Monday, July 4, 2016

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #9 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Mondays

You Gotta Bury Those Feelings

Written By: Ryan North
Art By: Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler, David Malki, Braden Lamb, Rico Renzi
Lettered By: Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: June 29, 2016


Well it’s the Fourth of July, and what better celebration of America’s independence than to review a comic featuring the most American superhero of all: Squirrel Girl! Oh sure, Captain America is the obvious symbol of Hitler-punching, hard-farting ‘Merican grit and gristle, but that’s just feeding the beast. You don’t hear about it often, but besides being able to talk to squirrels and have the proportionate strength of a squirrel and having a squirrel tail and being able to climb trees pretty well, Squirrel Girl is also one-hundred percent American! I think she’s a great embodiment of the real America, the one for which we should all strive: she has the confidence to try, and the empathy to put her efforts towards helping those in need. And she’s also sassy and dismissive just like the precocious United States citizen she is! That’s a lot better than some goody-two shoes that hides behind a literal shield that is literally the American flag. Just sayin’. Not trying to name any names, but maybe a jingoistic military appendage isn’t the best foot forward, not when we have a hard-working student and squirrel friend to stunt. Just check out how great Squirrel Girl is in my review of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #9, right here!

Explain It!

You’ll remember that Doreen “Squirrel Girl” Green’s internet-sourced date with Brad “Hawkjock” Tooldouche ended poorly last issue when he revealed that he doesn’t believe in superheroes, and thinks all of their publicized exploits are part of a grand conspiracy! Oh and also Mole Man came up through the ground with his monsters and Moloids and threatened everyone’s safety. Doreen checks the Mole Man entry from her collection of Deadpool’s Guide to Super Villains trading cards, which is this amazingly hilarious thing in the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, she’s always checking these cards when she faces off against a Marvel Universe baddie, and let me tell you just three of these cards is as entertaining as one regular comic book and it’s not even one-tenth of an issue of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl! This, plus the science facts and the jokes at the bottom of nearly every page, to the letters column and then the fun cast of characters and high-flying (squirrel) adventure and action makes this the best value on the comic book stands today. It’s basically like five issues in one, all for the price of the lower-tier Marvel books, which is a buck more than most other publishers’ comic books out there. But still the best value! Do the math!

Seeing that Mole Man is basically a harmless dude who has no beef with girls or squirrels, she asks him why he’s out to do her dirty, so he explains in a wonderfully-rendered page by Tom Fowler that looks like Victorian era line drawings, like you might see in the original Alice in Wonderland or period ads for feminine soaps and the like: since Squirrel Girl convinced Kraven the Hunter to hunt only bad guys, he’s been hanging around the mole underworld, beating up his Moloids and seeking to depose the main (Mole) man (not Lobo.) He’s also none too happy about the fact that the surface dwellers keep dumping their junk into his lair, but what he’s most unhappy about at the moment is the Kraven thing. Doreen says it was unintentional, and apologizes, which warms the cockles of Mole Man’s heart and makes him fall in love with Squirrel Girl and ultimately bust out this fist-sized diamond to propose marriage! And it’s like, what, does Mole Man just walk around with this fist-sized diamond in his pocket, waiting for the opportunity to spring a marriage proposal on the right lady? And as Ryan North explains in the text at the bottom of the page: yes. Yes, he does. Oh, and also he frees Brad.

Cut to later on, when she’s recounting all of this to her buds Ken “Koi Boi” Shiga and her roommate Nancy Whitehead, explaining that she let Mole Man down easy by pointing out that he lives underground where there are no squirrels, and she’s Squirrel Girl see, so it wouldn’t work. So that’s all fine and done with, let’s just move on with our dail…whoa! Suddenly there’s a big BAARROOMMMM and the ground shakes, and the trio look over at Central Park to see some of the tree line seem to vanish. Ken and Doreen suit up and run over to the site to find Mole Man, who has sucked some of the park into his underground world so there can be squirrels down there. Which, come on guys, is sort of adorable. Mole Man makes another ploy for Squirrel Girl, but Nancy walks over and just cold slaps him for touching her friend without permission. Mole Man take it in stride, and Doreen stops Nancy from slapping him again by really letting Mole Man down easy this time, explaining that she can’t be forced into liking someone, which makes him slink away all dejected-like. And that’s it! All’s well that ends well.

Oh no, wait, instead Mole Man blames Squirrel Girl’s friends for turning her against him, so he sends his Moloids after them! Squirrel Girl protects Nancy by chucking her high into the air and beating Moloid butts while she soars, then catching her just before she hits the hard ground. (Koi Boi fairly well takes care of himself.) Mole Man surrenders, but Squirrel Girl—she is so awesome! Squirrel Girl still wishes him well, and says she hopes he finds a nice Mole Lady to be his Mole Ma’am. He really does slink off, but the next day sucks the Empire State Building into his domain so that just the tip is exposed! Doreen and Nancy happen to be strolling nearby and Nancy checks her smartphone to find that many of the world’s landmarks have disappeared into the ground! The news should really be “Mole Man At It Again!” because really, who else is going to do this kind of thing? It’s pretty much what he does. Mole Man hijacks the airwaves to explain that he’s going to hold these landmarks hostage until Squirrel Girl agrees to go out on a date with him! Which is pretty much exactly what she said he shouldn’t do.

This was another fun, hilarious issue of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and believe me I didn’t even tell half of it! There are so many cool interactions, interesting science and grammar facts—yes, grammar facts!—that reading this series really takes me back to reading comics as a kid, when it would take thirty minutes for me to lovingly pore over every panel and word between the covers and soak up every moment. Maybe a comic book like this isn’t what you want to see when you plunk down four bucks for an issue, but it’s what I want to see in mine. And I’ll keep beating the Squirrel Girl drum until I make everyone a fan! Or until my neighbors complain.

Bits and Pieces:

Humor? Check. Action? Check. Touching character moments? Check. Old-timey lingo? Check. Friendship? Check. This book is great even without Wolverine in it! Not that I don't think Wolverine wouldn't improve it, it's just that Wolverine is not necessary. Who is Wolverine now, anyway? Aren't there like half a dozen of 'em? Squirrel Girl could totally be a Wolverine, y'all! She's got the agility plus the heroism, and by the way she's got retractable claws too! They come out of her palms and she hardly ever uses them, but they're an option for sure! Petition Marvel Comics to make Squirrel Girl a Wolverine today, or you'll stop getting their Funko Pop characters or something!!!