If you haven’t been reading Gwenpool Strikes Back! you probably don’t like meta-comedy of the comic book persuasion. You definitely haven’t been reading my reviews either since I’ve glowed over the first three issues. Likely you won’t read this review either so bugger off I guess! Still here? Okay, why is issue #4 good? It’s a creative bomb of juicy delights!
This fourth issue is going to require you read the first few to enjoy the tapestry Leah Williams and David Baldeon have laid out for us so far. The book opens with Gwenpool speaking in Morse code as the Hulk attempts to kill her on an island where every Marvel hero must fight to the death. This was all crafted by Gwenpool herself so that Marvel wouldn’t cancel her and the sales would prove she can get an ongoing (or at the very least another miniseries). Williams reminds us of this being Gwenpool’s potentially last series, which is a super sad idea. Even Gwenpool’s first writer Christopher Hastings chimes in as a cloud to reveal some new details about her since this is likely it for the character. How sad! It’s a clever and funny edition that continues to show how this series bends your mind.
A lot of the credit for the mind-bending, meta and fourth-wall-breaking stuff goes to Baldeon’s art which is backed up by color artist Jesus Aburtov and letters by Joe Caramagna. You’d think by now Gwenpool jumping out of a panel, messing around in gutters, and generally interacting with the comic itself would get old, but it doesn’t. Baldeon messes around with this in a few different ways that are quite fun and adds a 3D element to the book. I’d love to see a Gwenpool comic that was actually 3D, but I’ll take this any day. There is some incredible panel work done here with Gwenpool climbing comics as if they were physical walls and floors that’ll have you lingering on the page much longer than most books. As always the cover ties into the narrative too which is a clever staple of this series (which I talk all about on the AIPT Comics Podcast).
This book also feels right at home with comics, in general, these days thanks to the multiverse element it taps into. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but it’s fun to think about multiple versions of this character (and some versions actually dying for good).
If you’re a longtime reader of comics, enjoy stories that break the fourth wall, or just want to see some incredible creative juices producing something entirely original check this out. It’s a one of a kind experience.