Gwenpool 5 Featured Reviews 

“Gwenpool” #5

By | August 19th, 2016
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Gwenpool begins her new story arc in this issue, and furthers her way into the Marvel universe with a team-up. We’ve seen how her early attempts at heroism have gone, now it’s time to see how well she can work alongside another hero.

Written by Christopher Hastings
Illustrated by Irene Strychalski

Best part of living in a world of comic book heroes? TEAM-UPS, BABY! Gwen meets Miles Morales, SPIDER-MAN!

I admit, I was skeptical of the very idea of Gwenpool when the comic was first announced. After all, she was announced not long after Spider-Gwen, and in the midst of Deadpool’s heightened popularity, so it seemed like an attempt to cash in on the both of them with an inexplicable combination. I’m glad that I was wrong, though, as the Gwenpool we ended up with is clever, capable of standing as her own character, and more than a little entertaining.

Issue 5 is the start of a new story arc, which makes it a good jumping-on point. New readers will get a little in the way of background and summary, so it’s easy to pick it up without missing too many details.

There are a few comics in which fans of superheroes find themselves becoming heroes in their own right, but Gwenpool is a character who was a fan of superhero comics; that is to say, she’s from our world (or a fictional version thereof) who wound up in a comic and knows it. This isn’t the first time a character has been written with such a backstory, but unlike some less successful examples (Superboy Prime, for instance), she knows that her only superpower is plot armor – become a hero and you won’t die until the comic gets cancelled.

In that sense, yes, she is taking a little of Deadpool’s schtick, at least as far as “medium awareness” goes. But being a comic book reader brought into a comic gives her one more edge: she not only knows the tropes and cliches, she knows the characters, which comes in handy when she encounters Miles Morales. As a comic reader herself, Gwen knows the secrets of every character, as long as the secrets have been printed in a comic at some point, which could actually make her a legitimate threat if she ever felt like using that knowledge. At the very least, it gives her the insight to know what seemingly-ridiculous explanations would or would not make sense in the Marvel universe.

At the same time, she’s a little bit genre blind if she fails to realize that working for a mysterious employer who commanded M.O.D.O.K. and working alongside The Terrible Eye and Batroc the Leaper probably means she’s being used for less than noble pursuits. But then, what hero hasn’t been used and manipulated now and then? It’s all part of the journey.

The issue itself is pretty casually paced for the most part, give or take a few moments of action (mostly thanks to Miles), but that gives it time for some nice moments of humor. There’s a particularly amusing moment where Gwen introduces herself to Miles, and she has to note that “not every Gwen is a Stacy” (and given my own concerns from before I read the comic, it’s a reasonable assumption for Miles to make).

Even other characters get some nice humorous scenes, such as with Gwen’s friend Cecil, who is currently a ghost, adapting to his new ethereal existence, and even the mysterious employer gets an amusing moment or two. The timing of the comedic moments are great, thanks in part to the panel spacing and sizes that make the most out of awkward silences and dramatic pauses.

In fact, the artwork in general assists with the humorous and entertaining tone. The colors are bright and energetic, and even in darker scenes such as subway tunnels or the smoke of a fire, there’s nice shading to maintain the mood and feel. The character designs seem just a little bit anime-esque, with large round eyes and curved faces (Gwen’s expressions when she’s fangirling over Spider-Man seem particularly anime-inspired), but at the same time, the style works well with conveying the characters’ expressions and emotions.

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Gwen herself is a very animated character, and it comes through in the art. The little gestures she makes while talking, her wide-eyed enthusiasm, and her endearing smile are all captured nicely by Irene Strychalski, making it easy to get attached to the character. And since she is a fangirl herself, it’s easy for the readers to connect to her; even if the other characters may not get her references, we certainly do.

As far as team-ups go, Miles and Gwen are a good choice; they’re both young and witty heroes, and what’s a Spider-Man without a Gwen (or a Deadpool, as the ongoing team-up series shows)? There wasn’t too much in the way of actually teaming up yet (as Gwen herself notes after getting flung out of a burning building), but this issue still gets the team set and ready, which means next time will let us get to see how well the two can work together.

Final Verdict: 7.9 – A good start to the next Gwenpool storyline. It gets readers invested in the characters, includes some good moments of comedy, and makes nice use of Gwen’s knowledge from beyond the fourth wall.

Robbie Pleasant