If you’re a comic book fan (or you’ve watched the Marvel movies, like every other sentient being in the entire solar system), there’s one thing you’ll have noticed about your average superhero: self-righteousness. They’re all about doing the right thing. Rescuing people, making decisions nobody else can, because nobody else can effortlessly leap over skyscrapers or fire lasers from their eyeballs. With great power comes great responsibility, as wise old Uncle Ben once said.
That’s what made Captain America: Civil War so poignant. Accountability isn’t something that usually enters into the picture. People don’t usually get to complain when the Incredible Hulk comes to town, leaving such devastation in his wake that it looks like Godzilla’s used your house as a chew toy.
Now, there are rules and regulations about that stuff. Tedious paperwork to fill in. It’s much more fun being an anti-hero, doing just what you like and leaving the consequences to somebody else. You know who’s great at that? Deadpool, that’s who.
The Merc with a Mouth has never been one to get to wrapped up in the details. In his movie and its sequel, the perfectly-cast Ryan Reynolds owns every nanosecond of every scene he’s in, performing some ridiculous and reckless stunt or other. Reckless he may be, but Deadpool really should be a little careful. He’s got some fantastic and absurd abilities, yes, but they’re counterbalanced by some equally bizarre weaknesses. From his impossible metabolism and ability to regrow his own head, to his inexplicable fear of cows, let’s learn a little more about Marvel’s most eccentric and unpredictable export.
25 SUPERPOWER: Eh, It’s Just A Scratch
As you probably know, poor old Wade Wilson was subject to some shonky medical experiments. He volunteered for the program, in fact, in hopes that the health woes that were attacking his body could be cured. That wasn’t exactly how things worked out, sadly, but the issue was certainly ‘resolved.’
The various procedures has some side effects (the fact that it made his face look like Freddy Krueger taking a #nofilter selfie, for one), but Weapon X certainly had its perks too. It heightened his body’s ability to naturally heal to an incredible degree. In the comics and movies alike, he’s seen almost instantly recovering from/repairing awful injuries.
24 SUPERPOWER: Heck, He Can Regrow His Own Head (Kinda)
Now, a heightened healing factor is an incredible ability to have, there’s no denying. That’s super handy, right there, especially if you have a habit of being shot and generally pounded into spam as often as Deadpool does. At the same time, though, it’s hardly an unusual superhero power. Wolverine’s been there and done that, for starters.
The curious thing about Deadpool’s healing is just how potent it is. Have you ever seen Wolverine lose his head and then reattach it? I sure haven’t, but Wade Wilson certainly has. He can’t just grow another one (it needs to be put back in the proper position on his body and ‘reattach’), but still.
23 WEAKNESS: Well, Who Doesn’t Love Peter Parker?
That’s right, friends. As you’ll see later, Wade has a string of strange weaknesses and phobias (cows and clowns among them), but my favourite vulnerability of his? His soft spot for Peter Parker.
Across their long comic book history, Deadpool and the iconic Spider-Man have crossed paths several times. In the beginning, the link between them was limited to snarky jokes about the similarities between the two, but they’ve developed an actual friendship as time has gone on (which is a very rare thing for the antisocial and unpredictable Wade Wilson).
As Den of Geek has put it, “Spider-Man and Deadpool are like two sides of the same coin. Their outfits look a lot alike, they have similar builds, they both like to joke endlessly as a front to hide their personal issues, etc. Plus, they both have a tendency to annoy Wolverine on a regular basis.”
22 SUPERPOWER: Immortality. Take It, It’s Yours!
I hope somebody out there appreciated that reference to one of my favourite movies (I’ll give you a clue: Brad Pitt, in one of the most luxurious shampoo-commercial-worthy blond wigs ever). Never mind that, though. Next, we’re back to one of the biggest side effects of Deadpool’s gene therapy.
His dramatically-accelerated healing power hasn’t made him entirely immortal, but he’s more or less there.
Particularly so when you combine it with the fact that he’s met Death several times, and (naturally) developed a bit of a relationship with her. As a result of this, the jealous Thanos (now that’s a bizarre love triangle to think about) cursed Wade to immortality in his grotesque skin and line of work.
21 WEAKNESS: The Lights Are On, But Nobody’s Home
After everything that Deadpool’s done, seen and been through, you’d forgive him for being just a little on the tetchy side at times. This has given the character a terrible, explosive temper, and incredible levels of impulsiveness.
