Unbelievable! - Gwenpool #3 Review

Can Gwenpool continue to keep her secrets safe? Will she stop Batroc from revealing them to the ever-murderous M.O.D.O.K.? I have no idea, I don’t work at Marvel. Sorry.

Aww, look at that! Gwen’s giving M.O.D.O.K. a helping hand. The cover might not be as colorful as the first one or as goofy as the second one, but it is pretty adorable. Grumpy old M.O.D.O.K. is just standing there, arms folded, looking exasperated at the rain. The extremely sunny (heh) Gwenpool is holding up a tiny umbrella like Wile E. Coyote to protect his mighty mohawk. (Massively Obnoxious Hair Arranged With Krakens) By the way, the cover also continues the trend of almost every cover featuring a cartoon heart above Gwenpool’s head. I don’t think it was in the first issue, but I might have missed it. Maybe it’s an easter egg.

The story begins precisely where the last issue left off, with Gwenpool pleading with Batroc to not tell M.O.D.O.K. that she is a fraud. It’s a cute scene, showing that even when panicking about a possibly messy death, Gwen makes jokes, such as calling herself “Hot Toots McShoots.” Marvel, if you want to make a comic featuring an assassin with that rather eclectic moniker, I’ll be the first in line to buy it. After he refuses, she gives up part of her secret, revealing that she comes from a world where Marvel is just a series of comic books and she’s read them all. Batroc is unimpressed, thinking that she’s a fool.

After that, things get weird. Up until now, we’ve had meta humor with Gwen making observations about the comics, like knowing that Natalie Portman played Jane Foster in a film and defeating Sentinels based on an X-Men arcade game. Now Christopher Hastings shows how this affects the other, non-fourth wall savvy characters.

Gwenpool: Sugary-sweet comic full of deadly hijinks...

...Or existential horror in disguise?
Seriously, Batroc, how are you not freaking out? You just discovered that you can't remember your own past. Meanwhile, reality intrudes to an even higher degree as M.O.D.O.K. calls Gwen in for a meeting about properly paying her. He can't find her bank account and it just wouldn't be fiscally responsible to pay her in cash.
I may have just killed my bookkeeper, but we do business right, darnit! Now call my dermatologist, I have a big red button growing on my forehead and I can't get rid of it.
Trying to solve her newest crisis, Gwen returns to Big Ronnie's for some help. Hey, Gwen, I know you need cash, but I bet that M.O.D.O.K. doesn't take well to moonlighting. Big Ronnie gives her some kind of magical doodad in the form of an egg that might just help with her financial woes.
"C'mon, Ronnie, I wanted to sell that!"

After that, Gwenpool has some combat training with Batroc. Over a round of shooting guns at a Captain Hydra America cutout, he engages in some rather philosophical debates with Gwen over her view of reality. From her point of view, he can never win because he's just a bad guy. From his point of view, Captain America is the real loser. All those years of fighting for truth and justice, only for all his progress to be wiped out. Both of them are just fighting the tide, as it were. It's very interesting and I would honestly love to see more of it in future issues.

Even so, the reason for the interruption is definitely cool. None other than Doctor Strange comes in, ready to have his scheduled appointment with Gwen via the magic egg. A visually stunning sequence ensues where he literally takes her caption box and uses it to see a figure of her world. There's even a cute nod to the upcoming Doctor Strange flick when Stephen muses that he could see himself being played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

"When I tried this with Deadpool, I got stranded in Hoboken for a solid week. Man, I hate Wade."

Doctor Stranges uses his magic to possibly literally perform a retcon, taking the spirit of Gwen as a baby and sending it to the 616-verse. It results in an extremely morose moment when he warns her that the spell has the potential to make her parents forget her, only for Gwen to sadly reply that it's probably for the best. It gets even sadder when she opens up her shark bag, revealing Cecil's skull, and asks the good doctor if she can talk to him one last time. The results are not shown, but I have a feeling that they will be expanded on in a future issue, given that Gwen looks much happier when the appointment ends.

In any case, her real-life credentials are in the universe and Batroc has temporarily moved on to teaching her some leg sweeps, so everything should be swell, right? NOPE! Turns out that even though M.O.D.O.K. received Gwen's information, it reveals her status as a completely normal teenage girl. You better believe he's out for revenge.

Gwenpool #3 is an utterly fantastic issue, with Christopher Hastings expertly melding heartfelt drama with wacky jokes. Doctor Strange is a wonderful guest star, especially with some of the jokes that revolve around him. (Gwen might have a crush, or just a fangirl squee moment. It's happened before, potentially with Kamala in the Gwenpool Holiday Special. Right here, if you want to see.) Please, please, please check this series out. I really want it to do well. Mr. Hastings is a great writer.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or the Harry Potter books.