Monday, February 08, 2016

Real Name: Piotr Rasputin
First Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May, 1975)
Fight Club Ranking: #325

Featured Fights:
- vs DRACULA: X-Men Annual #6 (1982)
- vs JUGGERNAUT: Uncanny X-Men #183 (Jul 1984)
- vs NIMROD: Uncanny X-Men #194 (Jun 1985)
- vs PUNISHER: What If...? #24 (Apr 1991)
- vs APOCALYPSE: Uncanny X-Men #295 (Dec 1992)
- vs MAGNETO: X-Men #25 (Oct 1993)
- vs ORD: Astonishing X-Men #5 (Nov 2004)

There's no ignoring it: Deadpool is presently assaulting theatres and inspiring some pretty excited reactions with its unique blend of character antics, and mercenary superheroics.

By all rights, this is a property that should be more than capable of sustaining itself: That's been proven extensively in comics, where the character enjoyed a steady cult following that spawned multiple series in the 90s, pushed back against early cancellation in his first on-going, and exploded into viability in the 2000's thanks largely to meagre internet memes, and word of mouth.

The future is bright, but Deadpool still needs to be introduced to a mass 18+ audience, and these days you really can't get a parking space in Hollywood unless you're working toward a self-perpetuating movie universe. Enter well-known-but-not-quite-important-enough-to-sequester X-Man: Colossus!

To a lesser extent than Deadpool, Colossus has been waiting for his moment to shine. Yes, organic steel skin makes shining a lot easier, but the X-Men films never quite went all-in on the traditional fan-favourite. Deadpool is playing its hand right down the middle, keeping to the familiar black uniform of the original film trilogy, while restoring the hero's Russian accent from the comics, with a splash of trademark red on his vest for extra measure. Improvements, by any other name. That the straight man also gets to show more of the character's heart than the X-Men films - a stunner!

FOX were early to the movie superhero craze with their 2000 break-out [X-Men], but glacial when it came to progressing beyond the initial Bryan Singer compromise. Out of obscurity, 2011's X-Men: First Class managed to be one of the best adaptations of its type, seemingly benefitting from the staff and energy supplied by British director Matthew Vaughn. It should have been the new standard, but with Vaughn's subsequent departure, Singer's return marked a return to weak visuals and grand designs that fail to tap into the core with style, or genre understanding.

Nailing the look and tone of Deadpool himself has been key to this films initial appeal. A welcoming first-bite with the eye that wipes away the mistakes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine with an assuring promise of familiarity. Sticklers will note the literal translation pretty much begins and ends with the title character himself. Movie bad guy Ajax deviates in the classic Hollywood style, baring on residual familiarity. Colossus at least feels like the important bits are being taken care of. The biggest tragedy is that there's no follow-up on the immediate slate -- jam-packed as it is.

Even as Marvel Comics gives up the ghost on the once lucrative comics brand; X-Men are coming back in a big way in 2016! With Deadpool leading an obscure charge, we have X-Men: Apocalypse coming shortly after in May, with Channing Tatum supposedly coming to the big screen in October as Gambit. Hugh Jackman should come into view soon - his alleged final turn as Wolverine comes next March. Good odds he's in a secret post-credits scene in Deadpool, and here's hoping Wolverine 3 isn't really the end. FOX are also aggressively developing X-Men spin-offs for television.

A lot on the horizon, but still no truly definitive film version of the once dominant comics property.

Deadpool officially upsets Colossus with wanton violence in theatres February 12th. There's more Merc' With a Mouth coming to Secret Wars on Infinite Earths this Friday. You might like to dive into the back issues before then by checking out more Deadpool & Colossus battles highlighted in the first Old Comics Wednesday of 2016!

No comments: