Somewhere tucked deep away in my ancestral manse (aka my parent’s house) is a copy of Marvel Super-Heroes v2 #8. I would have never guessed after reading one of the short stories in that anthology that I would be reviewing an issue of Squirrel Girl. Funny ol’world, innit?
Story: Doreen Green (SG) goes to college! Meets a quirky roommate! Beats up some villains! Talks to squirrels!
Analysis: Last week I randomly read an article posted on facebook about how comicbook stores don’t cater well to women nor to younger girls. (My apologies to the writer of the article as I can’t find the link.) The reason I bring that up is that the whole time I was reading this I kept thinking this could be a great book to pull in that younger market.
The story is cute and fun. It’s an all-ages book without having that as a prominent label, which hopeful means it will be easier to pick up for fans. A villain shows up, who might be considered a surprise and I don’t want to give it away. There is a little bit of violence and then SG wins the fight in a great way that calls back to some classic Fantastic Four.
All that said, I did feel that it was written for a younger audience. Not as a bad thing. It wasn’t an insulting read or anything like that. It was clever and well crafted, but I felt I was too old for it. To compare it to two Marvel cartoons, USG is more like the Super Hero Squad Show. It trends younger, but still does a great job of maintaining characters and delivering a good product. Unlike Ultimate Spider-Man (the tv show) that skews young and is just terrible. Just terrible.
Although I can smile about the story, I likely won’t continue the series because, too be honest, I just didn’t like the art. Let me be clear, I don’t think it was bad. Henderson as consistent and seems to be a good storyteller. I just didn’t like it. There is something about the faces, especially of Doreen, that really just doesn’t sit well with me. The slightly goggly eyes and mouth structure just reminds me of aspects I don’t like of caricature. This is actually the reason I put off reading the issue for so long. From the earliest previews I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like the art. I hoped I would, and in the end I didn’t. In such a visual medium the strengths of the writing cannot overcome having art that is not my cup of tea.
But then again, I think back to that other series which seems to be everyone’s darling that has amazing art but was so cliched and poorly written that I also dropped it. Although I gave it 4 issues instead of just one, which I guess means that I do make more allowances for art than writing. I always think of myself as valuing writing over art. Huh. Interesting.
Still, I think Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is worth taking a look at. If you do enjoy the art, you might find a fun regular read.
(P.S. If you like this review please check out my podcast Comics League International and think about liking it on Facebook.