Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Book 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now (#1-6, Howard The Duck #6)

"Goodbye, Squirrel Girl.  You shall not trouble me again" - Doctor Doom

"Hey" I hear you say, "haven't we already had number one and so on for Squirrel Girl?"  Well you can blame the 2015 Marvel Universal reboot that saw everything start back at issue 1 for that.  Thanks Obama! Never fear though, all our favourite characters are still here.  Doreen Green is Squirrel Girl, she has the proportional strength of a squirrel, can speak with squirrels and has a squirrel side-kick called "Tippy Toe".  Best friend Nancy is also still around with Mew her beloved cat as well as fellow creature themed heroes, Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk.  This collection also includes the awesome letters pages and an issue of Howard The Duck which was a crossover with Squirrel Girl #6.  This is a tremendously fun, all-ages comic.  Breezily written by Ryan North and characterful artwork by Erica Henderson make it a cut above the usual superhero fare and proves comics can be both mature and fun at the same time.  This volume includes a visit from Squirrel Girls mum, time travel back to the 1960's and Howard the Duck's search for a lost cat going somewhat awry.  So without further ado, let's tuck in to a slice of fun.

We begin with Squirrel Girl inside a burning building rescuing family from the flames with back up from Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk. The family are very excited to meet her as she picks all three of them up and jumps out to safety.   Later they discuss the situation, Squirrel Girl says they "kicked butts and ate nuts".  Nancy says she didn't eat nuts she stayed on the ground ensuring they were in the most effective places.

Squirrel Girl says she spoiled her catchphrase moment, while Tippy Toe (who the others have been taught to understand) teases Chipmunk Hunk, calling him "Chipmonk Honk" which Squirrel Girl says that should be his name now.  Chipmunk Hunk grumbles it was better when he couldn't understand Tippy Toe.
Sweet new digs!
They arrive at the flat Squirrel Girl and Nancy will be sharing this college year.  Squirrel Girl says they are still moving boxes in because people notice when she carries ten boxes at once.  Nancy wonders how they manage to have secret identities at all.  Squirrel Girl says she clearly has a tail while Doreen has a "rad badonk".  Nancy says that's just her tail stuffed into her trousers.

There is a teleporter in the closet which will take Squirrel Girl directly to Avenger's Island as she is now a member of the "New Avengers".  She says "we avenge all the new stuff." She moans that it doesn't do anything cool like take her to the moon, but the place has a pretty good food court, so do they want to come and "eat delicious food off some friggin' paper plates?"

Then her phone goes.  It's her mother, she wants to meet Nancy who is less than enthralled by the prospect.   Squirrel Girl gets on her knees and begs, Nancy looks grumpy then agrees and Squirrel Girl picks her up and rushes off out the door.  Squirrel Girl's mum is waiting at an open air cafe.  Squirrel Girl has to go to the bathroom so sends Nancy over to her and mum greets her warmly.

She introduces herself as Maureen and tells her she and her husband Dor have heard a lot about her.  She loves cats too but they couldn't have them with all the squirrels running about, doesn't Mew mind Tippy Toe?  Nancy says no.  Maureen says Dor couldn't make it and Nancy says Doreen's parents are called "Dor" and "Maureen".  Maureen says they merged their names to make "Doreen".  Nancy says, "that's... the most adorable thing I've ever heard."

Maureen says she has tonnes of Doreen stories and Nancy grins saying she is so into hearing the stories she has no idea.  Squirrel Girl finally arrives to find her mum showing baby pictures of her to Nancy.   She was climbing trees at nine months.  Nancy comments it must be one of her mutant powers.  Maureen says that Squirrel Girl isn't a mutant.  She was tested and found not to be one by the doctor.

Maureen: "I remember now 'Doreen is medically and legally distinct from being a mutant and I can never take it back'"

Squirrel Girl says that's a cool story so what's for lunch?  Maureen says she already ate.  Squirrel Girl clutches her head saying they are here for nothing.  Nancy says she is here for the baby pictures and embarrassing stories and she is happy to be proved wrong about meeting her being potentially boring.
That's one for the lawyers.
Squirrel Girl picks them both up and takes them back to their building's roof.  She goes to open the roof access door when it bursts open and a robot with a brain and eyes in a jarlike head knocks Squirrel Girl down.  She leaps up and spots that it has Mew and Tippy Toe which it says "will be the first to be consumed".  She won't stand for that and attacks the being.

Nancy tries to find its Deadpool card and discovers its name is "Brain Drain".  But the card has no clues on what his weakness is and he's from Hydra.   He and Squirrel Girl wrestle some more and she rips his coat off his front exposing a control box with wires.  Tippy Toe goes to work on them, nibbling through them and Brain Drain powers down.

They bring him inside their flat and discuss what to do with him.  Her mum says he never actually attacked Squirrel Girl first, and how could he eat Mew and Tippy Toe with no mouth? Nancy and Squirrel Girl realise they "absolutely started this fight".  Tippy says he came through the teleporter and just stood ther until she came close to him, then he snatched her and Mew and was all "chaos" and "murder".
Tippy-toe to the rescue!
They decide to repair him so they can ask him what he wanted.  His real name is Werner and he was robotised in the 1940's.   Squirrel Girl says he might be a good guy who's been affected by lack of repairs over the years.  We then get a "Robot Repair Montage Scene" and using Nancy's cell phone to replace his damaged control panel they bring him back to life.

