Pitchmas 2020, Bonus: Gwenpool

We start in on  Duckman – I mean Howard the Duck- during his stint as a PI. He’s narrating, and the dame that waltzes in is Black Cat (though we can always sub someone else in, if her rights are tied up with Sony… maybe Madame Hydra or Elektra?). She’s looking for someone who stole something dangerous from her, but before she did that, this previously unknown and clearly unhinged person dropped a safe on her inside man in the NYPD. We get a flashback, on top of an NYC roof over Black Cat’s shoulder. She’s conducting some shady midnight business with three robed figures, when Gwenpool drives a big bike up a flight of stairs, stabbing Black Cat’s triggerman through the hand and taking his gun, and firing wildly, before snatching what Cat was offering to the robed figures. Gwenpool drives off the other side of the roof, and the camera follows her down. She wonders aloud how she’ll survive this, before landing in the back of a truck, sending feathers flying. “A pillow truck,” she says with a laugh, “Classic!” We hear quacking and the driver yelling about his ducks as we cut back to Howard’s office.

The Black Cat tells him the assailant wasn’t finished with her henchman, that the next day she stopped him on the street, standing over a big chalk X. She wanted to make sure he was who she thought, before dropping the safe on him. We cut back to Howard’s office, and can see he’s anxious, and we pan down and can see why- he’s got a pistol pointed at his crotch. The rest of the scene plays differently; now that we understand Howard is compromised, his questions of his femme fatale have a different spin, and we recognize his loyalties are at least somewhat up in the air until she exits. That’s when Howard rolls back his chair and Gwenpool stands up.

She tells him she figured the femme fatale would pursue her to get the item back, which is why she attacked her henchman- and figured that attack would send her looking for a less likely option, which she pegged as being Howard. He was, until that moment, pacing, doing the noir detective thing, but spins around, as he realizes what she means. He sees she’s aiming her gun at him, and dives for the window, making it out as shots hit the frame.

Howard lands hard in a puddle, flopping around before scrambling to his feet and running, as gunfire rains down around him. Gwen lands impressively in the puddle, before yelling to him, while firing, “No one stays dead for long in the comics; comic movies are the same. Even Bucky wasn’t dead for more than half a movie. And maybe you’ll get your own adult cartoon on Hulu like M.O.D.O.K.”

Gwen’s going to begin to narrate, so we barely hear Howard squawk, “Why would anyone want to watch cartoon M.O.D.O.K. screw?”

“Okay, so… I’m not from around here. I’m from…” we fade to black, and do “Five years earlier.” And after a beat, add, “And in our world.” Gwen narrates, “Yeah, the real world, the one where the MCU is something we watch on the big screen.”

Gwen is nerding out with her friend in a movie theater. They’re psyched they’ve got good seats for the midnight opening of End Game as they make their way to their seats. Gwen is excited to have resolution for Peter, and gushes over Tom Holland. Her friend thinks she has a crush. She says it isn’t sexual; he’s almost a teddy bear, that you want to hold him and tell him the Spider-Man thing will totally work out. Of course, the friend points out, it doesn’t. Gwen says still, she’ll track down Kevin Fiege if he lets anything happen to her precious Spider-Tom.

We cut a little later in the movie. Gwen is shifting uncomfortably in her seat, and tries to take a drink from her soda, which is almost as big as she is, and realizes it’s empty… and then realizes where all of that fluid went. She runs, full-speed, to the bathroom. We see her kick her way triumphantly out of a stall, glance at the sinks, and run out, again at full speed, and her hear saying Captain America would understand this is no time for hand-washing. She runs at full-speed into the theater, which is engulfed in light, only to come skidding out of the portal Captain America disappeared in.

She hides, and sees an older Captain America give Sam the shield, nerding harder still.

We cut back to the alley, where Gwen is chasing after Howard. She tackles him, and they talk for a moment, him mocking her outfit. She tells him she needs the outfit.

We see another flashback, her wearing what she was in the theater, as she’s walking through New York. The Fantastic Four fly overhead, and she grins, big and wide. She makes eye contact with a cute guy who’s also staring adoringly up. A Doombot lands on him, splattering him. Gwen’s mouth drops open, and she runs, full-speed, into a costume shop, specifically Big Ronnie’s Custom Battle Spandex. She explains that she needs a costume, that if you have one, you’re a character, but if you’re not wearing one, you’re collateral. A stone gargoyle lands on a taxi driving by outside, crushing the driver and his fair. The seamstress, who seems mad in her own way, sews her something ridiculous (but also kind of rad).

We cut back to Howard and her talking in the alley, or, rather, Howard has slunk away while she’s remembering, and is more convinced than every she’s out of her gourd. Gwen reveals that she sold the bioweapon to Hydra, which seemed the thing to do with it, but it’s no big, because they Avengers will handle it.

Howard dials the Avengers hotline to find that the Avengers are currently in space aiding the Guardians of the Galaxy. Then he convinces Gwen they’ll have to get it back. She takes him to her tailor, who sews him a black variant of her costume; she continues to refer to him as her sidekick, to his chagrin. Inside, Gwen’s knowledge fails, when she misidentifies the bad guy running the lab. She’s unable to beat her in hand to hand combat, but as a last-ditch effort injects herself with the virus, knowing there’s an antidote. The villainess gives it to her, before she kills them all.

Howard gives her a little pep-talk, which makes her feel good, until she realizes she’s broke and homeless as she walks the streets of New York. So she goes to the only other person in the city she knows, her tailor. Ronnie likes her insanity- likening it to some of the biggest mad villains around, like “the Green Gob-” Gwen interrupts her to tell her they don’t have the rights to Norman Osborne, unless Disney bought Sony since she fell into the MCU. Ronnie laughs- she has no idea what Gwen’s saying most of the time, but she has the stuff of greatness. Gwen says she lacks the stuff of hot dugs and bedsheets. Ronnie offers an advance on her first job, including a line on an apartment.

