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The Unbelievable Gwenpool #24

by Charles Martin on January 10, 2018

The Unbelievable Gwenpool #24
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Artists/Colourists: GuriHiru
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

A lot of Marvel titles are feeling the sting of cancellation right now. While some creators send their plucky heroes off to be SHIELD agents - the Marvel version of Mommy and Daddy sending your dog to "a nice farm upstate" - things are different for Gwenpool. 

Since Gwen became full-on medium aware, she understands cancellation better than any Marvel character since John-Byrne-era She-Hulk. Gwenpool has about 40 pages left. And she knows it; in her last issue, she described her plight in those exact words.

So let's devote half of those final pages to a heist caper with fave supporting character Batroc! 

They're gonna rip off the Casino in the Sky, and not even the best security tech can stop Gwen's comic-fu along with a heaping helping of kicks and leaps. The story evolves - eventually - into a perfect farewell concert, delivering endearing characterization, hilarious dialogue, and eye-popping GuriHiru art.

GuriHiru's art is always impressive, but they've truly outdone themselves here. There is one Gwen in one panel that feels slightly less than perfect. Everything else is wall-to-wall wonderful.

The details Chris Hastings works into the plot even show why this is the right time for Gwenpool to say goodbye. The heist uses some brand-new twists on Gwen's "I know we're in a comic" powers. It's a stylish way of demonstrating that the title's premise is far from played out. But ominously, one of the newest and coolest of these twists is Batroc's idea. Gwen's medium awareness is becoming infectious; she's gotta go before the entire Marvel universe fills up with snarky 4th wall breakers.

What about her current state of mind? Turning to a familiar face and familiar antics could be seen as a form of denial. And hasn't she already made it up to "bargaining" on the Kübler-Ross grief-stage thingy? Is she just retreading her last story arc?

No! After bargaining comes depression and acceptance. And we don't really want to read a whole issue of depressed Gwen, do we? Let's do a little more bargaining! With Batroc!

The final pages deliver a modest slice of depression anyway. It's just enough of a feelings bomb to remind us that yes, we love this character, and no, we don't want to say goodbye. And then we get a splendid twist suggesting that the final issue is going to deliver acceptance in a big, bold way. It's going to be awesome.

The harshest criticism of this penultimate issue is that it takes just a bit too long to get rolling. Gorgeous GuriHiru vistas unfold and the heist starts coming together, but it can't shake that "OMG, we're running out of time" feeling. Until it inevitably does.

Maybe it's when Gwen starts joking about how incredibly old Batroc is: "One time I saw your first issue on Antiques Roadshow." Or maybe you're the snooty cultured sort and you click into "I love this" mode as soon as Batroc starts singing "I regret nothing" on page one. Long before it's over, this issue will jolly you out of your cancellation blues and remind you why you love this title. Yes, Gwenpool is ending. But it's not over yet, and by the last page of #24, it shows every sign of going out on top.

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Charles Martin's picture
I am gonna feel like an idiot if Gwen becomes a SHIELD agent in #25.