All marriages have their rough patches, but usually, those rough patches don't involve actually going to literal war with one's spouse. As tends to be the case, "usually" doesn't apply to Deadpool.
Deadpool and his wife, Shiklah, queen of the Monster Metropolis, have had a strain put on their relationship ever since Deadpool joined the Avengers and started trying to live a hero's life. Now the relationship may be reaching its breaking point in "Deadpool: Til Death Do Us," a six-part crossover event running through issues of Deadpool, Spider-Man/Deadpool, and Deadpool and the Mercs for Money beginning in March 2017.
The event will see Shiklah declaring war on the surface and Deadpool being forced to make some tough decisions about where his loyalties lie. Like it or not, his friends get roped into the conflict as well.
ComicBook.com spoke to Deadpool writer Gerry Duggan and editor Jordan D. White about the crossover, and can also reveal Reilly Brown's connecting triptych cover for the first month of the crossover.
"Til Death Do Us..." begins in Deadpool #28 in March 2017.
It seems like we've been building the tension between Deadpool and Shiklah for a while now, and here it is finally reaching critical mass. What is the incident that finally sets things off?
Gerry Duggan: In the first chapter of this we see the encroachment on the Monster Metropolis from above, from the surface world. Humans and monsters are not great neighbors. At the end of a long series of incidents of poor behavior on both sides, Shiklah decides she's had enough. Even though she is coming to terms with Deadpool not being a great husband, she is also beholden to her people, so this is very much an act of preservation in her mind for her kingdom. It also will force Deadpool to make some choices. Are you with the soft pink surface dwellers or are you with your wife and her citizens back down below?
What is Shiklah goal in this conflict? Does she just want to reinforce her claims to her own territory, or is she set on destroying all humans?
GD: She will probably want like a DMZ, like a demilitarized zone. She's using her monster powers to use eminent domain and it's pretty valuable real estate that she's after, so it becomes an emergency that Deadpool needs some friends to get out of.
Jordan White: I think Shiklah has long believed that's she's more worthy of ruling pretty much everything than anyone else is. I don't know if she's got quite the power to take over the entire world at once, but she'll take what she can get.
GD: Don't forget too, she was asleep for so long and really used this time after The Gauntlet, when she was introduced, to learn about the world, and she married the first ding dong that she ran into, which was maybe not the wisest choice. We've had a lot of fun and so have they, I think, through the good times and bad.
How long has this event been in the planning?
GD: I think Jordan and I have been talking about this almost since we met Shiklah, and thinking, "Boy, it's going to be fun to have a character that you love, but also a character that you want to fight." My parents were married for 17 years and then they were divorced for 17 years and now they're back together, so I'm intimately aware of the inner dynamics of this relationship. All these emotions run super hot. They do, the two character do love each other, but they also, are being pulled in big opposite direction.
But we know that Warda is the daughter of Shiklah in 2099. Whatever happens here, we do know there is a reconciliation. We're playing the super long game, where there are peaks and valleys. This is definitely the deepest valley that Deadpool and Shiklah have navigated.
JW: It's fun because she's a character that I love and I love having in the book, but I've gotten fans who can get very passionate about her writing to me, saying to me whenever they hit any road bumps in their relationship, being like, "Oh, what are you doing? You're destroying their relationship. This is terrible." I always will say to them, "Well, you know, she's a demon." They're like, "No way, she's super nice. She wouldn't be so mean to him." I'm like, "Mm, okay."
GD: Look Deadpool has killed everything that's walked or crawled at one point. You know, he's a guy who one day will say and think one thing and the next day it's the opposite and it's the definition of a wonderful "Sid and Nancy" relationship for the Marvel Universe.
How much does "Til Death Do Us..." illuminate the events of the "Deadpool 2099" story?
GD: In the terms of our times, this is sort of the Rogue One of that. Without spoiling anything we all know that they're, even on the cover, in a big conflict here, but this is step one in a long battle for them. That doesn't mean you can't throw down with someone and still love them and in fact, maybe that was the point of Civil War.
JW: Our big 2099 story wraps up in the oversized Deadpool #25. That story has been going since Deadpool #6. It'll be wrapped up before "Til Death Do Us..." happens, so you'll know the outcome of what's going on with Deadpool's daughter Warda and "Old Man Wade." I think it's more that knowing that's where it's all going to end up will kind of inform how you read "Till Death Do Us..."
Why did you decide to use the structure of the old X-Men crossover for "Till Death Do Us..."? What other creators are involved?
JW: Mostly because we just wanted to make this such a big story. It's such a big deal in Deadpool's life that it would affect all aspects of it. Also, because it would be more fun to get Spide-Man and get the Mercs for Money involved in such a big brouhaha.
As for the creative teams, Gerry is writing the Deadpool issues and artist Salva Espin is drawing those, whose been a Deadpool artist with me for ages now. He's terrific.
