Monday, June 27, 2016

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Mondays

Have You Met My Squirrelfriend?

Written By: Ryan North
Art By: Erica Henderson, Andy Hirsch, Chris Schweizer, Rico Renzi
Letters By: Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: May 25, 2016


One of the benefits of Jim Werner’s cockamamie plan to review Marvel comics on is that I get to write about one of my most favorite comics on the shelves today, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! I picked this up on a lark with issue #1 (the first issue #1) a year and a couple of months ago, and I have been preaching the squirrel gospel ever since. I don’t think there’s been a comic book I’ve recommended to so many people—children and adults—in many years. And I like to think I have turned each and every one of them into a dyed-in-the-wool Squirrel Girl fan! More than likely, their furrowed brows and nervous chuckles indicate that they thought I was some kind of kook, but a guy can dream. Maybe I can turn you into a devotee of Doreen Green as well? Read on to find out!

Explain It!

So Doreen Green is a computer science major at Empire State University, and she is also Squirrel Girl, a woman with a big squirrel tail that can talk to squirrels and has the proportionate strength of a squirrel and eats a disproportionate amount of nuts, at least compared to most people. She’s also a member of the New Avengers, a fact that has been invoked in this comic book, but never shown as it is in the beginning of this issue when they face off against a giant tree lobster! A tree lobster is like an already giant, flat ant that lives in trees on one island in the South Pacific. The New Avengers try their usual frontal attack, including Hawkeye who just keeps firing TNT arrows to no effect, when Doreen recounts a little bit of biological current events: tree lobsters lived in some archipelago where a ship stayed once, and all the rats on board rushed onto the island and ate all the tree lobsters and plus a lot of other now extinct animals. So people (and by that, I mean insect scientists and by that, I mean entomologists) thought that tree lobsters were kaput, but then some hardy explorers scaled a mountain on one of the islands and found twenty-four tree lobsters all huddled under a bush. So of course they grabbed a couple and are currently trying to breed them in captivity, and after talking to the giant tree lobster—yes, Squirrel Girl can also communicate with tree lobsters—she ascertains that the poor fella is just a bit puckish, so Doreen grabs a tree and feeds it. And the crazy thing about all of this is: I read about this very thing actually happening, about people finding the last twenty-four tree lobsters after they were named extinct, like eight months ago or something like that on BBC News! Ryan North is using current events in science in a Squirrel Girl comic book! My nerd self was so satisfied, I nearly gave a squee.

After the tree lobster is taken care of, Squirrel Girl takes off with her buddy Tomas “Chipmunk Hunk” Lara-Perez, who was at this confrontation as Doreen’s guest, which I forgot to mention. He’s pretty impressed, but begs off on an invite to the New Avengers’ secret base because he’s got a date! Doreen plays it all cool, but you know she’s dying inside because she totally had a crush on Tomas, I mean anyone could see that it was so obvious. Later, Doreen vents to her dorm roommate Nancy, who tells her to stop her sulking and sign up for online dating. Back at the dorm, Nancy, Ken aka “Koi Boi” (another friend of Doreen’s that is also an animal-based superhero) and Tippy Toe (Doreen’s pink bow-wearing squirrel sidekick and also confidante and honestly just her best friend) each write their own online profile for Doreen and it is absolutely hilarious. Just to see Tippy Toe’s squirrel claws over the keyboard was enough to send me into a laughing fit. I would really love to share it with you here, but you’re just going to have to get the issue to see. Eventually, they figure the problem is that they don’t know whether to make a profile for Doreen Green or Squirrel Girl, so they come up with the idea to make one for each of them! Even though we are talking about the same person! But you get the idea!

Then it’s a double-page spread of Doreen and/or Squirrel Girl going on a series of crummy dates. One guy hates squirrels, one guy is the Boomerang, another guy is Johnny Storm (a known jerk)…dating isn’t going well for Doreen, is my point. She even dates a Sentinel, but has to ditch him because he thinks all mutants should be exterminated—even though we learned in a previous issue (from Doreen’s mom!) that Doreen isn’t technically a mutant, she’s obviously not going to be down with someone dissing the race of some of her main homies. This leaves the Sentinel feeling dejected, which really makes me want to read a romance comic starring this Sentinel or perhaps a bunch of single Sentinels looking for love in this crazy galaxy. Later, Doreen goes out to a fair with Brad aka “Hawkjock,” someone she assumes is a superhero in disguise, but is actually a complete douche nozzle. Doreen’s about to write him off entirely, when Brad reveals that he doesn’t believe superheroes exist, and thinks all of their exploits are false flag operations perpetrated by the U.S. government and/or nefarious agencies for the purposes of domination etc. He’s a superhero truther! This is an awesome thing that must become a thing!! I want to see superhero truthers in all of my superhero comics please!!! My mind reels with the potential scenarios. Obviously Doreen wants to correct Brad, but before she can the Mole Man busts through the ground with his big drill machine and a bunch of monsters and wait this is a perfect opportunity to prove to Brad that superheroes exist!

So this is a very good issue of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, though not the best one yet. Still, a very good issue of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is about fifteen times better than your favorite comic book. The art services the story; this is not a book you get for the pretty pictures, but for the funny gags. And there are gags aplenty. It gets a little wordy towards the end, when Brad explains his conspiracy theory to Doreen—in fact, the whole page looks as if it was inserted as an afterthought or late in the production game—but I still enjoyed his stupid pontificating as well as every other moment in this comic book. And I didn’t even mention the fact that Ryan North adds extra gags at the bottom of almost every page, in the gutter! I recommend this book for young girls, young boys, young adults, tweens, old people, thirty-somethings, and middle-aged folks. But never for infants. I think this comic book is too much for infants.

Bits and Pieces:

When reading an issue of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, do not be alarmed if the corners of your mouth turn upwards or of you make a strange noise not unlike a donkey's bray. You are not being "infected" by the comic book. You are merely experiencing joy and laughing because the material at hand is funny. If you do read the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and do not enjoy yourself, then consult a doctor immediately. It's likely you will require surgery to extract your head from your ass and may require several hundred hours of experimental "lighten up" psychotherapy.


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