All good things must come to an end, or so they say. It doesn’t have to be negative, of course, because sometimes endings are an important aspect of what made the thing we loved truly great. When it comes to Squirrel Girl, it may be a bit of both in her bittersweet finale now collected in trade paperback. Ryan North, Derek Charm, and a contribution from original artist Erica Henderson come together to finish Squirrel Girl right: With a truly unfathomably hard to beat bad-guy situation. Thankfully they call her Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for a reason.
This final trade paperback collects issue #47-50 as well as a few extras, all the letter pages from the single issues, and all the hilarious recap pages. These recap pages–told via a message board chain from Squirrel Girl herself–are a hilarious way to start the nonsensically delightful stories within. These last four issues are plotted well, starting with the Leader getting his butt kicked, Doreen’s identity being leaked to the world, and the evil villain team-up of the century with designs to finally destroy Squirrel Girl forever. It’s highly over the top and genuinely funny stuff. Ryan North’s incredible footnotes continue to mix things up beautifully, reflecting on the page itself, adding a joke or dialogue, and just having fun with it. Comics can be morose and dark, but with Squirrel Girl it’s all about the positive energy.
You see that positive energy in the finale, as Squirrel Girl triumphs once again (that’s not a spoiler — she is the “Unbeatable” Squirrel Girl, after all) and must actually save the villains from their own demise. North cleverly brings back Galactus who appeared early on in the series to wrap things up and send home a message about forgiving even those who wish you harm. It’s a nice sentiment and it’s even nicer knowing so many kiddos will read it and learn a little something.
Speaking of Galactus, I can’t get enough of the voice of this character and all the rest in this work. Galactus speaks in a casual sort of way that’s hilarious given his cosmic and godly nature. Kraven is another favorite and it’s fun to see how North can put a spin on a character’s nature via dialogue to give us a little something different. Squirrel Girl is as hopeful and positive as they come and continues to be a delight.
The art by Charm is great and suits this sometimes silly and always over the top story. There are visual comedy bits that work effortlessly to put a smile on your face. The book is in part so positive because the art is so infectiously positive. That goes for colors by Rico Renzi which are bright when they need to be, but a little worn too. There is a lot to be impressed by in this book, like the stature of Galactus standing tall in Central Park, or the pile of Iron Man costumes flying in line to suit up the villains.
Now that we’re at the end of this review, it’s worth noting this book is excellent, but it is made even more excellent if you read the entire series. Marvel is releasing new digest-sized Squirrel Girl trades (I loved the first one) to get you started. Given how delightful, original, and clever this series is, it’s almost a crime North and company aren’t getting their movie adaptation due. Step to it, Marvel Studios!