GD: He's great.
JW: The Spider-Man/Deadpool issues are going to be written by Joshua Corin who wrote Deadpool Too Soon mini-series recently and also he's writing the Spiderman/Deadpool Monsters Unleashed issue that's about to come out in about a month or so. His issues are going to be drawn by Scott Koblish who's been a long time collaborator with us on Deadpool.
With Deadpool and the Mercs for Money, originally the intention had been for Cullen Bunn to write these issues, but unfortunately he got busy because he's just got so many different things he's working on, so we turned to Gwenpool writer Christopher Hastings who has been doing such an amazing job for us on Gwenpool. He's stepping in and writing the Deadpool and the Mercs for Money issues with artist Iban Coello, who is the regular artist of Deadpool and the Mercs for Money.
All three of these guys are super funny, but also able to write awesome action sequences and hopefully, hit you in the emotions as well.
GD: With regards to how it has an old time X-Men crossover feel, I think it was just easier to coordinate that move across books and not feel like you were upsetting anyone else's story. Also, we've had this planned for so long that it was easy enough to be able to coordinate this and we're having a lot of fun. It's neat to be able to collaborate with other writers on Deadpool. This is a real joy or me.
JW; Reilly Brown, the artist who first drew Shiklah in Deadpool: The Gauntlet, is doing the covers across the crossover and with connecting covers for each month. Three the first month and three the second month. They're really terrific, he's doing a great job on those.
What role do Spider-Man and the Domino's Mercs for Money play in this crossover? Are they happy to help, or are they annoyed that they've been dragged into Deadpool's personal problems?
JW: Another fan question that I get a lot is to ask what Spider-Man would think of Shiklah and my usual response is to say, "I don't think he would like her very much because he's a good guy and she's a demon."
GD: This is a chance for Spider-Man to prove us wrong.
JW: We'll see if he can get along with his buddy's wife.
Meanwhile, the Mercs have recently had a bit of a shift in their relationship with Deadpool and this new team doesn't work for him, but kind of works with him and tolerates him.
If Shiklah does questionable things in this, is Deadpool responsible for that, having married to her and not stopping her from being what she is? That's a question I think all the characters are going to have to deal with.
GD: The fun thing for me is that Blade showed up when we first introduced Shiklah and was like, "This is terrible, this is all going to go horribly wrong." Now he gets to arrive at our Donald Pleasence doctor character in Halloween and go, "I knew this was going to happen." This is the fun chaos after something like a year and a half set up, maybe even more than that.
We see some of them on Brown's first triptych, but what characters from the Monster Metropolis are going to have big roles to play in "Til Death Do Us..."?
GD: I'm not sure they've earned "fan favorite" status yet, but I do see a lot of chatter about Marcus, the unbeatable werewolf centaur with a symbiote with no known weaknesses except diabetes. I wish that was his full wiki entry.
Then there's the wolfman with a babyface after Deadpool hit him in the face with a blunderbuss. A lot of those in the secondary characters from the Monster Metropolis will be returning.
JW: And the invisible man is in every panel.
Deadpool stories can vary pretty broadly in terms of tone, with some focusing more on the action, others on comedy and other on being really emotionally driven. Where does "Til Death Do Us..." fall on that scale?
GD: I don't know if it's the primary case in every Deadpool story, but I'd like to think in the ones that we're doing are sweet and sour, funny and sad. I think hopefully you'll be laughing on one page and super bummed on the next.
These artists are so wonderful. You're going to have these great action clip pieces and stuff and the writers are keeping me on my toes and forcing me to push it a little bit. It's been fun. I think when it's all collected it's going to really feel like an out of control roller coaster. And, you know, a Deadpool roller coaster doesn't have any seat belts or bars or any sort of safety features and a lot of low hanging overheads. We'll see. I think this is going to be a super fun book.
Before we finish up, was there anything else you wanted to share with the fans?
JW: We definitely have some surprises in store.
GD: Look, I'll be honest, there may be some Shiklah fans that might not, necessarily, love the arc, but I would say, in the long game, this is something that was destined to happen out of The Gauntlet. Also, it's a super long game that we're playing.
JW: We have made plans for Deadpool and this is a big part of them. This is a big part that we've been looking forward to for a long time, but it's also just kind of the start of the craziness. There's so much more to come, it's going to be amazing.
How different will Deadpool's world be after the events of "Til Death Do Us…"?
JW: In many ways, that is the question of the series, right? What is going to change and what isn't? How much is this going to change their relationship? Will it? I would certainly think so, but it is Deadpool, so who can say?
GD: I think there are pretty good odds that he's going to have one less place to sleep. I don't know. There's this thing too when you write Deadpool, even though you think you know what's going to happen and you've told the editor what's going to happen and everyone agrees that that's what's going to happen until you actually write the issue, you're not super sure that it's going to happen. We'll see what happens when the last chapter is written.
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