Everyone familiar with his antics knows that, as a result, he could never be a true superhero. As we’ve already discussed, it’s much more fun being an anti-hero, and he’s fine with that, but that’s where the problem lies. A goodly role model for the children he is not. That’s Captain America’s lot in life. This is why Deadpool’s left to a harsh life on the super-sidelines.
20 WEAKNESS: Nobody Can Resist Kittens
As we know, then, it’s not an easy life, being Deadpool. All the enemies, the battles, the pain (yep, he can quickly heal off injuries and repair limbs and such, but he can also feel himself doing so)… as day jobs go, it’s a super tough one.
Therefore, you can totally see why the guy would want to take it easy on the weekend. He’s been known to refer to kittens as his ‘only weakness,’ which is how this image came about. The ever-meme-loving Ryan Reynolds once got in on the Caturday action on social media, as you can see.
19 SUPERPOWER: Whoa, Those Are Some Sweet Moves
Now, granted, superhuman agility is another power that’s hardly in short supply for superheroes. It’s like a down-B counter in Smash Bros., an ability that’s thrown in when they can’t really think of anything more original.
Let’s not be snarky, though. After all, this sort of ability is crucial to Deadpool’s daily business, and there’s also much more to it than simple agility and The Matrix-style slow-mo moves. As Superhero Database reports, “Deadpool's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits of even the finest human athlete”.
Superhuman balance may not be in as much demands as something like flight or invisibility, but still. I wouldn’t turn it down.
18 SUPERPOWER: Is He Part Time Lord? Or Wizard?
Science fiction and fantasy fans will be familiar with the idea that things’ external dimensions don’t always have to match their internal dimensions. In Doctor Who, the TARDIS is famously bigger on the inside, and in Harry Potter, Hermione once bewitched her handbag to store changes of clothes, spellbooks and all kinds of impossible things besides.
I’m not sure if Deadpool is a Time Lord or a wizard, but he has this ability too.
As we’ve reported before, he’s been seen in the cartoons removing things from his pouches that couldn’t possibly have fitted in there in the first place. Take that, Batman, with your nerdy utility belt.
17 WEAKNESS: Secretly, He’s Not *THAT* Strong After All
Now, of course, this one’s up for debate. With any Marvel character (or DC or anybody else, for that matter), it’s common for characters’ abilities and power to fluctuate over the years. New writers and artists put their owns spins on things. Way back in the day, for instance, Superman could only “leap tall buildings in a single bound,” before he was just given the power of outright flight.
Where does Deadpool’s outright strength stand? Well, that depends. In one offshoot, he’s seen overpowering and defeating the most powerful entities in the Marvel universe, with no real difficulty (more on that later).
Then we have the Superhero Database telling us that: “Deadpool possesses great, though not unnatural, physical strength. However, he does have at least the strength of an Olympic level weightlifter. He is capable of lifting at least 420 lbs but no more than 800 lbs.”
16 SUPERPOWER: Control My Mind? What Mind?
As we’ve firmly established already, Deadpool is a loose cannon. The loosest of cannons. His cannon’s so loose it’s likely to drop right off and roll under the kitchen cabinet where you can’t reach it.
In terms of drawing up intricate plans and getting things done, this is a huge drawback for the impetuous and headstrong Wade. However, this trait does have its advantages too. Some of Marvel’s most potent mind-meddlers, such as Professor X, have found themselves unable to penetrate his mind. Considering the adult nature of the character and his movies, it’s probably best to keep things that way. Who knows what’s going on in that mind? I’ve no idea, but I’m sure it’s not PG.
15 SUPERPOWER: Dodging The Paps, Superhero Style
Here’s the thing about being a superhero: you tend to be recognised. Well, maybe not you yourself (hence the whole alter ego thing), but your silly mask, cape and bright-red-underpants-on-the-outside combo.
You tend to make yourself noticeable with your questionable fashion sense. This is why, in the Marvel universe, the Image Inducer was created. This is a device that alters the appearance of the user through hologram technology. Some models of the device were created by Tony Stark. With Deadpool’s horribly-scarred skin, it’s extra important that he had an Image Inducer, and so he did. At times, he struggled to maintain the illusion (thanks to his disordered mind), but this was still a vital ability to have.
