the only two things seemingly left of him. Fortunately, Wade regenerates from the hand at the end of the issue, though he probably would have preferred it if Logan had saved him a dig and kept the hand somewhere above ground.

In a way, Wade returns the favor years later in "Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America" #1 by Gerry Duggan and Scott Kolins, in which he and Steve Rogers destroy Logan's remains so evil parties can't clone him. Wade almost clones Wolverine himself for benevolent purposes, but ultimately decides to imitate Logan instead — tiger costume and all — in "Wolverines" #13 by Charles Soule and Jason Masters, to predictably hilarious results. Seeing as Wade's tenure as "Wolverine" ends with him accidentally stabbing himself in the head with steel replicas of Wolverine's claws, it's probably for the best that Logan later comes back to life himself and resumes "Wolverine duties."

A history of backstabbing

Between Deadpool shooting Wolverine in the back in "Cable & Deadpool" #9, Logan slicing Wade's head off over a misunderstanding in "Cable & Deadpool" #43, and a tense (albeit brief) rooftop showdown in 2006's "Marvel Team-Up" #25, it's safe to say the two characters' bond sours somewhat after Wade's resurrection. This escalates in "Wolverine Origins" #20-25 by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon, in which Logan's again the target of a contract Wade's pursuing. After enduring a lot of hits, stabs, explosions, and gunshot wounds, Wolverine's taken to Deadpool's safehouse and chained above a pool in which Wade intends to drown him. Logan stalls Deadpool, however, with enough verbal jabs to aggravate the normally jovial Merc. Wolverine then reveals an even bigger con, explaining he had a hit placed on himself, knowing that Wade's attempts to kill him would lure Logan's son, Daken, out into the open.

The showdown reveals that whatever respect the two have for one another is also accompanied by a lot of resentment. Deadpool flat out states that killing Wolverine is something he's envisioned doing for some time, partly due to his frustrations with being compared to him. He even expresses jealousy toward Logan, as despite their mutual pasts as killers, the X-Men have no problem making Wolvie a member, yet steadfastly oppose Deadpool joining. To be fair, some of Deadpool's feelings may have been influenced by Madcap, to whom he's bonded at the time.

Teammates at last

Wade's finally allowed to try out for the X-Men in "Deadpool" #16-18 by Daniel Way and Paco Medina. Yet Deadpool quickly botches his "audition" by trying to kill Ellis Kincaid, Mercury's father. It's Wolverine who realizes it's all part of Wade's elaborate plan to restore the X-Men's reputation by having them "save" Kincaid, who's falsely accused them of holding Mercury against her will. While Deadpool's plan succeeds, its chaotic nature costs him a place on the team.

Still, Deadpool's time as an almost X-Man coincides with a general improvement in relations between him and Wolverine in various titles. So it's perhaps inevitable that Logan finally recruits Wade to serve on a team with him: the Uncanny X-Force. Friction forms, however, when Deadpool strongly objects to their teammate Fantomex killing a child version of Apocalypse, and Logan nearly fires Wade before being talked out of it by Angel. Wade further tests Logan's patience in "Deadpool" #50-54 by Daniel Way, Carlo Barberi, and Ale Garza by trying to trick X-Force (among others) into removing his healing factor with a special serum and killing him. While Deadpool reconsiders, he loses his healing factor anyway, leading to a brief bonding moment when Logan, whose own healing gifts make him borderline unkillable, asks Wade what it feels like "to be alive again." Despite these two incidents, Wolverine keeps Deadpool on the team, and the two serve on X-Force together until the team disbands.

An island apart

Deadpool's desire to be part of the X-Men manifests somewhat differently when mutantkind sets up its own nation on the living island Krakoa. Displeased he's never been invited despite being Staten Island's monster king, Wade sneakily hitches a ride inside the gelatinous body of the mutant Jelby in "Deadpool" #6 by Kelly Thompson and Kevin Libranda. Once the X-Men figure out what Deadpool's done, they agree to let him visit, but only "through the proper channels." Before Wade goes, Rogue hands him a flower unique to the island he tried to steal — a gesture that she and Wolverine explain is a token of the X-Men's friendship. It's a major moment, as not only does Logan finally state that he's come to consider the Merc a friend, but implies the X-Men feel similarly, despite never making Wade an official member.

For reasons unknown, however, Deadpool loses his Staten Island royalty, and eventually decides he wants to live on Krakoa. After various foiled attempts to break in again, he decides to try convincing Wolverine directly by botching a deal Logan's investigating between the A.I. known as Danger and the nefarious X-Desk in "Wolverine" #20-23 by Benjamin Percy and Adam Kubert. The two then confront Danger, learning the X-Desk had promised to return her cybernetic daughter under the condition she create an army of mechanized X-Men dupes for them. After Deadpool saves Wolverine from Danger, Logan finally offers Deadpool the chance to live on Krakoa, as part of the latest incarnation of X-Force.

Cartoon calamity

Wolverine and Deadpool are far too popular to remain confined to the comics page, so it only makes sense they'd eventually run into each other in animation. In 2009's "Hulk vs. Wolverine," Logan's summoned by Department H to stop the Hulk's rampage, but finds his tussle with the Jade Giant interrupted when Deadpool shoots both of them with multiple tranquilizer darts. Wolverine wakes up chained to a wall in Weapon X headquarters, where he learns he's been used as bait so the program can capture and brainwash the Hulk. Once Deadpool's fellow Weapon X operatives and their boss, the Professor, leave, Wade taunts Wolverine before shooting him point blank in the head. Due to standing so close, however, Deadpool gets hit by the ricochet.

Naturally, he heals and joins Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, and Omega Red in hunting down Wolverine when Logan tries to escape with Banner. Wade's attempts to subdue them don't go too well, as Wolverine first elbows him to the ground, then slices his arm off. Complicating things further is Banner transforming back into the Hulk, whose rampage is barely stalled when Logan decides to chuck Wade's body at him.

Suffice to say, Wolverine and Deadpool are not friends here. While Wade often talks to Logan like he's an old buddy, he makes his and his cohorts' feelings toward Wolverine quite clear, telling him, "We all hate you." It's fairly consistent with Deadpool's portrayal in his earlier comics, with the humor slightly ramped up.

Silver screen shenanigans

Wolverine and Deadpool have it pretty complicated in live action. In "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," the two start as teammates working under William Stryker — while they don't have much of a problem with each other at first, Logan eventually gets fed up with Wilson's constant wisecracks. Wolverine later receives word from Stryker that Wilson's been killed, but that proves misleading — he's actually been transformed into Weapon XI. Armed with the power of many mutants, XI (also called Deadpool) faces Wolverine and Sabretooth together, and the battle ends when Logan decapitates Wade and sends him plummeting with a kick.

Thanks to time travel shenanigans (and movie retcons), Wade's time as Stryker's operative is wiped from history when he reappears in the "Deadpool" solo movies. As a result, he has a far less antagonistic attitude toward Wolverine, partly because they still haven't actually met. Wade does seem to know of Logan, however — or at least of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, as he hilariously wears a paper cut-out of the actor's face from a People magazine cover. In "Deadpool 2," Wade definitely knows who Wolverine is, and is humorously ticked off by the movie "Logan," which he feels has stolen his thunder. Wade's clearly resolved his jealousy issues when the two do encounter each other, however, in a brief scene in which Deadpool travels back to the original "X-Men" movie timeline and shoots his Weapon XI self repeatedly. Deadpool then tells Logan, "Love you," before continuing his time escapades.