Fifteen minutes later he says he had been like in a dream with few lucid moments.   He had come to New York to find her, Hippo the Hippo speaks very highly of her.  The aliens who rebuilt him had used a Hydra handbook, but while he wanted to change, his actions would not.  Repairing him though has removed all the Hydra processors for which he is thankful. She asks what he plans to do now:

Werner: "I have been meaning to make a study of how civilisation's false veneer of decency is spread all to thin across the face on a monstrously indifferent universe."
Squirrel Girl says he should learn how to fix himself now he is part cellphone.  So they disguise him and have Maureen pretend he is her son so she can sign him up to the database class Nancy and Squirrel Girl both attend.  He says he is looking forward to studying them.
Werner gets signed up for Awesome Database Action.
Later Squirrel Girl, Nancy, Koi Boy and Chipmunk Hunk are eating in the food court on Avenger's Island.   Ken and Tomas say they are going off to investigate the "Great Cakes Avengers" while Nancy takes a photo of herself eating at the most prestigious of food courts.  She tells Squirrel Girl that having Werner around is going to be weird, but "I get the feeling it was gonna be weird anyway. But that's Ok, weird is good."  Squirrel Girl says "lets kick butts and eat nuts" but Nancy says she is going to eat a burger and Squirrel Girl yells she ruined her catchphrase moment again!

Narration: "One night, Doreen Green and Tippy-Toe were getting ready for bed. They had spent a busy day fighting crime and also studying discrete mathematics so they fell asleep pretty quickly.  They were hit by a temporal blast which had the effect of sending them back in time while also erasing them from the timeline.  This is the story of what happens next".

Her bed crashes down in a vacant lot, earmarked for forthcoming student housing.  She takes stock and realises by the look of things they must have time travelled.  Also people are staring at her tail.  She yells out that she is an actor playing "Sleepy Squirrel Lady" then jumps away asking Tippy-Toe "what the heck are we doing in the 1960s??"

They duck into a back alley where there is a chairty clothing bank which Squirrel Girl plans to borrow some clothes, including super hero clothes.  Tippy-Toe can't believe she plans to fight crime.

Tippy-Toe: "It's the butterfly effect:  If someone is supposed to steal a butterfly in the past and we stop them, then the future can get changed in crazy ways!"

Squirrel Girl says she seriously needs to get some clothes because a woman with a squirrel tail in pyjamas running round New York will probably change things more.  Tippy-Toe reluctantly agrees and Squirrel Girl gets some nice threads.
Rockin' the sixties look there.
Walking through the streets she spots a crime in progress and despite Tippy-Toe's warnings goes in to stop it. Then she has an epiphany, no one back then know what a super hero is, they think Captain America is wartime propaganda.  She starts babbling and then stops herself saying she needs to keep things a surprise, before knocking out the criminals saying "Surprise!!"

In the present Nancy runs up to Tomas and Ken saying she woke up to find Doreen and her bed had gone missing, and her parents say they never heard of her and the school hasn't either.  They give her a blank look, she says "we fight crime together".  Tomas asks what makes her think they fight crime?  Nancy says he's Chipmunk Hunk and Ken is Koi Boi.

Nancy: "I'll tell you one thing: nobody erases my roomate from existence and steals her bed and gets away with it".

And she walks off, leaving the pair saying she just guessed right that they fight crime.  Nancy says to herself it must be time travel and looks it up on wikipedia to find it happens quite a lot.
Nancy is too sensible for this shit.
She tries to walk through what she thinks Doreen would do, she'd likely try and get a message to her.  Probably tucked away somewhere so it can stay out of history's way until she finds it. And just like that she spots an acorn scratched on a brick in a nearby wall.  She gets a hammer and smashes it finding a note inside saying it's July 20th 1962 and Squirrel Girl and Tippy are trapped in the past there.  She says she has no idea why this has happened but the 60's are fun so give her some time before she shows up.

We then cut back to Squirrel Girl leaving the message and then wandering away to think about getting and apartment and a job.  She says if the worst comes to the worst she can live the slow path, find Nancy as an old lady then come back and rescue herself before that happens.  Tippy says that'll result in a paradox.  Then Squirrel Girl notices a girl walking along listening to music through ear buds.  She stops her and asks if she is from the future?  The girl says "oh thank God.  I was beginning to think I was crazy".

They go to a cafe and discover they both attend the same class at the same university.  Squirrel Girl thinks this can't be a coincidence. The girl, Mary, gives her a phone number to reach her on.  She's been here a few weeks and already has a boyfriend and somewhere to live.  She says she's ready to go back though, it'll be ten years before the first microwavable pizza is invented and "also it'd be nice not to be called 'cupcake' all the time".

Squirrel Girl has a plan to find out if more people have been sent back here.   She takes out a large advert in one of the newspapers saying to contact her if you recognise what the words "Hashtag", "Cerebro", "Selfie", Wikipedia" and "TL:DR" mean. 

Meanwhile Nancy is going through Doreen's Deadpool cards looking for an enemy that uses time travel who might have done this.  They are no help. so she checks wikipedia for a list of confirmed time travellers.  She sees Iron Man has done it and as Squirrel Girl is internet friends with him she tries to go to him for help, but gets ejected from Stark Tower.

In the past, Squirrel Girl sees an advert for the "Individual Portable sOng Device" or "I.P.O.D" and obviously this is too soon for it, Tippy thinks it's her fault and time is ruined forever.  Squirrel Girl says it was obviously in the works before she showed up, someone is using a time machine to rewrite history. In the present Doctor Doom suddenly appears in front of Nancy saying "Fool! The mightiest heroes of any era cannot help but fall... before Doctor Doom!!"
DOOOOM!!!
Jubilee of the X-Men is walking past and runs up saying she'll call them, Doom says he'll atomise her before any signal gets sent.  Nancy then intervenes saying he's not really Doom just someone cosplaying him.  Jubilee apologises and takes a selfie with him and then goes on her way.

