Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 - Marvel Comics

The enduring popularity of Squirrel Girl seems to always take "Marvel Worldwide" by surprise and as a result the publisher would appear never to have made up its mind as to what to really do with the mutant super-heroine. One moment Will Murray's creation is part of the roster for John Byrne's quirky super-hero team The Great Lakes Avengers, bringing the zany humour of side-kick Monkey Joe to the group's wacky proceedings. Then in the next Doreen Green features quite prominently in the more mature title “The New Avengers” and the "Fear Itself" saga.

Now the buck-toothed college student has been given her own solo title and appears to have had her character undergo another major overhaul... One which is probably the worst of the lot. Indeed, when the best thing about the opening issue of a brand new comic book series is the Skottie Young variant cover depicting a baby-faced Squirrel Girl about to purloin an astonished squirrel's acorn, then there is surely a problem in its quality and declining circulation sales are likely.

Unfortunately the biggest drawback with "The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" is the creative team's misguided belief that the entire publication should play out like some ghastly camp Sixties television cartoon, complete with purportedly humorous 'starring' panels and even a theme song; one which is probably more famous for its 'Spider-Pig' parody in the 2007 motion picture "The Simpsons Movie" than its original 1967 version.

Certainly writer Ryan North seems to insist on trying to play practically every page for laughs even to the point of Doreen Green having a full-on "chuk chit chut" argument with Tippy-Toe for two entire pages and the reader collecting 'Deadpool's Official Unofficial Guide To Super Villains' cards. It is utter farcical nonsense and unfortunately made even worse by the Canadian's woeful handling of the usually dangerously charismatic Kraven the Hunter. One of Spider-Man's most long-standing archenemies, the Russian super-villain is portrayed as little more than a figure of fun, irreverently tossed very high into the air by Squirrel Girl whilst she ponders an alternative “most dangerous” foe for him to best. The notion that the big game hunter would then be won over with such a challenge being a multi-limbed giant whale called Gigantos is ludicrous.

Perhaps most unforgiving of all however has to be the atrocious artwork of Erica Henderson, who seems to feel the woman with the proportional speed and strength of a squirrel has put on more than a few pounds in weight since finishing her job as a nanny for Luke Cage’s daughter. So instead of the semi-believable bushy-tailed scrapper previously illustrated so wonderfully by Paul Pelletier, Doreen Green is now a somewhat chubby caricature of her former self complete with squirrel-eared hair-band and acorn earrings.
The regular cover art of "THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL" No. 1 by Erica Henderson

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