The completely irreverent and, “Are they seriously serious here” comic is here this week and it’s titled The Unbelievable Gwenpool. Taking the colors and the sex of Spider-Gwen and mixing them with Deadpool — we have a comic that’s slapstick, self referencing and downright absurd.
But is it good?
The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1 (Marvel Comics)
Check out the full preview here. The solicit reads:
2015’s overnight internet sensation takes center stage in her own ongoing series! Gwen Poole used to be a comic book reader just like you…until she woke up in a world where the characters she read about seemed to be real! But they can’t be, right? This must all be fake, or a dream or something, right? And you know what that means…NO CONSEQUENCES! Could Gwenpool truly be Marvel’s least responsible and least role-modely character to date? She can if she tries!
Why does this book matter?
Christopher Hastings writes what could be a smash hit or a total disaster, which is a curious enough dichotomy for you to take a look! The fact is the character is aware of her somewhat absurd look but also her unrivaled non-notoriety which makes for potentially successful comedy. Meanwhile artists Gurihiru and Danilo Beyruth combine to capture the hearts and minds of fanboys across the nation!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
A lot goes on in this issue starting with a semi-introduction to the character, two mercenary missions, a brief but successful check in with supporting characters, and a compelling cliffhanger. This is good comics as it balances action, quips and moves the plot along all the way through. You’re bound to find some entertainment value here.
So what about Gwenpool? She’s easy to like and even fully admits she’s unskilled and has no superpowers to speak of. Her introduction seems to suggest she’s from another universe although there’s no explanation from where or when she came. I’m sure there are some tie-in series I’m missing here, but new readers will be lost as far as her true beginnings. That’s okay though, because she’s fun and uncomplicated. She’s aware she’s in a form of entertainment (one of the more successful jokes points out she’s not sure which medium she’s in) and her inability to fight works to land a few jokes too. The bottom line is she’s not annoying and could have easily been so. She’s basically Deadpool but always has a big grin, is super hyper, and is fun loving. That’s a rather easy character to like.
That’s pretty great.
She’s also doing interesting things in this issue. From stopping a bank robbery, stealing a boat, and even taking on Sentinels, Gwenpool #1 manages to stuff a lot of content in here; it never drags and is well paced all the way to the interesting cliffhanger.
The art throughout this issue works quite well with some fantastic, detailed, more realistic art in the prologue by Beyruth. His style does well to land the humorous realization that Gwenpool is totally murdering people and destroying a bank as the “good guy”. The remaining pages by Gurihiru are much more simplistic and cartoony and do well with the comedic timing. I dare you to not laugh at a “stealth scream” moment and it also works when a supporting mercenary store clerk is developed too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Although probably never intended, the character is a bit flat in this issue. She’s got a big grin, seems to take nothing seriously, and is generally a bit crazy…and that’s it. Like a cartoon character she’s a walking grin. There is one moment where she shows some emotion that seems to humanize and characterize her, but for the most part it’s hard to get a bead on the character here as she’s never developed. Bottom line, there is no anagnorisis.
The humor isn’t laugh out loud either. There are definitely moments that made me crack a smile, but for the most part much of the humor isn’t very funny. Take for instance a reference to the lawyers in the Marvel universe. She name drops two as if everyone knows those are the only two main Marvel lawyers. It’s the type of humor you know is a joke, but can’t muster a laugh towards. Humor works differently for everyone so maybe you’ll find this hilarious, but overall this issue has lots of things happen with “jokes” along the way that seem more like tries.
By the end of this issue does Gwenpool prove why she needs to exist? I’m not so sure. So far the character is rather flat and hard to care about and appears to be more of a happy-go-lucky Deadpool knockoff than anything else. Tonally it’s a bit all over the place too. In the opening she kills with a big smile on her face, but the violent humor disappears for the rest and it’s more slapstick and all ages humor.
Is It Good?
With more issues Gwenpool may define herself, but this issue doesn’t do enough to prove she even needs to exist — although there’s certainly promise.
While not all that funny, the comic is fun and done well enough. There’s plenty of action, it moves at a good clip and establishes supporting characters well. The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1 ends with a cliffhanger that’ll make you come back too, but don’t expect to know or care why Gwenpool even has a book to call her own.
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