Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel #1

Writer: Devin Grayson, Ryan North, and G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Irene Strychalski and Ramon F. Bachs
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

A review by Melissa Prange

Picking up where Marvel Rising: Alpha left off, Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel focuses on Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl’s investigation into the Emulator. As Ember Quade a.k.a. The Emulator attempts to increase her powers, the duo seek to discover the source of her pixelated creations. Unfortunately, they don’t have a lot of time to work out the truth. Ember is allowing her destructive tendencies to run amok as she tracks down the tech she needs to make herself more powerful. Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl must keep alert to stand in her way.

At forty-three pages long, Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel is packed with story, characters, and fun. The duo once again make teamwork feel easy, and their “Squirrel Marvel” team name is adorable, perfectly summing up how cute these two are working together. The Emulator remains an intriguing villain, although we don’t get too close to her too often in this issue. I’m hoping Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl will get through to her before too long because I firmly suspect Ember’s text friend is the true villain of this series.

The comic is split into a Ms. Marvel section and a Squirrel Girl section. This doesn’t affect the plot so much as the style of art and the side characters who show up. In Squirrel Girl’s section, the art is slightly manga-esque with soft colors. Much to my enjoyment, familiar footnotes also make an appearance and there is more than one “Friend from work” joke. Koi Boy, Chipmunk Hunk, Brain Drain, and Nancy all have cameos and help the titled heroes with the more technical aspects of the Emulator’s power. The action is much lower key in this first half (building as it is to Ms. Marvel’s section), but overall, it was my favorite part of the issue. The combination or art and witty asides definitely reminded me of why I love the Squirrel Girl series so much.

When the story switched to Ms. Marvel halfway through, however, the art gained heavier lines and deeper tones. It looked less crisp and a little clunky. While this art style might complement certain heroes, it didn’t seem suited to Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel. It was frustrating because the change in artist felt jarring in a way that the change in writer didn’t. G. Willow Wilson’s humor and heart was on ample display in the second half with Ms. Marvel determined to save Ember Quade from herself and the arrivals of Inferno and a certain other young heroine. The story definitely kept me wanting more in spite of the disappointment in some of this art.

The Verdict: Buy It.

Marvel Rising remains a joy. The story is funny and full of heart and the team-up of Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl is simply perfect. These two should definitely be given the opportunity to join forces regularly after Marvel Rising completes its run. These two make an excellent pair and if you’re a fan of either of them, this comic is a must read.

Melissa Prange

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