Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Comic Review: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5

Even as someone who loves puns, this issue's title, Tails of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, makes me cringe. Even though my first thought after someone makes a pun is usually "I wish I'd thought of that", this one is just overused. Still, it is just the title of the issue, and the double meaning does set up what this issue is about, with people telling their own stories about Squirrel Girl.

We start off with Nancy (Squirrel Girl's roommate) held hostage with other people in the head of the Statue of Liberty. When she insists that they will be saved by Squirrel Girl, everyone starts telling stories about Squirrel Girl, despite no one knowing who she is. It's an odd setup, but plays well off of the fact that Squirrel Girl is not one of Marvel's top tier characters, despite headlining a series right now. These stories are all told through flashes to different comic styles reflecting the story being told:  50s comics, overly dark and grim comics, newspaper comics, and 80s Spider-Man comics. The bulk of the issue is spent in these stories, and the rapid switching between them brings out both what I like and what I don't like about this story.

On the negative side, I mentioned in my review of the last issue that the dialogue in this series is too much of the same. Everyone speaks with the same voice, sounding just like Ryan North, and I'm willing to go a long way with that style because I love irreverance, and he provides it in spades. However, when one of the stories has Captain America talking in exactly the same way, it starts to feel like a bit too much, even in parody, becoming what I was afraid of before.

On the positive, we have Erica Henderson's art. She drew all the different styles and managed to get the balance right that I missed in the writing. All of these stories look like the style you expect for that type of story, but are still recognizable as part of her style. It seems like a very small distinction, but it makes the difference between gracefully getting something to work and just forcing it despite not fitting.

What drags me down the most is that I did not laugh much in this issue; even when I had problems with the series being itself just a little too much, I was still laughing throughout. There were some moments, such as my brain taking in the sentence "Totalitarianism is totalitarily great!" that just clicked with me, but it was less than I'd felt in the other issues, and the reason why I'm not quite as positive as I was before. If I had to define it, last issue was me starting to be afraid, and this issue is me starting to see that fear become reality, but not enough that I'm off this train yet.

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