Deadpool's prisoner, Blind Al.
|First appearance||Deadpool #1 (January 1997)|
|Created by||Joe Kelly
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Notable aliases||Blind Alfred|
Al (also known as Althea or Blind Alfred) first appeared in Deadpool #1, living with him in "The Deadhut", his house in San Francisco. At first her relationship with him was unclear, but over time it would reveal itself as highly complex and bizarre.
Fictional character biography
Al is a skinny old woman who, as her name suggests, is blind. Her origin is never explicitly elaborated. It is eventually revealed that she was somehow involved with British intelligence, although in what capacity is unknown. She was already blind by this point and has been most of her life. Wade Wilson, the mercenary who would eventually become Deadpool, was hired to kill her in Zaire where she was stationed. What actually occurred is unknown, but apparently Wilson killed everyone around except her, allowing her to flee. Years later, after he had gotten cancer, received a healing factor from Weapon X, gone insane, and became Deadpool, Wilson met up with Al again and captured her.[volume & issue needed]
Thus began the bizarre relationship between the two, with Al acting as a cross between a prisoner, friend, housekeeper, Greek Chorus and mother-figure to Deadpool. At times Wade could be unbelievably cruel to Al. He would frequently insult her and play cruel pranks, taking advantage of her blindness. He forbade her visitors and would kill anyone who tried to help her escape. When she angered him he would put her in the Box, a small room filled with sharp objects (although he never actually locked the door, counting on her fear of him to keep her imprisoned). He also forced her to cook and clean for him, and dangled the prospect of freedom in front of her only to snatch it away.
On the other hand, Al seemed to wield a subtle authority over him, and seemed to be the only person who was not afraid to stand up to him. The pranks never bothered her, as she was more than clever enough to get back at Deadpool (putting laxatives in his food was a favorite), and she was even sharper than he was when it came to insults. When the series opened, Al had already been with Wade for years, and a sort of peace had developed between them. Al seemed grateful for having food, a roof over her head, all the Matlock she could "watch," and safety from those who wanted her dead, all in return for doing a few chores and putting up with Wade's twisted sense of humor. She was his closest confidant (even more so than Weasel) and trips to the Box had become so infrequent as to be unheard of. She held an immense debt of gratitude to Deadpool for saving her life, and it gradually became clear that she was sticking it out with him because she believed that he had the potential to become a truly good person, and she hoped her influence over him would encourage him in that direction. She also hinted that she had a rather dark past, and felt that redeeming Wade would help her make up for past deeds. They shared an adventure together through time, where Al ended up impersonating May Parker. She seemed as much a parent as a prisoner to him, and he even gave her Deuce the Devil Dog as a present.
However, Deadpool soon hit a low personal ebb, and the peace between them became strained. This culminated in a trip to the Box after it became clear that Blind Al had been keeping visits from Weasel a secret from him. She got her revenge however, by coldly shunning him, and referring to him as "master" to highlight his cruelty. The guilt he felt was enormous, and after meeting and having some counseling by Monty the precog in issue #17, he declared her a free woman (just when he was teleported away by Ajax). Knowing about her good influence, she refused to leave, so he teleported with her into a park (#20), they had a talk (she was pretending she'd be afraid to leave then) and he left her there. They meet again in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, presumably the same park where he left her.
In issue #14, while Al and Weasel were in "the Box," Al recounted a tale of particular disturbance. About two years into her imprisonment, Deadpool left on a long assignment, and Al decided to leave for a friend's in Maine. She escaped, trekked across the country, and when she arrived at her friend's house, Deadpool was waiting for her, her friend tortured nearly to death in front of his dogs. She ends the story by saying "That is how you build a prison."
Since then her appearances have become much more sporadic, although it is clear that she and Deadpool are still in contact. She appeared in Cable & Deadpool #36, where Wade approached her to validate his plan to restore his reputation by battling Taskmaster.
Deadpool sent her a braille invitation to his marriage with Shiklah: however, due to a mishap with Wade's less-than-perfect grasp of braille, she gets to a gang funeral instead, utterly oblivious to her error.
