Friday, May 11, 2018

The Beginning of The End: Part One (Marvel)
New Mutants #98 When: February 1991
Why: Rob Liefeld & Fabian Nicieza How: Rob Liefeld

The Story So Far...
The time-travelling soldier known as Cable has come to the present to guide the development of a young mutant he believes will play a vital role in future events. As a guest of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, Cable assumes the role of mentor for their newest mutants, training them in the hard truths of war.

 After working up a sweat training in the Danger Room with Cannonball; Cable retires to the school library where he soon finds himself under attack! You don't get to be a mysterious man of intrigue like Cable without making a few enemies! The mysterious Mr. Tolliver has a vested interest in Cable and he's willing to pay big money to see him hurt! Enter the mercenary killer Deadpool, who has a contract for Cable's head!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Cable 4 (Enhanced)
Intelligence: Cable 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Deadpool 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Deadpool 5 (Marathoner)
Agility: Deadpool 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting: Draw 4 (Trained)
Energy: Draw 4 (Arsenal)
Total: Deadpool 26 (Meta-human)

Deadpool Facts:
As featured on card #178 in Marvel Universe Series IV's Famous Battles!
It's one of the great love-hate relationships in comics and it's finally here on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths! The frenemy rivalry begins here with the first appearance of one of Marvel's biggest icons! Welcome back jerks who just click links when a movie tickles their interest. It's show time!

is the Merc' with a Mouth who needs no introduction! His services are available to the highest bidder -- at least until a chance meeting with wealthy businessman Edward Lewis! Edward paid to outfit Deadpool with a new uniform, and after taking the mercenary to see La Traviata at the opera, Deadpool falls madly in love with him. DP breaks his "no kissing rule", but the two soon break up, because Edward is not Deadpool's time travelling knight.

That honor belongs to Nathanial Summers - the cyborg from the future called Cable! As the name might suggest, he's the son of Cyclops and Jean Grey, who was dropped off in the distant future to be raised in a time when every child was left behind! You know him as a pocket wearing, giant gun-toting bad ass with a metal arm, but he's also gifted with mutant telekinetic powers he uses to hold his techno-organic virus at bay, and occasionally levitate stuff and bend spoons!

Cable's from the far flung future, so it kinda makes sense our file on him isn't huge. We know he's got the goods to beat-up a turkey at short notice. We saw him team with Captain America in an accidental dimension jump, taking down MODOK & AIM in Captain America (Vol.2) #6! He also grappled with his nemesis from the future, Ahab, in X-Men Annual #14. Emotions got the better of Cable in that fight and he was outwitted by the powerful cyborg!

Of course, Deadpool's no slouch when it comes to taking down cyborgs! Smarts helped him overcome arch-nemesis Ajax in a raw final showdown [in Deadpool #19]! He also punked out the well kitted Taskmaster not once - but twice [Deadpool #2, Cable & Deadpool #36]! Who looks foolish now?! Well...

We've also seen Punisher use his arsenal of tricks to flash fry Deadpool in the mini-series Deadpool: Suicide Kings #2! His best efforts didn't leave a scratch on Juggernaut back in Deadpool: Sins of the Past #2! And everybody looks just a little stupid beating up Batroc The Leaper in a hotel room [Deadpool #20].

We know fighters with healing factors are always prone to a beat down, but when Deadpool's all-business he's a legitimately deadly mercenary. With guns, swords, speed and agility focused on the objective - can take on the Hulk and live to tell about it [Deadpool #4]! Mr. Lewis Mr. Tolliver doesn't like to be kept waiting. Let's just see who takes the famous first fight!

The Tape: Deadpool Ranking: Deadpool (#20)

What Went Down...
Xavier's School for Gift Youngsters, Westchester, 14:51. Cable retreats to the library for some light reading. He swears he's just interested in the articles, but we dig. Without warning -- the "bwompoom" of unexpected teleportation!

Cable falls flat on his ass as he's confronted with the arrival of Deadpool! The merc's been hired by the elusive Mr. Tolliver. Seems he wants Cable found - and killed! Cable says it's no hard feelings, but y'know. Mr. "Articles" over here.

Deadpool draws his gun and sends regards from his employer. Cable and Tollivar don't see their history the same way, but it hardly matters. Deadpool's ready to shoot -- if only Cannonball didn't swoop in from behind for the save!

Apparently the kid's head of the class when it comes to keep his mutant rocket powers running silent. Too bad for him Deadpool's well prepared, tossing a neural disrupted net that wraps Cannonball up nice, tight, and incapacitated!

Cannonball hits the deck hard -- but not as hard as Cable hits when he takes advantage of the distraction and smacks Deadpool in the face! He throws a second punch with his cyborg arm, scoring a "krak" from the impact!

Seems Deadpool's jaw broke, but he keeps the chatter coming. He throws a fancy free quip and a dagger that buries itself in Cable's leg. Ouchy!

