Welcome, to the Late Night Crawlspace Show with your host, Brian Bradley. This latest review features special guest, Squirrel Girl. The super babysitter of Danielle Cage has been gracious enough to join me to discuss her staring role in the latest New Avengers comic. She has been a background player ever since taking on the job as official Avengers Nanny, but now, when Nazi terrorists stand between her and the baby, she takes a lead role in this Fear Itself tie-in.
The New Avengers, vol. 2 #15
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Color Art: Rain Beredo
Letters & Production: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo
The New Avengers: Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Thing, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Dr. Strange, Mockingbird, Jessica Jones, Victoria Hand, Squirrel Girl.
Plot: Doreen Green, the current New Avengers’ super-nanny and former member of the Great Lakes Avengers, known as Squirrel Girl, is the next participant in the Avengers’ recounting of the events that transpired during Fear Itself. Doreen first recalls her history at Avengers Mansion caring for Danielle Cage, the infant daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.
After she witnessed a sparring match between team members Wolverine and Iron Fist, Squirrel Girl is called in to train against the clawed Canadian.
Squirrel Girl impresses the gathered Avengers when she quickly overwhelms the more experienced Wolverine. Doreen uses her ability to communicate with squirrels to secure the upper hand over Wolverine. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are not pleased by Squirrel Girl’s connection to the rodents.
On her way back from her classes at NYU, Doreen rescues a girl from muggers in an alleyway. The Serpent’s Nazi flying tanks, piloted by humans, attack New York City and Squirrel Girl realizes she needs to protect Danielle. She takes off over rooftops and fearlessly takes down a slew of the war machines.
At Avengers Mansion, the New Avengers are waiting on Jessica Jones before they leave to defend the city. Jessica is unwilling to leave her baby alone. Squirrel Girl arrives at the door, bloody and battered. The babysitter tells Jessica to leave with the rest of the New Avengers to battle the Nazis. After the New Avengers leave, the mansion goes into lockdown mode as half-a-dozen war machines attack the headquarters.
An Interview with Squirrel Girl
Brian Bradley (Crawlspace Reviewer): Welcome, Doreen. Thanks for agreeing to help me review the latest issue of New Avengers.
Doreen Green (Squirrel Girl, Babysitting Avenger): Thanks for having me, Brian. Do I get to hold up one of those “I<3 Spider-Man Crawlspace.com” signs?
BB: Sadly not right now, but I’ll work on that for you. In the meantime, I’m afraid you’ll just have to settle with talking to me, which brings me to my first topic. This is now your second opportunity to sit down and talk about the events of Fear Itself, as well as about who you are and your status as an Avenger. You haven’t received a lot of publicity since you came on to the scene in 1992. You’re sort of a dark horse character, and might even be considered the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe in some circles. I admit, I am not too familiar with your history, but you have made quite the impression on fans in your few, brief moments. Do you feel like your association with the New Avengers and your string of recent interviews will be your next step into the Marvel spotlight?
SG: I don’t really see it as a push into stardom as much as an opportunity to rub elbows with the big time heroes. I love sharing stories and talking, but before I signed on as Mr. and Mrs. Cage’s nanny, the majority of my time was spent communicating with squirrels. People in school aren’t always rushing to talk to the girl with the tail. The problem is, my victories over guys like Dr. Doom and Baron Mordo don’t seem to interest squirrels very much. Danielle really gets a kick out of my stories, and like I said in this issue, I feel as though watching over her is what I was meant to do.
BB: I’m glad you brought that up, because I happen to agree with you. I think you make a fantastic nanny, but no offense, I don’t really need to see you mixing it up on a monthly basis with the other heroes.
SG: None taken. I don’t consider myself a violent person.
BB: But you do have the potential to help this team out should the need arise. You have defeated quite a laundry-list of foes; Mandarin, M.O.D.O.K. and Thanos to name a few. After this issue, do you think we should add another name to that list? Even though it was just a training exercise, you seemed to have handled yourself pretty well against your fellow mutant, Wolverine. Being a member of Team Cyclops, I always enjoy seeing Wolverine getting a little egg on his face.
SG: Oh, Logan… that’s a story for another time. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we have a history. I don’t think I’m ready to fully talk about it yet, but it’s there. It’s not the first time we’ve tangoed though and that’s not always how it turns out.
