Squirrel Girl and Tippy-Toe are launched back to the 1960s in “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” #2. Rather than worrying about paradoxes and space-time rifts, Doreen tries to make the most of her unexpected trip — much to Tippy-Toe’s dismay. Ryan North and Erica Henderson continue to have a blast with this title, playing with the time period and the genre conventions that go with time hops. Though the plot doesn’t move as smoothly or excitingly as I’d like, this is another fun issue in a reliably fun series.
North has chosen another perfect challenge for his heroine. He pits Doreen’s unflappable, practical cheer against the conventions of time travel, and the incongruity is quite funny. While Tippy worries about creating a “time loop” or “a paradox,” Doreen pays more attention to the potential of “old lady me” meeting up with young Nancy, or how “cute and fresh as heck” ’60s clothes are. It’s clever and often comical to see her solve problems outside the genre conventions.
However, as with issue #1, a few of the jokes — such as “From Wikipedia. You can tell because this looks a lot like a Wikipedia entry” — were a little too self-satisfied. Humor is admittedly a matter of taste, but I’d have loved a touch more slyness to temper the blunt absurdity. There isn’t much back-and-forth to the humor in “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” and — with such a fun cast — I’d like to see more of that.
The plot also moves in odd jerks and starts, and it’s not always clear why North devotes more time to one scene than another. The timing doesn’t always optimize dramatic or comic impact, and — as a result — the pacing can feel fitful. For a pretty linear issue, it doesn’t often read like one. Still, the points from the previous paragraph balance out many of these issues. North’s script has a very distinct feel, I quite enjoy this setting and he captures Doreen’s spirit well.
Henderson’s happy, easy artwork is spirited and readable. Her characters’ faces are expressive and just slightly exaggerated; she really knows how to use the white space of eyes to convey surprise, exasperation or excitement. This expressiveness is particularly helpful in this issue, which has almost no action. Henderson helps to keep the talking heads dynamic, and her art could often get a smile out of me where the script couldn’t. Much of the issue is devoted to decision-making and figuring out solutions, and Henderson knows how to dramatize inner thoughts on the characters’ faces. Matt Digges, David Robbins and Chip Zdarsky also do a great job with the Deadpool trading cards. They always make me smile.
Colorist Rico Renzi’s palette is certainly colorful, but casually so. He doesn’t use too many bold or deep shades, and that breezier approach to brightness mirrors Doreen’s own unflappable, low-key happiness.
All told, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” #2 is a fun but not particularly memorable issue. North and Henderson deliver a reliably enjoyable, distinct story, but the pacing issues kept it from really grabbing me.