Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and the Great Lakes Avengers by D. Slott et al.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and the Great Lakes Avengers written by Dan Slott, Fabian Nicieza, Alex Zalben, Steve Ditko, and various artists

This book is a compilation of various adventures for Squirrel Girl, mostly involving the Great Lakes Avengers. The Great Lakes Avengers is a team of super-powered people in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They aren't officially affiliated with the Avengers. They decide to name themselves as Avengers to get more name recognition and respect. The only problem is their powers are a bit lame--Mr. Immortal can't die but otherwise has no powers; Flatman is paper thin and is acknowledged as a Mr. Fantastic rip-off; Doorman is a living portal but can only transport himself or others into the next room; Dinah Saur is a female flying dinosaur humanoid; Big Bertha is a supermodel who can add mass at will to make herself huge. Their lameness is used for comedy. They hardly ever win any battle (except when Squirrel Girl joins because she is, as the title says, unbeatable). There is a serious story about the end of the world (because that's where the big drama in comics comes from, right?) but the GLA's role is mostly comic and tragic. Members die in every issue, which is a running gag for the comic. The humor isn't as dark as Kick-Ass and the message isn't as cynical as Watchmen but it's in the neighborhood. The tone is the big difference. The GLA are depicted as a fun bunch of screw-ups.

The book contains a very charming story with the Thing, who has a minor team-up with Squirrel Girl but mostly it's the story of his Bar Mitzvah and the party, with a great big superhero poker tournament. In another couple of stories, Deadpool fights with and eventually joins the GLA, which doesn't work out well for anyone (Squirrel Girl keeps calling Deadpool, "you evil, evil man!"). In addition to making fun of the GLA, readers get the Deadpool humor too (self-aware and a bit crass, if you haven't read any Deadpool stories or seen the movie). I laughed but felt guilty afterwards, just like the Deadpool movie.

The best story is with the Thing. The other stories depend a lot on your sense of humor. I enjoyed them but do not think they are great. And they don't have enough Squirrel Girl, if you ask me.

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