By Chloe Maveal
Coming as little surprise to anyone, Gwenpool has become a beloved Marvel character to rival the character she was meant to be riffing on. Created by Chris Bachalo for the variant cover of Secret Wars #2 following the booming popularity of Spider-Gwen and subsequent Gwen variants of the mid-2010’s, Gwenpool has since had plenty of her own claims to fame as well as her own name and backstory (say goodbye to Gwen Stacy: Girl Deadpool, say hello to Gwendolyn Poole!). Only recently has the new series Gwenpool Strikes Back fallen into the hands of writer Leah Williams and artist David Baldeon and let me tell you…it is a wild ride.
Of course, by “wild ride” I mean fast-paced pages of bizarre monologuing, some good old fashioned time-warping, fourth wall breaking, and — most importantly — some delightfully filthy commentary. But with so much going on I worry that you won’t be able to catch some of the dirty nuances and shitposting references of the youths and well…that would just be a shame. And lo, here I am, reader, your learned pervert guide through Gwenpool Strikes Back #1.
We open with pink thought bubbles floating through blank, black space featuring Gwen’s very…special not-so-internal monologue about if the reader can empathize with her thoughts around wanting to squeeze pregnant women like a tube of toothpaste or pop them like a zit (Yes, right, off to a good start.) This gets cut a bit short as Gwen seems to realize her inner thoughts are in a comic and a rift in the page appears.
In true Gwenpool fashion, she pops from the top of the page appearing to have pulled the panel down and introducer herself; welcoming the reader to a solo Gwenpool story. But it’s time to start the story of course and as Gwen pulls on the corner of the page wondering if the story she’s in is only going to be a one shot when she gets a bit grumpy because…
The creators gave her a cold open! (Rude.)
The exposition is entirely left up to her – as is getting the whole monologuing out loud thing under control. Turns out Gwen hasn’t so much been rambling to the reader as she has been voicing her toothpaste-squeezy thoughts to a poor pregnant woman sitting on the floor of a bank…that Gwen is trying to rob
This is where the top-notch “shitposting” speak begins and she says that, full offense, she has no interest in coming back to the universe where she is from and that the writer wants us to know that she’s really “with it”. Full offense is best used when there’s something bad that needs to be said and golly you know you’re meant to be sorry but you just caaaaan’t. We’ve all been there.
Here we get to see the appearance of TopTube, which we can assume is meant to be Gwen’s version of YouTube. But between you and me and the cover where Gwen has tied up Peter Parker pseudo-shibari style with a big ol’ grin on her face, it’s fair to say that Gwen is a top. I’m speculating here but a chair tie that can keep Peter Parker parked for a bit? Not exactly done by an amateur if ya know what I mean.
Almost the entire page is dances featured in the video game Fortnite. Another joke at the expense of the writer being “with it”, Gwen is explaining the differences between her and Deadpool (as well as a quick rundown of her history as a character) as she flosses and hype dances across the panels in a way that is only understandable if you’ve been on youtube, instagram, or in the presence of any teen to 20-something dudebros or children under the age of 15 in the past three years.
Gwen makes a point to prove that she’s telling the truth about her history and her purpose in the series by making heart hands and saying that she’d let Dinah Lance (a.k.a Black Canary) kick her in the face and she would thank her. To be fair, who wouldn’t? But with hyperboles becoming more and more prevalent in expressing everyday feelings and outwardness of masochistic or outlandish sexual proclivities becoming less of a shocker, Gwen is right on brand with the everyday millennial hero of her universe. Good for her, amiright?
Obviously this is followed by an astoundingly outdated dab and a quick “Okay good talk bye!” which just feels like the nail in the “Oh this is far too relevant to right now” character coffin.
We’re popped back in to Gwen’s here-and-now inside the bank but she once again gets distracted. On the bright side, this time it’s about how sharks have two penises!
Ask me if I knew that before reading this issue.
Now ask me if I googled it after reading it.
(No, and yes, respectively.) (How do you even DEAL with two dicks?! Poor sharks.)
It’s okay though because the distraction switches almost immediately back to the pregnant woman from before. Only this time Gwen thinks up the famous little bunny holding a sign emoji that says “Squeeze this lady.” You know…
| THIS |
| GUY |
For those of you who are not as with it or haven’t been on social media much, this little text-based friend is the very best way to deliver a good call-out or some extra as hell info to the masses. Why try to come up with the words when you can have a small bun hold them up? It just makes delivery easier. Especially when you’re talking about squeezing out a pregnant woman while openly threatening her to “keep that nugget shoved up there” or else she’ll call the cops.
At this point Gwen has begun a back-and-forth with the bank teller who is trying to get her the money she’s demanded. The rub is, he needs to call his bitchy manager in order to get access to the safe. They have an entire page back and forth about how he really doesn’t need to, it’s fine and “it’s really no problem” that reflects so hard on the expectations that older generations have put in place.
