Review: THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #2

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THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #2
Written by Ryan North
Art by Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 4, 2015

I’m pretty sure there is a die-hard continuity fan out there having a massive conniption over this month’s issue of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Of course, I think the rest of us are too busy having fun to care.

Doreen Green’s adventures at the start of college continue as she tries to find just the right club to have casual semi-structured social interaction, of the non-superhero variety, with people. In the processes cheekbone cutie Tomas shows back up, Nancy decides to be useful yet embarrassing and Galactus moves ever closer to Earth.  Unlike last time, there is no beginnings of a big punch out fight gone wrong. Instead, Doreen is written by North to be clever and deceptive with Erica Henderson’s art selling the interactions.

The inner monologue of Doreen is very honest and raw. For some, like me, it will take them back to when they were in their young adult years and analyze every tiny interaction. (Yeah, totally happened in just my teen and young adult years. Yep, nothing to see here. It never happens anymore!) The humor of this book is very organic, especially for fans of a specific eras of Spider-Man where his quips and tongue-in-cheek approach provided belly laughs.

The appeal of this book continues to come from it’s broad base that make it safe and accessible to readers of multiple age groups. The story is able to accomplish this without losing younger kids in trying to be overly clever, or potentially boring adults by treading into territory that is just “too cute.” Although, really, the cast created here are given such adorable actions, would you really care? Kids will cover their faces, eyes or duck their heads when Doreen’s moment of embarrassment comes. It’s a great opportunity to talk about real world emotions, how things do no always go as planned or what they would try to do in that situation. Just as Doreen used to “live” in the Avenger’s mansion attic, she decides to make some questionable choices by returning there. This also provides an area of family discussion, which the writer’s thankfully provided a fun and exciting loophole when Doreen remembers to “call in a favor.”

Erica Henderson’s art is once again a massive dose of expressive pleasure. She provides just a few key changes to make sure that each character’s face is reflects their dialogue. There is a distinct body language for each panel, instead of static hero gazes. When something goes right for Doreen the elation is extreme and lifts you up. Rico Renzi’s color work adds to this sense of expression. When embarrassment ensues Doreen’s face gains a subtle color difference that is noticeable and has your heart ache for her. (What do you mean you saw me laughing at her embarrassment? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I wouldn’t want that for her… even if I did have that happen to me all the time growing up.)

It is clear that the design of the story is not for the continuity and dramatic minded comic reader. Instead, fans of Ultimate Spider-man cartoon, Teen Titans GO! and My Little Pony are clearly who this book is trying to grab. If you’re not a fan of the unconventional and you want your heroes brooding, treating the latest threat to the universe like the greatest one ever… well, there are plenty of other stories for you to check out. (The rest of us will be over here laughing and having a good time. Probably starting the Squirrel People are funnier than Spider People Club) (Oh, and don’t forget to join Mew Club. I’m required to ask… asking you to join are rules 3-7.)

The Verdict: 9.0/10

At this point I want to make it clear that the small tiny jokes at the bottom of every page have started breaking the fourth wall more this issue. However, that’s okay. They are seriously funny. Besides, what do you expect when they consult Deadpool Villain cards in every issue?
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