The Unbelievable Gwenpool: Head of M.O.D.O.K. – Chris Hastings, Irene Strychalski & Gurihiru Studios (Panini / Marvel)

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So, you’re an average comic book fan who, thanks to the convergence of the multiverse in one of the crossover events that you (and every other four colour fanatic) love so much, is whisked through space, time and who knows what else, only to emerge in the Marvel Universe. As Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson’s popular series of fantastical adventures was so fond of asking, what do you do next? Well, if you’re Gwen Poole, armed with a seemingly endless ocean of information about your new home and its crusading vigilantes, you immediately join the ranks of the caped do-gooders. Being aware of the old wives tale about nice guys finishing last and bad boys having more fun, Gwen follows the Wade Wilson Guide to Getting Things Done* and becomes the newest Merc willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, Gwenpool. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the years of covert military and special forces training, or the healing factor, that Deadpool does, and blunders her way through until she discovers that while a little learning can be a powerful thing, a lot of knowledge, if used correctly, can not only be dangerous, but can lead you down unparalleled paths to success. If your idea of success is deposing the mutant mastermind of a criminal organisation and taking his place in the ranks of arch-villainy that is. Gwen’s is, and that’s where she finds herself at the beginning of Head of M.O.D.O.K, which all things considered, isn’t the worst place to be if you’re a stranger in a very strange land.

In typical Gwenpool fashion though, it isn’t long before things start going wrong and get steadily worse from then on:  a disastrous team-up with her one time super-crush Spider-Man that ends with the unwanted attentions of the forces of law and order;  being double crossed by her new (and M.O.D.O.K.’s old ) boss; battling a horde of vengeance obsessed extra-terrestrial squid people and trying to keep her new organisation together at all costs despite her alarming lack of ability to actually lead them and run things in felonious fashion, are just some of the problems that Gwen is forced to face and attempt to overcome in Chris Hastings blackly funny story that’s overflowing with laugh out loud moments and action. Treading the same tried, trusted and true waters as Deadpool, Gwen’s new kid in town, learning the ropes the hard way before someone either kills her or locks her up and throws away the key tales of daring do are as endearing as they are enjoyable.  And believe me, they’re incredibly enjoyable.  You can’t help but like and root for Gwen as she stumbles through her career with all of the teenage clumsiness and confusion that each and every one of us has experienced at some time in our lives and as such, are acutely aware of.  Meaning well, but falling by the wayside thanks to her two teams of elephants tied together while competing in a three legged race through a china shop bluster, Gwen is a genuinely endearing character and her escapades reflect her personality perfectly. And thanks to the manga inspired artwork of Gurihiru Studio’s and Irene Strychalski, she and her associates (and nemeses) pop out of the page like a bunch of overwound and excitable Jack-in-the-Boxes.  Oh, and just for the record, Head of M.O.D.O.K. also features the BEST superhero ever, the more than appropriately named Mega Tony.  What more could you want? Tim Cundle


*Patent pending. Probably. Maybe. Or maybe not. Okay, so I just made it up…

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