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By Thomas Wheeler

What do you get when you combine a chatterbox mercenary with a lot of vicious hardware and enough pop-culture references to win any round of "Trivial Pursuit" on the face of the planet? You get DEADPOOL, Marvel's "Merc-With-A-Mouth" and one of the latest additions to the Marvel Legends Collection.

Deadpool is Wade Wilson (although there's some dispute over that), a talented if peculiar mercenary who contracted cancer. He became part of the Canadian government's "Weapon X" program, the same outfit that turned out Wolverine and a few others. They gave Wilson a synthetic version of Wolverine's mutant healing factor. It cured the merc's cancer, and enabled him to heal from virtually any injury, but it scarred his body horribly, and he went a bit more nuts than he already was.

He became DEADPOOL, costumed in a trademark red and black uniform, and quickly garnered a reputation as a very successful mercenary-for-hire, who was known for providing his own running commentary and enough pop-culture quips to drive almost anybody around him for any length of time totally insane.

Deadpool initially turned up in the X-titles, but before long garnered two mini-series of his own, followed by a long-running monthly series, that ended not too long ago. Deadpool now co-stars in a title with Cable in a book that shares both their names, and he's as insufferably amusing as ever. Deadpool was especially known for "kicking down the fourth wall" and routinely addressing the audience. He was once proclaimed as the only character in the Marvel Universe who actually knew that the Marvel Universe was a product of fiction.

I've always sort of gotten a kick out of the character because he's just so plain bizarre. I think a lot of his fans like him because he says (and in some cases does) the things that we'd all like to if we thought we could get away with it without getting smacked in the mouth or possibly hospitalized for it. Of course, if you're carrying enough hardware to equip an entire detachment of Marines and have a healing factor that lets you survive almost any injury, maybe you'd be more inclined to speak your mind regardless. I wouldn't know.

The Deadpool figure is excellent. He has 40 points of articulation, including head, shoulders, swivel arm, double jointed elbows, lower swivel arm, wrists, finger groups, mid-torso, waist, legs, upper swivel leg, double jointed knees, lower swivel leg, ankles, and toe groups. He also has a switchable head -- masked version and the frighteningly scarred unmasked version. I'm not showing that one because I don't want to scare small children. Suffice to say it's a face that only Freddy Krueger could love.

Toy Biz seems to have gotten a fair formula down for the construction basics of its more "typically-sized" characters in the Marvel Legends line. If you look at some of the early entries from the first couple of series, you can see a certain amount of experimentation. But more recently, there's a bit more consistency. Of course, more extreme figures such as Juggernaut or Man-Thing will require special attention.

Deadpool comes, as you might expect, with a lot of weaponry. Pistols, swords, grenades, etc. My one complaint here is that his weapons belt-and-harness apparatus is actually glued to the figure, and this is completely unnecessary. This should readily have been a detachable piece. It's even only glued just at the belt buckle, but whatever adhesive Toy Biz is using -- it's an effective one. I doubt this would come loose without using some tool or solvent that would wreck either the harness, the figure, or both (granted, I'm open to suggestions). But it was still silly to attach it like that.

The one thing Deadpool comes with that really doesn't make a lot of sense is Doop. That's the little green blobbish guy that looks like first cousin to Slimer from the Ghostbusters. He was part of Mike Allred's rather peculiar take on X-Force, which later became X-Statix. To the best of my knowledge, Deadpool and Doop have never met. Now, in fairness, neither have, to the best of my knowledge, the Silver Surfer and Howard the Duck, but the popular bird was backed with Mr. Chrome-Bod. Toy Biz sees this as a way to produce certain characters that would otherwise not get made, as they couldn't really be sold independently. Apparently someone thought there was a demand for Doop, and Deadpool got him.

Overall, the Deadpool figure is excellent, although in a standard "standing" position, his shoulders protrude a bit too much. Not the first time I've seen this happen. These figures are designed for action poses, and that tends to be how they best look.

Deadpool is not easy to come by. He's apparently one per case in an assortment that's already not that readily found. I got lucky and saw him hanging at K*B Toys in early January. But, if you can find him, I definitely recommend DEADPOOL from the Marvel Legends line!