Sunday, March 18, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #77: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

Doreen Green is still cute, still a bit chunky, still indomitable, and still the most upbeat character in comics. But she's now a second-year student in Computer Science at Empire State U -- which state is weirdly referred to as a "second-year alum" more than once -- which means she's that much closer to actually being able to create {insert technical thing that I don't really understand here}.

The "big" change in her status (oh, she's also a New Avenger, which is mentioned in the first issue and ignored otherwise) is because this third collection starts up what was in late 2015 a new series of comics about Doreen, aka Squirrel Girl, after she was involved in whatever crisis was going on that summer. (I think it was the one where all mutants died, since there was a fourth-wall-leaning reference to her very definitely not being a mutant of any kind. But who can keep track of which money-grubbing Marvel Secret House Civil Infinity Age of Death Fear Chaos Shadow happened when?) It was the second issue #1 that year for Squirrel Girl, which game creators Ryan North and Erica Henderson mock here, but not so much as to piss off their Marvel overlords.

Anyway, it's The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now. Given the way Marvel keeps books in print, it's probably impossible to find now.

It starts out with a done-in-one story re-introducing Doreen and her supporting cast -- who knows! maybe there's a substantial comic-shop-going audience that missed the first first issue that year! hope springs eternal! -- and then dives into a longer story involving Doctor Doom, time travel, and fashions of the early 1960s. Along the way, there are lots of pseudo-alt-text comments at the bottom of the pages by writer North and extensive letter-column pages with responses from both North and Henderson. (Do most comics reprint letter columns these days? Is that a thing? Because it's nice that people like the comics and send in pictures of themselves as Squirrel Girl, but it's kind of a distraction from the actual story here.)

Reader, Marvel did not have to change the title to The Only Beaten That One Time Squirrel Girl after this volume. But you knew that already, if you know anything about how comics work. It's a lot like the first two collections -- see my posts on volume one and volume two, if you have some time to waste -- showing that the relaunch was entirely pointless. This is sad, but reinforces what I already believe about big corporate comics, so it makes me Schadenfreudenly happy. If you think comics about a superhero with a great attitude, a realistic body, buck teeth, and the proportional whatever of a squirrel would also make you happy, for whatever specific reason, I think you're probably right. You might as well try it.

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