It’s a well-known fact that Deadpool has memory issues, but the reason for them is due to horrifying experiments a villain has conducted on him.
Every fan of Marvel Comics‘ Deadpool knows that the guy is an unstable antihero. But many are content to just accept the Merc with a Mouth’s insanity as part of his character, never really giving it a thought as to why. It turns out that Deadpool’s messed-up brain does actually have a secret explanation, albeit a rather horrifying one.
Part of Deadpool’s insanity has to do with a long-known issue with his memory, but this is witnessed firsthand when he investigates the murder of a terrorist in Cable and Deadpool #13 by Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher. At the end of the issue, it’s revealed that Wade killed the terrorist, and he just doesn’t remember it. The real reason Deadpool murdered him is rather bleak, but the mercenary himself chalks the memory issue down to his strenuous healing factor affecting his brain.
However, this isn’t actually the case, as Deadpool finds out in 2013’s Deadpool #14 by Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, and Scott Koblish. In this issue, Wade finds out that ever since he left the Weapon X program, a man named Bartol Utler, aka The Butler, has periodically taken organ samples from his body. He does this by tranquilizing Wade, performing the procedure, and then hitting him with a dose of “Tabula Rasa 16”, an experimental, memory-wiping concoction. It doesn’t just wipe out past experiences, but leads to memory issues in general, and is the reason the aforementioned terrorist murder happened at all. To make matters worse, it was the Butler and Tabula Rasa 16 that led Deadpool to committing his most twisted kill: the murder of his parents.
Deadpool definitely has way more than a few screws loose in his head, but this ordeal suggests that it is not just an innate feature of his character. Memory problems are one thing, but two issues later, in Deadpool #16, it is hinted that Tabula Rasa 16 tends to skew Deadpool’s personality towards his iconic randomness, which in turn leads to his ridiculous shenanigans, arguably the best part of his character. So, it’s very sad, but ultimately the thing that brings out the best of Deadpool is also the thing that brings out the worst in him.
Deadpool isn’t just a candidate for Marvel’s best antihero, or an insane mercenary, but he’s the victim of a years-long organ harvest that weighs heavily on his memory capabilities. Thanks to the Butler, Deadpool has spilled blood and wreaked havoc all over the Marvel Universe, and he doesn’t even remember doing it.
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