Six X-books hit stores last week: New Mutants #4, X-Force #4, Marauders #4, Excalibur #4, Fallen Angels #4, and one surprise book no one was expecting. As a Christmas present to myself, and since I've written over 3,000 words about them collectively (but get paid per article, not per word), I'm going to publish each recap as an individual article, and then reveal the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week at the end. Will X-ual Healing continue that way into the new year? Maybe. Maybe not. They'll collectively get more clicks this way though.
In any case, if you don't feel like waiting for each article, just wait until the end of the day and read the finale. Now, let's get on with the show…
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
What happened in Gwenpool Strikes Back #5?
GWENPOOL STRIKES BACK #5 (OF 5)
(W) Leah Williams (A) David Baldeon (CA) Judith Stephens, Elena Strikes
GWENPOOL GOES HOME?!
As Gwen's mad rampage comes to a close we learn the real truth about her origins! Is this Gwen's greatest retcon yet? Will she go big or will she go home? Find out… once and for all!
In Shops: Dec 18, 2019
The issue opens with a page where Gwenpool uses her panel-hopping ability to create a loop where she keeps releasing a swarm of bees on a naked Punisher in his bedroom just to mess with him, though the scene really is there to quickly explain Gwenpool's powers. Since she comes from our world and understands she is in a comic book, she can traverse the whitespace between panels and execute retcons to continuity on the spot.
On the island where Gwenpool gathered all of Earth's heroes to stage an epic battle that would prove her relevance and allow her to remain relevant enough to keep starring in comics lest she be forgotten by Marvel Editorial, Gwen and Ms. Marvel are the only remaining competitors. But before they can finish this, they need to resolve an issue with a rampaging Hulk, who is quite upset at losing, in the safe space where all of the defeated heroes get to watch the rest of the show. Gwen locks him in a metal box and also puts Tony Stark and Steve Rogers into a giant "we will get along" t-shirt like fighting siblings, lest they start another Civil War. The rest of the heroes are still mad though, so Gwen ads an exit door, though she doesn't know where it leads. Then she returns outside to finish things with Ms. Marvel.
Gwen wants to battle Ms. Marvel in Rock Paper Scissors, but Ms. Marvel just wants to talk. She thinks Gwen is having a breakdown and wants to help. She also won't fight her because she clearly will win and she would feel "gross" about it. Kamala knows Gwen is not a villain, so she must be going through some stuff. Ms. Marvel suggests that Gwen is dealing with some hidden childhood trauma, and since her powers recently manifested (like a mutant), she is using her reality manipulation to change her own perception and create the "comic book world" story. Gwen admits this must be the truth and forfeits the battle, thanking Ms. Marvel for treating her with kindness.
Then she enters the whitespace where she finds a Krakoan gate and steps through, where she's greeted by Wolverine with a hug. Then she meets up with ex-boyfriend Quentin Quire and reconciles with him. Gwen knows that what Ms. Marvel said wasn't actually true, but thanks to her retcon powers, she is able to make it true. It seems that Gwen has a future in the Marvel Universe after all, and she even gets a Dawn of X style infographic page to seal the deal.
Was it any good?
Was it any good? Was it any good?! This series has been a lot of fun and clever in a lot of ways, but this ending was so unexpected and yet perfect that it took things to a whole new level. I must confess I didn't read any Gwenpool comics before West Coast Avengers so I'm not sure how her longtime fans feel about it, but I'd definitely consider myself a fan after this book and I hope we see Gwenpool integrated more into the X-Men universe going forward, preferably in the promised Leah Williams X-book we are supposed to get in Dawn of X Wave 2. David Baldeon's work was great in Domino and I'm glad he never left the X-books, even if we didn't realize it until this issue's shocking reveal. A satisfying end to an entertaining series.
Keep checking back as we recap all of last week's X-Men books today, and pick the best at the end for the Wolverine's Weiner X-Pick of the Week.
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