If someone asks something that requires a manager and it’s a big deal, I can tell you right now that if the person asking is in the millennial age bracket, they will probably protest and have this exact back and forth because holy cats, most of us have worked the shitty service job and know that “speak to your manager” customer. Even during a bank robbery, Gwen doesn’t wanna be that person to that teller.
But oh well, too late because here comes Spider-Man swinging in anyway!
Gwenpool asks the lady to go give her unborn child a good education, drawing a cowgirl hat on her head as she does so. I’M JUST NOTING THIS, CHLOE. – Ed
Gwen is using her geiger counter to help rid the bank of radiation (see also: gaslight Spider-Man).. Seems funny that she knows that Peter is radioactive and yet she starts from the bottom and seems to linger a bit on Peter’s crotch… and again on his nipples. Again – who wouldn’t? But Peter is thrown less by Gwen getting a bit too close to his Spider-bits than he is by her unmasking him – gasp!
Well, it’s meant to be a gasp. But as Gwen explains, it’s not really the first time she’s unmasked a Spider-Man. She infamously did so to Miles Morales during The Unbelievable Gwenpool series (and completely ruined his life in one universe), and Peter Parker has been unmasked plenty of times before. Either way, it’s pretty clear that Gwen is not so great with the concept of boundaries.
Plus she says that she just wanted to take off his mask to get access to his mouth. I don’t know if you’ve ever done freaky stuff with someone who is wearing a mask, but even though there’s no internal monologue from Gwen in this bit, you know she knew exactly what she was thinking about… geiger counter ruse or not.
Here we are given a full page spread of Gwen’s high school senior photo from her reality; crossed eyes, geiger counter, unmasked, and sporting a giant, fake Steve Rogers quote about having to use your hands to wipe yourself when there’s no toilet paper in public bathrooms. With all of the funny year book quotes floating around reddit these days, this seems pretty spot on.
Gwen makes a point of bringing up some primo deep cuts in the Spider-Man history in order to blackmail Peter. Aunt May robs a tattoo shop at gunpoint waaaay back in Howard the Duck when she’s under the control of The Ringmaster, and Jill Stacy – Gwen Stacy’s cousin – was briefly Peter Parker’s love interest when Mary Jane was thought dead.
Both of these things are prime for blogging about to the world if, as she says, Peter doesn’t give her some of his radioactive Spider DNA. Considering that Gwen inevitably knows everything about how Spider-Man works because she is, in fact, a superhero based around meta comic book knowledge, this is without a doubt her asking for him to give it to her.
This page is only made more magical by Peter shooting a big, globby white web at her in retaliation. Good. Lord.
Dating simulators (or ‘dating sims’) have gotten massive over the last few years; almost always featuring manga-style artwork, scantily clad dating options, and suggestive situations and conversations. Now depending on your particular predilections, you may or may not have seen that these dating sims aren’t always based around humans. (That’s right, perverts. You, too, can spend hours on the internet pretending to hit on slutty monsters.)
It’s even better because Gwen is completely tied up with web and helpless on the floor and more often than not, hentai and monster-related porn are based around this aspect of BDSM.
Apparently bananas are radioactive? Again, something that I had to google while reading this issue. Turns out they’re full of a naturally occuring radioactive isotope called 40-K. See? We’re learning things and not just stuff about games where you can bang hot monsters.
Alternate Universe Irradiated Gwenpool keeps the cops busy by throwing up deuces (or peace signs for some of ya’ll) and mentioning she just puked. The only reason this is acceptable is because of her addition of “uwu” which – if you look close enough looks like a contented, bubble-mouthed anime face. You can call internet culture cringey if you want to, but the addition in recent years of delivering gross or bad news with a cute little face just makes the chaos of life a little easier.
While Gwen might be Geegling (see also: googling but hey, copyrights) how to expose herself to radiation to gain “real powers” and not be retconned, her Geegle history clearly has a previously searched term for “How to expose myself.” Maybe you, reader, are not the type to think this is ever something necessary to google; but for exhibitionist (or people who get their sexy kicks by showing their goodies to others whether they’re aware of it or not) – this might be an important search.
Especially if you’re a possible exhibitionist who possibly has to figure out how to do it with an entire bodysuit of a costume.
A close look at the background shows a happy little thought balloon that reads “Suck my Sadness Out —” and a part that’s blocked out by Gwen trying to make sure we can’t read it. I don’t know if any of you are horny as hell and sad all the time, too, but man… I get it. And so do many others of the millennial generation who just want to be a slut and have a good time but also have to deal with debilitating depression and a world that is (in Gwen’s case literally) collapsing around us and that we know we can’t fix because it might just be too late.
Oh wait: uwu
Gwenpool Strikes Back #1
Written by Leah Williams
Drawn by David Baldeon
Colored by Jesus Aburtov
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Chloe Maveal has written all over the comics internet – including pieces published by CBR, WomenWriteAboutComics and The MNT. You can find her on Twitter here!
Editor’s note: I’m not fact-checking any of this filth.