Of all the fourth-wall breaking, self-aware characters currently running around the Marvel Universe, the wackiest, most irreverent of them all is Gwenpool. Neither an incarnation of Gwen Stacy nor Deadpool, Gwendolyn Poole was a fan of Marvel Comics who suddenly found herself transported into the Marvel U and taking on the medium-bending identity of the unbelievable Gwenpool. Armed with her extensive knowledge of Marvel Comics continuity, Gwenpool is the star of a new miniseries Gwenpool Strikes Back by Leah Williams and David Baldeón, and the debut issue is easily the zaniest appearance the character has had to date.
A little over a year since starring in her own title, the miniseries finds Gwenpool coming to the realization that she has a new solo story and quickly introduces readers to who she is in her usual hyper-verbal way. As the debut issue quickly unfolds, Gwenpool stages a bank heist, putting her directly on a collision course with the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man as hijinks quickly ensue and the encounter going about as well for Peter Parker as those familiar with Gwenpool can imagine.
Some of the recurring elements in Williams' previous work for Marvel has been both a sharply pronounced sense of wit and a deep love for the characters of the Marvel Universe. Sharing those qualities with the title character, that really makes Williams one of the most natural choices to pen the continuing adventures of Gwenpool. The only thing flying faster and more furious than the bullets are the jokes. and this issue is jam-packed with them. The jokes work for the most part, especially for savvy readers who are accustomed to the character's background and unqiue approach to smashing through the fourth-wall. And while the opening issue runs heavy on dialogue given Gwenpool's panache for it, Williams keeps the action moving steadily along.
Given her loud and wacky nature, Gwenpool might not be everyone's particular cup of tea, but the same could be said about Deadpool, Howard the Duck, or any wise-cracking comic book character, really. Not quite as unhinged as Wade Wilson, Gwenpool's own comedic voice is decidedly more bizarre than her last starring appearances but they're not really out of character for her. With Spider-Man guest-starring in the debut issue and the Fantastic Four slated to appear in the follow-up, the new miniseries takes place even more firmly in the heart of the current Marvel Universe than ever before.
Baldeón, fresh off illustrating the recent Domino miniseries, is joined by color artist Jesus Aburtov to render the colorful eye-catching return of Gwen. Gwenpool has always been a relatively bright, vibrant character -- a figure leading a bubblegum pop tour of the Marvel Universe -- and the art team more than delivers from medium-bending monologues to the reader to a back-and-forth exchange between Gwen and Spidey fresh off the heels of a gun-toting bank robbery. There is a slapstick element to the book that has always been present with the character and the art team is able to channel that signature sense of fun.
True to its title, Gwenpool Strikes Back has the eponymous, irreverent Marvel character return with a vengeance and slated to cross paths with the biggest names in the Marvel Universe. Somehow even more zany than ever before, Williams makes the character her own with a rapid-fire, hyper-verbal first issue elevated by Baldeón's fan-favorite artistic flair. Wonderfully weird and a clear labor of love from the creative team, the new miniseries repositions Gwenpool as the wackiest new Marvel character in recent memory.