He says he has let her go because he doesn't want to tip his hand to the heroes of this era he is here.  Nancy asks when he has come from, he says he is from the present everyone else here is from the future.  Nancy asks him what he wants, he says he wants to be directed to a warehouse of future armaments so "both Stark and his tailed compatriot will realise the folly of standing in Doom's way."

Nancy realise he's the Doom from just after his battle with Squirrel Girl which Doom fibs saying he totally won and had the magnaminity to allow her to live as well.   Nancy tells him Squirrel Girl is trapped in the past and as he turned up with a time machine maybe he could help get her back?  He refuses, but Nancy says she is trapped in both their pasts and manages to convince him via extreme flattery that she's gone back to a time when he was weaker and undefended.  Need she spell it out?

So Doom agrees and will take her back to where Squirrel Girl is now, Nancy says she'll make sure Squirrel Girl never attacks him and he'll be free of her "meddling ways for years. Years".  Only she can talk Squirrel Girl down from messing with a baby Doom.  He tells her to get on his time platform and they decide to give her a week in the past and off they go with Nancy commenting "Do you ever get the feeling your making a huge mistake?"

Squirrel Girl is chairing the first meeting of the "Future Pals." They are all in the same computer science class but none of them recognise each other, so the first mystery is who is doing this to them.  Squirrel Girl says the second mystery is who took out the iPod advert.  Mary 'fesses up to that one.

She says that after her talk with Squirrel Girl she thought one way to get home was try and accelerate the technichal development of mankind so time machines get invented ahead of schedule.   She placed the ad to recruit other time travellers so they could get to work on the plan.  Squirrel Girl says crossly that they can't contaminate the timeline like that.  Then Doom and Nancy arrive, right in the middle of the room.
Quite an entrance.
Quickly Squirrel Girl changes into her crime fighting outfit, before she can attack him though, Nancy says he's the Doom from just after she met him for the first time, when she wass fourteen. "How the heck have you been?!" Squirrel Girl says to him.  "You will respect Doom's personal space" he responds.

Nancy tells her that after she disappeared no one remembered her but herself and Doctor Doom.  He explains that time machines have "chronoton protection" fields which allow the traveller to not be affected if history changes around them.  Nancy asks how she remembers?  "Oooh! Power of Friendship?" suggests Squirrel Girl.  Doom then demonstrates what happens if you remove the field by doing it to Nancy's phone.  Which changes to "Doomphone 5000".

Nancy looks up the offline version of wikipedia she keeps on it and finds history has changed, before July 28th 1962 things were "boring and awful".  Afterwards when Doctor Doom arrived "things were wonderful forever".

Doctor Doom: "I won.  I've already won.  No matter what the era, Doom always wins.  And this world... shall be owned by Doom!!"

He starts firing energy blasts at Squirrel Girl and Nancy says she thought they had a deal, but he says he never said he wouldn't attack her and he will bring them back to their own time, "in a coffin! And you shall join her!"

Nancy ducks and is annoyed he got out of his promise with "stupid baby word games".  Doom carries on ranting and tosses Squirrel Girl out of the building through an advertising hoarding, "Oh. It's so on now" she says.   First of all she needs to get the Future Pals out of there, so she scoops them all up and they all jump out of the window into  a nearby rooftop pool.

Doom isn't following them, Nancy thinks he'll lay low to prepare to take over the world.  And because he has her phone and article telling how to do it, he's convinced it shows him a future victory he can't lose.   One of the Future Pals says he's wrong, right?  But Squirrel Girl and Nancy look pensive.  Meanwhile in the new present a man wakes up and realises something is wrong across a New York ruled by Doom.
Cody wakes up to DoomWorld.
He walks round the former planet Earth, now Planet Doom saying "this isn't how I remember things at all!!"  Back in the past the Future Pals are out of the pool and drying themselves off.  Squirrel Girl tries to cheer everyone up:

Squirrel Girl: "Besides, I can't call myself the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl if I let a teeny thing like a crazy unstoppable genius science wizard with his own time machine and robot suit foil me, right?"

Nancy has an idea, they need to steal his time machine, Squirrel Girl realises that means they could have dinosaurs on their team in that case!  Mary says a better idea would be going to the future and bringing the cool tech back to use.  Nancy says they could go back and find baby Doom and give him a better childhood.

Squirrel Girl will go steal the machine while Mary works on making an EMP.  Squirrel Girl frowns at her and asks if she's been making nukes?  Mary says no... the parts are too expensive.   The EMP will be able to shut down Doom's armour, she learned to make one in Computer Hardware.  Nancy says she took that course and didn't think she'd need to use it for making doomsday devices, "Well, that's where we're different" says Mary. I like Mary.

The plan is made, Mary and Nancy will work on the EMP device, while Squirrel Girl steals the time machine.  The other Future Pals will help Mary and Nancy.  So Squirrel Girl tracks Doom down to an abandoned castle in the middle of Central Park.   They sneak inside and see Doom busy building something.
Let words be our battle!
He's making Doombots, made of sixties junk but still way ahead of when they first appeared.   If he activates them they don't stand a chance so Squirrel Girl jumps in and stands on the time machine.  She tries to use it but he left it in neutral so she can't work it and he swats her aside.

She says she doesn't want to fight him, "there must be some way we can both get what we want".  He says he desires world domination.  She says she found common ground with Galactus so there must be something they can agree on.   Doom keeps punching and she keeps dodging, he says "compromise is for the weak" and hits her with an energy blast.

Doom: "Woman, do you even realise what you can achieve when you refuse to compromise? Can you fathom what heights await you when you refuse to accept anyone's 'no'. When you deny failure even a passing consideration?"

He stops attacking her and decides to show her.  He has built a Doombot already, in just a matter of hours using his own programming language.  And now he has shown her, he unleashes the Doombots on her. 

