Doreen Green has faced impossible odds before. She has beaten Thanos, befriended Galactus, defeated Silver Surfer look-alikes, and traveled through time to thwart Kang. In the penultimate issue before the inconceivable final moment for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, writer Ryan North and artist Derek Charm create some instantly remarkable images that give a clear sense of what truly could have been, had this beloved character been given more time.
NOTE: I will keep my complaining about USG ending to a minimum. Just know that this and the current iteration of She-Hulk are the two things that truly upset me about Marvel Comics. Like Mrs. White from Clue, I feel flames on the side of my face when they are brought up.
We are in mid-fight as Squirrel Girl and the Squirrel Scouts take on Iron Ring (formerly Melissa Morbeck) and her team of villains bent on destroying everything good and cool in this world. Iron Ring has taken control of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, leaving him a bit helpless in some stylish boxers. Two things I love appear on this page: first is the “Chance-Of-Winning-The-Big-Fight-O-Meter” which appears at least every other page, pegging from one side to the other as the stakes increase. The second is the now-canon fact that Taskmaster’s favorite musical is Annie Get Your Gun. That just feels right.
I’ll refrain from recapping the back-and-forth with a bullet-pointed list of the cool stuff North used to really ramp up the stakes page after page:
- A literal mountain of all the estimated 2,373 squirrels in Central Park
- Making XKCD canon (shout out to All of Earth’s Dark Matter)
- Organic Squirrel Armor
- The fight scene puns
- The media as an important part of a functioning democracy
- A single moment that should be immortalized forever (spoilers!)
- Tony’s hatred of snapping
- Befriended villains to the rescue
Everything great must, apparently, come to an end. Doreen Green has swiftly become my second-favorite superhero (sorry, Doreen, but Cap’s always #1) and it’s truly due to North, Charm, and prior artist and continual cover artist Erica Henderson. This comic should have never worked and yet it is the best of us. It’s ridiculous and inclusive, insane and wholesome. I am sad to see it go, but trust that North, Charm, and the Squirrel Scouts have great things in store for the finale.