Character variants are nothing new in the world of comic books. There are evil versions, non-powered versions of characters, zombie versions, and just about anything you can imagine. Most of those characters are set in a different continuity that is not considered mainstream, but today we’re going to focus on one “alternate variant” of a beloved character that jumped onto the mainstream Earth-616. Of course, we’re talking about Gwenpool, a fourth-wall-breaking version of Gwen Stacy. So who is Gwenpool, and how is she related to yet another famous character who can break the fourth wall, Deadpool?
Gwenpool is a girl from our world who arrived at Earth-616, the main Marvel Universe, got an alias, and started using her comic-book knowledge to stay alive. She is not related to Deadpool. The only things she has in common with him are knowing they are in a comic and having similar outfits.
Gwenpool is one of the best and most fun recent characters from comics. Keep reading if you want to know more about her journey from villain to hero, her reality-warping abilities, and the times she met Deadpool.
Gwenpool uses the fourth wall better than Deadpool
Gwendolyn Poole first appeared in ‘Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2’ by Chris Bachalo as a “Gwen Variant” cover, a series of covers that celebrated Spider-Gwen by mixing Gwen with an existing character. The design became so popular that she joined the cast of ‘Howard the Duck’ (2015).
Gwen was originally from a universe similar to ours, in which the Marvel Universe only exists in comics, cartoons, and movies. She inexplicably appeared on Earth-616, the main Marvel Earth, and had to adapt, becoming a vigilante to stay relevant. To her staying alive is the same as appearing in new issues.
Thanks to knowing the inner workings of the comics industry and having a deep knowledge of Marvel, she constantly breaks the fourth wall. She also often uses secret information, like the identities of various heroes, to her advantage. Once, Gwen even used Jane Foster’s real name to distract her and complete a mission.
Soon, Gwen also realized she could alter the comic, interacting with lettering, rearranging panels, and more. When she was trapped in a box dimension of her original universe, she realized she still was inside a story because of her reality-warping powers.
Gwen’s most powerful ability is accessing the Gutter Space, where she can see all comic’s pages. There she can hide and teleport herself and items to other parts of the book. She can also use it to trap characters, as she tried to do once with Doctor Doom.
Like Gwen, Deadpool also knows he is in a comic, but that knowledge doesn’t affect his powers. While Gwen can interact with the medium and has more information about the universe, Deadpool can only break the fourth wall and reference some events of our world.
However, Gwenpool’s powers have a few drawbacks. When she joined the West Coast Avengers with her friend Kate Bishop, she was rebooted, and some of her powers stopped working. Being able to manipulate the comic would make things too easy, so the writer took those powers away from her during the series.
Later, Gwen regains her powers, but she depends on the story’s objectives and the writers.
Knowing she is a comic-book character also presents a weakness sometimes, as she has to force herself to stay relevant. During Marvel Infinity Comics ‘Love Unlimited’ series, Gwenpool made herself the protagonist of a romance story. That way, she would have major appearances again instead of just cameos.
As many characters fall in love and the readers get excited about the pairings, having a romance seems an easy solution to staying relevant. However, throughout the story, having romantic and sexual relationships proved very hard for Gwen, and she couldn’t understand why.
Gwenpool found out she is asexual and aromantic (also known as aroace), being the first Marvel heroine explicitly established as such in a comic. Her ‘Love Unlimited’ arc is centered around the character’s difficulties to stay relevant, which also represents how expectations about sex and love affect some aroace people.
Who would win in a fight: Gwenpool or Deadpool?
It seems like a dumb answer, but it depends on the writer. As mentioned, Gwen’s reality-warping powers vary according to what the writers want to do in a story and whether she is on a solo series or in a team book. Of course, Deadpool’s level of “silliness” also depends on similar circumstances.
‘Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe‘ is a story that presents the titular character as an indestructible killing machine. His abilities are exaggerated while other characters are made weaker so that Deadpool can be stronger than anyone in the Marvel universe. It’s the perfect example of how powerful he can be depending on what a writer wants.
Gwenpool’s evil self in ‘The Unbelievable Gwenpool’ became almost omnipotent and caused a war between all heroes. She decided the best way to survive was to become one of the greatest villains in the comics and keep pulling strings. Her only weakness was needing her past self to become evil too, which didn’t happen, and made her cease to exist.
Both characters have been shown as extremely powerful and practically invincible. The only time Gwenpool confronted Deadpool, they ended up working together. There’s no easy or right answer to the question of who would win a fight — probably the fastest way to find out would be by asking the writer who they like the most.