Forget everything you think you know about Deadpool from Ryan Reynolds’ star turn. Or at least, forget some of it. Yes, he breaks the fourth wall, and yes, he’s extremely annoying – but along with those well-known character traits, he also experiences attraction to people all over the gender spectrum. Although the recent live-action movies have tiptoed around it, the comic book canon has long since confirmed Deadpool as a queer character. So, given the diverse sexuality that’s already on display in Marvel’s Midnight Suns, I hoped that Deadpool’s DLC appearance would be a rainbow-filled delight – and I was not disappointed.
The queer representation in Marvel’s Midnight Suns is refreshingly understated and mundane (not the way I’d normally describe Deadpool, but we’ll get to him in a bit). For example, the game gender-swaps Caretaker and puts her in a long-term sapphic romance with Agatha Harkness. That’s right, the witch made famous on Wandavision is dating a lady in Midnight Suns. (I use the present tense here because, although Agatha is dead at the game’s outset, she doesn’t exactly stay dead for long.)
Despite that inclusivity in Midnight Suns, I wasn’t sure what to expect of Firaxis Games’ take on Deadpool, since his representation in the comic books has been anything but consistent. I love that his crush on Cable goes beyond platonic bromance in Cable & Deadpool #20, and since then I have clung to the canonicity of Wade’s queer identity, even though many writers have ignored it over the years. Deadpool’s appearances in other media have not typically referred to his queerness either, and I don’t just mean the Ryan Reynolds movies. Deadpool’s cameos in the Marvel vs. Capcom games, and even the High Moon Studios game Deadpool (2013), make him a flirt and a womanizer, but not so much a gender-doesn’t-matter-izer.
There is one thing about Deadpool that’s been consistent over many years and many adaptations: Nolan North is the go-to voice for the character. Even Ryan Reynolds’ performance seems to take inspiration from North’s version, especially the very first time that North voiced Deadpool, in a direct-to-video animated movie called Hulk Vs. (2009). That movie isn’t good – I should know, I recently rewatched it for my X-Men podcast – but Nolan North’s performance as Deadpool remains a silver lining. It makes sense, then, that after that scene-stealing turn, North played the role across several more video games and reprises it once more in Midnight Suns. I’ve played or seen almost all of these adaptations of Wade Wilson, and the Midnight Suns version is – so far – as queer as Deadpool’s ever been.
I guess I should also note that, as a queer person myself, I do have mixed feelings about the Extreme Omnisexual trope, which Wade Wilson fits to a T. He’s not only queer, he’s also evidence that the superheroes in Midnight Suns should have a human resources department (and several sexual harassment seminars). But because this game includes extremely normal queer characters alongside the ridiculousness of Wade, I’ve given myself permission to enjoy him and his over-the-top obnoxiousness. He’s my deliciously problematic fave.
Firaxis’ DLC inducts the Merc with a Mouth into the Midnight Suns via three new story missions. Deadpool gets his own customized lineup of attack cards, and he’s not hard to learn; between his dual pistols and katanas, he has lots of quick short-range attacks that make him better against individuals rather than enemy swarms. His story arc also introduces its own supervillain – Sin, the goofy vampiress daughter of Red Skull – and a new enemy type called Vampyres. In addition to providing an opportunity for the characters to crack jokes about having to spell “vampires” with a Y, the Vampyres also have some fun and challenging new combat mechanics (they can tack on self-inflicted Bleed damage to your attacks – meaning, your own attacks will start inflicting Bleed damage on you, rather than your enemies).
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, of course. Some of Deadpool’s jokes ring a bit hollow. In a mission with the Hulk, I had to endure Deadpool making a comment about how the big green guy’s testicles were falling out of his briefs. (Why, Wade? Why?) Also, Deadpool periodically shouts “insert catchphrase here!” It gets old.
That said, I spent the DLC chuckling far more often than rolling my eyes. Wade Wilson hits on the disciplined vampire hunter Blade in basically every mission. Blade responds with exhausted irritation, but not disgust or homophobia (thank goodness). The main problem that Blade and the other superheroes have with Deadpool is that the infamous mercenary has been secretly working with Doctor Doom, and that’s way more annoying than his goofball flirtations.
Best of all is the weird and unlikely friendship that develops between the player character (The Hunter) and Deadpool. I didn’t expect to feel sorry for Wade, ever in my life, but the way he hangs his head in shame after getting reamed by Blade left me feeling strangely endeared to him. Wade also gently mocks the Hunter for making friends with every single team member, regardless of their personality or politics (very typical of a video game protagonist). His reluctance to get close makes the eventual connection all the more meaningful, and the jokes along the way felt earned – especially Wade’s jokes about how much he hates himself, and how he uses humor as a defense mechanism.
Although Midnight Suns has its hits and misses when it comes to character development – I may have leveled up my friendship with Tony Stark, but I didn’t enjoy a single minute – the Deadpool DLC finds the mark well, emphasizing this character’s most annoying qualities while also letting his inner softie burst through. His playstyle in combat didn’t exactly blow my mind, but his personality was the real draw for me, and the writers got that part right. Firaxis has three more DLC packs on the way, each featuring a new character, and after Deadpool’s arc, I can’t wait to spend more time with the next weirdo who joins the squad.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns: The Good, The Bad, and The Undead DLC will be released on Jan. 26 on PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed on PC using a pre-release download code provided by 2K. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.