After taking down a relatively small and annoying Spider-Man villain in last month’s issue what could be next for Doreen Green? Any other hero might go up the ladder a rung or two and take down a slightly bigger, slightly more annoying enemy but our own Queen of the Squirrels makes the leap all the way to Galactus in this month’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Not only that, but she also has to balance college, a cat-obsessed roommate, and the “hot babe” gaze of one Mr. Thomas. Oh, and how is she supposed to make it to space without her own ship? We take a look at all that and more in our latest The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 review.
Two issues isn’t enough to say that a consistent theme is present, but one may be starting to appear in Squirrel Girl. The first half of issue #2, similar to last month’s, begins with Ms. Green going about her daily life as a regular college student who happens to be part squirrel. Whereas last issue she was just getting to college and meeting her roommate, this month the two of them are going to their dreaded first mandatory meeting. Fast forward to about half way through, and she jumps into her Squirrel Girl attire and it’s off to the races. The setup isn’t bad by any means, and it makes a lot of sense. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is meant to be a light romp through a bunch of iconic Marvel names as told through Squirrel Girl, and this simplistic formatting means that not a lot of time needs to be wasted setting up a complicated world. Doreen goes to college, Doreen fights bad guys, Doreen leaves us with a cliff hanger until next issue – it’s that simple.
Squirrel Girl’s story of Doreen being an everyday teenager and chasing after boys is a thin line being toed by Ryan North, but he’s managing it well. The main gist of Doreen’s college student side of the story this month is that she and her roommate are getting acclimated to college life, and in the course of doing so, Doreen is smitten with Thomas – the campus hot dude with a great jawline. It’s a story aimed directly at teenage-and-under girls, but that doesn’t stop it being any less engaging or funny to grown adults as well. With only a few different turns in the dialogue or actions between Doreen and Thomas it could quickly become bad teenage fanfiction material, but that hasn’t been the case so far.
While we’re on the subject of Thomas, I’m going to place my bets now: he’s going to turn out to be a villain in some capacity.
In general, Ryan North is taking the banner of Squirrel Girl and her total lack of needing to tie into Marvel canon and running with it. Sure, Galactus and his Star Sphere travelling toward Earth to devour it is probably something that a lot of heroes would notice, and would likely spawn a big crossover event. But why bother with all that when you can just say that the Sphere is using a cloaking device that works on everyone but squirrels? It’s not that North is being cheap or convenient in any way with the writing, it’s just that everything within Squirrel Girl is done having tongue placed so firmly in cheek that it’s almost popping out the other side. Without the need for deep subtext or other connecting parts, jokes are able to flow freely and be quick one-liner after quick one-liner without it feeling out of place. It’s not humor that is particularly deep or world-changing, but it’s appropriately light and fun.
Similar to other fourth-wall breaking Marvel characters, Squirrel Girl utilizes every inch of the book to get its humor across. Most notably, the writer’s speech boxes retain the sense of style and wit that the rest of the comic does, and they often read like they are the voice of Doreen herself, instead of Nolan (well.. technically that’s the same I guess, but you get the idea). Outside of that, I also really enjoyed the humor that was found subtly placed into the panel artwork. Squirrel Girl has to infiltrate “Stark and/or Avengers Tower” to acquire an Iron Man suit to go the moon, naturally. Along the way, there are several signs throughout the tower filled with funny little quips or notes that probably go unnoticed by most, but they are worth taking an extra few seconds to read them if they catch your eye. I sincerely hope this level of background humor and attention to detail remains as Squirrel Girl continues.
The rest of the art is pretty on-par with the first issue. Like the style of writing and story structure, it’s very simple on purpose. Some of it I really enjoy, like seeing Iron Man’s suit transforming into a squirrel suit, but there is just something off with some of the character’s faces, especially Doreen’s roommate. Between any two panels she can have an entirely different looking hairstyle and face structure that ends up being really jarring at times. Outside of that though, I love everything about the art for Doreen herself. She isn’t a typical “super hero girl,” but that fact is never laid on too thick. Her faces are always full of energy and get across just how much of a hyper-active little badass she is. There is not a whole lot of action in this issue, but what is there is done well with the same feeling of simplistic fun that the rest oft the comic maintains.
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