I finished the final The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl collection & am emotionally compromised. 2020 already seems like it could use as much Squirrel Girl as possible. (It could certainly use a Squirrel Girl/ TMNT crossover to redeem it, but Marvel doesn’t do inter-publisher crossovers anymore.) Counting the graphic novel, Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe!, it reached an auspicious thirteen volumes. TUSG is one of those titles where it’s silly for me to encapsulate why it’s great for you. You should experience it for yourself because it eats nuts & kicks butts! I’m going to give it one last go anyway. If you want to steer clear of SPOILERS, skip ahead to where I review her long awaited Marvel Legends action figure.
The pull quotes on the final collection’s cover come from author Ryan North, illustrators Derek Charm & Erica Henderson, & colorist Rico Renzi! The file photo of Squirrel Girl is her punching out Thanos. The photo of Doreen Green devouring a banana split is equally epic! Sadly it did not feature even a panel of her riding a turquoise Vespa.
The grand finale is chock full of supervillains. Unlike Batman, Squirrel Girl doesn’t require enough prep time to trounce them. Although there are the typical superhero fisticuffs, Squirrel Girl vanquishes most foes via empathy & rational arguments. Melissa Morbeck the Iron Ring outs Squirrel Girl’s secret identity to the world. Squirrel Girl astutely points out to supervillains that this is actually the least opportune moment to seek vengeance upon her.
Swarm is underrated as a villain because bees possessed by a Nazi is simultaneously terrifying & hilarious. Blockchain debuts, although apparently he had an outrageous first encounter with Doreen to be retconned in later. Fin Fang Foom gets risque stolen Stark armor, which is more than he usually wears. The engineer of Doreen’s woes is
Ayn Rand Melissa Morbeck. She’s the only SG-specific arch-nemesis left since Ratatoskr gets a great redemption arc where she transforms into a Frost Giant-sized John Locke tome! Of course they’re all overshadowed by diabolical Dr. Doom.
Say what you will about Doctor Doom’s failings, at least he’s not Mr. Fantastic. I am 100% in favor of the King of Latveria wiping that smug yet bland superscientist out of existence. (Yes, Victor, destroy the accursed Fantastic Four once & for all!) Although they seem like incongruous arch-nemeses at first, Doom’s & Doreen’s contrasts mach them much more dynamic. Doreen is so endearing that Doom feuding with a college student finally makes him seem villainous instead of the coolest guy in the room. (Don’t you dare touch a single fur on her tail, you monster!) Plus they have wildly different skills so it’s not a standard doppelgänger rivalry like him against Iron Man. I can’t believe Squirrel Girl came out against dictatorships! The tone of the book allows Doom’s dialogue to be even more grandiose than usual yet still completely in character: “May the best tactician win.” “Yes. That is the same as saying ‘may Doom win,’ which is the correct wish.” Being useful to Doom is technically a compliment.
Let’s take a quick detour to talk about Victor Von Doom stuff that’s not directly in TUSG. The unified Latveria/Atlantis seal is a thing that exists, although the standard Latverian flag seems to change radically by artists. Since Latveria is in Europe, its citizenry look straight out of a Hammer film set in the 1800’s. Someone once circumvented a swear filter by replacing male genitalia with “RICHARDS!” Now each time I see Dr. Doom shout Mr. Fantastic’s name as an epithet I’m going to be picturing him screaming “COCKS!” Remember how exciting it was to see the first photo of Doctor Doom’s costume from the 2005 movie & then how disappointing it was to see it from the shoulders down?
Google really does autocomplete “Mary Mahajan” to “Mary Mahajan doomsday scorpion tank!” She has a “Don’t do what Doctor Doom does!” poster on her dorm wall because she’s an engineering student. Nancy Whitehead is literally the craftiest one there is! Rather than bounding like his compatriots, Koi Boi bellyflops from rooftop to rooftop. (That scene is extra reminiscent of The Tick cartoon, which remains sadly incomplete on DVD & not streaming anywhere.) Brain Drain is definitely supposed to sound like Werner Herzog. Oaktron isn’t in this one, but it’s a fun concept.
Nobody gets killed off in the conclusion thank to The Devourer of Worlds! Galactus basically breaks the fourth wall to save the day. It’s a much more creative use of The Power Cosmic than I’ve seen him or the Silver Surfer (I loathe him!) display. Galactus’s skirt is so short, the whole galaxy’s seen his nethers! In a very meta scene, he bids Doreen farewell as they will never interact like this again (because new writers will use them) but not to fear change. It’s reminiscent of when Kraven said goodbye to her. I’d rather read about Kraven becoming
Batman The Unhuntable Sergei than whatever’s happened to him in Spider-Man’s books. So it’s hard not to worry about future scribes dropping the ball on her & her supporting cast.
Although the series began with Doreen pining after Chipmunk Hunk, he gets into a stable relationship fairly early on with Mary. Instead of spending the rest of the series trying to win him over, Doreen respects his romantic choice & they remain close friends. Squirrel Girl doesn’t go on to find a boyfriend either, & she’s alright with that despite an arc of disastrous dates. This is almost revolutionary that the protagonist, especially a woman, doesn’t need a lover to validate them. Finding a mate is not the endgame of Squirrel Girl.
