THE UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #6
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Penciller: Irene Strychalski
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 9/14/16
After her less-than-heroic performance last issue, Gwen has to convince Miles that he should keep her around based on her knowledge of comic books. That’s how you know she’s one of us!
Plot: Gwen tries to explain the comic book multiverse to Miles without actually bringing up the fact that she’s read about his adventures as a two-dimensional character on a sheet of paper.
Revealing that his English Lit classmate Damian was previously plotting against him, she sets out to prove that he’s the school bomber Miles is after. This leads to one of the most terrifying moments in the story, as we are brutally reminded that Gwen still doesn’t fully recognize the situations she’s in – and, more importantly, the people she knows – as real.
Story: Gwen desperately yelling “I’m the baby Punisher to your baby Spider-Man” just about sums up her her entire worldview, and it’s both hilarious and horrifying. In a way, Miles was the perfect so-called antagonist for Gwenpool. Their methods are so different, which makes it even more disconcerting to see her pulling out weapons against a hero with whom she wanted to be best friends moments before.
Unfortunately, I felt that both the team-up and the eventual discord between Spider-Man and Gwenpool had much more potential than was utilized. There was a lot more of Gwen’s state of mind to explore, and I would have liked to see Miles work through some of it with her. Instead, the developments at the end of the issue suggest that she will be back fighting monsters that exist outside of herself. While that’s certainly not a problem, I hope that the spark of self-reflection the most recent arc initiated will keep building through the series.
On the bright side, I’ve missed the supporting cast and I’m glad we’ll be spending time with characters like Batroc and Cecil again. Christopher Hastings has done a great job crafting them and making their stories as rich and captivating as Gwen’s.
Art: The action sequences in Gwenpool always pop on the page, and it’s a riot to read Gwen’s often murderous thoughts in pastel bubbles. But perhaps the panels that stand out the most are the simple moments where she is just living her life. This is when Irene Strychalski draws her at her most innocent, and Rachelle Rosenberg’s color palette is no longer purposely out of place in a book about a Deadpool-esque character. Instead, the details of these quiet moments allow readers to see Gwen as a perfectly believable young woman who is as passionate about her hobbies as anyone else.
When it comes to artistic elements that stand out, Clayton Cowles deserves credit for helping give Gwen Poole such a clear voice. From the font used for headers to the spelling on and emphasis on certain phrases, it’s easy to visualize our anti-heroine actually writing or saying these words. All three artists work together to underscore Gwen’s naïveté – making the incongruity of her bubbly personality and her violent actions all the more obvious and alarming.
Speaking of things that are incongruous, I have to bring up the outfit again. This may be a story issue rather than a solely artistic choice, but the more time Gwen spends acting as a peer to Miles, the more uncomfortable I am with her superhero outfit. She seems so young and innocent in the last two issues, and it’s at odds with the now iconic costume that even she herself is displeased with. So I guess I’m campaigning to give Gwenpool pants!
Verdict: Even if I’m disappointed with some plot points in Gwenpool, I can’t deny how invested I’ve already become in this character’s journey and well-being. I can’t wait to learn more about Gwen’s home life, in the meantime I’m looking forward to her upcoming adventures. If you’re looking for large doses of wisecracking and moral ambiguity, you can’t go wrong with this series.