Your enjoyment of this issue of New Avengers is largely going to hinge on whether you can get past it being an issue focused on Squirrel Girl. To me she falls into the Deadpool category of a jokey character who can break the fragile realism of a comic story. I like her fine in a comedic comic (such as those written by Dan Slott), but in a comic trying to build any real tension or sense of danger a character who single defeated Doctor Doom and Thanos on her own makes it hard to take the story seriously. Perhaps Bendis could have ignored the continuity that makes her one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful characters, but here she beats Wolverine in hand-to-hand combat so it seems like he’s embracing it. I’ve been enjoying Bendis’ interview style Fear Itself tie-ins, but I just can’t get behind Squirrel Girl and not just because of the bushy tail.
I have been loving these ‘My Avengers Moment’ issues that Bendis has been giving us in Avengers and New Avengers during Fear Itself. This issue, spotlighting Squirrel Girl, is no different. Refreshingly, Bendis doesn’t treat Doreen as a joke, but still manages to convey her indefatigability as she takes on Wolverine in a sparring match and then takes down some Nazis once the Blitzkreig hits Manhattan. As is the part with this arc of the book, a solid mix of comic book action and strong character work from top-tier creators.
This title continues to delight. If you had told me a year ago, after the first few issues of this run of New Avengers, that there would be an issue tying into the next big event featuring Squirrel Girl as the main character, and that it would be fun, funny, interesting, AND still work within the larger threads of the event, I probably would have said “who the hell is Squirrel Girl and what have you been smoking?”. Yet here we are. I’ve since found out who Squirrel Girl is, but frankly, even a couple months ago I would have been somewhat incredulous that an issue focusing on her could be such a good one. And if you don’t think a wave a squirrels would be scary, you’ve never seen the really big ones in Central Park.