After putting out the best miniseries of 2015, Ash Maczko (writer) and Ashley Witter (art) are back with a brand new volume of woodland creature war.
Is it good?
Squarriors: Summer #1 (Devil’s Due Entertainment)
- This officially marks the most we’ve ever learned about the last days of human dominion on earth. Still no sign of the Trump Squirrel, though.
- Yikes. That whole ‘nuclear radiation’ thing seems to finally be catching up with everyone.
- Ashley Witter: Making tumors and deformities somehow look beautiful.
- Whether they’re the emperor of a woodland creature empire or just sitting on your keyboard, cats are always jerks.
- HAHA! ZeeZee might be a jerk, too, but she’s still one of my favorites.
- Hard to blame ZeeZee for having some hard edges—her family is terrible.
- Meo’s about to go full Neo on these fools.
Is It Good?
Let’s get my one sort-of-major gripe out of the way: If you haven’t read the first Squarriors series, then you’re not going to have any idea what’s going on. This shouldn’t be a problem since all of you should have read it by now (*glares at you*), but still, this isn’t a very new-reader friendly issue. Like, at all.
…and not even a pre-Flash squirrel would risk their life for a Werther’s Original.
That being said, Squarriors: Summer #1 is all types of good.
As expected, Witter’s art is mind blowing. This time, she gets to stretch her horror chops a bit, which is a real treat when it’s not making you queasy. Squarriors has always had brutal violence, but this issues features a cast of animals whose bodies have been ravaged by radiation. It’s disgusting, yet also beautiful.
(And yes, I know that makes me sound like a 14-year-old attempting a deep thought, but it really does look great).
The real revelation for me, however, is Maczko’s story. His writing was very good (bordering on great) in the first volume of Squarriors, but it sometimes felt like a kitchen sink audition. Every big concept, beautiful set piece, and character interaction was thrown at us, which occasionally muddled the narrative.
In Squarriors: Summer, Maczko’s pacing and dialogue feels more confident and relaxed. He and Witter have already proven their concept, allowing him to know focus on a clearer plot and smaller character moments. The result is an opening chapter that feels significantly more streamlined than the previous volume while also managing to lift the veil on the series’ bigger concepts (what happened to the humans, what is causing the war among the animals, etc.) even more.
If this first issue is a sign of things to come, then Squarriors: Summer is going to be even better than the original series. And even if it’s not, I’m still willing bet the skin and muscle tissue on the left side of my face that it’ll be great.