Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi
Time Travel was something that was bound to happen in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl sooner or later. The signs were all there: Ryan North’s relationship with Back to the Future, Squirel Girl’s beef with Doctor Doom, who owns a time traveling platform, the fact that this comic was solicited as a time travel story. All subtle hints letting the reader know that a time travel arc would be happening sooner or later.
Time travel is something that can either make or break a comic for me. I love alternate time lines and futures, but when a time travel story gets caught up in own rules it and starts focusing on that instead of the plot, it can go downhill. Which explains my complex relationship with 90s X-men comics. Luckily, North and Erica Henderson inject a ton of humor into this time travel story, which sees our hero and her pal Tippy Toe dragged back in time to the year 1962. It appears someone is trying to wipe out Squirrel Girl from existence, and it’s up to Nancy Whitehead, whom seems to be the only person who remembers who Doreen is in the present, to figure out exactly what exactly the haps is.
Erica Henderson, who is reaching Zdarsky/Fraction number in terms of being mentioned on this blog, is absolutely wonderful on this issue, and on this book in general. With Rico Renzi handling the colors on TUSG, we get art from Henderson that’s very animated and clean. She’s SO GOOD on capturing the fashion of the 60s, and the facial expressions she can give the characters are THE BEST out of anything coming from the Big 2. How she manages to work on 2 monthly books of excellent quality at the same time is beyond me, but I’m glad that I have them. Also Rico Renzi’s colors are prime time animation good, especially come the final page of this issue.
Aside from Ryan North being one of the funniest dudes currently working in comics, he’s also one of the smartest. Which means him tackling the concept of time travel is pretty great. While the concept of a hero being erased from the timeline isn’t the most original, North handles it in a way that feels fresh. Having Squirrel Girl remain calm and collected while dealing with the scenario makes the whole thing come across as ton of fun, with some genuinely great jokes and clever ideas be conceived how to solve the problem. It’s these details that really help the story feel original, even when it’s been done to death before.
Opening on an amazing running gag involving cat fan fiction and Iron Man on the Twitter-style recap page and ending on DOOM, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 is a hilarious and really clever comic, which seems to be the norm for this book. It’s scary how consistently excellent this book has been, especially with the creative team never skipping an issue while working on multiple projects. If the North, Henderson and Renzi team are the future of Marvel Comics, then both the company and the medium are in very good hands.