by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.
The first monthly comic book I ever followed was Geoff Johns’ Teen Titans in the early 2000s — it was the book that got me into comic shops every week, buying single issues and learning and following creative teams. Johns’ eventual departure from the title was also the first time I ever dealt with the end of a beloved run, and I didn’t handle it well; it felt like a friend had died. I should note that the series wasn’t even cancelled — it went on for over 50 more issues with several different creative teams — but the end of that particular take on the property that I loved so dearly was devastating nonetheless. The Unbelievable Gwenpool 24 finds Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru digging into a similar kind of loss as Gwen mourns the cancellation of her own comic book, only for her, the loss is far more real.
The first 2/3ds of this issue is devoted to Gwenpool and Batroc the Leaper robbing the supervillain Chance’s floating casino fortress, and it finds Hastings and Gurihiru at their best, pulling off a fun heist with wit, pizzazz, and loads and loads of creativity. The real meat of the issue comes, though, when we discover the reason for Gwen’s (re)turn to “villainy.”
Gwen is just trying the only option she thinks she has left to keep her book afloat, even though her heart’s not really in it. The fact that she doesn’t feel being a villain anymore is a vital point, because it shows how far she’s come from the often amoral character she was at the outset of this series. She’s grown a conscience, she’s come to view the characters she’s sharing a universe with as real, and that means that her actions have consequences. Unfortunately, it also makes the cancellation of her title far more devastating.
This is Gwen tapping into the same fears I faced way back when Johns’ Teen Titans run ended. The characters would carry on, but would the tone and themes and supporting cast, all those aspects that were just as vital as the property itself? Gwen’s fears are amplified by the fact that to her, these characters are real. I’ll miss this take on Batroc, or characters like Megatony or the Terrible Eye if we never see them again, but to Gwen, the end of this series would effectively be their death. The pain and fear Gwen faces as her series ends are amplified echoes of her readers’ feelings — I can only hope that the appearance of a Future-Gwenpool on the issue’s final page, seemingly meant to comfort Gwen in the face of catastrophe, can similarly comfort grieving readers as well.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?