Secrets to defeating Deadpool

Thanks to Ryan Reynolds' charm, more people are fans of Marvel's "Merc With a Mouth" Deadpool than ever. Filmgoers have finally discovered something Deadpool's ardent comics fans have known for a long time: the character is nearly impossible to kill. He soaks up bullets and comes back up swinging, survives entire buildings burning down, and even regrows the hand he willingly severs from his own body.

Because of all this, it's easy to leave the theater wondering exactly how anyone could ever kill someone with such an amazing healing factor. Fortunately, years and years of Deadpool comics have dropped an array of techniques for accomplishing just such a goal. These techniques range from mutants to magic to the gods themselves—and in typical Deadpool fashion, some of the them are downright bizarre. Here's your chance to cuddle up by the fire and learn about just a few of the ways to kill Deadpool.

Drop a planet on him

Recently, Deadpool canonically died in the Marvel Comics universe. In a move befitting the character's strange sense of humor, Marvel heavily hinted he'd die in combat with ULTIMATUM and Flag-Smasher. While those characters are dubious in terms of villainous pedigree, Marvel pulled a switcheroo—Deadpool survived that battle, only to die in a much more unexpected way: a planet was dropped on him.

It sounds bizarre (and it is), but it fits within the context of the company's latest Secret Wars event, in which different parallel worlds were colliding with each other and being annihilated, thinning out the multiverse bit by bit. Eventually, there were just two parallel Earths—one from the Marvel universe and the other from the Ultimates universe (home of a very different Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and many other characters). Deadpool and some of his colleagues died when the two Earths collided. Like most deaths in comics, this was a temporary arrangement, as Mr. Fantastic and his family eventually helped recreate the entire multiverse, including Deadpool. This event certainly cements, though, that there are some things even Deadpool's healing factor can't take on.

Use Thanos

There's a reason the mad purple Titan Thanos is one of the biggest bads in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character has a lot of raw power, and even when he isn't wielding the supreme power of the Infinity Gauntlet, he's able to defeat characters that are otherwise really difficult to kill. This includes Deadpool, which Marvel helped establish in the fittingly titled Deadpool vs. Thanos comics. The very title teased a long, ongoing bout between the two main characters, but the writers quickly dispatched with the idea of this being a fair fight. Instead, Thanos literally kills Deadpool on page two of the very first issue.

So what happens next? Deadpool is brought back to life by the Marvel Universe's personification of Death—who's female, and naturally the object of Thanos' eternal affection. One small problem: she's actually in love with Deadpool. Thus, one of the silliest Marvel characters and one of its deadliest have a beef rooted in jealous love. For good measure, Thanos kills Deadpool again, but then decides to bring him back to life because he needs the merc's help. In addition to establishing another surefire way of killing Deadpool, this issue furthers the complex love triangle that has led to things as bizarre as Thanos literally cursing his romantic rival.

Remove his 'curse'

A large part of what makes Deadpool difficult to kill is, of course, his healing factor. Much like Wolverine, he can regenerate his body from extreme damage. Unlike Wolverine, though, he had an utterly improbable ace up his sleeve for a long time: Deadpool couldn't die—weirdly enough, because of Thanos.

As mentioned earlier, Thanos loves Death, but she loves Deadpool. In order for Death and Deadpool to truly be together, though, Deadpool would have to die. Thanos, being a lateral-thinking problem solver, gave the sorcerer T-ray a special cosmic artifact that allowed him to "curse" Deadpool with eternal life. All of a sudden, Deadpool was Wolverine on steroids, as the things that would kill Logan (such as decapitation and even complete liquefaction of the body) were things Deadpool could bounce back from. For awhile, this made him functionally invincible, but Thanos eventually rescinded the curse because it was apparently more fun to kill Deadpool (again) than screw over his gothic romance. If other characters were able to rescind or negate the curse before Thanos, though, they would have been able to kill Deadpool first.

Turn off his healing factor

Even without Thanos' curse, Deadpool is protected by a highly impressive mutant healing factor. When it comes to taking out mutants protected by their powers, there's always a common possibility: the mutant Leech. As his unfortunate name implies, Leech has the ability to effectively turn off the powers of mutants in close proximity to his body. If Deadpool were trapped in the same general area as Leech, he could be stabbed, shot, or otherwise killed just the same as anybody else.

There are other ways to turn off his healing factor, of course. In the past, Deadpool has been injected with a special serum that did the trick. While it turned out to only be a temporary effect, the simple truth is that if a single villain had gotten just a little luckier during this time, Deadpool would have died. He also barely escaped death when confronting a villain with a special magic hammer that was able to negate his healing factor. Ultimately, all it takes is science, magic, or mutants to make Deadpool quite vulnerable.

Use Carbonadium on him

Speaking of weird equipment that could defeat Deadpool, Carbonadium is always an option. This is a special form of radioactive steel that has been used by a number of Marvel villains over the years, including Omega Red and Dr. Octopus. One of its more interesting features: it has the ability to cancel out healing factors. It's one of the reasons Omega Red is such a deadly foe for Wolverine, as his radioactive tentacles are able to negate Logan's healing factor. And, in an "aren't comics weird" example, the effectiveness of Carbonadium has already been demonstrated by Deadpool, albeit one from another universe.

Deadpool, like Punisher, has the weird honorific of starring in a comic that focuses on him killing the entirety of the Marvel Universe. What was his motivation? It turns out that realizing he really was a fictional character finally drove him over the edge. This obviously occurred in another parallel Earth, but this version of Deadpool sported some Carbonadium katanas that, among other things, were able to successfully decapitate Wolverine. Theoretically, those same blades could be turned on Deadpool and override his own healing factor.

