As you’re no doubt aware, Deadpool 2 is currently playing at a cinema near you. And without giving too much away – particularly because it’s been featured in enough of the film’s promotional material – Ryan Reynolds’s latest turn as the merc-with-a-mouth also marks the first feature film appearance of the bad boys (and girls) of Xavier’s School for Gifted Children, X-Force. More than a fair share of you will know all about X-Force, but for many of us, the characters included in Deadpool’s first team outing may well be complete unknowns. Let’s fix that…
Where to start with Domino? Aside from Cable, of all the X-Force characters to appear in Deadpool 2, Domino may well be among the best known of them. As a canonical character in the Marvel Universe, she has starred in three limited series and has featured as a recurring character in X-Force, Deadpool, Cable & Deadpool and New Mutants, the comic that featured both her own and Deadpool’s first appearances. In fact, her first appearance in New Mutants #97 came only one issue before Deadpool’s. Both characters were created by the team of Nicieza and Liefield. Her mutant ability allows her to alter probability, but she’s also a highly skilled marksman and close combat fighter. Naturally, she’s applied this to mercenary work and has, at times, been Cable’s love-interest.
Another character created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefield, Shatterstar first appeared in New Mutants #99, meaning that three debuting characters from that particular sequential run of New Mutants all appear in Deadpool’s latest outing. Shatterstar is one of Marvel Comic’s first bisexual characters, and his origin story is almost reminiscent of a Greek myth. He is, in a convoluted way, the father of his own father. You can Google the ins and outs of that yourself, but be warned – it’s a trip! Anyway, Shatterstar, being an alien mutant from the Mojoverse has some pretty cool powers. He has superhuman strength, speed, agility, senses, reflexes and so on. He learns faster than a regular earthling mutant, has hollow bones and, to help him avoid injuries in the Mojoworld’s fighting pits, he can move his internal organs to avoid them getting skewered.
The Vanisher we get in Deadpool 2 is largely different from the one in the comics. A Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation, his comic-book iteration sees him wreaking havoc with his power of teleportation (his name is Telford Porter. Get it?). This brings him into direct opposition with the X-Men on numerous occasions. In fact, his first appearance came all the way back in X-Men #2 in 1963. You know the deal with The Vanisher if you’ve seen Deadpool 2 but it’s safe to say you don’t need to know too much about his comic-book crimes against national security or leadership of a South American Drug Cartel to enjoy his appearance.
Because of his upbringing, Bedlam, played by Terry Crews in Deadpool 2, is an interesting character for the film to have included. When his brother – another mutant – tricked his father into crashing the car and killing both of his parents, Jesse Aaronson was taken into the foster system. There, an unscrupulous doctor realised he could perform gnarly experiments on the young mutant and write a book about the results. Eventually, Bedlam ends up rescued and trained in another of Professor X’s safe-havens. When he grows up, he enlists the help of a certain Domino to track down his brother. Of course, there’s far more story from there, but that’s for another day. As for his powers, Bedlam can generate a bio-electro-magnetic field, allowing him to disable any similar power source in the vicinity. Eventually his powers would adapt to allow him to project the illusions of pain and confusion into people’s minds.
In the comics, Zeitgeist’s position as an X-Force member was famously short. In a move befitting a character who could spit corrosive acid, Zeitgeist was partly behind a bungled publicity stunt that saw him – and most of his teammates – die on their first mission. Earlier in his life, Axel Cluney (Zeitgeist), was making out on the beach with his lady when his powers manifested. To consider what happens there, picture what would happen between Stan and Wendy from South Park if Stan’s vomit could dissolve steel in a matter of seconds. Zeitgeist wears a mouth-guard on and off duty, and is known to hate his fans despite his high-profile role in X-Force. Seems like a nice guy, right?
There really isn’t much we know about Peter. The general consensus seems to be that he’s a new character invented solely for the movie, albeit one with a kickass Twitter account. In the comics, Deadpool is pretty well known for having a ‘normal’ friend like Bob, Agent of Hydra, but some have posited Peter might actually be Peter Wisdom of Warren Ellis’ Excalibur fame. If that’s true, he’ll have the ability to generate hot plasma blades from his fingers. With that in mind, Peter’s certainly one to keep an eye on.
A note about Cable
OK, it’s not going to spoil anything to let you know that Deadpool and Cable revel in multiple rounds of punching in this film, but it might be a bit of a push to say that he doesn’t remain the film’s antagonist. Of course, anyone who knows the history between the two characters could probably have told you that. Cable’s origin and epic backstory are far too involved for this short entry, but these two have a bromance that goes back for a very long time. Deadpool’s first ever appearance came courtesy of a hit put out on Cable, and the two shared an awesome run of fifty titles together in Cable & Deadpool from 2004 to 2008. On top of that, old one-eyed Nate is of course the leader of X-Force in its original incarnation. It has to be said, however, that the X-Force Deadpool creates for this film is more than a little derivative of that one. You’ll have to watch the film to see how it plays out, but if a future X-Force movie goes ahead, it’ll need the headstrong man from the future to be its leader…
So there you have it. Deadpool 2’s X-Force summarised for the uninitiated. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’ll be interesting to see what you make of events with these characters.