In The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #22, the titular hero flies off to the Savage Land and basks in the sheer wonderment of dinosaurs. Is it good?
Given this series’ affection for over-the-top camp, the Savage Land seems like a brilliant choice of setting for a new arc. There’s nothing grim or serious about a Jurassic park (created even before Jurassic Park, mind you) hidden away in Antarctica, and its origins reek of a special kind of comic book silliness. There’s a short flashback scene featuring the aliens who created the Savage Land, and writer Ryan North’s dialogue between them is delightfully tongue-in-cheek. The reasoning behind Doreen and Nancy going to the Savage Land is also well-handled; the mystery elements at play here are light-hearted and a joy to read.
Character-wise, this issue focused on Doreen and Nancy, which is nice after the last issue’s side character-based excursion. It’s been a while since we got to see these two just interact as friends without any battles or supervillains getting in the way. This issue also introduces us to a pair of new characters hailing from Latveria, which, given Doreen’s history with Doctor Doom, is likely to be a good source of hijinks in future issues.
Artistically, Erica Henderson delivers strong work here. Nancy is a consistent source of amusing facial expressions, as is Stefan (one of the new Latverian characters). This issue features several double-page spreads filled to the brim with numerous species of dinosaurs, and it’s easy to feel the same sense of awe that the characters do. Colorist Rico Renzi does a good job as well, especially where the Savage Land’s vibrant orange skies are concerned. Letterer Travis Lanham work is clean and fits the tone of the book. Every member of the creative team performs well here, and their contributions all gel well together into one fun package.
Overall, this issue really embraces how universally cool dinosaurs are and runs with it. There are no battles to be found here, just charming wordplay, interesting character interactions, and a whole lot of dinosaurs. There’s not a whole lot of cons to be found here. Some portions of the line-art look a bit rushed, but only in a couple of pages. If you prefer fast-paced stories then this issue might not be for you, but if you’re as content as I am to just bask in the glory of the Savage Land and other campy comic book tropes, then this issue is definitely worth picking up.
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