Then coming to her rescue come the Future Pals armed with EMP devices.   But they are ineffective, Doom protected himself and his Doombots from them.   Then suddenly before things can get really bad, the time machine lights up and it's the guy who was shown walking round Doom World with someone in Doom's armour.  And that person turns out to be... an elderly Squirrel Girl.
Squirrel Girl young and old.
The man is a student called Cody.  He was left a disintegrator pistol by an uncle he never heard of which actually worked by transporting things back in time to the sixties and because he was flunking his class he started using it on other students to improve his chance of getting better grades.

He's telling them this in the middle of the two Squirrel Girls fighting Doom and the Doombots. Old Squirrel Girl says she is from a sucky future where she lost this fight first time and Doom took over the world.

Because there was no Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic, only Doom had a time machine.  Cody was protected from the timeline changes and came back on his own originally to try and fix things, so she tracked him down in the future inside a hollowed out Doombot and tweaked his machine so it wouldn't erase themselves from history and now she's back and she is "more than a little unbeatable!!"

The Squirrel Girls lure him outside so they have more tactical advantages against him but he runs into the Museum of Natural History. Old Squirrel Girl is exhausted and they decide young Squirrel Girl will fight Doom and Old Squirrel Girl will fight the Doombots. They hug and part.

Inside Doom swings some fake dinosaur bones at her.  Nancy had the Future Pals come in and Squirrel Girl stops Doom hurting them with an energy blast.   Squirrel Girl speaks some C++ to Nancy and Doom's confusion gives Nancy time to program Cody's time machine gun.  Nancy blasts it at her and sends her back the day before.   She keeps doing this creating more and more Squirrel Girls at different points on the timeline.  Finally a big crowd of them converge on the Doom battle and swarm over him as he flails about.
A dray of Squirrel Girls attack.
She forces him to promise he'll return them to their times, restore the future, return to his own time and not use his time machine to pull these shenanigans again  He says "you have my word as Doom".  So all the Squirrel Girls get off him.

The multiple Squirrel Girls are sent back in time so no paradox happens then all the Future Pals gather on Doom's time machine.  Old Squirrel Girl decides to stay, it's a nice time to retire to.   She also confiscates Cody's time machine gun.  Doom gets impatient with their lengthy goodbye and they return to the present.

Doom: "I have undone the alterations from the other time device and your 'friends' are no longer erased from the timeline."

Squirrel Girl: "What?  Don't put 'friends' in quotes!  Friendship is real yo, and it kicked your butt!"

Doom mutters that he'll put quotes round whatever he pleases.  They shake on Doom's promise not to disrupt the timeline, he says she has earned his respect, "pray that you don't lose it".

We finish this story with Squirrel Girl wondering still how Nancy remembered her.  Was it the Power of Friendship?  Or was it that when Cody tagged her in bed, Nancy got hit by the "protect from timeline changes" field instead.  They decide it was the power of friendship and what other students can say they "piled up on a Latverian dictator?"  Nancy says quite afew now.  Squirrel Girl says "the English Lit majors are gonna be mad jealous".

Meanwhile in the past Doom decides he made no promise that his Doombots wouldn't go back in time and starts ordering them to defeat her or be reduced to scrap.  But Old Squirrel Girl has got to them before him and all he can do is rage, "Blaaaast youuu Squiiiirrel Giiiirl!"  And that brings this arc to an end.

The next story is a two-part crossover with Howard The Duck, a 70's creation by the legendary grumpy-pants Steve Gerber, who functioned as a somewhat satirical commentator on the absurdities of life in general.   Squirrel Girl requests Nancy sew her a new hero costume which Nancy agrees to Squirrel Girl saying it'll be awesome to fight crime in a costume she made.  They have a discussion about heroes with multiple costumes then Squirrel Girl drifts off to sleep.

Then she wakes up to find Howard making a getaway with Nancy's cat Mew.   When challenged he accuses them of stealing the cat, Squirrel Girl then asks to see his powers. Nancy tosses him a Deadpool card on him and finds he can team up with one hundred normal ducks to make one big duck.   This surprises Howard who snatches the card off her, "I'm not a villain.  I'm a private detective." He crosses out the word "supervillain" on the card.  Nancy takes Mew back.

He say he's been hired to find a cat called "Biggs", which is turning into a pain because all cats look the same.  He calls them "hairy proto-apes" and Squirrel Girls starts a long explanation of the genomes of animals and humans, which gets her a long silent stare from Howard.
I have seen that stare so many times in my life.
Nancy returns to their flat with Mew, Squirrel Girl apologises for bursting through their window, but Nancy says she would have done the same thing.   Howard says he would have returned Mew when he was told it wasn't Biggs.  He insists "I'm not the bad guy here!"  Howard starts calling Biggs saying the sooner he finds him the sooner he can get away from Squirrel Girl.

They walk out of the alley and a van pulls up and Kraven the Hunter climbs out.  He greets Squirrel Girl and says he is pleased to see her, she asks if he wants to help find a cat.  But he says he is after different game tonight and scoops Howard into a sack.  He says he needs the money and his client will pay handsomely for him. Squirrel Girl says she can't let him take Howard.  But before she can summon her squirrel army he tosses far away and drives off.

She follows the van to a "weird creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere with insanely high security".   She leaps over the wall and heads towards the house.  Inside Howard is dumped out of the sack onto the floor.   The client turns out to be a woman called Shannon Sugarbaker who is a cosplay fanatic.  She has costumes and weapons of all the heroes, and the weapons work.
Cosplay Billionaire.
She goes on to say she brought some secondhanded Doombots from the secondary market and she intends to indulge her other passion, hunting. She plans to hunt humans but hunting anthropomorphic animals is a legal grey area.  Meanwhile upsatirs Squirrel Girl bumps into the Doombots.  The woman leads Howard past the cells, she has Rocket Raccoon, Beast and Biggs her cat, a cat in a mechanical killsuit.  Finally Weapon II, a squirrel with adamantium skeleton, claws and intelligence and healing factor.

