Monday, December 19, 2016

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #15 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Monday

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I Am Mewtiful in Every Single Way

Writer: Ryan North 
Artist: Erica Henderson 
Dream Comics Artist: Zac Gorman 
Trading Card Artist: Michael Cho 
Color Artist: Rico Renzi 
Letterer: Travis Lanham 
Cover Artist: Erica Henderson 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: December 14, 2016 

**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM** 

In the grand tradition of that “Pizza Dog” issue of Hawkeye and, uh, that gut-wrenching issue of Afterlife With Archie told through Hot Dog’s point-of-view, Marvel brings you the issue of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl told through Mew the cat’s point of view! Though since there’s already a squirrel practically co-starring in this book, it’s not really that much of a revelation. I mean, we’re already aware that squirrels live rich and complex lives. But we don’t know much about Nancy Whitehead’s cat Mew’s life, until now! So read in if you want to know the secret lives of cats! I hear there are nine of them.


 Explain It! 

Cats are real dicks. I have a cat, and I love her and she is affectionate and I reap all of the benefits of having a Good Cat, but even a Good Cat is a dick sometimes. Randomly meowing, clawing at furniture, biting my wife’s leg; these are the transgressions committed by my feline. And this pales in comparison to cats that routinely chew on wires, or spray their pungent scent everywhere, or leave perflectly-placed turds in your shoes. It’s just part of their nature, I suppose, to be dicks sometimes. So we see Mew being a dick, pushing a box of tissues off a high shelf and onto sleeping Nancy’s head. Nancy isn’t too fussed about it, and it was time to wake up anyway because we see through dialogue that Taskmaster has invaded, and it’s presumably up to Squirrel Girl and, by extension, her friend Nancy to save the day! And probably drive her to the location. That isn’t Mew’s concern, however, she just stretches out on the kitchen counter and idly knocks a bottle of olive oil onto the floor as the rent-paying humans hurry out the door. This leads to a sequence of events that conclude in Mew holding vigil over a mousehole, and then falling into a deep sleep.
There’s these one-page strips, a bunch of them here and some more later on when Mew falls asleep again, titled Mew’s Dream Comics. These are drawn by Zac Gorman in an Underground Comix style, visually very different from Erica Henderson’s clean, sparse lines. And I thought they were cool, but I don’t feel the need to convey them panel-by-panel because the general idea is that Mew is snoozing for a while. If you want to see some of the wacky adventures Mew gets up to during her cat naps, you’ll have to read the issue. Eventually, Mew wakes up and peeks into the mouse hole just as Taskmaster comes bursting through the wall! Squirrel Girl jumps in and negotiates with him, but we see this happening in the background because Mew uses this as an opportunity to lazily escape the apartment. She passes by Nancy on the front stoop, frantically calling Tony, and strolls away with a light cat sigh.
Mew makes it over to Washington Square Park, and befriends a hungry dog by giving it a slice of discarded pizza—with an anchovy on it! This is like Kanye West giving up publicity to someone more deserving. While cat and dog bond, the very fight against Taskmaster that Mew was trying to avoid has found its way over to the park, only now it includes the Avengers! At least, I think this is the Avengers. One of the Avenger teams, I mean. Spider-Man is there, and the new awesome Hulk is there, the black Captain America…I don’t read these titles, so I’m not exactly sure. But I do get the point, that Taskmaster is still in conflict mode and now other superheroes have joined the fight. After scoping the situation for a while, Mew comes up with a way she and the dog can catch Taskmaster, which is, in itself, pretty unbelievable but it will do. Mew returns home to find Doreen and Nancy celebrating, but Mew just cuddles up with mouse whose hole she held vigil over and goes to sleep.
This is a cute issue. But that’s all it is. The secret lives of cats are, factually speaking, pretty dull. And mixing in this Taskmaster battle into the background didn’t really work because it never felt like a real threat. Also, Mew and the dog catch Taskmaster in this really ludicrous way, which I guess is the “genius” of it, but it seemed a bit beyond the pale. All that being said, I love cats (dicks that they are) and I did enjoy an issue about the “other” animal in this series that doesn’t get as much shine as Tippy-Toe (though Howard the Duck did try to steal her during their crossover...). I also liked the dream sequences, it’s a good gimmick and I enjoyed the silly comic strips by themselves. So I’m going to say…meh, could be worse. If you’ve been reading the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl regularly or you’re an unabashed “cat person,” then you’ll enjoy it. 

Bits and Pieces:

Turns out that the day in the life of a house cat is pretty boring, even despite the introduction of superheroes and villains from the Marvel Universe. This issue is a cute little diversion from, uh, the usual pretty cute stuff that happens in this title, and isn't more than some fan service. But there's nothing wrong with servicing fans every now and again. We are, at least as pertaining to fans of this comic book, pretty nice people.

7/10
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