THe Un­be­LieV­abLe gWen­pOOL

Pool of tal­ent

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! Pub­lisher Marvel Comics

Writer Christo­pher Hastings Artist Guri­hiru

Gwen­pool is the lat­est in a line of comics never meant to be ac­tual comics. There was Spi­der-Gwen, a one-off par­al­lelu­ni­verse story where Peter’s love in­ter­est Gwen Stacy has the spi­der-pow­ers, and DC Bomb­shells, a se­ries of retro WWII-style pin-ups reimag­in­ing DC’s hero­ines. In both cases the au­di­ence said that, ac­tu­ally, they’d buy those comics. In the wake of Spi­der-Gwen, Marvel did vari­ant cov­ers of var­i­ous heroes as Gwen Stacy. Dead­pool be­came Gwen­pool. What larks! But ac­tu­ally, she looks awe­some. Could you make that a thing? And all these comics are fe­male-led. Al­most as if there’s an un­der­served mar­ket cry­ing out for books re­flect­ing their tastes, isn’t it?

That’s how Marvel came to be pub­lish­ing two un­re­lated books with “Gwen” in the ti­tle. And this one’s ter­rific. Gwen Poole is an ec­cen­tric young woman who comes from a uni­verse where Marvel char­ac­ters are… comics char­ac­ters. She has no su­per­pow­ers but she does know ev­ery­one’s se­crets, be­cause she’s been read­ing their comics, and she sets out to be­come a cos­tumed mer­ce­nary.

So far, so meta. But the book doesn’t ponce around wait­ing for you to tell it how clever it is – it’s fast and funny. The art team Guri­hiru is do­ing stun­ning work, com­bin­ing cute­ness (es­pe­cially when it comes to Gwen her­self, who’s guile­lessly sweet even when punch­ing some­one into a fur­nace), odd­ness and vi­o­lence. And as the se­ries goes on it feels like writer Christo­pher Hastings is giv­ing it greater depth. It’s a real odd­ity, but it could shape up into some­thing spe­cial. Ed­die Rob­son

Hastings is best known for long-run­ning we­b­comic The Ad­ven­tures Of Dr McNinja. Read it at: http://bit.ly/drm­c­n­inja.

Gwen­pool: Like Dead­pool, but with more pink.

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