BB: Well I expect to hear more about this relationship between the two of you. I really liked seeing the Avengers practicing out in the backyard of the Avengers Mansion. Wolverine was practicing against Iron Fist in this issue, and I’m not sure if you’ve heard this or not, Doreen, but Iron Fist will be joining some of your other associates in the upcoming Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 fighting game. Do you feel snubbed by the continued exclusion in the hit franchise?
SG: I haven’t really thought about it that way, but, yeah, I guess that would be fun. I have my hands full with the babysitting gig and going back to school, but if asked, I could set aside some time to let Capcom capture my moves.
BB: Stranger still, Capcom seems to have a penchant for using somewhat obscure furry-like characters, such as Rocket Raccoon and Felicia. I would think it’d be a no-brainer to include you in the game, but maybe next time.
Speaking of furries, I have to ask about your costume. Is part of your costume composed of squirrel fur? Does that seem weird to you at all? I mean where does that squirrel fur come from?
SG: Well that’s a little private, but I can tell you that no squirrels were harmed in the creation of my costume.
BB: The credit must go to Deodato and the rest of the art team again for capturing the great details in your outfit, as well as your facial features and tail. I’m not a big furry fan myself, but I must say that the creative team gave you a really attractive look in this series. It’s no wonder you joked that your name should be “Double Take.”
In addition to you, Deodato does a fantastic job once again with the New Avengers in their costumes and group shots. I like the FF uniform on Spidey, but don’t want to see it become his default costume. The action scenes were also very nicely detailed again. You look like you had a lot of close calls with some explosions singeing your tail at one point.
SG: Yeah, those were some intense battle sets, and you don’t want to mess with my tail. You wouldn’t like me, when you mess with my tail. I paraphrased that from the Hulk.
BB: Cute. So in your squirrel-like rage, you took down some of the Serpent’s war machines. You even called in your little rodent friends to help you finish off the job. You were given a good power display in your efforts to get back to the Mansion and baby Danielle. This encompassed the majority of the action, making it somewhat of an uneventful issue in that regards, especially since we saw Mockingbird do pretty much the same thing in the last issue. I think you’re a better character and have a more interesting story than the new and improved Mockingbird, but that doesn’t stop this issue from feeling pretty repetitive.
SG: Well there’s a limit to things we can show you in the pages of New Avengers for Fear Itself. Since Mockingbird and I aren’t key players in the main event, this is where we get the chance to take center stage. As far as the threat goes, you can’t pick who you battle, and there just happened to be a swarm of those tanks in New York so it makes sense that Bobbi and I would face off against a handful of them.
BB: Before you made it back to the Mansion, Bendis gave us a look at the New Avengers as they are preparing to assemble. Jessica Jones demonstrates some good motherly instincts when telling the other heroes to go on without her. Luke Cage tells his wife to leave their daughter with “Bitchy Wong.” I didn’t think that was necessary. Mr. and Mrs. Cage can have dirty mouths, even around their daughter it seems, no censor words were used in this issue, but Jessica has been known to use a long string of them. How do you feel about the Cages, Doreen? How do you feel about Jessica Jones (or Luke Cage, for that matter) putting their duties as an Avenger ahead of their responsibilities as a parent?
SG: Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Cage are very loving parents. They both go to great lengths to protect little Danielle. I heard Mr. Cage even put his trust in Norman Osborn to help find his daughter after that Skrull Invasion. The city needs heroes, Brian. Saving the city is Jessica and Luke’s way of protecting their daughter. And who better to watch her when they’re away, than Marvel’s mightiest mutant, Squirrel Girl.
BB: Well it looks like that moniker will be put to the test in the next issue. You’re wounded and a new swarm of Nazi war tanks are descending on Avengers Mansion. It sounds like we’re in for some good action. I’m interested to see how you get Danielle to safety. Thanks for coming in Doreen; hopefully we can have you back for the end of your story.
SG: I’ll come back anytime. Thanks for having me!
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Moment: (SG: Ooooh, I love Spidey, he’s so funny.) Spider-Man is practicing karate poses when the New Avengers watch Iron Fist and Wolverine spar in the backyard.
Spider-Man: Why doesn’t he yell out the moves? Praying Lotus! Five Fingers of Death! Fist of the Tainted Punch!
Rating: Good, art. Meh, characterization and writing. Poor, action and story. 3/5 Avengers Assembled