Issue #3 of the second volume of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl continues the time-travel shenanigans begun in issue #2. While the past and present storylines don’t mesh quite as well as they did in the previous issue (being as they do sort of collide in the past and all), this issue does contain the most enjoyable Doctor Doom I’ve had the pleasure to read in a very, very long time, complete with hyperinflated self-importance and use of the third person.
If previous issues of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl were unusual for their focus on Doreen’s knack for defusing villainous situations using techniques other than punching, issue #3 is just the beginning of what promises to be a proper superhero-supervillain face-off, complete with powers, punching, and so many puns.
It’s Squirrel Girl versus Doctor Doom, and it may be a bit too on the nose to say it’s about time.
(What, I can’t do time travel puns this week? When else can I do them?)
Of all the villains Squirrel Girl has faced, Doctor Doom is one of the most infamous in her history simply because he was the first person she ever fought, way back in the days when her life’s ambition was to be Iron Man’s sidekick. It’s this Doom we find ourselves meeting, since Nancy encounters (and manages to enlist the help of) a time-traveling Doctor Doom fresh off his very first encounter with Squirrel Girl. This is the Doom I grew up recognizing and laughing at (while still being slightly scared of him), with his pontifications on his own greatness and annoying but amusing habit of referring to himself in the third person, and it’s such a treat to return to this classic portrayal of Doom rather than the strange “empathize with me” Doom of Secret Wars.
Oh, yeah. I did mention that Nancy decided to enlist the help of Doctor Doom, right?
This will definitely not end in tears. Not at all.
…Except somehow bringing the Doom-from-the-past to the 60s to rescue Doreen changes the course of history enough that Doom takes over the world (handily verified with Nancy’s phone and the ever-present Wikipedia, updated for chronal shift).
All this leads into a fast-paced and visually exciting battle scene pitting Doom against Doreen in the past, while she tries to protect her newly found group of similarly time-displaced college students from Doom’s wrath (featuring a creative use of parabolas to toss them all in a rooftop pool. Never change, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. You’re wonderful just as you are).
While the plot gets a little jumbled at times and the time-travel comic-science runs fast and thick, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 is still a hugely enjoyable read, full of laugh-out-loud jokes, wonderful and loving lampooning of superhero comics, fantastic art and coloring, and some of the most engaging and unique characters I’ve seen in a while.
Nancy Whitehead is, as she always is, The Best, and reigns securely supreme in her position as “Most Incredibly Well-Adjusted, Creative, Intelligent, And Quick-Thinking Individual To Ever Aid A Superhero.” I’m fairly certain no one else could ever manage to convince Doctor Doom to bring them to the 60s to rescue someone who had only just handed him a wholly undignified defeat, but Nancy did just that. And nobody else would have the guts to criticize Doctor Doom while being carried away in a fireman’s hold from him shooting energy blasts, but Nancy absolutely does.
Said energy blast battle is actually a lot of fun to see realized on the page by Henderson and Renzi, especially since we’ve not really gotten to see a proper full-out superhero battle. Even the brief flashes we had with Kraven the Hunter and Ratatoskr don’t fit the same bill as what we see in issue #3. No, this is a proper powered fight, with Doreen letting loose against Doom’s energy blasts and powerful armor and then some. It’s not even over yet with the end of the issue, since the glimpse of a Doom-controlled future only promises more Squirrel Girl vs. Doom smackdowns in the future.
It may not be my absolute favorite issue to date, but even a not-quite-favorite issue of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Time travel is always a fun concept to play around with for creative teams that are unafraid of potential time travel shenanigans, and I can think of no better place for said shenanigans than a book like this. With North’s clever writing, Henderson’s energetic and expressive art, and Renzi’s bright colors, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 continues the streak of being one heck of a fun comic.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2 #3 was written by Ryan North, with art by Erica Henderson, trading card art by Doc Shaner, colors by Rico Renzi, and guest lettering by Travis Lanham.
Images courtesy of Marvel
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