Every time I think that Ryan North and Derek Charm have reached the limit of plausible ridiculousness in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I am proved wrong. At this point, my disbelief at the lengths they are able to go to has turned into glee at discovering the next unreal twist they throw into the Marvel Universe that often takes itself too seriously. Yes, the final of the 10 realms is still at stake. Yes, Frost Giants from Jotunheim have taken over North America. Yes, the only hero ready to take the fight to them is a young woman with the powers of both a squirrel and a girl, but she’s partnered up with Ratatoskr, the Asgardian chaos-bringing, shape-shifting squirrel god — who, by the by, is a real part of Norse mythology, mentioned in both the Poetic and Prose Edda as a messenger on the World Tree Yggdrasil who may or may not chitter nasty things about you — and the two of them will eat nuts and kick some serious butts.
Ridiculous thing I didn’t know I needed to see #1: Two Frost Giants having a romantic moment while crushing heroes/squirrel gods to death.
Doreen, in her fetching winter ensemble, fights a pair of Frost Giants while talking out how the trickster Ratatoskr might actually be working for the side of good (or, at least, not boring) this time. The giants, Gary and Danielle…I can’t write any more about this. I am so happy for Gary and Danielle. Find your truth, you guys. Just watch out for chaos squirrels.
After being freed during the Mangog incident on Asgard (bet you didn’t know that happened while Jane Foster Thor was kicking its ass), Ratatoskr checked out Malekith’s work on the other realms and found the conformity unbearable.
Ridiculous thing I didn’t know I needed to see #2: having a Dark Elf calling Light Elves “nerds” while forcing them to read a huge poster of pedantic rules is beautiful irony and also something Dark Elves would totally do.
After defeating the giants, Squirrel Girl and Ratatoskr decide to work together and investigate the Frost Giant menace with the local populace in a totally inconspicuous way. The page where Ratatoskr tries out different forms (her description of humans as having “200 or so bones hidden under your skin” is gross and effective and creepy.
Ridiculous thing I didn’t know I needed to see #3: Spider-Squirrel. This is canon and should be included in Into the Spider-Verse 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Charm’s character work on the Ratatoskr in her natural form (squirrel jazz hands) translates to her new identity as a “stone-cold fox,” but I have a small issue with the coloring here. Charm’s art fits USG so well, but it is often flat as a style choice and all black costumes tend to disappear into a solid black block of character. Some more detail wouldn’t hurt and would give her a more human shape. Nitpicks aside, “Rachel” will be a great foil for Squirrel Girl while the rest of the USG crew is trapped in the Negative Zone, riding out the War of the Realms.
Taken all together, this issue is a good follow-up to USG‘s first major event tie-in, and her communications with Iron Man give it real credence that she is the hero in charge of freeing North America rather than an afterthought. It’s a huge step up for both Doreen and the creative team and both deserve the promotion. Next squirrel squad goal: Squirrel Girl in Phase 4.