Squirrel Girl is fighting the Doombots and Shannon hears thumping noises from them.   Squirrel Girl smashes through the ceiling and jumps down to where Howard and Shannon are.  Shannon orders Kraven to hunt her, but he says no, "She has my respect".  He apologises for tossing her in the air, an "unfortunate combination of habit, muscle memory and necessity" They shake hands and say no hard feelings.

Shannon gets her Mjolnir and fires it as Squirrel Girl then uses web shooters on her and covers her mouth before whacking her over the head with the hammer and knocking her out.  She wakes up in a cell with Howard, Biggs, Beast, Rocket Raccoon, Weapon II and Kraven.  Kraven admits he has now become the hunted as Howard bewails the fact he's in this mess because he was just looking for a cat, "I can't take it.  I can't take this entire planet."
Cosplay Billionaire's prey.
The story concludes in Howard the Duck #6.  Ryan North is joined by Chip ZDarsky as writers and Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera and Marc Deering as artists. They have been released in the forest so Shannon can hunt them.  Her holographic head tells them the rules, if they make it to the southern gate she'll let them go.  She counts down to one, while Squirrel Girl says Kraven can get inside the head of this Cosplay Billionaire.

Beast doesn't want to trust a villain, he says he is the best choice for a leader.   He says hunting him would result in the full wrath of the mutant population.   He is going back to the mansion to tell her this.   Howard says he's crazy, they should be running and they are out of time.  Shannon appears sporting a pair of wings and firing a laser at them.
The hunt begins.
She brains Beast with her Mjolnir and he is sucked underground, the rest of them make haste away from there.  And I just realised that Biggs in his robot suit looks like Tinker the cat from We3, which is a cute shout-out to an amazing story.   Howard shushes the confused Biggs then says he can close the case because he found him.  Howard asks how Kraven caught Rocket Raccoon, turns they were both buying guns in the same store.

Kraven then comforts Biggs, "you are a fine specimen and deserve better than this."  Meanwhile Weapon II is battling Shannon and also gets knocked out and sucked underground. This gives Howard and idea, he tells Biggs to dig a hole.  Raccoon and Kraven go to fight her to buy time for the hole to be dug.

He digs down until he hits some metal, and Howard tells Squirrel Girl to pry the hatch open with her super strength.   The hole is too small for Biggs so he stands guard while Squirrel Girl and Howard descend inside.   They are unsure where to go, so Howard gets out his phone. Squirrel Girl says he had it all the time and didn't call for help?  He didn't think of it and he is getting no signal as well.

They spot a Doombot carrying an unconcious Kraven and sneakily following them. They arrive back in the mansion but Howard's phone is dead. They are in a library and they search for something, anything they can use against her.  Howard pulls out a book on cosplaying.

We then see Shannon standing with Beast, Rocket Raccoon, Kraven, Weapon II and Beast firmly tied up.   She is pointing a hand blaster at Kraven and orders Squirrel Girl and Howard to come out or she'll blast him.   As she counts down we hear Squirrel Girl and Howard arguing then he comes out in cosplay himself swinging a mace and in a suit of electronic armour.
Howard goes into battle.
They start fighting and Howard says she kidnapped Biggs to spite her ex and turned him into a robocat, "that's my case!  And I'm closing it... oof!"  He fires eyebeams at her, she dodges and punches him.  Squirrel Girl unties the others and they all pile into the fight.  Biggs has appeared as well.  Squirrel Girl gets Kraven to hurl her at Shannon and knocks her over Biggs.  The mansion is on fire and with Shannon out of it, they make their escape.  Outside Kraven apologises again and says his life is not one that's been well lived.  He decides that from now on he'll be Kraven The Hunter of Hunters.   Squirrel Girl says that's a heroic improvement.

Three weeks later Squirrel Girl and Nancy are walking in the park  with Mew on a leash and bump into Howard.   He has taken ownership of Biggs now who is in a smaller robotsuit after his owner freaked out at the sight of him, "so I guess I own a weird cat now".  Squirrel Girl makes a fuss of him and says cats are her second favourite animal, Howard asks if her favourite is ducks?  "Sure Howard. Sure" comes the response and that brings this story to an end.
Yay, happy endings all round!
From embarrassing parents to time travel shenanigans to missing cats, this is one packed volume of adventure.  Squirrel Girl actually reminds me a lot of Goku from Dragonball.  She is very kind and always tries to see the best in people even if they are trying to kill her, and she's always adding to her circle of friends.  The writing by Ryan North is crisp and funny as hell while the stories are imaginative and just the right side of silly.  Erica Henderson's art continues to be a delight, it's deceptively simple line work actually makes people look more emotive than more "realistic" styles.  Nancy continues to be one of the greatest supporting characters in all of comics.  Brave enough to stand up to Doctor Doom, clever enough to figure out how to find Squirrel Girl in the past and I like to think it was the Power of Friendship that let her be the one who remembered who Squirrel Girl was.  Revisting Doom's original defeat by Squirrel Girl using a horde of her instead of a horde of squirrels like the first time was a nice continuity nod and it was cool to see she remains just as badass even as an old lady.  I like how when she realises she is in the past she doesn't panic she goes with the flow and very cleverly gathers together her fellow time displaced students. The two-parter with Howard the Duck was a nice bit of fluff, Howard's always been a bit of an odd fit with the wider Marvel Universe but seeing him alongside other animal themed heroes stops him sticking out quite so much.  Also robocats are awesome.  Squirrel Girl remains one of the delights of Marvel currently and I am looking forward to reading what comes next.

44 comments:

  1. I'm guessing the footnotes are a LOT more readable in digital. ^^;

    The one on last page of the time travel story states that in her will Old Lady Squirrel Girl left the time pistol to Cody (and so ensured her own creation).

    The crossover outright has two sets snarking at each other, so my favorite was:

    "Ugh. I was not aware that this was a crossover with the PUNisher."


    And not related to footnotes. This little thing:

    from Gwenpool #9

    ReplyDelete
  2. from Gwenpool #9

    (I'm an idiot and messed up the link.)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hahah, nice linky. I think I need to add Gwenpool to my new Marvel reading load it looks lots of fun.

    And you're right about the footnotes being impossible to read in the physical trades. I am in serious denial about needing glasses and they print them in really light inks too. So thanks for filling me in on how Cody got his time travel gun. Was wondering.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This Squirrel Girl time travel arc was one of the best thought out and so least paradoxical time travel tales I came across recently. It so neatly bound the whole together into a stable time loop. BEAUTIFUL. :3

    The pic is from a longer flash back scene. Here is a bit more of it (with Gwen's narration and an actually editor's editor's note (you can tell because it's not pink)):

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc1b3c40cae2873495e44bbec3d239f8cea76a68d1fa51db05c8fd56489665d2.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love everything about this story.

    The artwork is perfect. Like Varalys says, it really captures the characters. And it's so nuanced in the expressions and the body language. You can really get into the heads of the characters, even tippy toes. It's just exaggerated enough for the tone without getting too cartoony. Funnily enough in many ways the depictions are more 'real' than a lot of that photo realistic style I normally prefer. The actual body types in those can be a bit casting agency. Here everyone looks like people you'd actually meet. Reminds me a bit of Love and Rockets in that regard.

    It's such a pleasantly whimsical tale. Again there's a bit of hyper reality, but fundamentally the characters talk like actual people. They're deliciously snarky at times. And they're always ready with a witty comment. But they rarely say anything that your actual friends couldn't. It's a lot more real than that overdramatic hyperbole you so often get in regular superhero comics, where everyone sounds like they got Tom Stoppard to review their dialogue. And it highlights especially how Doom does talk like that and how daft it is.

    The time travel aspect as Malitia points put is handled very well. There seems to be a lot of cribbing from Asimov's End of Eternity. But that's one of the definitive time travel stories, so it's no bad thing.

    And it did get me thinking about the mutant status eligibility thing. Unfortunately the relevant panel cuts off when I was enjoying Maureens exposition. But maybe that's left as a mystery in the comic anyway?

    And as you can imagine I loved all the animals, and the We3 reference was very sweet. And nice to see Howard (I must be one of the few people who like the original film). He was always an interestingly odd character. He turned up a bit in those more 'mature' B&W Marvel comics I grew up with. Not an obvious choice to appear alongside Conan and Solomon Kane, but did fit in with the tone of those books very well. Noir protagonists always need a vulnerability, alcohol, bad memories, woman trouble. But it was quite novel having someone dealing with the problems around being a duck.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gah, I wish these comments supported hyperlinks, stupid laptop. OK anyway, I feel a bit sorry for Doctor Doom now :D Am putting Gwenpool on my to buy list.

    My favourite bit of the time travel arc is Nancy's reaction to the Wikipedia page on it. She has the best reactions.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "And it did get me thinking about the mutant status eligibility thing."

    That's mostly to signify to FOX that Marvel has the movie rights and they can put her in a future TV series (New Warriors). :3

    If I want to look at in universe then the "scientifically not a mutant" probably translates to "doesn't have the X-gene", because it's quite clear that by the other definition "someone who was born with powers (even if they manifested later)" she would definitely qualify. (I have baby Squirrel Girl pictures to prove that she was born with that tail!)

    The footnotes list the following things Maureen came into contact with during her (eventful) pregnancy:

    - Squirrel bite
    - Cosmic rays in the forest
    - Experimental nut serum
    - Radioactive tree

    "And nice to see Howard"

    Guess which recent character's comicbook life began as back-up story in the latest Howard the Duck run. (Gwenpool's... you know something is off when the talking duck is the voice of reason. ^^; )

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sorry for not responding before Alan, for some reason your comment didn't show up to me right away. Weird.

    Anyway I knew you'd enjoy a bit of Squirrel Girl, she's definitely my favourite of the current Marvel line-up both writing and art are perfect. Mind you Gwenpool is intriguing me now too...

    I'm a big fan of naturalistic speech in comics, it's one of the reasons I like Bendis's work so much, heh. I was going to make more of a joke about the "definitely not a mutant" bit but I thought the comments would expand things as Malitia has put thing perfectly.

    But FOOL, Doom speaks correctly! Everyone else is wrong! :D

    I have to admit I haven't read much Howard The Duck either in the original or current. They've released the Gerber stories in trade and I am wondering if I should pick them up sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  9. COMPETENCE! ... or lack thereof. ^^;
    -- Gwenpool #2

    ReplyDelete
  10. Also the X-gene thing is interesting as I believe it's a steal from DC which had the majority of superheroes and villians powers caused by something called the "metagene" which would switch on in very rare occasions in times of extreme duress.

    Though ironically none of the Trinity are metagened, Superman is an alien, Wonder Woman is magic and Batman is a Badass Normal. So it's another reason why there has never been a fear of certain supes in the DCverse like there is with the Marvel Mutants, almost all of them have their powers come from the same source.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Malitia: OKay Okay! I went to Amazon and placed an order for the first Gwenpool trade, happy now??!!!

    :p

    ReplyDelete
  12. ^^; I suddenly feel very ashamed. ^^;

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lol. No don't feel ashamed, actually I'm pleased to have something new and fun to read. I've been rereading Scalped ready to start covering it next month (I swapped some schedule around) and it's brilliant but a bit relentlessly grim. Something fun and pink is definitely in order I feel now :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. No worries. Just glad it's not cos you've got the lurgy again. On a complete.tangent, do you remember Green Gilbert the snot monster who did kids TV back in the day? There's one bit that makes me giggle to this day. When he couldn't understand why his glamorous co presenter went out with someone instead of him.

    "Well at least he doesn't smell of fish"

    "Why; what's wrong with him?"

    But anyway, thank you Malitia for the possibile explanations as to SG's talents. I like that her mum takes pleasure in embarrassing her. That's oh so familiar. Many's the girlfriend who's been shown the photos of me aged nine in my bay city rollers outfit. I'd like to see her doing that spitting on a tissue thing. "Argh, gerroff!"

    The comic though reminds me of what you need said about murder, she wrote. What was the word you used? Charming, delightful? Something like that. But it's just so good natured and endearing. All the characters are just so lovely. They've got the perfect balance of snarkyness and vulnerabilitiy.  You'd want to be friends with them. And the dialogue is pitched perfectly.

    Howard was an interesting thing when I was a kid and just finding my way in the world. When you have that slight anxiety but excitement about what it's going to be like as a grown up. The tagline was something like "Trapped in a world he doesn't understand and that doesn't understand him". He was like the consumate outsider trying to fit in. As a pre teen you could empathise. The comics were pretty adult and real world; he just happened to be a duck. And who can't identity with that?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Still got the same lurgy, sore throat now for two weeks and hawking up phlegm in a gross way. I am Gilbert the snot monster! I went to the docs just in case and got told it was flu and to just ride it out but damn if I aren't sick of the taste of Lockets.

    Her mum was a lot of fun, my mum has plenty of photos of me as a kid but fortunately she hasn't got as far as sharing them with girlfriends yet. Thank goodness. I liked how she was totally relaxed about Doreen's life, pretending Werner was her son to get him enrolled in college was just so sweet.

    I would definitely like to be friends with Doreen, Nancy, Tomas and Ken. I do love Nancy's dry humour and her poking fun at Squirrel Girls attempt to keep up the masquerade by poking her tail down her trousers.

    Howard sounds like quite a cool character to come across growing up, like I said, a little before my time. He definitely had a interesting perspective on the world from what I have read about the series, I think I would have definitely identified with his alienation as a teen myself.

    ReplyDelete
  16. ADVENTURERS! ... Okay, not really... Just most of Gwenpool's recurring cast fantasy LARPing. :D (issue #12)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Heh, interesting she'd be the meatshield. I'd have thought she'd be more of a DPSer!

    ReplyDelete
  18. That she's the party's "tank" despite being totally incompetent at it is a gag going back to issue #2. ^^;

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey Malitia can do magic links!

    Wouldn't a good disguise for SG to pretend to be one of those furry kids who wear clip-on tails?

    To keep banging on about Howard, it was a running gag in the comics that people just assumed he was a small guy in a duck suit.

    I'm now wondering who came first, Howard or Cerberus? One of his alter egos was Howard the Barbarian. There seem to be a few similarities in how that barbarian trope was used to examine various social and political themes.

    I've also just realised that Howard's arch nemesis Dr Bong, is just Dr Doom.

    I'm having fun revisiting all my childhood memories with this new perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  20. She had some useful skills when they reached the... BOSS FIGHT!

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Hey Malitia can do magic links!"

    Yes. When I don't mistype "href" like in my first comment in this thread. ^^;

    [a href="http://whatever.com"]The clickable text[/a]

    Just between less/more signs not brackets.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @Malitia: Nice. Having played a lot of WoW back in the day as a hunter and warlock I played alongside some kickass tanks. And some not so kickass ones. Defnitely takes skill even more so than the healer I think.

    @Alan: Howard debuted in 1973, Cerebus in 1977 so Howard has a good few years on Cerebus. But really bar being funny animals they were both doing fairly broad satire, just in different ways. Marvel did do a Cerebus ripoff though, Peter Porker, Spider-ham!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just been trying to track down some of the original Howard stuff on t'internet. Happy memories. Also found out the reason for his hiatus was one of those classic rows about creator copyright. Sigh.

    There was also an issue with Disney. Which explains the line in the film where someone comments about Howard's pants.

    "According to my lawyers I've always worn them."

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm fairly certain all the Gerber Howards have been omnibused now. And yeah, Steve Gerber hated Marvel with a passion over how he got screwed by them regarding ownership. I think only Jack Kirby was treated worse and only Steve Ditko hated them more.

    Still thanks to all the battles over rights between Marvel/DC and various artists and writers we now have a flourishing indie scene. So it all worked out OK in the end. And I think this is one area where DC deserves props for giving us the Vertigo imprint back in the early 90's which was where people could do creator owned stuff for them, giving is the likes of Lucifer, Preacher, DMZ, Ex Machina, Y The Last Man, Fables and DMZ to name but a few.

    ReplyDelete
  25. One of the many interesting things in that Future Shock documentary is all the stuff about the American exodus and creator rights.

    Also, Fleetway sold the film rights to the 2000AD characters for one pound. Alan Grant says he just framed his cheque for 17p.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It helped that the person who masterminded the Vertigo imprint was a very clever and far thinking woman called Karen Berger who actually was very well liked by all the Brits she enticed over. I believe the more recent history of DC might have been very different and much more awesome if she'd got the Editor in Chief job at DC in the noughties and not Dan "incompetent shithead" DiDio.

    ReplyDelete
  27. She's in the documentary. Some nice tales about how she wooed them all.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Cool, glad to see her getting props. It's always a worry that women are going to get airbrushed out of history especially in an industry like comics whose fanbase has a high concentration of misogynistic assholes.

    ReplyDelete
  29. There's some really interesting stuff towards the end of the documentary about women in comics.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I really need to track it down and watch it, I feel I'm not doing my fannish duty now.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think you'd enjoy it. I've seen it a few times now. I watched it most recently after you'd said about the Morrison Moore feud. Gave it some new context.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I was feeling left put. I want to be one of the cool kids like you and Malitia; so today I watched Dragonball Evolution. I don't know if you've seen it or how close it is to the manga, but I quite enjoyed it, eventually. At first I found the protagonist (Goku?) a bit annoying. Too much of a clean cut American teenager (even though I'm guessing he should be Japanese). But it settled down a bit with the arrival of the bargain basement Lara Croft (she grew on me). Basically I did what I do with the Thunderbirds film. Imagine I'm an 8 year old and just take it from there. In that mode it's really enjoyable. Chow Yun Fat was channelling Jackie Chan a bit, but there's nothing wrong with that. Also it had Ernie Hudson. He's a bit like David Warner. If he's in something you'll know at least his bits will be good. And I really liked the villain. He seemed like something out of a different film.

    It has got me dashing around doing wing chung moves, so I guess that's the true test. I'll certainly watch it again sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dragonball Evolution... if I needed any more proof that this day hates me. (I didn't watch it, but all Dragonball fans I knew hated it with fiery passion.)

    After the news being depressing, and my day long fight to not die in a puddle of my own blood (I have some very scary periods), I really didn't needed any. /o\ On the plus side I watched that Future Shock documentary. Well listened to it anyway that was all I had energy for... given this I might not remember much of it though.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Sorry to hear your day's been so rough. Yeah the news is pretty horrible isn't it? We're trying to channel some anger but it's hard to know what to do practically. Someone has been IDing the Nazis though and letting their employers and schools know. That seems to be having some moderate success.

    Virtual hugs if you need them.

    ReplyDelete
  35. You enjoyed Dragonball Evolution?! GUARDS SEIZE HIM AND SEND HIM TO THE ANIME RE-EDUCATION CAMPS!! I shall say no more about it except I seriously need to ratchet up the amount of manga I cover here just for your own good. So it's fortunate I am posting the first of a three volume series later.

    Sorry you're having a bad time Malitia. I know what heavy periods are like ever since I got put on the blood thinners it's like the corridor scene from The Shining. I also send virtual hugs too.

    ReplyDelete
  36. As they drag me in front of the firing squad I'll be yelling "But Godfather 3 *is* the best one!" :-)

    Heh, I look forward to further education. Just to warn you though, it took a school with corporal punishment just to get me to learn Latin.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I like Godfather numero uno best, but three is very underrated.

    Manga is way more fun to learn than Latin so hopefully I won't need the break out the beaty-stick ;)

    ReplyDelete
  38. One stage manager we did a lot of work with carried around a tyre iron that he called his "attitude adjuster". Spinal Tap is just so true.

    I wish I'd kept up with my Latin, it was fun. We worked from a series of stories called "Pseudolus Noster". That means "Our Pseudolus". They're actually contemporary Roman kids stories. Remember "Up Pompeii"? That was based on the same stories. Pseudolus is a slave with a dopey master. So he's always having to bail him out of scrapes whilst running scams of his own. I guess slavery as comedy is a bit of a values dissonance thing. But basically it's just jeeves and wooster or blackadder. I wonder if they still use them. Hey, they must be out of copyright now so maybe we should do them as comics.

    "Recedite Plebes! Gero rem imperialum!"

    That means stand aside plebs, I'm on official business. Used to use that a lot on the Tube.

    ReplyDelete
  39. My mum remembers all her old Latin, she's annoying like that. I only went to a comp though, French and German and no mandatory language GCSE either thank goodness.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm always really impressed with people who can speak foreign languages. It's weird but two of the wittiest and clever speakers of English I know are both ESL. One of them is also the most elegant speaker I know. Wonder if it's the fact it's not their first language that's responsible or whether they're just innately well spoken anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I'd love to be good at languages, I'm learning pidgin Japanese from anime but I'd love to be able to be fluent in it.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Japanese seems so hard. I try to follow with subtitles sometimes, but even the names don't match up! And the written stuff. Aerynn chats away with her Japanese friends on Facebook and I'm like "How can you know that!". It just seems loads of squiggles. I think languages though are one of those things I don't have the brain wiring for, like maths. I can sometimes pick up bits of European languages, but a lot of the time it's just noise. I'm very impressed you're able to sus Japanese. I did learn the ape language in the Tarzan books, but there's only like 200 words. Well, it's not like they need a huge vocabulary. Want eat. Eek, snake.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've only learned some rough grammar and a small dictionary of words. Pronouncing Japanese is surprising easy, they only have the "fifty sounds" so presented with romanji I can do a pretty good job of speaking it, even if I don't know what I am saying!

    The written language though? Nah, can't cope with that, they have three writing systems!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks for the virtual hugs. I need them. :)

    As for languages... if it looks like I write sort of disjointed, and don't know how to use punctuation at all, that's because that's exactly the case. Even in Hungarian. (I've a story about how to truly mess up teaching 1st graders to read and write. :/ ) And I never tested but probably my German isn't any better either (technically that was my second second language, English is the third, Russian was first but I fully forgot that by now).

    On Japanese, it looks much harder than it actually is (I tried to learn it, I fell out mostly because time, I really should start again), well, with my language background anyway (You put suffixes after base words? What a coincidence, so do we.). Yeah, the hardest part is the writing... and I could read/write kana (the two syllabic alphabets they use) back in the day.

    ReplyDelete