Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl / Ms. Marvel #1 sees Doreen Green and Kamala Khan team up to keep a young woman from stealing tech and causing havoc with her ability to summon video game creatures and items into the real world. Ryan North and G. Willow Wilson each write half of the book, bringing their well practiced charm from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel respectively to this lighthearted team-up. Does this double-sized issue bring all the nut-eating butt-kicking to the embiggened degree?
This issue is a lot of fun and feels like a Saturday morning crossover special of two of my favorite characters. Ryan North brings everything you love about Squirrel Girl into the first half of this issue, including the jokes at the bottom of the page, with G. Willow Wilson handling the comic’s second half that features more time with Ms. Marvel. I will say, the gamer speak and usernames in this issue just brush up against the border of cringe, but this may be less of an issue for readers who aren’t as interested in video games and won’t recognize how silly they are. I did appreciate the very obvious nods to Skyrim and Final Fantasy though. Otherwise the characterization of both Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel sound like the characters we know and love and they work so well together, I’d love to see them team up again in their respective series.
Irene Strychalski covers the pencils and inks of the first half and she keeps to the characters’ style guide well. I will say the panels are fairly low detail aside from character renderings and while I didn’t need a ton of extra lines for such an energetic, lighthearted issue, the backgrounds aren’t interesting at all and a lot of panels didn’t have any actual background art. Ramón Bachs handles the line art in the second half and his panels do add significantly more detail, but there are a couple faces here and there that look wonky. I will say that even though the issue has two different artists, the shift isn’t very jarring and they manage to keep to the style and tone of the book consistently.
Rachelle Rosenberg tackles the coloring for both parts of the issue and the quality goes up and down depending on the page. The colors never feel flat and on a lot of pages the lighting is really dynamic and helps convey the mood. However, there are some panels where Rosenberg fills the blank space with color, using gradients of colors to make up for the lack of backgrounds. At times, this works to make the panel more dynamic, but at others, the colors look like they’re trying too hard and make the lack of background art even more apparent. Clayton Cowles’s lettering has some great moments like a video game “chicken” giving a shriek with pixelated letters that make the comedy of the moment all the more outrageous.
Overall, Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl / Ms. Marvel #1 is a fun read that fans of either character will enjoy just to see the two heroines team up. I don’t think the book is a must buy for readers who aren’t diehard fans of the characters, but it’s a solid issue that younger readers might like that could introduce them to the characters and lead them to their respective solo series.
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