The Merc with a Mouth and Marvel’s most murderous vigilante collide in April!
Bad news, those hoping for a bright, happy 2017; the forecast for the new year calls for mayhem, at least in the pages of DEADPOOL VS. THE PUNISHER, debuting this April from writer Fred Van Lente and artist Pere Perez.
Why can’t Wade Wilson and Frank Castle settle their disputes with words rather than weapons? Van Lente gave us some further insight as he stocked up on ammunition.
Marvel.com: Deadpool and Punisher have a few defining features but within them there are a variety of interpretations: Punisher as humorless killing machine vs. super hero Punisher, for example. For you, what “versions” of the characters ring truest for you? Which Deadpool and Punisher will you be utilizing to tell your story?
Fred Van Lente: That’s a great question. To me you know Punisher is best as a killing machine—I wouldn’t really call him a “humorless” one, though, because when Garth Ennis was writing him there was certainly quite a bit of deadpan black humor to him, and that’s definitely my take. Likewise, whenever I’ve done Deadpool I love writing his quips and burns as much as the next person, but what makes him a compelling character is that element of tragedy to him—the sadness, and loss that I think the “Deadpool” film did such a good job of getting across along with the jokes.
So our story, “Bullet to the Brain,” is your classic ultraviolent super-crime tragi-comedy, I guess you could say.
Marvel.com: Given the characters’ disparate personalities, there is a pretty clear conflict in tone here. How do you blend Deadpool’s more manic livewire personality with Frank’s darker stoicism?
Fred Van Lente: It’s a real peanut-butter-in-chocolate situation, and you take that compare/contrast and run with it. You put Deadpool in a gritty crime story and Frank in this kind of insane, manic world where Deadpool’s adventures take place, and you let them try and shoot their way out of it—and at each other!
Marvel.com: Castle and Wilson have not interacted a lot previously, but they have encountered one another now and then, most recently in THUNDERBOLTS. Coming away from those, what impressions do they have of one another?
Fred Van Lente: Oh, they do not like each other, particularly from their [Thunderbolts] days on the same team together. Wade thinks Frank is a stick in the mud while Frank thinks Wade’s healing factor has made him loud, sloppy and useless.
I mean, to me the gold standard for these kinds of “versus” comics is [Christopher] Priest and [Mark] Bright’s SPIDER-MAN VS. WOLVERINE, where the two characters have a genuine reason to go after each other; it’s not mind control, it’s not mistook-you-for-a-villain, both protagonists are each other’s antagonists for legitimate reasons the reader can relate to, and that’s where this new character The Bank comes in.
Marvel.com: Who is The Bank, without spoilers, of course? How does this villain’s presence pull together these two very different characters?
Fred Van Lente: The Bank is a shadowy character who’s existed in the Marvel Universe for decades, but we’ve never heard of him before because he is very much off the grid—he’s as his name implies a money man, who handles offshore accounts for a variety of amoral-to-immoral characters and organizations.
He also happens to be one of Wade Wilson’s best friends, having known Deadpool before his Weapon X days, and so when Punisher decides to bring The Bank down, he’s got to go through Deadpool to do that, and you know what? Frank doesn’t really have a problem with that, since he doesn’t like Wade all that much anyway.
There’s a bit more to it than that, but that would get into spoiler territory, so I will leave it there for now…
Marvel.com: How does Pere Perez help you realize the tone you were hoping to instill in the book? How has collaborating with him influenced your approach to storytelling?
Fred Van Lente: Pere is great. We’ve worked together a lot at other companies and it’s very cool to [be] back with him at Marvel. He has a real-life background in martial arts, and it’s been great fun to put him through his paces in all the over-top action scenes in this book; it’s been a lot of fun.
Marvel.com: Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, who gets to use the biggest gun?
Fred Van Lente: The breadth and variety of weapons in this series is kind of mind-bogging. The size and destructive power of the guns increases as we go along, so it may not be until [issue] #5 when we find that out.
Pick the right side for DEADPOOL VS. THE PUNISHER with Fred Van Lente and Pere Perez beginning in April!