As The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comes to its end, a few things are inevitable, I suppose. There will be tears shed. There will be a grand battle between the Squirrel Scouts and a bevy of enemies both formidable and less so. There will be witty puns and intelligent discourse thrown about. Issue #47 of USG is the beginning of the end. Tears, battle, puns, discourse…all check.
Storywise, this short arc is nothing new for Squirrel Girl or, really, any comic book. Heroes are confronted with a problem, heroes solve problem only to discover deeper problem, heroes find themselves in a real jam, issue ends ominously. Here, Doreen and her compatriots pummel The Leader and his Humanoids, make a great pun about Koi Boy and Chipmunk Hunk being their own duo named “Fish & Chips,” and call it a day. Unfortunately, they realize that Brain Drain is missing! Bam. Solid premise.
Where writer Ryan North earns his pay though is in a joyful nerdiness of academic and intellectual pursuits that no other writer for a major comic company can touch. Who spends pages explaining stegonography? Ryan freaking North, that’s who. And, by the way, in a way that everyone can understand, using characters in the comic as the audience’s eyes and ears. North is a born teacher and spends his precious ink educating his audience as well as entertaining. Wolverine never taught cryptography while fighting Silver Samurai, did he? No he did not.
The typical is not the story here. It’s the use of the typical to make something greater than the sum of its parts. North has our primary villain, Melissa Morbeck, give us the low-down in the end. Squirrel Girl is only unbeatable because of her friends. Her support system is more powerful than her powers of a squirrel or of a girl. That is what the villains lack. That and her secret identity, of course. In the real game-changer of the issue, Doreen Green is outed as Squirrel Girl, destroying her life as a twenty-something New Yorker and putting everyone she loves in immediate danger.
Ryan North and Derek Charm continue to be a perfect pairing, creating a look and punch to Unbeatable Squirrel Girl that creates a serious, funny, inclusive, and heartfelt comic that appeals to all ages and people. This is truly a book that will be missed.