2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious – Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

squirrel2

starstarstarstar

Authors: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl novels #2

Pages: 323

youngsuperheronerdfirst_personfunnyfrenzy

Squirrel Girl is BACK in an all-new adventure and things are about to get . . . hairy. Thanks to Squirrel Girl, Ana Sofia, and the Squirrel Scouts, the crime rate in New Jersey is at an all time low. It makes for safer streets but also bored-er squirrels. That’s why it’s super exciting when Doreen’s school announces a new mall is being built right next to their town. Mmmm . . . Doreen can smell the soft pretzels now. The corporation building mall has also announced that there will be a competition to choose the mall’s mascot. Because malls need mascots?Anyway, Doreen’s school will be voting for a cat and the neighboring school will be voting for a dog. As the relationship starts to unravel between the two towns, Squirrel Girl and her friends suspect something more sinister is at work. With the help of old friends like Ana Sofia, Tippy Toe, and The Mighty Thor as well as some surprising new ones, Squirrel Girl will squash a villainous plot and save everyone.The unbeatable Squirrel Girl is ready for more nuts AND more butts! Are you?

It happened again. I tried to follow a reading schedule that would allow me to read books and comics and I was able to stick to it for like 6 months before getting behind on comics. Almost a year has passed without reading one. I want to make some time for them, but I can’t see how. Between that and that my reading device died a true death, I guess I will have to accept that I’m not reading comics anytime soon. But books with Marvel superheroes? I have a clear schedule for them!

In this second book we get to follow Squirrel Girl adventures once more (otherwise the title and the cover would have been very misleading…). All the neighbours of her town are very excited about the new mall. The public relationships guy is doing a superb job at getting the town engaged for the opening. The students of two schools are being told to do a campaign for the mall mascot. The team that wins will be gifted with a pizza party. Doreen’s school is Team Cat and, with a superhero in their midst, it seem pretty unfair for the other school. But Team Dog is also quite strong and a weird animosity between them starts to brew. No wonder there is something fishy going on, the mall is run by one of the most villainous organizations of the Marvel Universe…

I said it before and I will say it again: The Unbeatable Squireel Girl rocks! One of the best superheroes out there with an amazing comic run written by Ryan North. The first novel based on that character was nice, but I felt that it was trying too hard to capture the epicness of the comics. This second book is much better. The more fluent style tells me that the authors are more comfortable with the character and with what they want to tell. The story is much better, the pace is much more lifely, the action is constant and the sense of humor is above awesome. It’s not perfect, but it is way closer to perfection than the first book.

Doreen is well known in the Marvel Universe for her epic victories against some of the biggest baddies from the comics. This book drinks from that idea and pairs her against a covert opeartion of Hydra. One of the worst organizations that has ever existed. Ask Captain America if you don’t believe me! A small town obviously has a small Hydra branch, but evil enough to create havoc that only Squirrel Girl and his army can solve. The lovely craziness of the story didn’t remind me of Ryan North’s comicbooks. It reminded me very strongly of G. Willow’s style in the Ms. Marvel comics. In case you are wondering, no, that is not a bad thing. Au contraire mon ami (I’m feeling my Gambit side, today! :P). It is the perfect approach for a book meant for a younger audience.

The story is a lot of fun, but the gold mine of this book rests in those chapters with group chats and forum posts. They are so, so… which word is greater than awesome? Nuts? I laughed a lot with those. Marvel humor at its best. The exchanges between some of the most popular characters (in both sides of the law) are legendary. I have had such a good time with those that I wish there were more. I would devour a whole book with just much more of that! That is the kind of humor my Marvel fan heart cherishes. The kind of humor thast is actually meant to be read by fans like me. Weirdly though, most adult fans would never read this book and most kids who read it won’t understand what they are being told in those chapters. In order to achive full enjoyment of the book, you need a rather deep knowledge of the Marvel Universe.

What it doesn’t work as smoothly as in the comics are the footnotes. Ryan uses the blank spaces of almost every page to write some comment or joke. This book tries to replicate the same. I bet in a printed edition they must look nice, but in my Kindle edition with a pretty old device (it has a complete keyboard!) reading the footnotes becomes tiresome pretty quickly. Navigating through them was an effort not worthy of my time.

It seems that there are zero plans for a third book, which is sad. I need to check more books based on Marvel characters to see if there is something interesting out there. Or even better, I should try harder to clear time for reading comics again.

paragraph1

2019 – Book Gallery

 

Advertisements

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World – Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

sqg

starstarstarstar

Authors: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl novels #1

Pages: 324

youngsuperheronerdfirst_personfunny

WHO RUNS THE WORLD? SQUIRRELS!

Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of . . . a squirrel!

After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, liked a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born!

She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and dissuades vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go . . . NUTS?

It’s no secret that The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is one of my favourite current comics. There are not enough adjectives to express how awesome it is!! When I was told Marvel was going to publish a comic featuring Doreen Green I laugh thinking it was very absurd. Nothing against the character, but she was almost a nobody. Many comics later, I wish I could punch my past self!!! Ryan North has elevated the character to such a high level that I’m already dreading the fall… Fingers crossed that that will happen in a really far future. Due to my love for Squirrel Girl, I couldn’t miss the chance of reading this book.

