Monday, August 22, 2016

The Unbelievable Gwenpool #5 Review - Marvel Monday


Written by: Chris Hastings
Art by: Irene Strychalski & Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover Price: $3.99

Release Date: October 17, 2016
Review by: Branden Murray

I read the internet rumblings in my spare time and I understand there is a segment of the comic reading population that gives this title and its creative team a lot of heat. Most of the complaints seem to center around people upset, from what I understand, about the property being unoriginal and claiming that GwenPool is just a rip off of two popular characters and nothing much more. I would love to chime in and tell these people they’re so very wrong and there’s so much more to it than that. The problem is, I have very limited free time, not to mention, have you ever tried to tell somebody they’re wrong on the Internet? It’s akin to trying to reason with Darth Vader. I mean, talk all you want, but you’re getting force choked the moment you think he’s convinced in any way, shape, or form. So, while I’m not shouting down internet trolls in regards to Gwenpool, I do proclaim my love from the rooftops each month for this title on this site. So, let’s jump into things here and see how our new arc begins. 

We kick things off with Gwen and her team being summoned by “the Client” who wants to meet with the new team representative. Since Gwen and company dispatched of M.O.D.A.K., formerly their boss, in the previous issue, this secret individual wants to make sure his information is protected. Batroc the Leaper insists they go forward with the meeting and continue to operate as if nothing has happened. He wants to meet this mysterious “Client” fellow and for the group to continue to work freelance missions together. Gwenpool is then nominated (because it’s her book after all) to meet their mysterious funder discreetly and a premise is now established for this book to have some ridiculous fun. 

After a brief reintroduction to Gwen’s friend Cecil (and how he’s returned in a crazy way) we’re transported to a quick fight scene involving Miles Morales (a.k.a. Spider-Man). Spidey takes care of two giant lizard monsters that were running wild throughout the city and then quickly sneaks away, slips out of costume, and heads for the subway in an attempt to get out of dodge and avoid suspicion. However, he bumps into Gwen and her knowledge of the Marvel Universe...she recognizes Miles and flashes the Spider-Man web sling sign with her hands to him on the down low.

This immediately freaks Miles out and sends him into panic mode.  Miles wants to discover exactly how Gwen has figured out his identity. The two characters quickly make nice after a lie/explanation by Gwenpool and the characters next move is to head for higher ground.

Once above sea level, the two heroes see a Miles' school burst into flames from a sudden explosion. The two change clothes and charge head first into the burning building to save Spider-Man’s fellow classmates including long time Miles best friend Genke. 

As things wind down, I did get a little confused as we’re provided three separate teasers as cliffhangers. The first is “the Client” delaying some sort of plan; it seems he has in place, to watch a Judge Judy rip off program. While the second cliffhanger is Miles who upon arriving home after a long day is introduced to his new tutor which happen to be Gwen. Our final teaser is what appears to be some aliens trying to communicate with the remaining team being all alieny and talking about Gwen. While I don’t understand much from any of these three snippets, based on how this comic has read in the past five issues, I know these are questions that Hastings will quickly provide some answers to so I don’t fret too much. 

All in all, this was a solid, but not spectacular issue of my favorite looney hero going right now. Art duties were handled by a fill in team of Irene Strychalski and Rachelle Rosenberg this issue. They did an admirable job of filling in for series regular Gurihiru (who’s work I’ve looked forward to each month), but there were a few sports where the art looked overly cartoony making the book feel like it was drawn for a much younger audience. Hastings, on the other hand, continues to kill on writing duties while managing to fill it with a worthwhile story and entertaining jokes. He is able to maintain the perfect balance of humor, action, and story beats which is rare these days for writers to pull off so consistently. 

Bits and Pieces:
If you’ve been a fan of Gwenpool from the beginning, this is more of the same to keep you interested in the premise of a new arc going forward. If you’re still one of those people on the fence regarding this character and her namesake title, I think this issue and book overall would go a long way towards charming that cold, cold heart of yours. Basically, Gwenpool is worth the open spot on anybody’s pull list that’s looking for a top of the line comedy adventure.

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