Review: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13

detailIn Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13, Doreen Green, her mom, best friend Nancy, and an army of squirrels fight back against the living Gulliver’s Travel riff, Enigmo as he multiplies at an exponential rate and takes over both the United States and Canada. Writer Ryan North, artist Erica Henderson, and colorist Rico Renzi embrace the silliness of this premise and the seeming tranquility of the Ontario wilderness as Squirrel Girl with some assistance from the nihilistic robot Brain Drain and a very tired and pissed off Ant-Man of the Scott Lang variety use their minds, superpowers, and random pointless knowledge about various animals to defeat this crazy threat.

Add Scott Lang to the pantheon of popular characters that Erica Henderson has executed an epic riff on. She doesn’t draw him in Paul Rudd heartthrob mode, but in full anger mode with side of dad jokes about his “Ant Van” in his utility belt. He is constantly making fun of Canada, which kind of gets exasperating after a while, but luckily North balances his world-weariness with the high-level enthusiasm of Squirrel Girl and Nancy plus Brain Drain’s non-sequitur routine. (Basically, everything that comes out of this character’s mouth is super hilarious.) The plot of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13 is very much a middle chapter as Squirrel Girl and her team regroups to take out Enigmo. But this regroup includes a size changing van, canoes, and way too much information about ant colonies so the comic is still pretty entertaining.

Rico Renzi should be commended for his deep blue and black backgrounds for the Ontario scenes, which make it seem like Squirrel Girl and her company are really in the middle of nowhere and not in New York City lite or a Vancouver backlot. This kind of detail in locations is one of the strengths of the comics medium, and it pays off in a big way as the team dodges traffic on the expressway between Ontario and the United States, which turns into a fight scene against cops that all look like Enigmo. The fight choreography is super jumbled, but North and Henderson hit on a genius idea in the final pages that turns the arc from superhero versus multiplying supervillains fight to a heist movie complete with cool (imaginary) costumes. This totally makes sense because both Brain Drain and Scott Lang are former criminals. Plus Ant-Man’s movie was more of a heist flick with a third act that parodied Marvel superhero films so this turn in the plot is totally logical.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #13 tells the same joke about Canadians over and over and the fight against Enigmo is underwhelming, but for the most part Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Rico Renzi turn in another wacky installment of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl complete with Doreen revealing that she treats the squirrels she controls as friends unlike Scott Lang and his ants, Maureen Green playing the overly proud parent, and the set up for next month’s heist issue. Plus there is the Marvel Comics debut of the talented Spider-Man fanzine artist Hannah Blumenreich on the reliably hilarious Deadpool trading cards that Brain Drain uses to pick a hero to help them against Enigmo

Story: Ryan North Art: Erica Henderson Colors: Rico Renzi
Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.