Tragedy is easy, comedy is hard, which is why there are so many sad superheoes. It’s much easier to kill a character to make us cry than it is to make that same superhero draw a laugh. Humor is subjective, but shooting a loved one in the face is always going to be a terrible act. So I can see why not a lot of writers go for the joke; it could easily fall flat and ruin their story. It’s the fearless type of writer who throws angst to the wind and heads in feet first into comedy!
Ryan North and Erica Henderson are just that fearless. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl isn’t just a regular story with comedy bits sprinkled in, but a full-out funny book with all the trimmings. From the difficult-to-read stingers at the bottom of every page, to the wild squirrel network that alerts our heroine to danger, to the decorations of her college roommate (which I personally adore!), nothing is taken all that seriously.
Doreen is heading to college and juggling a secret identity that might not need to be all that secret, with the casual run-in with a super-villain along the way. Not only does Squirrel Girl beat Kraven the Hunter, but she does so with her brain and extensive knowledge of comic continuity (and instantly merchandise-able trading cards!). She doesn’t look like your average superhero, as Erica Henderson put just enough characterization in her faces and action shots to emphasize the comedy without getting too cartoony. The action is dynamic, the visual gags range from subtle to squirrels in pants funny. This book isn’t for everyone, but it is for people who like fun.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is fun because it should be fun. Doreen Green is a fun character with a weird, goofy power set. She’s the closest we get to a meme in the Marvel Universe. The fact that she can have her own solo series in this day and age gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, not every superhero has to lurk on a rooftop and cry in the rain.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
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