14 WEAKNESSES: ‘Good Team Player’ Is Not On His Resume
Now, Wade Wilson isn’t the kind of guy who appreciates constructive criticism. He’s quick to fly off the handle, and spooky when he does. Couple these traits with his tendency to shoot and stab first and ask the squishy remains of his victims questions later, and you can see why he’s not the ideal partner for a group project.
At times, even the greatest and most powerful heroes (and villains) in the comic book world need allies to get the job done. Wade Wilson has reluctantly teamed with others on various occasions, sure, but his my way or I’ll run you down in an SUV on the highway mentality really limits him there.
13 SUPERPOWER: Remember That Time He Defeated The Entire Marvel Universe?
If you’re a long-time fan of comic books, you’ll have noticed that… well, things get a little shonky around here. There are alternate realities all over the place, where certain crucial events never happened (say, Spider-Gwen was bitten instead of Peter Parker) and nobody really knows what the heckola’s happening.
It’s fun to just go completely wild with these characters sometimes. This was the thought process behind Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe, an offshoot in which Wade takes the fourth-wall breaking to the extreme. With the knowledge that his whole world is fictional, he carves his way through… well, the Marvel universe, including the writers in the end.
12 SUPERHERO: Anything Cyclops Can Do, I Can Do Better
As I’ve mentioned, there’s a bit of a hierarchy for superpowers. Right at the top, you’ve got the most-envied ones, like flight, invisibility and such. Way at the bottom, you’ve got the silly ones (like Eye-Scream, who has the power to transform into any flavour of ice cream, so as to melt and slip under the cracks beneath doors).
Laser eyes are a popular one, most famously attributed to Cyclops of the X-Men. In most incarnations of Deadpool, Wade doesn’t have this power, but there’s one notable (and terrible) exception. In X-Men: Origins, as we reported previously, there’s a questionable version of Deadpool who can emit blasts from his eyes, though they’re more unstable than Cyclops’s own.
11 WEAKNESS: Send In The Clowns… No, Wait, Don’t!
It’s quite ironic, really. Deadpool, a character renowned for silliness, wisecracking and fooling around, afflicted by Coulrophobia. The fear of clowns is quite a common one. While it may not make any sense from a logical standpoint (which tends to be the case with a lot of phobias), you can see where something like this may come from. Personally, I blame Stephen King, and the character of Pennywise in IT.
For Deadpool, as with a lot of real-life sufferers, this fear is totally debilitating. He once stated that he considers clowns the biggest threat to life on Earth, other than Galactus.
10 SUPERPOWER: He’s Not Even Carrying An Ounce Of Holiday Weight
As far as a lot of people are concerned, this next one is Deadpool’s most enviable (and utterly unrealistic) abilities.
It can be quite a pain to visit social media in the Summer, can’t it? Everyone’s talking about that amazing fad (no, seriously, this one ACTUALLY works) that’ll leave you looking fantastic on the beach. It’s just a little tiresome, not to mention damaging to peoples’ self-esteem, and we need to stop it right now.
The sad fact is, though, most of us just can’t eat like Deadpool does (ah, the chimichanga memes) and instantly shed that weight like it never existed.
9 SUPERPOWER: Begun, The Deadpool Clones Have
As just about everyone who’s ever encountered Wade Wilson will tell you, one Deadpool is way more than enough. We’re totally set, as far as that goes. Being a comic character and all, though, it was inevitable that there would be multiple different versions of the guy. Remember that he can regenerate parts of his body? Well, that’s not always a good thing.
In Deadpool Vol. 2 #44, therapist-turned-obsessive-fan Ella Whitby reveals she has a collection of Wade’s discarded body parts stored in her refrigerator. These parts reform themselves (like in the hasta la vista moment in Terminator 2), becoming a separate entity known as Evil Deadpool.
8 WEAKNESS: What Did Cows Ever Do To Anyone?
Phobias are actually a fascinating thing. In a lot of cases, they’re the sorts of things that just don’t make any sense. If you’re not afflicted by them, you may not understand how anybody else could be. Bovinophobia, the fear of cows? That’s a little more out of left field than, say, spiders or snakes, but that doesn’t mean we can dismiss it. After all, if a reckless renegade like Deadpool is afraid of cows, that probably says something about them.
