Monday, 25 May 2015

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 - Marvel Comics

It is clear that “Marvel Worldwide” were somewhat underwhelmed by the 41,693 circulation figure for this title’s debut issue and the scathing criticism both its narrative and artwork received from some quarters. Why else would they resort to publishing this second edition with a supposedly witty endorsement on its regular front cover by Dan Slott; the writer on “The Amazing Spider-Man” and someone who himself has courted controversy as to the quality of his storylines? Unsurprisingly however such a ‘nutty’ testimonial did little to halt the swiftly evaporating buyer’s base for this rather quirky take on Will Murray’s furry prehensile tailed co-creation, and only 24,621 of Doreen Green’s most loyal fans purchased the comic.

Ryan North’s arguably juvenile approach to storytelling must share some of the blame for such a lack-lustre dwindling sales figure. The first ten pages of Issue Two of “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” documents little else but the young mutant’s visit to her college campus’ “booths for clubs” orientation event and the super-hero’s frivolous flirtation with fellow student Tomas Lara-Perez, someone she once spoke to “for two seconds!”

Admittedly the Canadian author’s rather zany comical writing style is certainly unique, innovative and novel. But it takes more than the inclusion of squirrels sneaking into observatories to spy upon fast-approaching spaceships, “the Squirrel-A-Gig” gyrocopter, a suit of Iron-squirrel armour and a direly droll “Deadpool’s Guide To Super Villain Super Accessories card 2 of 1622” to make such a bizarrely silly tale engaging and entertainingly immersive.

Fortunately the occasional songwriter’s work does change for the better once the former Great Lakes Avenger becomes aware of the imminent threat of Galactus and she realises she has only got two hours to stop the colossal alien ‘Devourer Of Worlds’. But just why the buck-toothed heroine’s utterly illogical response to such a planet wide threat is to break into Stark Tower and steal the billionaire inventor’s Iron Man technology is an entirely different matter. Such an absurdly clunky plot development does however provide some ‘screen time’ for a few of the founding Avenger’s classic suits including the inventor’s original heavy all-grey creation.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to this title’s success though is the bold highly stylised cartoony artwork of Erica Henderson, which, along with North’s script, rather tiringly tries to ‘squeeze a smile’ out of every panel. Whether such illustrations are terrifically bad or not is a matter of much debate, but the depiction of the acrobatic super-agile crime-fighter’s physique as that of a chubby, hamster-cheeked adolescent is most definitely an acquired taste.
The variant cover art of "THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL" No. 2 by Joe Quinones

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