Get ready to meet another Venom variant in the latest – and very wacky – issue of Edge of Venomverse…
Gwenpool has to be the most unlikely new hero to come out of Marvel in the past few years. Gwen Stacey meets Deadpool, who thought that up? And it gets even weirder from there. Despite the familiar blonde hair and first name, Gwenpool isn’t actually Gwen Stacey. She is Gwen, er, Poole – a comic book fan from the real world – our world – who ended up in the Marvel universe. Still with us?
In Edge of Venomverse #2, things get even weirder. In this alternate universe, the ever-peppy Gwenpool has bonded with the Venom symbiote and has become like a lethal cartoon character (imagine Harley Quinn crossed with Hulk). Another Marvel favourite also appears – Matt Murdock himself Daredevil. And when Gwen(om)pool almost outs his secret identity to his old enemies The Hand, things get hairy…
First of all, Gwenpool is clearly a character who rubs some fans up the wrong way and how much you enjoy this issue will depend on how much you can stand the heroine. For me, this was a much stronger instalment than last week as it felt like a better one-and-done snapshot of this alternate hero. In contrast to last time’s Venom-X23 who felt like a brief sketch.
There is a criticism to be made, though, that there isn’t much of the typical ‘oh no! Venom is making me kill!’ drama from this issue, and instead the symbiote’s blood lust is played for laughs. However, this does gel with the tone of the book. And the symbiote does get an interesting new power – as is specified, this version of the symbiote has the ability to perceive different dimensions, meaning that it makes Gwenpool even more meta and fourth-wall breaking (e.g. “This isn’t even the main comics universe!”).
With some zippy writing from Christopher Hastings and some suitably bright and cartoonish artwork from Irene Strychalski, Edge of Venomverse #2 makes for a very fun “what if?” one-off. It’s a good set-up for what will hopefully be a big role for Gwenompool in the upcoming Venomverse event and, in the meantime, should make more people seek out the regular adventures of this quirky character.