How The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 37 Hides Everything in Plain Sight

By Drew Baumgartner

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 37

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Doreen Green’s honesty is a key part of her character. It allows her to find nonviolent solutions to so many of her conflicts, helping her adversaries find a better path forward. But it also means she’s not great at subterfuge. It’s a weakness that Ryan North and Derek Charm lean into hilariously, as Doreen and Nancy don some truly absurd costumes in order to infiltrate Squirrel Girl’s own funeral.

Bass Lass and Fish Miss

As silly as these costumes are, they also reinforce Doreen’s natural honesty — she’s simply incapable of selling a lie convincingly. It’s a philosophy that North and Charm use to inform the whole aesthetic of the series, which tends to overshare and lampshade niggling details we might have otherwise overlooked. But unlike Doreen’s compulsive honesty, North and Charm can use our trust against us, landing a thrilling twist in this issue’s final page. Continue reading

The Many Irreconcilable Definitions of Redemption in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 34

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Kraven the Hunter is not only the very first enemy Doreen Green defeated way back when Ryan North and Erica Henderson launched The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, but he’s also the first enemy she reformed. Unlike the other villains whose lives Doreen has helped turn around, Kraven has continued to pop up as a recurring character ever since, allowing the creative team to explore life after redemption and just what, exactly, Kraven looks like as a “good guy.” With this image now firmly in place, North and artist Derek Charm use The Unbeatable Squirrel 34 to muddy and complicate it in fascinatingly complex and nuanced ways. What redemption means for Kraven may not be the same for Doreen, or Spider-Man, or the police, or the people of NYC, and there may simply be no way to reconcile these various viewpoints.  Continue reading

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 32: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Michael DeLaney

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 32

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Taylor: Usually when I go to work, I wear contact lenses instead of glasses. Generally, that’s a decision I make based on comfort, or more accurately, on how late I wake up that morning. This being so, people at work don’t see me in my glasses that often and frequently express surprise that I’m bespectacled. My students think it’s hilarious to lovingly (I think) mock me by calling me “Professor Anderson” in their best nerd voice when they see my Clark Kent look. This just shows that superficial changes to one’s appearance often lead to you being seen differently, and the same can be said of comics. Being a visual medium, how things look matters. And when that look changes, it’s a total gambit as to whether it works or not. Continue reading

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 30: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Taylor: A couple days ago, Erica Henderson announced on Twitter that she would be stepping away from artistic duties on the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. For fans of the comic, particularly those who have been reading it from the beginning, this comes as crushing news, which is only moderately softened by knowing Henderson is stepping down of her own accord. While that makes the situation a bit easier to swallow it’s still is weird to consider a Squirrel Girl comic not drawn by Henderson. Luckily, there are still a few issues left to appreciate Henderson’s artwork and the 30th issue provides a great example of why she’ll be missed so much. Continue reading

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 27: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Taylor: I’ve had this misconception for a long time now that Squirrel Girl is somehow not connected to the Marvel Universe at large. This almost certainly stems from Squirrel Girl being a comedic title that tonally doesn’t match the rest of the Marvel Universe (save for maybe Deadpool) and which often portrays superheroes as being goofy and inept rather than noble saviors of the planet. However, no matter how unique Squirrel Girl may be amongst Marvel titles, it’s still part of the universe just as much as any other comic, which is a fact made obvious in issue 27. Continue reading

Epistolary Irreverence in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 26

by Drew Baumgartner

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 26

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The provenance of epistolary texts are always weird. Actually, it’s probably less weird than traditional narratives, where we might somehow be privy to the private thoughts of the protagonist or even the perspective of an omniscient narrator, but epistolary texts necessarily draw our attention to the weirdness in a way that more traditional narratives don’t. Because we’re reading documents composed within the diegesis of the epistolary narrative, the ostensible writer of those documents are a character, even as the actual writer attempts to become invisible. That tension, between our hyperawareness of the fictional author, and purported obliviousness of the actual author, puts epistolary narratives in this weird netherworld of headspace, embracing the self-awareness of postmodernism in an attempt to produce an entirely un-self-aware story. It’s a concept that already folds in on itself, but writer Ryan North adds a few more wrinkles, confusing the notion of self-awareness enough that the confusion starts to be to point. Continue reading

Doreen Inspires Good Once Again in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 25

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There are some superheroes who are more good than others. Superman and Captain America are your prototypical heroes who have the reputations for always doing the “right thing.” Other heroes are more nebulous when it comes to how they carry out their heroing. The Punisher, for example kills people, and while Batman isn’t that extreme, he operates in the shadows in more ways than one. If you had to peg Doreen Green into one of these two pigeonholes, she would definitely fall in the former, and while that predictability risks being boring, with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, it never is. Continue reading

Dinosaur Ultron Embraces Evil in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 24

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Dinosaur Ultron is a terrific villain, partially because it’s just so cool to see Ultron as a dinosaur, partially because artist Erica Henderson has come up with a design for him that’s equal parts menacing and adorable and because colorist Rico Renzi mines his red glowing highlights for some particularly effective scares, and partially because Ryan North has found a genuinely funny and unique voice for him. What seems most notable to me about Dinosaur Ultron, though, is that he came upon his hatred of all organic life independently of the original Ultron’s programming; if both versions of the AI came to the same conclusion despite wildly different lives and circumstances, did they ever really have a chance to be anything different? Could he still be? Continue reading

Discussion and Respect at the Center of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 23

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 23 ends with Doreen in the clutches of a robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex, but the most important plot points involve discussion. It’s not quite My Dinner with Andre. We also get an explanation of the problem in the Savage Lands, a couple of montages, and the aforementioned robot T-Rex. Even so, the most important moments happen as Nancy talks it out with Stefan and then talks out that conversation with Doreen. Ryan North and Erica Henderson elevate these conversations by applying real caring between the characters and creating visual interest during these conversations. Continue reading

Boys Night Out in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 21

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Any time I get the chance to compare Squirrel Girl to Star Trek, I’m going to take it. That’s because Squirrel Girl writer Ryan North is almost certainly is a fan of the series, at least in the nostalgic sort of way that recognizes the original series and TNG equally for their goofiness and genius. This being the case, I remember watching old episodes of TNG that focused on the ancillary characters aboard the Enterprise rather than the main cast. These episodes, in a lot of ways, turned out to be some of the best the shows the writers ever wrote. Perhaps there’s something about being unburdened from the role of an overarching narrative that engages writers creativity. This certainly seems the case in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 21, an issue that shifts its focus onto Koi Boy, Chipmunk Hunk, and Brain Drain. Continue reading