Gwenpool Strikes Back #1 Review

Writer: Leah Williams

Art Team: David Baldeon, Jesus Aburtov, VC’s Joe Caramagna

Release Date: August 14, 2019

Cover Price: $3.99

Gwenpool is a  character people fall into one of two camps about, they either love the character and concept, or they absolutely trash it any opportunity they’re given.  I happen to be on Team Gwenpool. Having loved Chris Hastings take on the character, with the team of Gurihiru on art duties, I quickly fell in love with the humor of the book. Couple that with Gwenpool’s take on super heroics, panel jumping ‘powers’, and some great guest stars it resulted in me picking up all issues of the series and event Christmas specials involved in with Gwen.  So needless to say the new creative team has my full attention so lets discuss whats cooking.

The issue begins in a very unique way while also catching up new readers on the concept at play here with Gwenpool the character. As Gwenpool releases she once again has her own title, she tries to get her feet underneath her, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a bank robbery in an effort, as we find out through her looking back on things, to secure funds to get super powers and stay relevant in the course of Earth 616 continuity. It’s all a very tongue and cheek book, and always has been, about the characters attempts to stay in publication, and how difficult that is at Marvel, especially without powers of any kind, and not being a native of that world … well not exactly no powers as we soon find out.

After a ridiculous exchange with the teller at the bank, Gwenpool is quickly interrupted by Spider-Man, who obviously is on scene to attempt to stop the robbery.  Gwenpool plays off the bank job as her investigating a radiation leak (she probably saw Chernobyl), tossing the money aside to a pregnant lady, as the character begins to pick apart Spider-Man, eventually asking for him to bite her so she can gain the radiation powers he has.  Spider-Man sours on this exchange with the wacky Gwenpool, webbing her up for  the cops to deal with as he gets the citizens to safety, and that’s when things really begin to take a turn for the bonkers. So far, despite a totally different creative team at the team, I think the Gwenpool Strikes Back title does a very good job of mimicking the look and feel of the previous solo title, while also introducing a bit of its own flavor into the mix.  I’m not sure this title in the first issue does much to turn long time haters of the character into fans, but myself as a fan coming into things here, is very pleased with both art and story given to me so far. Hell even my favorite character Spider-Man makes an appearance to sweeten the deal so I’m having fun.

Back to the events at hand in the second half of the book, the pace of things really begins to pick up. A webbed up by Spider-Man on his way out the door Gwenpool, gets quickly freed by none other than what looks like a dying radioactive version of herself … weird I know right?  They trade places, buying Gwenpool enough time to hop between panels to remain free from the cops or Spider-Man for the time being, something she’s known to do from time to time. However this time she can see her story doesn’t have long to be told, so she needs to come up with a plan quickly to keep it going.  Does Gwen come up with a trick in time to keep the mini series moving forward or is this the end of the character all together? Well I’m not going to spoil that for you, although I think you can put the answer together for yourself, but I dig what happens here, and it flows a bit with how the previous series was trending which I’m totally on-board with, and even taking the next step too which is nice to see this crazy little character develop a bit.

It boils down to this book is a fun take on the Marvel Universe, and in a day and age where every story seems to want to change everything again, or kill a hero, I’ve come to count on titles like Gwenpool to fill the fun void for me, with Leah Williams and company here to deliver right now.  I look forward to Gwen really realizing what she can do, seeing how it will get her into hot water, and than how she’ll stumble out of it and this creative team seems to be a good fit to continue what the last one was so good at establishing.  I did get lost a bit on my first read through, with what feels like a bit of all the randomness that occurs, but when you get a better idea of it all coming full circle by the end of the issue, going back a reread is all a pretty fun. It proves to be a one shot story that Gwenpool wills to be more.

As a whole reviewing a Gwenpool issue is a tough thing to do and this new mini-series is no different. I always feel like I’m trying to defend my love for the character, while trying to explain the fourth wall breaking, and panel manipulation going on on the page at the same time, and feel I never do any of it justice. That being said I love how this new mini is setup and handled, as the new creative team eases any concerns the character might feel different right away.

Final Thoughts:

Williams and company get new and old readers on-board quickly, before heading off to a world of Marvel wackiness only Gwenpool can show us, and I cant wait for more.


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