Of all the odd little side-facts we learn about superheroes over the course of their careers, this is one of my all-time favourites. Talk about an obscure weakness you never saw coming.
7 WEAKNESS: You Know, Some Of These Seem A Little Familiar
So, yes. There’s no doubt that Deadpool’s reputation as a zany, off-the-wall, loose cannon of a guy precedes him. That’s his whole shtick (and Ryan Reynolds’, too, he was born for that role), and he takes it and runs it all the way to the end zone.
Regardless, though, the character isn’t quite as original as he may appear. Already very similar to Spider-Man and heavily inspired by DC’s Deathstroke, his breaking of the fourth wall and other real-world references were once She-Hulk’s bit. Again, this isn’t to say that Wade hasn’t taken all of these elements and made them his own, but it is true.
6 SUPERPOWER: He’s Here, He’s There, He’s Everywhere
Speaking of conventional superpowers, another one that comes up quite often is teleportation. This is a power that many of us only wish we could have (particularly those who have stared down the business end of a long delay at the airport).
Again, this one’s a little bit of a cheat. As with the Image Inducer, Deadpool can teleport, but usually only with the aid of special devices.
Considering his unique skill set and the assignments he tends to be given, you can see how valuable asset teleportation would be. Deadpool’s teleporters can be super temperamental, though, and he doesn’t tend to use them much. In his view, they were making things a little too easy.
5 WEAKNESS: A Soft Spot For The Little Ones
Here on the internet, there are a couple of things you can always count on: snark in comment sections, videos of cats playing pianos and videos of children being adorable. There aren’t many things we can take for granted in this bad old world of ours, but these will always be a given.
My personal favorite is the third one, which tends to feature children trying to pronounce a word and getting it comically (and usually inadvertently curse-ily) wrong. You can see how these factors would appeal to Deadpool. True enough, he’s got a soft spot for children, and has been shown to be fiercely protective of them.
4 SUPERPOWER: What Was That Sound? The Fourth Wall Shattering Into Dust
As I’ve mentioned throughout this rundown, there’s something mechanically very different about Deadpool, when compared to his fellow comic book dwellers: he knows that he’s just a character in a comic book. Breaking the fourth wall is not a trait exclusive to Wade Wilson, as we’ve seen, but it’s one of the things he’s best known for. It’s the crux of his legend, really.
Over the years, he’s claimed to have studied his opponents by reading past issues of their comics. He’s also ripped out pages of his own, because he didn’t agree with what his writers were having him do.
3 SUPERPOWER: Don’t Mess With Those Blades
I mean, come on now, Deadpool. We know that you’ve got superhuman agility and debatably superhuman strength. We’ve seen you flip and spin around the screen like a masculine, katana-waving ballet dancer. We’ve accepted all of that. we’ve made our peace with it.
It’s just… this is going way too far.
Can you really slice incoming bullets in half with your katana? Can you really? This is one of those talents that employers really value, it looks great on a resume and is pretty darn impressive as party tricks go, yes. I just don’t really buy the logistics of it. Not that logic is paramount when you’re talking about Deadpool and his abilities.
2 WEAKNESS: Watch Out For The Muramasa
Across various movies, video games and other forms of media, the Muramasa has kept cropping up. Muramasa himself was a famed Japanese sword-maker of the Muromachi period, whose work has become synonymous with its maker.
The Muramasa, in the Marvel universe, has been used by Wolverine to prevent the regeneration process (as in his fight with Sabretooth).
According to Wolverine, this blade is the only weapon capable of doing so, which would make it the bane of Deadpool’s existence (think Ganondorf and the Master Sword). Deadpool hasn’t yet come up against the legendary weapon, but it sounds as though he’d be in all sorts of trouble if he did.
1 SUPERPOWER: Is That You, Wolverine?
I know, true Deadpool fans. I’m sorry for this, I truly am. We’re going back to the deeply questionable world of X-Men Origins: Wolverine for this last entry.
The movie took all kinds of bizarre liberties with the character, including those unfortunate eye-lasers we saw earlier. That was just the start of it, though. This version of Deadpool also borrowed from another of the X-Men: Wolverine himself. That’s right. As CBR reports, Wade presumably wasn’t formidable enough already, and so was given “Baraka-style retractable sword blades implanted in his arms” for the movie. Needless to say, many viewers were less than thrilled about this.