I am a huge Gwenpool fan (link to my article I wrote on how you should read her comics and be a fan as well). With that said, I have mixed views on the 5 part miniseries Gwenpool Strikes Back.
While Leah Williams claimed she would take into account Gwen’s previous characterization and continue on in a manner that is accurate I do not feel it is. In the creator Christopher Hasting’s run of Gwenpool, Gwen is of course a little strange but she is simply trying to figure out how to deal with living in the comic books she reads and is a huge fan of. Williams’ Gwenpool is simply stated: Cringey. The feeling I get from the issues is a lot of changes to Gwen’s character and it doesn’t read like Gwen anymore. She cannot go a few sentences without referencing a meme or making an obscene comment. While Gwenpool is weird and quirky it seems to be going too far making it all cringe worthy.
The Real Gwenpool
Below are some comic panels that represent the true characteristics of Gwenpool from her first solo series:
The 4th Issue
Christopher Hastings wrote one page of the comic which was nice to see the original creator back writing Gwenpool. Additionally, all the versions of Gwenpool from her appearances over various comics appeared in this issue. It had a nostalgic feel and I enjoyed seeing the original/real Gwenpools and how they acted compared to this new interpretation.
The 5th Issue
I was shocked. This issue was by far the best out of the whole series. It was so good I had tears in my eyes because it is the end. Gwenpool comes and goes from series and its always a tough goodbye.
Additionally, this issue reveals Gwenpool is a mutant and she enters Krakoa through a gate. Only mutants can enter the gates and Krakoa meaning she must be one. She also gets her own iconic data page seen in House of X, Powers of X and the Dawn of X X-Men series.
Admittedly, I tried and tried to like this series but with each issue it got harder. I questioned whether or not to stop buying the small series all together. I kept buying the issues in hopes it would get better. To clarify, I would like to state I am not trying to harshly criticize but rather state my opinion as a slightly disappointed Gwenpool mega fan.
Writers try to have a new perspective on the characters they write and that I understand. However, this feels like a whole new character and as if the creative team is trying to hard to impress a small audience. Sure Gwenpool would probably love memes but would she be quoting them every 5 seconds, absolutely not. She is quirky but not obnoxious there is a fine line.
The last issue was so good, I question whether it makes up for the rest of the terrible issues. I see how perhaps the whole thing was a symbol of how she grows to eventually become the great hero we see come visit young Gwenpool in Unbelievable Gwenpool. However, it could have been done differently. Now, future writers will take this series into account for her characterization.