Gwen ends up going to a bank. She figures there’s got to be a reasonable loan program in the MCU to help up-and-coming heroes build their first set of rocket boots, or at least afford a kebab. Things aren’t going well when a five men in ridiculous animal masks come in to rob the place. Using the remains of the guns Ronnie loaned her, Gwen stops the robbers. However, the cops start shooting at her, and she manages to scramble out the back door, and finds the car the cops arrived in still running out front, with one of the perps, Cecil, handcuffed in the backseat. Gwen steals the car and drives off. The terrified perp and her talk as she flees. They agree to help each other- him as her logistical support. He agrees to introduce her to the person who set him up with his last job- which had not mentioned it involved five morons robbing a bank.

It turns out his contact is Gwenpool’s seamstress, Ronnie, who has a side-hustle in farming out merc jobs. She tries to set Gwen up on a cake walk job, since she’s learning the ropes. Gwen insists on taking the hard case, the one Ronnie won’t even show her, it’s so dangerous. Gwen tries to convince her that the only way she stays alive is if she stays interesting- the moment she stops putting butts in seats- or asks Disney for too much money- she might as well walk into New York traffic. Reluctantly, Gwen agrees to a compromise, middle-tier job, and Ronnie offers to make her tea to cheer her up. She returns a moment later (she’s got an insta-hot, because we don’t have all the time in the world to wait for boiling water, damnit), and her smile drops- as does her tea cup. Gwen is gone, as is the fancy hard job Ronnie denied her. Ronnie mumbles that the girl is going to get all of them both killed.

We cut to an alien-looking ship on the harbor. We pan past terrifyingly looking alien squid men, before realizing they’re corpses, a liberal amount of black-green alien blood spattered around the walls. Gwen is sneaking through the bowels of the dark ship, and momentarily we think, “Maybe she did this.” She hears something behind her in the shadows, and spins, slicing at the darkness with a sword. It’s subtle, but it was already dying when she slashed it, but it falls, too.

She continues talking to Cecil as she walks through the carnage, and we start to realize she’s not the reason for all the dead aliens, and is in way over her head- something Cecil grasps and is trying to talk her into running, but which she’s certain she can’t accept. She comes upon an A.I.M. assassin interrogating one of the squid monsters in front of a big open burner. Eventually, he thanks the Teuthidan for the price on his head, as well as all of the fabulous alien tech he’ll be claiming, and cuts his head off.

Gwen tells Cecil she’s about to handle it. She runs up to the assassin and shoves him into the furnace, before saying, “I wonder who he was.” We cut to Ronnie, bent over her sewing machine. She gets a text from Gwen, a selfie of her with the decapitated head of the Teuthidan with a sword sticking out of it.

We cut to Gwen in soaking in a tub in her costume (too be fair, it probably reeks of dead space calamari). Cecil is in the adjoined room, talking to her about the news- that the calamari were apparently intergalactic arms dealers. She tells him they’re blowing up as her phone rings once again. Cecil worries that will change when they find out she didn’t take out the Teuthidans- and he worries that if she had remote support, the assassin could have, too.

The news broadcast cuts to a harangued and angry Captain Samerica. Sam’s annoyed, and barks back, “We were in space, making sure the Shiar didn’t send their Imperial Guard to scour Earth looking for a Phoenix Egg. They don’t search the haystack, the burn it and sift through the ashes.”  

Gwen talks out loud about whether or not she should try and join the Avengers, how Captain Oldmerica wouldn’t work with a merc, but Sam’s from the modern military- contractors are integrated into the service. Come on,” she says, ribbing Cecil, “Gwenpool, Avenger”.

The wall the TV as hung on disappears in a fiery explosion. M.O.D.O.K. arrives (I’d have Patton Oswalt do the role in live action/CG, because that casting is about perfect). He tells her she killed his best henchman, and that means she’s better- and will take his place, otherwise there will be consequences. Gwen actually laughs out loud, because he’s M.O.D.O.K.- M.O.D.O.K. is threatening her. M.O.D.O.K. vaporizes Cecil, and she collapses to the ground, defeated. She narrates, that she thought she was a hero, but it turns out, she’s just a henchman.

The rest of the series is Gwen working with M.O.D.O.K.’s elite team, while trying to figure out a way out. In the books Batroc the Leaper is the putative leader of the team, and also becomes her trainer after figuring out she has absolutely no useful skills whatsoever; you could just as easily replace him with any number of mid-tier merc/villain characters- Taskmaster’s a good option, if he survives the Black Widow movie.

She doesn’t exist in the MCU, on paper, so she can’t be put on M.O.D.O.K.’s payroll, which leads her to track down Dr. Strange and try to get his help. He’s annoyed to be interrupted, but intrigued when at a glance he can tell she truly doesn’t belong there. He’s able to pull her existence out of our Earth, and put it in theirs, creating the trail she needs to live there. He also helps her be able to contact Cecil.

Shortly thereafter, M.O.D.O.K. does the predictable and tries to kill Gwen. By now she’s bought enough high-tech doodads, including a shield, to survive the fight, even give him a brief run for his money. In desperation, she uses Cecil’s skull, which brings him back as a ghost, and he’s able to use the fact that he’s a ghost but also a tech wizard to compromise M.O.D.O.K.’s systems and send him into the atmosphere, before making him eject his fuel, leaving him floating in orbit. It… probably would make more sense to have Gwen’s team aid in defeating M.O.D.O.K., even though they’re sidelined early, since the resolution is all of them deciding to leave A.I.M. and strike out as a for-hire merc team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *