The beautiful/awesome Team Ash series Squarriors returns for its penultimate issue. Is it good?
Squarriors #3 (Devil’s Due Entertainment)
After a gut punch of an opening sequence (that once again features the world before humans were eighty-sixed), we jump right back to the aftermath of the Tin Kin tribe’s horrifying discovery from the end of last issue.
Unfortunately for them, something much worse is being set into motion right under their noses.
Is It Good?
The creative team asked that spoilers be kept to a bare minimum for this issue, and with good reason. Despite there not being very much action, a lot happens, including a huge reveal that sets things up for an explosive finale.
You might think that a lack of fighting/war scenes would be a letdown in a book like this, but writer Ash Maczko and artist Ashley Witter don’t fall into the ‘penultimate chapter exposition trap’ that so many other series do. Instead, we’re treated a story that’s tense and heartbreaking. Mazcko does a great job misdirecting things to set up the last few pages, all while interspersing the story’s conspiratorial elements with plenty of human… er… emotionally intelligent squirrel drama.
It also helps that Witter can somehow draw small rodents with a shocking amount of emotional depth and nuance. If this book doesn’t announce her as one of the best young comic artists working today, then more people need to be reading it.
My only problem with Squarriors #3 is the same one I’ve had before, but now it’s starting to make me a little nervous. Each issue has opened with a (very well-constructed) depiction of human life right before it was virtually wiped out. While these scenes tie loosely to the themes we see occurring in the Squarriors narrative, it also feels like something much bigger…which I’m either completely missing or interpreting incorrectly. I’d almost rather that Team Ash forgo these segments in favor of the main story. I can live with not knowing how the human population was decimated or if any people still exist. While these little vignettes are good, the Squarriors tale is plenty strong enough to stand on its own. The more we’re reminded of this enticing little McGuffun, the more it detracts from main story.
But if we are going to learn about how the humans went bye bye, then there’s very little time and space left for the tale to be told.
Aside from that, Squarriors #3 is another incredibly good chapter in what is easily one of 2015’s best series. Maczko and Witter have both proven themselves to be creators worth following onto their next projects…and to a final issue for this series that should be all types of awesome.