THE UNBELIEVABLE GWEN-POOL #1
Written by Christopher Hastings
Art by Gurihiru, Danilo Beyruth, & Tamra Bonvillain
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Imagine the Pink Ranger as a Merc with a Mouth…
After gaining a sidekick, a hideout, and a rad new form of transportation in the prologue, Gwenpool is looking for a new job to score some cash. From giant robots to walking cephalopods, she has her work cut out for her. After taking care of her case, a rather bigheaded villain comes onto the scene to push Gwenpool toward a sudden change in occupation.
This issue surprisingly won me over, though I was wary coming into the first issue of The Unbelievable Gwenpool. Its prologue felt like a Deadpool comic, which I was not fond of, but once the main story got going, Gwenpool took on a life of its own. Gwen became a much more distinct character rather than another Deadpool clone, something that needed to happen for this series. She’s also actually funny, rather than endlessly throwing out quips. On her own, Gwenpool is actually a cool character.
Christopher Hastings’ writing of Gwenpool becomes more believable and interesting as the first issue progresses. It didn’t seem as though she came into her own as a character until the main story, in which we get to see how she responds to and interacts with people. Within the prologue, however, there’s a really great and rather unexpected interaction between her and a policeman that points to the reality of living in the Marvel universe as an ordinary person. His handling of the situation felt like something many people might do, but also addressed that not everyone sees the value of doing things by the book. In the main story, Hastings truly makes Gwenpool shine. She has some hilarious one-liners and is a big goof without minimizing her skills or abilities. Moving forward, it seems as though Hastings will do great work in establishing Gwenpool as a character separate from the -Pool family.
Like the story, the art in The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1 is distinct in the prologue compared to the main story. Danilo Beyruth and Tamra Bonvillain work well together in the prologue. This first part of the issue is scratchy and relatively dark, mirroring the more serious tone of the initial pages of the comic. However, while this art was well executed, it didn’t do much to establish Gwenpool as a character in her own right. In fact, it felt as though she was much more of a Deadpool facsimile rather than her own character.
Gurihiru’s work helps to bring out more of what separates Gwenpool as her own character. The art is bright and youthful, playing off of various motifs throughout the issue and driving home the character’s unique sense of humor. There are some great scenes that literally made me laugh out loud, the comedy enhanced by Gurihiru’s playful style.
It’s hard to fully divorce Gwenpool from the larger Deadpool cast of characters, considering that many of them borrow the Merc with a Mouth’s style of humor, communication, and breaking the fourth wall. Yet, through the issue, she was able to be portrayed as someone who is rather different and is more likely to bring new things to the table rather than more of the same. I didn’t fully expect to be on board with Gwenpool, but I’m glad I gave it a try. The art and writing are great, though art in the latter part of the issue felt more unique and personalized to the character.
This series may be worth a try if you aren’t quite a fan of Deadpool, but don’t mind Deadpool-adjacent. Rather than heavy on the quips that define him as a character, The Unbelievable Gwenpool infuses gunplay and mercenaries with a lighter and much more palatable tone and style, never losing sight of the character in effort to connect her to Marvel’s modern cash cow.
The Verdict: 8.5/10