THE UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #19
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 8/16/17
After her brother Teddy drags her out of the Marvel Universe and back into their reality, Gwen learns that he also teamed up with a group of superheroes to ensure that she never made it to her dreamworld to begin with. Only now it’s beginning to look like they never made it out instead…
Plot: Terrible Eye reveals that Teddy and Gwen’s attempt to return home created a pocket universe that melded their memories together into a new reality, but was not actually their home or their family. With her typical effortless charm, Gwen tries to broker a deal so that the other heroes will stop trying to exile her. If anyone is going to change their future, it’s her.
When the negotiations fall through – mostly because Terrible Eye still wants to erase the Pools’ memories and make them think they’re living their life again – Gwen jumps right out of the comic book once more and tries to find a future page to pop back into. Unfortunately that future just leads to a very angry Miles Morales ready to tell her everything she’s done.
Story: Gwenpool #19 takes a dark turn that is reminiscent of the early issues of the run, only this time the situation is much more personal. When she first found herself in the Marvel Universe, Gwen was prone to easily and had no qualms about it because the characters in the story were just that to her – characters in a story with no connection to her. But over the course of the last 18 issues, Gwen has grown to care for the people surrounding her and learned to control some of her worst impulses. So seeing a future where she not only reverts to reckless violence and manipulation, but revels in it is certainly disheartening.
This is a credit to Christopher Hastings’ writing, for he picked the perfect time to unleash such a dark future. Reuniting Gwen with her family showed readers her more realistic side and reminded them that she’s just a young woman with a relatable comic obsession, but now the situation has been drastically reversed once more. At the same time, it’s easy to believe present Gwen when she promises Miles that she would never purposely hurt him or become the monster he is claiming. The question of how Gwen turns into such a villain is left for a future issue, but the story is well set up in Gwenpool #19.
There was a little too much of the literal running in circles before Miles and Gwen really got down to the meat of the story, but that can be easily forgiven because that part served to showcase the art.
Art: And the art certainly was something to write home about, as Gurihiru once again knock it out of the park. The rich pink color palette is classic Gwenpool, but Naoko Kawano introduces plenty of deeper blue hues to match the darker tone of the story. Even future Gwen gets a costume makeover that exemplifies the new attitude without feeling alien. Despite the more mature elements, the look of each panel remains firmly within the version of the Marvel Universe that Gwen inhabits… except for when it doesn’t.
One of the best parts of this week’s issue, visually speaking, is when Gwen is using her powers for inter-comic travel. Chifuyu Sasaki’s line work brings an almost three-dimensional quality to the pages that really makes it feel as though Gwen is in another dimension falling into a book. The comic has never been more “meta,” and as always the Gurihiru unit rises to the occasion.
Verdict: Gwenpool #19 is an ambitious story that has not yet reached its climax, but it draws readers in more with each issue.
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5