Most folks rolled their eyes at the introduction of Gwenpool, and rightfully so — at face value it seems like a cash grab series that is nonsensical simply to ride Deadpool’s coattails. After reading this volume, though, I no longer agree! This is a fun character who adds a new layer to the meta nature of comics. We delve into this third volume to determine if it’s worthy of your time, whether you follow the series or not.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Gwen Poole continues to make friends and influence people across the Marvel Universe! But what will some of Marvel’s greatest heroes make of Gwen and her bizarre perspective on the world they live in? Whatever happens, it’ll be Unbelievable!
Why does this matter?
Collecting The Unbelievable Gwenpool #11 to #15 and the holiday special, this series is a warm and fuzzies sort of tale that’s good for all ages. Myisha Haynes draws the majority of these issues (with Gurihiru and Alti Firmansyah working on two others) with a fun cartoony style that suits the seriousness of the title. Plus Deadpool shows up, so you can’t lose there!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Her heart just isn’t in it!
Though collecting five issues, there are three different stories in this collection, each of which has an endearing quality that’s hard to resist. The first is a done in one which has Gwenpool take on a contract to kill a vampire. The second involves Arcade throwing Gwenpool and her friends into a LARP loving fantasy fan’s wet dream, and the third involves Ghost Rider and dwarves. There’s also a holiday special issue added to this collection — which we flipping loved to no end back when it came out in single issue form. If you were to define this collection in one word it’d be nonsensical, but in a good way. The events are wacky, Gwenpool is endearingly cute and really, the entire thing is hard to hate.
Each story shows a different side to the character too. The first shows how boredom can get Gwenpool into trouble, the second shows her dynamic between her friends, and the third shows she can work well with others (in this case Hawkeye). That gives the entire volume a nice mix of stories.
Christopher Hastings writes most of this collection (save for a few of the stories in the holiday special) and that keeps the tone just right. Given Hastings’ work on other comedic stories, it’s clear the guy knows how to set up a joke and also create a situation for characters to chew the scenery. A key to most of the humor is the banter, which Hastings nails. Gwenpool always seems to have a quick reply or retort to spice up the dialogue and keep it sharp and quick. Her meta banter is particularly funny which Hastings brings to a new level as she meta-banters it up with Deadpool.
As I said above, the art has a fun cartoony feel that’s hard to not enjoy. It’s light and fluffy just like the comedy and it’s quite good at capturing many of the visual gags. What makes it work so well is how it could easily be the style of a Saturday morning cartoon, but it maintains some level of adult humor too. It’s not raunchy by any means, but some of the jokes can get PG-13.
I love the little hat.
It can’t be perfect can it?
As is the case with many trade paperbacks the main story ends on a cliffhanger that’s somewhat upsetting. Give us the whole story Marvel! It’s the sort of cliffhanger that could have been at the opening of an issue, not the end, which makes it that much less satisfying.
Deadpool’s inclusion is a nice surprise, though the character sort of just disappears at one point making you wonder what the deal was there. I haven’t read this entire run so maybe that’s normal, but his appearance seemed more important and special than it’s handled by the time it transitions to its wrap up.
Is It Good?
This is a genuinely funny good time that’s cute and endearing for all ages. Any haters should know it’s slightly different from Deadpool, but if you love that character you’re bound to like this.