Deadpool, the "Merc with a Mouth" is back in these classic issues of his own series and the Daredevil Deadpool Annual.
First, Deadpool has returned from his last mission in Antarctica, but people are gunning for him, as usual. Or in this case, his weaponsmater, Weasel. When Weasel is kidnapped from his home and dragged to Nevada, it's up to Deadpool to track him down and save him. But does Weasel want to be saved? And when the finger that Wade lost on his mission to save Weasel shows no signs of growing back, he gets a delivery from his former friend, "Black Tom" Cassidy.
But the delivery is the glove that was attached to the hand that Black Tom cut off him to cure his own disease, and so Deadpool recruits Siryn to go kill her uncle.Instead, his path leads him right back to Dr. Killibrew, who "gifted" Wade with his healing factor in the first place. While Wade wants to kill him right off the bat, Theresa, or Siryn, persuades him to let Killibrew diagnose what's wrong with him.
And it turns out that Wade's Healing Factor was seriously affected by the hit of Gamma Radiation he took in Antarctica. Now, not only has he lost his healing factor, soon his entire body will break down and he'll die from the cancer that was killing him unless he gets a dose of gamma-irradiated blood from the only human who has seemed to survive being irradiated with Gamma Radiation: Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk.
Not that this is going to be easy, but at least they know where to find the Hulk- he's retreated to and Island in the Florida Keys to be left alone. Needless to say, Wade must get onto the Island, fight the Hulk to a standstill, get some of his blood, and make it off the island, all without benefit of his healing factor. But even if he manages to do all that, will he be able to keep from Killing Killibrew- or will Siryn let him?
Then, we get to see how Deadpool became the man that he is, as an operative named Zoe tries to prevent Deadpool from turning Merc in the past, and turn him into a hero instead. Can she succeed, or is she destined to fail? What would the world be like with Wade Wilson as a hero?
Lastly, when Deadpool is hired to both kill and rescue the same woman from an insane Asylum, he decides to hold off on killing her and prevent her from killing herself- only to discover that she is a villainess named Typhoid Mary, who wanted herself killed so that the split personality she has fought with for so long would not be freed. But when shy Mary turns into Typhoid Mary, she asks for Deadpool's help in going after Daredevil. But as Ivy carves up the men she believes to be responsible for all her problems, Deadpool is trying to help her regain her sanity by helping her... because he feels sorry for her. But some people once lost to insanity, can never find their way back, and Wade may be forced to kill her himself- before she turns on him and decides to kill him as well. Can Wade overcome the beautiful crazy woman?
This was an interesting series of stories, and while I'm not particularly enamored of the main character, he's no better or worse than a lot of the other characters. I hear a lot of people love Deadpool with a kind of almost obsessive love for the character, but for me, he simply isn't one I can remain very interested in for long. Again, this is older Deadpool, when he wasn't yet as childlike or insane as he is portrayed now- he mostly talks to himself in these stories as opposed to breaking the fourth wall.
It's a nice selection of stories about the character. We see glints of almost hero-like behavior at times, but then he falls back into his standard "I'm a merc, I'll do just about anything as long as I'm paid" mindset. But this is belied by Blind Albert, his roommate, who is actually supposed to be his prisoner. He torments her, and she torments him, but they seem otherwise happy together- and both pull fairly mean-spirited pranks on each other. Al substitutes salt for the sugar Wade puts on his breakfast cereal, and he sets her up for fall down the stairs, but neither appear to actively hate each other. It's big brother-big sister levels of picking on each other.
Again, this Deadpool is different from the character we know today, but this collected series of stories gives you insight into his background and how his character developed. It's a decent book, but as Deadpool isn't a favorite of mine, I wouldn't spend money on this collection. If you're not overly enamored with him, either, you might want to get it from the library, as I did. Save you money. Otherwise, if you're a Deadpool lover, you are going to want to get this. Recommended to read, not necessarily to buy.