Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Unbelievable Gwenpool, Volume 3: Totally in Continuity Review (Christopher Hastings, Gurihiru)

Totally In Continuity is the first misfire in Christopher Hastings’ otherwise excellent Unbelievable Gwenpool run. Not that it’s completely bad but it’s definitely not as good as the first two books. 

I think that’s because it’s a grab-bag of random stories so this volume feels like a transition/buffer book between the first story arc and the next. It opens with a throwaway story where Gwen’s hired to protect some supernatural folk from Blade the Vampire Hunter. It’s a meh read and unfortunately doesn’t feature series regular Gurihiru’s sublime art. Instead we have to make do with Myisha Haynes’ Squirrel Girl-level art which is plain at best - it’s really no substitute. 

Thankfully Gurihiru returns for the best story here: Gwen and her henchmen are captured by Arcade to be toyed with in a D&D-type deathtrap - good thing Gwen knows she’s in a comic book and can use that knowledge to turn the tables on Arcade! But who else can break the fourth wall? That’s right, Gwen finally meets her (kinda but not really) namesake, Deadpool! 

It’s a funny, subversive story of the kind that this title has done so well. And I loved that she struggled to deal with Deadpool because he’s one of the few Marvel characters she doesn’t read in her world! 

The team-up two-parter with Hawkeye/Kate Bishop and Ghost Rider/Robbie Reyes was readable but not especially compelling and once again had bland art from Haynes. And the Holiday Special was utter crap: an unfunny and uninteresting assortment of bad stories, most of which had nothing to do with Gwen (Red Skull, Punisher, Fin Fang Foom, Pantsgiving whaaat?!)! 

It’s an ok third book but the quality is very uneven throughout. I’m hoping Gurihiru is able to be more involved in the next one and I’m intrigued with the new characters of Gwen’s “real” family, her worried parents and her brother. Even if it reads a bit like he has in this book, I’m glad Hastings hasn’t forgotten that the reason readers (or at least me anyway!) are taken with Gwenpool is because we’re interested in her and her story, not to see her paired up with one established Marvel character after another. 

Gwenpool’s still the best new Marvel ongoing and I’ma still sticking with it but don’t expect much from this third volume.

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