Cable goes down and Deadpool once again moves in for the kill - only to be interrupted by one of those meddling kids and their stupid mutant power! This time it's Rictor, who sends a tremor right through the mercenary's path!

DP keeps his feet and identifies three junior targets: Rictor, Sunspot, and Boom Boom. All students at Xavier's school who've fallen under Cable's bad influence.

Knowing his enemies, Deadpool neutralizes Rictor's unpredictable vibration powers first with wires designed to contract the more he tries to shake them off!

Hothead Sunspot is next by request, but Deadpool's counting on the kid's arrogance to leave him wide open. Super-strength isn't always the solution, he says, espousing the virtues of finesse and subtlety as he draws three blades -- only to suddenly succumb to three in his own back!

It seems Cable put a call into an old acquaintance goes by the name of Domino. She's new in these parts, but arrived right on time - just like always. Oh, yeah. Just one catch: She ain't the real Domino. Not so lucky after all, Cable.

The Hammer...
It was a fight that had it all! Guns! Action! Youthful disobedience! Futuristic tactical weaponry! Action movie dialogue! Feet!

One thing it didn't have is Domino! The woman who sure could win the lookalike contest is actually shape-shifting mercenary Copycat! It turns out Mister Tolliver hired her to infiltrate Cable's mutant cadre to spy on him, in what was apparently a needlessly complicated double-bluff that involved knifing Deadpool in the back.

Worse still: Copycat is Vanessa Carlysle -- Deadpool's former girlfriend who he broke up with when he found out he had cancer!

I guess it's a story as old as time: Boy meets girl. Boy gets cancer and loses girl. Boy survives cancer via hideously disfiguring, life-altering experiments. Boy becomes mutant mercenary. Girl becomes mutant mercenary. Girl stabs boy repeatedly in the back. It's young love and we've all been there!

If you're one of those jerks who only reads about comics to pretend to your friends you know all about the characters in movies, you know a version of Copycat portrayed by Morena Baccarin. You're about to know Domino better, too, because Deadpool 2 is bigger, badder, and in theatres May 18th!

She isn't exactly comic book Domino either, but who really is? Well, the real Domino is, obviously... She eventually showed up for realsies a year later in X-Force #8. She became a recurring character in that book, developing into a far more integral part of X-lore than Copycat. That's called living well and finding success, which is really the best form of revenge.

If you really had your heart set on seeing Domino in action, I can offer you Contest of Champions II #1, where she kicked Iron Man in the head. If you stick around, we might have something fun coming up next week, too. I dunno! I don't have magical mutant luck powers! [Note: Domino does].

We've kind of buried the lede here, because if you've heard of New Mutants #98, it's undoubtedly because it's the first appearance of Deadpool!

Not exactly the fourth-wall breaking, madcap mercenary he'll become, but the groundwork of an interesting character is quickly laid. Liefeld leads with a strong visual distinct from some of his other characters.
The story goes he wanted to draw a gun-toting, edgy kinda Spider-man. It doesn't sound like a great pitch, but it works! There's a simple cool factor to the design, and introductory fight that sets the table for what we know comes in the years that follow!

It might've been even better if the Copycat/Domino plot wasn't heaped on as well, but he had the better of Cable throughout, and that created intrigue. The layouts get a little sketchy, and story always seems to be vague and chaotic when Liefeld's around.

My previously established childhood bias against kid-heroes kept me pretty well away from New Mutants and X-Force, but Deadpool caught my eye like a lot of others! There was just something there. It was X-Men, iconic super-heroes, with something a little bit different. Once the Weapon X connection was established, that sure couldn't have hurt, either.

Today, I'd equate the added flavor to Larry Hama's GI Joe, or Ostrander's Suicide Squad. Vivid, cool looking characters with key weaponry, skills and objectives, entering into a world that completes them. It can fly off the rails pretty easily, and in the X-books it often did, but when it's good it's great!

As always - you can get a better impression of what I'm talking about by checking out the story for yourself! Shopping via the Amazon link provided will get you a fine collected edition - and support the site at no extra cost to you!

Dive into the Secret Archive to uncover more fights like this one, or follow links scattered throughout this post. You never know what you'll find! You can also follow Secret Wars on Infinite Earths on Twitter and Facebook for daily links to fights inspired by the topics of the day!

Fans of the Fight Club Rankings can look below to feast of fresh controversy! For her obvious role in finishing the battle, Copycat collects the win stat. Cable and the intervening New Mutants will all pick up assists -- even Sunspot and Boom Boom, who did technically provide the distraction that set Deadpool up to get knifed!

Winner(s): Copycat (w/ Cable, Cannonball & Rictor)
#311 (new) Copycat (aka; Domino)
#20 (--) Deadpool
#107 (+4) Cable [+1 assist]
#139 (+2) Boom Boom [+1 assist]
#143 (+19) Sunspot [+1 assist]
#318 (+5) Cannonball [+1 assist]
#533 (new) Rictor [+1 assist]

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