I’m not sure which is more jarring: having artists change mid-issue or from one issue to the next. When Erica Henderson stepped down as the primary artist for Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, she left a massive space in a popular and unique book that meshed well with her particular style. While Derek Charm’s style is categorically different than Henderson’s, he quickly turned USG into his book in his own style. Whatever the reason, switching again for issue #41 from Charm to artist Naomi Franquiz has been jarring and often misses the mark in her portrayal of Doreen Green and friends.
The story of issue #41 is a funny, standalone one involving Ms. Quizzler kidnapping college students Nancy Whitehead and Peter Parker (who both inevitably think the other is a superhero in hiding), asking traditionally lunk-headed heroes increasingly difficult trivia questions and riddles, and finally succumbing to Squirrel Girl’s uncanny ability to metaphorically kick butts when the need arises. With Thor and Hulk (Jen Walters) poring over trivia, Doreen finds a way to reach Ms. Quizzler on her level, showing her — as she has so often done in the past — that her intelligence could be used to solve real-world problems, rather than quibble over small matters. In Ryan North’s consistently excellent style, all of this is solved with witty banter, quippy supers, and a dash of “it gets better.”
The real sticking point for this issue is the art. In her debut for Marvel Comics, Franquiz brought her own style to a book that was just recovering from losing its founding artist. Henderson has remained on the book as cover artist and will contribute to the upcoming 50th issue, as will Charm and Franquiz, but this book needed to be Charm’s for longer before guest-artisting the work away. I love USG and am looking forward to the 50th issue (issue #42, don’t ask) as much as anyone else. I just need some long-term consistency before we shift directions again.