In keeping with the humorous tone of Deadpool's stories, Al's personality was not what one would expect from an imprisoned old blind woman. She exhibits toughness, is cynical in the extreme, and is able to beat even the wisecracking title character in a battle of insults. When they matched wits, Al usually got the better of Deadpool, making his pranks backfire and treating him like a spoiled child. Al even once sabotaged all of Deadpool's weapons, her rationale being that his death would be the worst-case scenario, and then she wouldn't have to worry about retaliation.
Despite their antagonistic relationship, Blind Al occasionally showed that she genuinely cared for Wade, as when she refused to leave him after being granted her freedom, and baked him a cake when he attempted to become a hero.
Deadpool gave Al Deuce the Devil Dog (which Weasel had won from Foggy Nelson in a poker game) as a joke. Although the dog adored her, she seemed to think of him as nothing but a moronic flea-factory, and promptly had him fixed.
Questions of identity
It has been implied that Blind Al might actually be Betsy Ross, a.k.a. Golden Girl, when Deadpool called her "Golden Girl" while urging her to escape. This has since been retconned as a red herring,[volume & issue needed] and is most likely a reference to the television series The Golden Girls.
Joe Kelly originally intended her to be the first Black Widow: "We were going to do the origin story of Blind Al, and show her as the original Black Widow and show how she was responsible for Wade getting cancer". This, likewise, is no longer considered canon.[volume & issue needed]
One fact about her has never been altered, however. It is implied that she dated Captain America before he was frozen in the 1940s. She described her last meeting with him while giving Wade a pep talk and, although never named, the description matches.[original research?] She also had possession of a golden medal from him, which she gave to Deadpool. When he later lost it on a battlefield, Captain America found it and recognized its origin, even mentioning the name "Al".
It is unclear exactly how old Al is, however during his series' run in the late 1990s, Al was noted as a sexagenarian, but she later claims to remember Flapper-dresses, which she disliked because they made her butt look big. In a later issue of the same series she is referred by Montgomery (Burns), a precog at Landau, Luckman & Lake, as a septuagenarian.
In other media
In the 2016 feature film Deadpool, Blind Al is played by Leslie Uggams. This version is Deadpool's roommate whom he met through an ad placed on Craigslist, a decision Al mournfully regrets midway through the film. Not much is known about this version of Al, only that she has a known affinity for cocaine and has spent time with Wade at the local laundromat helping him get blood stains out of his uniform. Al and Wade have a bizarrely romantic quasi-relationship exemplified in their shared obsession with IKEA furniture, which Wade insists the blind lady assemble by herself without his help.
- Kelly, Joe (w), Denton, Shannon (p), Massengill, Nathan (i), Kindzierski, Jessica (col), Starkings, Richard (let), Idelson, Matt (ed). "Road Trip Roulette" Deadpool 10 (November 1997), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Daredevil & Deadpool Annual, 1997
- Kelly, Joe (w), Woods, Pete (p), Massengill, Nathan (i), Sotomayor, Chris (col), Starkings, Richard (let), Idelson, Matt (ed). "We Don't Need Another Hero" Deadpool 8 (September 1997), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Kelly, Joe (w), Woods, Pete (p), Wong, Walden (i), Sotomayor, Chris (col), Starkings, Richard (let), Idelson, Matt (ed). "Justice, Order, & Luck or...Skinless Drooler's Day Off!" Deadpool 20 (September 1998), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Kelly, Joe (w), Walter McDaniel (p), Livesay, John (i), Hicks, Matt (col), Starkings, Richard (let), Idelson, Matt (ed). "Smells Like Prologue" Deadpool 21 (October 1998), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Kelly, Joe (w), Walter McDaniel (p), Rodriguez, Anibal (i), Sotomayor, Chris (col), Starkings, Richard (let), Idelson, Matt (ed). "In Absentia" Deadpool 14 (March 1998), New York, NY: Marvel Comics
- Cable & Deadpool #36, March 2007
- Deadpool #27, June 2014
- Deadpool #9, October 1997
- Reflections: Talking Everything with Joe Kelly, Comic Book Resources, February 27, 2007
- Deadpool 3rd series #25, February 1999
- Deadpool #06, June 1997
- Deadpool #19, August 1998
- "Leslie Uggams Cast in Deadpool Movie for 20th Century Fox". Retrieved July 10, 2015.