Complete disintegration

Once Thanos' bizarre curse was no longer in play, Deadpool, like Wolverine, is vulnerable to anything that disintegrates his entire body, as he cannot regenerate from nothingness. When it comes to Wolverine, this has happened in a variety of ways (albeit often in parallel universes), from being thrown into an electrical transformer that burned all of his skin away to being flash-fried by a Sentinel. Theoretically, Deadpool would be vulnerable to the same kind of complete destruction that disrupts his ability to regenerate on a cellular level. In fact, it's not that outlandish to imagine the mutant Deadpool being hunted down by a Sentinel, and despite his fantastic abilities, he's just like the other mutants: one bad day away from being completely murdered by a big purple robot.

Cure his cancer

Definitely mark this one in the "thinking outside the box" column. Much like his cinematic counterpart, the comics Deadpool suffers from cancer. However, this is normally not a big deal because his healing factor is able to take care of it. In fact, his healing factor is uniquely customized to be in a kind of harmony with the disease, helping him to grow new cells at the exact rate that he loses them.

This was demonstrated in a rather grisly way when a group of Skrulls decided to steal Deadpool's powers for themselves. They figured that hijacking one of the most powerful regenerative abilities on Earth would be a no-brainer when it came to helping them fight the different heroes of the planet. However, the Skrulls stole his powers but didn't steal his cancer—which meant that their bodies were healing way too much, way too fast. The result was that their bodies were constantly growing new cells they didn't need, causing the Skrull warriors to become swollen and deformed until they exploded. Theoretically, the exact same thing would happen to Deadpool if any enterprising villain were able to cure his cancer.

Use Loki

Loki is actually able to defeat Deadpool in a number of ways. As a powerful sorcerer in his own right, Loki may very well be able to negate Deadpool's healing factor long enough to kill him, or simply find a magical way to completely obliterate the mutant. And being a conniving god who could conceivably pilfer the Asgardian armory, it seems reasonable that Loki could find a magical artifact or weapon to defeat Deadpool (such as the aforementioned magic hammer that negated his healing factor). However, Loki actually had a much more creative way of defeating Deadpool in the comics, and that was to make the Merc with a Mouth look like Tom Cruise (spelled, almost certainly for legal reasons, as "Thom Cruz")!

To be fair, it was a bit of a two-part curse. The first part was to give Deadpool a beautiful and indestructible face. The second was that Deadpool's life would be more and more unraveled until he made peace with his father. That may sound a bit insane even by the standards of comic books, but keep in mind that Loki is the poster boy for daddy issues, and this suddenly seems exactly like something he'd do. The curse causes Deadpool to be annoyed by almost everything in his life (from botched missions to his horror at being confused for a famous actor) and, as a twisted bonus, prevents him from killing himself whenever he tries. The curse is wrapped up when he makes peace with his alleged father without realizing who it is (in one of those "Marvel will forget about this before it even hits the stands" kind of moments), but Loki could theoretically curse Deadpool in this way anytime he wants, making the mutant merc's entire life a string of petty defeats.

Exploit loved ones/children

Despite often being written as an insane and violent parody of a comics character, one consistent quality Deadpool has is that he forms strong bonds. Whether with friends or teammates, the childlike mutant warms up to others quickly, and seems to have a special kinship with young people. This was hinted at in Deadpool's movie, as he slowly won the affection (as much as anyone could) of Negasonic Teenage Warhead. That bonding with young people is rooted in the comics as well, with Deadpool forming a protective relationship with Evan, a young clone of Apocalypse.

What does this have to do with defeating Deadpool? Well, in the grandest comics tradition, he's subject to being manipulated via those he cares about. When it came to Evan, the comics showed Deadpool was willing to risk his life (including being tortured by a group of psychopathic mutant villains) in order to redeem Evan and stop him from going down the dark path of Apocalypse. If such a villain were to use Evan or another such character as leverage, they could persuade Deadpool to walk into a trap or to simply kill himself…which, if this is one of those off weeks where he isn't cursed with eternal life by capricious god-like beings, should actually work.

Use the Sentry

The last way to kill Deadpool is one that, admittedly, would kill most characters in the Marvel Universe: use the Sentry. His comic backstory is pretty convoluted, but the bottom line is that he's a very Superman-like character, possessing the ability to fly, use super strength, and otherwise harness the "power of one million exploding suns." Unlike Superman, the Sentry is a little less hesitant to apply permanent solutions to problems. At one point, he memorably took the villain Carnage into space and ripped him in half. On another occasion, he threw his nemesis, the Void, into the sun. His ability and willingness to do things like this eventually becomes its own meta-joke, as Ms. Marvel later warns him not to throw Tony Stark's body into the sun after Ultron takes it over, to which a somewhat petulant Sentry responds that he doesn't "throw everything into the sun."

Obviously, someone who can casually rip apart their foes in the vacuum of space or toss them directly into the sun would be able to make very short work of Deadpool. Interestingly, though, the Sentry has suffered from a wide variety of mental problems, so he and Deadpool might have more to bond over than most other characters fighting one another. Regardless, though, for Deadpool and his powerful regenerating factor to stay in the game, he needs to keep both feet on the ground instead of space. It shouldn't be a problem for the Merc with a Mouth, as the void of space has an understandable lack of chimichangas.