20 most upbeat superhero stories

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Cover of Deadpool #11 (Image via Marvel)

15. Deadpool fills in for Spider-Man

You know, I was actually pretty reluctant to include Deadpool on this list. It’s not that Deadpool comics can’t be funny. It’s just that Deadpool, both as a character and as a series, can be so self-aware that it’s painful. Breaking the fourth wall can be fun, after all, but it’s a trick best used in moderation.

Yes, I know the word “moderation” doesn’t quite fit with the Deadpool ethos, but it doesn’t change the need for smart writing and the need to rein in the fourth-wall awareness that’s become Deadpool’s trademark.

That said, there are quite a few good Deadpool comics that manage this balance. Check out that time he decided to kill a whole bunch of literary characters in Deadpool Killustrated, for one. You might even enjoy watching Deadpool beating up zombified former presidents in Deadpool: Dead Presidents.

It should go without saying, but Deadpool comics are not exactly kid-friendly. This is for R-rated jollies only. Maybe hand your kid a copy of Ms. Marvel or Squirrel Girl instead.

But, if I had to pick only one representative Deadpool issue, I’d go with Deadpool #11, “With Great Power Comes Great Coincidence”. Within that story, Deadpool and his roommate, Blind Al, are sent back to the world of 1967 Spider-Man. Specifically, they’re transported to the world of a real issue of Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1, #47. While there, Deadpool has to take on the mantle of Peter Parker, though he can’t help but discard the goody-goody nature of early Spider-Man.

This is one of those occasions where breaking the fourth wall really works. Deadpool and Blind Al make some good cracks at the expense of early Marvel comics. It helps that much of the original dialogue (save for Deadpool and Blind Al, of course), remains the same.