by Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
This may be the first time in my life where I’m reading a superhero who is as obsessed with the gutter as I am. Since discovering that she can manipulate the physical space of the comic book page, Gwen no longer needs to rely on her knowledge of story tropes to defeat her enemies. Gwen is on something of a fan’s journey here, discovering that her real power (read: her real fandom) lies not in the genre but in the medium. Gwen’s no longer a fan of superhero stories, but a fan of of comics.
In fact, it sounds like Gwen’s starting to miss a step in keeping up with her Marvel monthlies. After a long day of expelling The Masster to the gutter, Gwen returns home to Cecil-in-a-monster-body and clumsily explains her plan to get in good with the Avengers, who — she assumes — pay pretty well. Cecil interjects “they don’t,” before straight up asking if Gwen is caught up on her comics. But Gwen’s too excited about her plan to answer, and she explains that her plan doesn’t even involve blowing up the Avengers Mansion or the Avengers Tower, neither of which exist in current continuity.
Gwen has lost whatever meaningful connection she had with the Marvel Universe because she’s found something better: comics. The artist team of Gurihiru normally delivers clean, cartoony, emotive action, but here they luxuriate in the sheer spectacle of Gwen violating the gutter.
That’s a journey I can relate to. When we started this site, Drew and I were only talking about new DC comics (hence the name). But we gradually expanded to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and Marvel, and eventually into artsier, fartsier comics that had nothing to do with superheroes. Gwen’s clearly become disinterested in her reality — she can’t even bother with the cops that she deems “not realistic.” Hell, even her plan to take out Doctor Doom reads like she’s not plugged in what the big problems are right now. “Eliminate Doom” is a solution so broad that anyone with a passing knowledge of Marvel could suggest it. Writer Christopher Hastings has brilliantly recast Gwen as a Marvel fan who is over it. Why would she be obsessed with these characters anymore? She’s got a whole medium to exploit.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?