Warning: here be SPOILERS for Deadpool 2. If you want to be surprised by every character that shows up, and every secret cameo, you might want to leave this alone until after you’ve seen the movie.
If you thought this article was going to be about Peter, shame on you. Peter gets in at least TWO good jokes. No, this is about the other, less-visible member of Deadpool‘s new X-Force. In a standard-issue superhero spoof, you’d expect something like an invisible character who’s so good at being invisible that nobody knows if he’s actually there or not. Call him Vanisher, and it’s a good joke, because it sounds like a riff on the Punisher.
Turns out, though, there actually is a Marvel character named Vanisher. Though he probably deviates more from this movie’s version than anyone else in Deadpool 2 (except maybe Negasonic Teenage Warhead, but we’re used to all her changes by now). Vanisher in the movie is a good guy who’s basically the Invisible Man, while Vanisher in the comics is a villain (usually) who first appeared way back in the ’60s, in X-Men #2, and his power is not invisibility, but teleportation. This, of course, would have totally eliminated the need for him to have a parachute in the movie, hence the drastic change.
Over the years, he has evolved from looking like a generic bank robber who bought some high-end Magneto thermal underoos, to someone you’d see torturing a victim in a cage in a Nine Inch Nails video. Only the eye-mask remains the same sartorial selection.
And in the movie, he’s played by…
Yes, this is the secret big-name cameo. In the split-second when the Vanisher dies after hitting a stray electrical cable, he becomes visible, and you might not have enough time to realize it’s Brad Pitt. And it’s W Magazine‘s conjecture that his being killed by a cable is a reference to the fact that director David Leitch was considering him for the role of Cable.
A prior version of Vanisher appears to have been basically an extra in X-Men: The Last Stand, but his most notable appearance in previous adaptations was in the Wolverine and the X-Menanimated series, in which he was voiced by Steve Blum, who also does Wolvie himself. In this incarnation, he was an X-Men ally in the future, and a prison inmate on the fictional island of Genosha (where mutants are enslaved) in the present.
Perhaps key to his appearance in Deadpool 2 is his role in The Once and Future Juggernautminiseries, in which the Gem of Cyttorak seeks a new host for its power, and Colossus and the original Juggernaut Cain Marko are both drawn to it, with Vanisher providing Marko some teleportation assistance. So the main thing the comic version has in common with his big screen counterpart is that, in some minor way, he facilitates a Juggs/Piotr smackdown.
As one of the X-Men’s oldest foes, Vanisher arguably deserves better than to be a throwaway gag–though he’s been one twice now. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see a more faithful version show up somewhere later on.
Does the movie world need a comics-based Vanisher, or are you content to see him stay a one-off gag? Let us know in comments.
Images: Marvel, Paramount, 20th Century Fox