Remember, folks: In parts of America, her name rhymes! Your Major Spoilers review of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 awaits!
Previously in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Doctor Doom has traveled back in time to the 1960s, preparing to take over the world of the past and solidify his control in the present. (The irony is, he was created in 1965, but… y’know… timelines.) Using the power of Wikipedia, Doom is prepared to rule with a literal iron fist, unless Squirrel Girl can stop him in the past!
“HE’S AN ACTUAL DOCTOR OF *DOOM!*”
As our issue opens, Squirrel Girl and friends chafe under the despotic harness of the United States Of Doom, trying in vain to find a way to overcome his iron control. With the help of her new friends, Squirrel Girl has traveled back to the ’60s to confront Doom on his own terms, but quickly realize that the only way to do it is to steal his time machine and use it against him, the same way he did. Going undercover (in the costume of 60s cartoon character ‘Secret Squirrel’ a laugh-out-loud moment for me), Squirrel Girl finds and confronts Doctor Doom at the castle in Central Park, trying to appeal to his better nature before discovering he doesn’t have one. The primary plot fails (although Doreen and Victor Von D have a revealing and very entertaining conversation during their battle) and even their secondary gambit quickly falls apart. As the issue ends, all seems bleak, until ANOTHER figure wearing the armor of Doctor Doom appears to confront the real deal, revealing herself to be an elderly Squirrel Girl!
CLEVER AND CHARISMATIC
It’s one heck of a cliffhanger moment, but the entire issue is full of clever writing, including asides at the bottom of the pages that provide additional context and/or jokes for the events that just happened on the page. Best of all, Squirrel Girl refuses to believe that even Doom is a true monster, trying to talk him out of his goals of world domination with respect and thought. Doom’s dialogue is priceless, including a reference to ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs’ in mid-fighty-fighty, a moment that even Squirrel Girl finds truly impressive. From an art standpoint, this issue is a winner, with Henderson’s body language and facial expressions lifting the clever script to even bigger laughs and moments of emotion. Given the dour tone of so many comics today, the energetic humor of this book is incredibly welcome, and the high stakes make it clear that even a “funny” comic book can be suspenseful and dramatic. There are a couple of awkwardly paced moments in the issue, but the strength of the character work carries you past them and back into the flow of the story soon enough…
THE BOTTOM LINE: WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION
In short, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 proves the truth of the titular adjective, giving us a near-unbeatable story full of fun and energy, balancing humor and drama, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. I occasionally see complaints that this character is a one-note joke, and that there’s no way her series could be good, but that assessment is quite wrong: Having Squirrel Girl be “unbeatable” is no more limiting to the stories being told here than Superman’s powers or Batman’s legendary preparedness. The real joy comes in seeing how the writer and artist construct a story around the characters, and this issue pulls that off (you should excuse the expression) marvelously.
Besides, Doctor Doom always loses. It’s what Doctor Doom does…