Cable meets Deadpool for the first time, and so do comic book readers, in the now classic New Mutants #98, created by artist Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza, in 1991 (but not in December 16th, as funny as that would be). This is the first time the universally famous merc with mouth appeared in all his red spandex glory and the beginning of what would be one of the greatest frienemy relationships in Marvel Comics, that of Deadpool and Cable. And it wasn’t a bad first impression. But before we dig deep into this iconic comic book issue, a bit of backstory is required.
In case you don’t know, the new mutants are group of young mutants formed by Professor X to basically kickstart the X-Men and his dream of mutants and humans coexisting in peace, during a time when the X-Men had mysteriously disappeared. The team went through many changes in both roster and leadership. This issue sees Cable, mutant cyborg from the future (as shown in the new Deadpool movie) as the leader, who took leadership of the New Mutants to help him stop the terrorist group known as the Mutant Liberation Front (MFL), lead by the evil Stryfe. In the present, many members have left, either to pursue normal lives, heroic paths or betray the cause by joining MLF and some were even captured and/or killed, with the remaining members being the super-fast Canonball, the super-strong Sunspot, the explosive Boom Boom and the vibration manipulator Rictor.
Now for the comic book in question, starting with the cover. This cover is amazing and it might even be the best thing about the whole comic. We see half of the background filled with the faces of the New Mutants filled with shock and amazement, except for Cable’s which has a look of close attention. The other half is in black to add a bit of mystery. And in the forefront are not one, not two but three new characters, three new additions to the Marvel Universe. Seeing this comic cover was like seeing three comics for the price of one. It really made you excited for what was to come.
In this comic, the new mutants aren’t in a very good situation. Many of their members were lost, as previously mentioned, and the ones that stayed seem to hint towards leaving the team. We see that Cable is a much more fierce leader than Professor X, seeing the fight against evil as a war, and seems to be taking the team into darker territory. This would come to pass as the team would later become X-Force, a more lethal and morally grey version of the X-Men which will also make an appearence in Deadpool 2.
We also get to meet three new characters as, previously mentioned. The first is Gideon who, as stated by the cover, is a very mysterious character. We know from this comic tha he is as skilled in battle as he is an effecient businessman. We also know that he is not exactly on the side of good, since part of his business envolves conducting assassinations.
The second new character we’re introduced to is none other than the regenerative degenerate himself: Deadpool. He was created by Rob Liefeld as a clone of DC’s Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, since he was a big fan of the Teen Titans comics. He even named the character Wade Wilson, as a joke to how obvious of a rip-off to Deathstroke he was. To make him more unique, Liefeld also made him a lethal version of Spider-man, being similar in both costume and comedic approach when fighting his opponents. In this story, Deadpool is hired by the mysterious Mr. Tolliver to kill Cable and the fight that ensues between him and new mutants is quite entertaining. His humour is a little more tamed than nowadays, specially without his signature fourth-wall breaks and pop-culture references, but still makes for a few laughs.
And last but not least, there’s Domino, a mutant with luck powers that, along with Cable, will make her big screen debut in Deadpool 2. She is shown to have some history with Cable and would later join him in his leadership of X-Force. But unknown to readers, this was actually the first appearence of the shape-shifting mutant Copycat, who was also hired by Mr. Tolliver to infiltrate Cable’s team in the guise of Domino, with the real Domino first appearing in X-Force #8.
Fabian’s writing in this comic is simple but engaging. It can be dramatic at times, doing a good job at foreshadowing future events, and some times it can be funny, especially in Deadpool’s case. But what really stands out is Rob Liefeld’s artwork, which is 90’s comic book art at its best. And he gets extra points for creating the original designs for Deadpool and Domino, which have suffered very few changes since. Overall, I definitely reccommend you purchase and read this comic, whether as a nice piece of comic book history or just a fun read.
Written by: Miguel Coelho
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