Graphic Novel Review: The Unbelievable Gwenpool: Head of MODOK

The Unbelievable Gwenpool: Head of MODOK

The Unbelievable Gwenpool: Head of MODOK - Credit: Archant

Best part of living in a world of comic book heroes? TEAMUPS, BABY! Gwen meets Miles Morales, SPIDER-MAN, and it ends... badly! Man, oh, man, she is not a good person! It gets dark! We promise this is not a Civil War II tie-in!

(Panini Books)

One of my favourite break-out characters of recent years returns for a second collection of her ongoing series, as we find Gwen Poole now running the mercenary organisation known as MODOK, with all the ensuing consequences of being at the head of a covert faction of costumed guns-for-hire.

To make things worse, her only “super power”, namely her extensive knowledge of Marvel Comics history in her past life as a comic book fan in another reality, is leading her down an increasingly dark path…

Unexpectedly running into the Miles Morales Spider-Man, Gwen finds her knowledge of his adventures to be more of a hindrance than a help, as she first inadvertently acknowledges his secret identity, and then blurts out details of the final months of Miles’ Ultimate Universe series, and how they tied in with the Secret Wars crossover title.

Naturally Miles thinks she’s crazy, a situation which doesn’t improve when she identifies one of his classmates as the mysterious school bomber, something she only knows because she’s read past issues of Ultimate Spider-Man… Lacking the moral compass which is expected of your average superhero, she finds herself behind bars after trying to shoot the aforementioned student, and for the first time since she arrived in the Marvel U, things are no longer “fun”.

Enter the client. He employs MODOK to bring a calm normality to the streets of Manhattan. He is a man who seeks peace and order in a violent and extraordinary world, and he isn’t very happy.

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Gwen’s earlier attack on a bunch of squid-headed aliens has prompted an onslaught by hoards of the suckers, who are tearing New York apart in their search for the woman responsible for killing their comrades. It’s time to bring in the big guns…

As a post-modern poster girl Gwenpool shouldn’t work as the title character in an ongoing series, superficially being little more than a one-note supporting character, but somehow she does, and succeeds admirably in the process. Self-deprecating and self-aware, hilarious and horrifying, it’s hard to truly define the strengths of this book, other than to say they are mixed and many. Highly recommended.