Fans went crazy for Spider-Gwen, but what about Gwenpool? Even I’m not sure how her first headline gig is going to turn out…
Your Major Spoilers review of Gwenpool Holiday Special #1 awaits!
GWENPOOL HOLIDAY SPECIAL #1
Writer: Charles Soule/Margaret Stohl/Gerry Duggan/Christopher Hastings
Artist: Langdon Foss/Juan Gedeon/Danilo S. Beyruth/Gurihiru
Colorist: Megan Wilson/Tamar Bonvillain/Cris Peter/Gurihiru
Letterer: Travis Lanham & Clayton Cowles
Editor: Wil Moss/Chris Robinson/Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Previously in Gwenpool Holiday Special: Originating as a variant cover theme, Gwenpool arrived in the Marvel Universe proper post-Secret Wars, with a backup story in ‘Howard The Duck.’ Is she an alternate Gwen Stacy? Another Weapon X survivor? Something else?
Your guess is as good as mine, and we aren’t gonna get any answers here. On we go!
MOSTLY A SHE-HULK STORY
Though this is billed as Gwenpool’s holiday special, our framing story is actually focused on She-Hulk, who discovers early on that the new building she loves (from her own recently cancelled solo book) is about to be sold by the owner. There’s a whole meta-plot going on there, leading us into a cute tale wherein Ms. Marvel takes center stage. Somewhat bothered by the fact that she doesn’t celebrate any of the December holidays (save for those years when Ramadan falls during December), Kamala spends half the story grumpy before encountering a Santa Claus stick up crew. Her story ties back into the framing as Captain Marvel arrives with a gift and an invitation to She-Hulk’s holiday party. Said party starts when She-Hulk realizes that her landlord is being manipulated by mystical means, and needs to be able to forget about reality for a few hours. The stories in this issue thread in and out, with a cute Deadpool/Hawkeyes story revolving around Wade being unable to get into the party (Clint and Kate hang out with him anyway), while the partiers find themselves under magical attack…
The stories in this issue jump back and forth in time, to good effect, and the scenes from the holiday party (a wide-shot of Hellcat, She-Hulk, the new Captain America, Medusa and Volstagg the Voluminous dancing is adorable) are cute as heck. Gwenpool’s story is last up, and her adventure is interesting, if a little bit inexplicable to me. She defeats a villain with the power of massive explosions, which even Ms. Marvel isn’t sure is okay, but her asides and fourth-wall breaking are okay. (“I’ve read all your books!”, she exclaims to a confused Kamala.) The story wraps up with She-Hulk and company saving the day (It’s a holiday story, of course it has a happy ending!), with the final two pages serving as a final chapter for Shulkie’s solo book. The art is a mixed bag this issue, as you would expect from an anthology, with She-Hulk’s story featuring crude-but-energetic art from Langdon Foss, while the Gwenpool story features clean, soft edges and a pastel color palette.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A CUTE SAMPLER
All in all, this is a fun holiday issue, with some great character work in play, hampered mostly by a really high $5.99 pricetag. Fans of Duggan’s Deadpool vs. Hawkeye (or really, most any of the current street-level Marvel heroes) will find something interesting in these pages, and Gwenpool’s solo story is cute, if a bit slight. If you can discount the fact that this is mostly a She-Hulk issue with the more popular character’s name on the masthead, Gwenpool Holiday Special #1 is a nice seasonal diversion, with some fun art, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. If nothing else, it’s a nice sampler of some of Marvel’s new solo titles and characters…