What happens when the "Merc With A Mouth" falls in love with the most unattainable girl, period? Well, a whole lot. Let's just say that if you thought Deadpool couldn't get any weirder, he had to go ahead and fall in love with Death. If you've been keeping up with the last Daniel Way's Deadpool then you know that he's recently given up his healing factor in order to (literally) get with the girl of his dreams; Death.
Let's rewind a bit first, though. In the appropriately titled "Dead" story-arc, Deadpool decides that he wants nothing more than to be with the woman he loves. His healing factor and regenerative properties allowed Deadpool to see Death -- and during this arc, he fell in love with her. It was when Deadpool was locked down by Department K, tortured and put to the ultimate test that he first laid eyes on her. During this time, Death would distract Deadpool to ease his mind by spending time with him. Because of his love for her, Deadpool gave up his healing factor, making him completely human and vulnerable to attacks. But is this a good thing, and is this something that will stick through Marvel: NOW?
Whether or not Deadpool should still have his healing factor is a matter of opinion, so Deadpool fans aren't all going to agree. Having said that, we can look at the pros and cons of Deadpool's lack of healing factor. First off, I think there are only so many stories you can tell about a merc who can never die before things get stale. If you've ever wondered why Deadpool has such a complicated and convoluted history, it might be because of this very reason. For most characters, the fear of death and the idea that a character can potentially die is always something in the backs of their minds as well as in the backs of the minds of readers. That, essentially, is part of what makes so many stories so interesting. Under his suit, Tony Stark is just a man, for example. There is always a chance he won't come out in one piece. Black Widow is just a spy (albeit a really good one). One false move and it could be the end for her. By taking away Deadpool's healing factor, Daniel Way has opened up the door for new storytelling possibilities. His enemies know he is now vulnerable in ways he never was before, and they all want their revenge. This ups the stakes for the character and his story. He can get hurt now, he can't be as reckless. He's got to watch his back and be one step ahead if he's going to want to survive.
The thing is, Deadpool is all about recklessness. In fact, the very term encompasses his personality and is what makes his character so unique. There's something about picking up a Deadpool book and reading a story about a character that just doesn't really give a damn and does basically, whatever he wants, that is so much fun. The stories are funny and lighthearted, and his sense of humor can be attributed to the fact that he doesn't really have to worry about anything because he can't really die. It's what makes him different from any other hero or anti-hero or…well, whatever he feels like being today. So maybe the healing factor was a big part of the reason why Deadpool was so much fun to read. But can you really tell an interesting story about a character who does, basically, the same thing over and over again? Who is invulnerable to any attacks? Whose actions have no repercussions? That is, essentially, what good storytelling is all about, right? Or is Deadpool the exception?
In issue #53 of DEADPOOL Bob Agent of Hydra brought up a good point: what if Deadpool's lack of healing factor lead to consequences that don't only involve him? Case in point, Bob. In previous issues of DEADPOOL, Bob had made a deal with Tombstone to bring Deadpool back on the condition that Tombstone gets to be the one to kill Deadpool. If that doesn't happen, then Bob dies.
So far, it doesn't seem like Daniel Way has allowed Deadpool's lack of healing factor to get in the way of the amount of action we've been seeing in his series. Tombstone, Taskmaster, Black Swan -- the list goes on. And each one is after the merc now that they know he can be put to sleep for good. So what will happen? And how long will this last? If I had to guess, I'd say not too much longer. The start of Marvel NOW! this fall is the beginning of something new, different at Marvel. It's a chance for some character to get a clean slate -- that includes Deadpool. His healing factor is such an integral part of his persona and identity, I think it woiuld be a shame for them to do away with it permanently. And lets face it, nothing in comics is ever permanent. At least for now it's nice to see some stories that leave Deadpool a little vulnerable, even if it is just for the time being.