The relationship that does validate her is her roommate & best human friend, Nancy Whitehead. (She must’ve been teased about pimples so much as a kid.) This is one of the best friendships in comics. Their womance endures for decades! (Although both are only shown attracted to guys, there is enough subtext to infer Nancy & Doreen become a couple. It’s not directly supported by the text, but it’s open-minded & elastic enough that it could accommodate this headcanon.) Even their familiars, Tippy-Toe the squirrel & Mew the cat, set aside their inter-species animosity to become pals. This series honestly could’ve been named Squirrel Girl: Friendship Is Magic! if ponies hadn’t snapped it up first.
Unlike some comics, Doreen being doxxed isn’t pushed back under the rug by the story’s end. It’s a new status quo that future writers can extrapolate on. Likewise someone else will need to chronicle Doreen meeting Nadia Pym the unstoppable Wasp, Shuri, & Moon-Girl. (The “Moon Squirrel & Tippysaur” story from Infinity Warps #1, the inbred version of Amalgam Comics, isn’t included.) Ryan North wrote this animated Squirrel Girl & Dr. Strange team-up. I used to think her being un-mutanted was dumb, but Doreen dodged a bullet!
TUSG (often mis-abbreviated to USG to hurt The’s feelings) may be the most educational fiction comic. At least I presume the fun facts in it are true. Otherwise why spend two pages explaining steganography? A lie would be much concise. Unless it’s some insidious long con to fill up pages whilst appearing intelligent (that I’m totally going to steal). Anyhoo, I’m adding a comp sci degree from Squirrel Girl University to my resume.
Just as The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl had two #1 issues with a year thanks to Secret Wars, it also has two fiftieth issues due to creative counting gimmicks. Both runs together comprise fifty-eight issues. The graphic novel is five issues worth of content, so that may bump the total up to fifty-nine or sixty-three depending upon how you look at it. Yes, everything about comic books must be unnecessarily confusing! It’s a long enough run to keep you occupied for a while, yet not insurmountably imposing like Chris Claremont’s complete X-Men stories.
This is a most optimistic comic book. One of the takeaways of the book is “Don’t be sad it’s over; be glad it happened!” Reading the title’s exit interview makes its success seem like lightning in a bottle. It’s especially astounding that the series continued for so long & ended on its own terms. I can think of so many things that had everything going for them, such as Lodge 49 & every Bryan Fuller show, only to get cut down in their prime by bean-counters. So even if civilization is irreparably destroyed, at least we won’t be left hanging on how TUSG wraps up. Squirrel Girl truly is unbeatable!
Unlike last week, there toy photos are on topic! Squirrel Girl rings up as “MVL LGND VEH SQUEAK” at GameStop. It includes squirrels the size of chihuahuas that should be gray. I should’ve repainted them before taking these photos, but I’m only almost clever. Alternatively, this could give me something to post later if I really get desperate during quarantine.
Doreen’s sculpt is going to be divisive. She kinda resembles Sophia Lillis. I am
not okay with this! (On the other paw, I’m just saying I’ve never seen Carly Rae Jepsen & Squirrel Girl together….) She’s got the generic slim body she was drawn with prior to TUSG but wearing the costume that debuted therein. Erica Henderson drew Doreen stout like a Crossfitter or powerlifter (That Jurassic Park homage logo variant is keen!), although it was often unnoticed because she didn’t wear unrealistically painted-on clothes. The Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors cartoon depicts her chubby, which most fans latched onto as there’s a shortage of plus-size superheroines. All of these bodytypes are arguably accurate, but it’s still underwhelming Hasbro went with the one they’ve already used parts from so often. A 100% new sculpt with a thicker physique would’ve made the deluxe price more palatable. If they really want to drive me nutty, it’ll make a new zaftig body for original costume Squirrel Girl.
The blue Vespa is a slightly retooled from Deadpool’s red version. (It took me way too long to realize that Deadpool’s costume is from a later period than the Gail Simone & Udon era that introduced it because I’m a fake nerd boy.) Just like the regenerating degenerate, she cannot sit on the seat & hold the handlebars with her feet pegged into the running boards. How did Hasbro not engineer this bike to accommodate its riders’ proportions? Doreen doesn’t even get alternate gripping hands (or fists), which is disappointing compared to all Wade’s pack-ins. You can wedge her hands into the handlebars, but she’ll sit sit too far forward to approximate a natural driving position. (Even the larger Deadpool with grasping hands gets scrunched forward if you have Dogpool & Squirrelpool plugged in behind his sensitive scabbards.) The footpegs remain useless. As much as I like Vespas, I would’ve been perfectly happy to drop the it & halve the MSRP. You get more bang for your buck with the Cosmic Ghost Rider set, but I’ve left that on the shelf numerous times because I dislike that concept despite it looking like a nifty toy.
Ms. Green’s bushy tail is unarticulated to help her balance better. This is disappointing! Maybe they could’ve included an alternate balljointed tail so you have a choice between stability & poseability. Some buyers said it’s difficult to get her into many poses with it, but I’ve not had this problem.
There are plenty of nits to pick with this action figure, but I still enjoy having it. I hardly hesitated when I came across it in the wild. It’s great to finally have a Marvel Legends Squirrel Girl! Now that Hasbro finally tooled some new parts for her, they can use them to make the rest of her costume variants!
Here is the obligatory call to action to do all the typical social things with this blog from a hygienic distance.