Monday, August 29, 2016

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11 Review and **SPOILERS** - Marvel Mondays

Bye, Bye, Binary

Written By: Ryan North
Art By: Jacob Chabot, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi
Lettered By: Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: August 24, 2016


I had a computer science class in high school, it was one of my math credits. I, uh, never attended that class, though. I used to cut and go hang out with the art teacher, who had a class of her own to teach that period. So I’d sit in this class, draw whatever I wanted while students around me did whatever projects I’d already completed when I took the one elective art class offered by my school (thanks, New York City public education!) I went to this art class so regularly, that when report cards came around the pupils adjacent to me asked about my grade—and I had to admit I wasn’t being graded here, instead I had completely failed my scheduled class. Point is, I have mediocre drawing skills, but I don’t know a thing about computer science or programming. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is going to remedy that, though, and she’ll help you too if you simply read on! And then read the comic, obviously, I’m not going to recap every word. Duh.

Explain It!

Doreen Green is eating some falafel with her squirrel pal Tippy Toe one snowy day, when she spies Doctor Octopus strolling by like he’s not a murderous supervillain! He’s even wearing his full Doc Ock regalia. Not to be outdone, Doreen somehow spontaneously changes into her Squirrel Girl attire and busts right out the front window! This is very unlike her! In fact, the whole scene is kind of weird, I mean isn’t Doctor Octopus dead? Yes, as it turns out, he is dead, and this is merely a dream Doreen having—a dream that is actually a nightmare, orchestrated by the ethereal Lord of the Dream Realm (in the Marvel Universe), Nightmare! He used to fight Doctor Strange a lot…not sure where he’s been lately. Probably giving the Alt-Right people bad dreams and making them all paranoid and bigoted.

I gotta hand it to Nightmare: despite being pretty powerful, he’s a B-List Marvel villain at best, and yet here he is going toe-to-Tippy Toe with the most inarguably powerful superhero around. Unbeatable, remember? Nightmare decides to send Count Nefaria to thwart S. Girl, which frankly is sort of a dick move because he should really fight his own battles. I don’t know Count Nefaria, but I’m pretty sure he’s nefarious, and he proves it by challenging Squirrel Girl…to count to ten on one hand! And this is where the comic book gets awesome, because Squirls tells Count Nefaria (and by extension, the reader) about binary code, and how you can assign numerical values to your fingers so that you can count to thirty-one on one hand. No kidding! I’d tell you all about it—because honestly, it is explained in a very simple way that is easy to comprehend and relay to others—but the way it’s all explained in the issue is much more elegant, and it has pictures, AND the professor teaching it is Squirrel Girl! Buy this comic book, learn counting in binary, impress your friends! Or lose some friends, but they would be lame friends anyway!

Nightmare is rightfully pissed off that Squirrel Girl defeated Count Nefaria by impressing him with computer science, so he adopts the dream power of Dream Venom, then he becomes a slavering symbiote ready to pounce on Squirrel Girl! Squirrel Girl starts dream-hopping and finds herself in a familiar nightmare where she is in a class she doesn’t remember taking—and it’s the final exam! It turns out Doreen defeated this dream before, by explaining to the Dean of Students (who happens to be Kraven the Hunter) that there’s been some misunderstanding. While she’s taken the time to do this, Nightmare Venom finds her, so she dream hops to a familiar nightmare in Central Park, where all the trees worldwide have stopped producing nuts! They city’s squirrels congregate on their Girl to complain, but she asks them to put the dream situation aside a second, and follow this detailed bit of computer code that will help her defeat Nightmare! And…I just don’t want to give too much away, I mean obviously she defeats Nightmare, but the way Squirrel Girl does it is so clever and silly and cute that you just have to see it. And then what do you think happens? Do you think Nightmare is vanquished in a bloody splat and Squirrel Girl lights up a celebratory cigar? Or maybe she deposits him in a supervillain prison where he has to sit in a glass-walled cell with no visible toilet for some reason? No! Instead, Doreen shows Nightmare that he doesn’t need to be all gloom and doom, and that dreaming can be fun! SQUIRREL GIRL TEACHES THE MASTER OF THE DREAM REALM THAT DREAMING CAN BE FUN, Y’ALL!

This issue was pretty educational and entertaining, in fairly equal parts. Squirrel Girl uses computer code a few times in the issue, making this the nerdiest comic on the stands last week. But it’s just so much fun, and as a fan of Ditko’s Doctor Strange I loved seeing Nightmare get involved. His power set is so weird, though—like, he’s all-powerful when you are dreaming, but he doesn’t just turn people into bowls of pudding or send them into an endless cycle of imagined torture, instead he always has these other, more complicated plans that employ others for no real good reason. The majority of the drawing duties are handled by Jacob Chabot, who has a similar style to Erica Henderson so regular readers shouldn’t miss a beat. This is a fun issue that may not carry the “import” of others, but is nonetheless as enjoyable to read.

Bits and Pieces:

TRIGGER WARNING: If you are triggered by learning some basics of computer science, stay away from this issue! Everyone else should check it out. This issue skews a little more to the "educational" side, but it's still super funny and really entertaining. I highly recommend this comic book, for children and adults, in particular those adults who know exactly nothing about computer science or even the most rudimentary coding (me.)


1 comment:

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