The story doesn’t take place in the current Marvel timeline (which is cramped enough). Instead, we get to know a little bit more about Doreen before becoming a superhero. She has just moved to New Jersey with her parents and is already in a mission: making friends. It’s way harder than you could think if you take into account Doreen’s way of facing life. Her unrelenting optimism can esily overwhelm people that are not used to it. Thanks to her perseverance, she gets two new friends: her classmate Anna Sofía and a squirrel named Tippy-Toe (yes, that Tippy-Toe).

But not eveything is a walk through the park (literally). There is a new supervillain in town that wants to make a name for himself: Micro-Manager. Obviously, he wants to defeat Squirrel Girl to make all the big baddies offer him a job. He doesn’t have any kind of special power, but he doesn’t need any. His knowledge about robotics and computers is more than enough to be a tough contender. If you are a comic reader, you may know that Doreen is also very proficient in those fields. Well, not in this book. Actually, she is lacking in all the academic smarts. Maybe too much. I found hard to believe that the Squirrel Girl from this book becomes the Squirrel Girl of the comics in such a short time.

The book is mainly written in third person, but there are several chapters from Tippy-Toe’s point of view. I have to say it: those chapters are pure genius. I didn’t know that squirrels could have such a huge personality. Tippy has made me smile the whole book with her antics.

I know I shouldn’t do it, but I can’t help comparing the book with the comics. The author tries too hard to mimic Ryan North’s style, which is a daunting task. At first, it didn’t work. It didn’t feel natural. But later on the book, I think Shannon is more relaxed with her story and her style starts working. By that I mean her sense of humor starts being funny by its own, instead of being funny just because it’s similar to the one in the comics. Am I making any sense?

Another thing that separates both formats is the audience targeted. The comics can be very enjoyable for any reader no matter their age. But this book is clearly more focused on the younger spectrum of that audience. If you are an adult who doesn’t like reading books for kids, it doesn’t matter if you love the comics, I don’t think you will enjoy the book.

There is a second book that I will read sooner or later. Getting to know how Doreen became Squirrel Girl has been very enoyable, so I don’t want to miss the next step in her path to become one of the best superheroes there is!!

paragraph1

2018 – Book Gallery

Runaways: An Original Novel – Christopher Golden

runaways

starstarstarstar

Author: Christopher Golden
Pages: 352

youngsuperheronerdfrenzy

Turns out murderous Super Villains don’t make for good parents. The Runaways had no choice. They had to kill them. Well, more or less. Now Nico, Karolina, Gert, Chase, and Molly are on the run again, hiding out and trying to regain a sense of normalcy. But kids with super powers don’t get to be normal.

The city is overrun with criminals, each faction bent on murdering them for one reason or another. It’s only when the Runaways uncover the truth behind their parents’ past that they realize the evil isn’t just in L.A.

It’s everywhere.

When I first heard about this book I thought it was based directly on the TV show, which would be a bummer. Don’t get me wrong, I like the TV show, but it’s not as epic as the first volume of Runaways published by Marvel Comics. But this book takes place in the same universe as the comics!! More precisely, the action is set between the first and the second volume. So, Alex is dead and they haven’t met Victor or Xavin yet. Once I learned about that, I jumped to get the book.

After defeating the Gibborim, the Runaways have found a nice place to live and they are not in any kind of danger. But that doesn’t last long. Their base of operations is attacked by Sunstroke. That obscure villain of the Marvel Universe is a member of the Masters of Evil when Crimson Cowl was the leader. They are taken by surprise, but the Runaways managed to escape and called the police. Even though they had to abandon their new home, Chase promised them he had a back-up plan. That the rest should have a fun night out while he and Molly went to a mission.

The “fun” night out ended up rescuing a poor girl called Allis who was going to be sacrificed by Pride followers. The same followers that in that moment were being attacked by the Nightwatch. Nope, not that Nightwatch. It’s not the good Kevin Trench. This Nightwatch is like Pride but for San Francisco. It seems there are more Elder Gods than just de Gibborim. In San Francisco, the Kurdogrim are the ones to watch. So, they rescued the girl and a boy that tells them he is the son of one of the Nightwatch.

Feeling that both of them are kin souls, the Runaways welcome Zeke and Allis to their new home. And here is when the main issue with the book begins. I mean, can any loyal comic reader tell me who is Allis or Zeke in the Runaways history? If there is something you can tell about that group is that they are usually fiercely loyal to their friends. During the story of the book, we read how Allis get closer and closer to Karolina or how Zeke charms Gert and Nico. We are sold that they became friends pretty quickly and soon I realized there was something fishy going on. I know Zeke and Allis are not in the comics and Christopher Golden knows it, too. So, it was pretty obvious that that friendship had to be a lie.

The author tries to hide the real role of Zeke and Allis in the story, but that is an impossible task if you know The Runaways. So, the end of the book is not shocking at all. It didn’t punch the reader with something unexpected. It was what it had to be. Otherwise, there would have been some contradictions with the comics that many readers would have disliked.

Even though the development of the book doesn’t surprise me, I must admit that is a very enjoyable reading. There is one fight after another, with lots of different powers at play. So getting bored is out of the question. I also liked quite a bit how the author has enhanced the Elder Gods mythology, which has been barely explored in the comics. And the Masters of Evil cameos have been a lot of fun!!

I’m satisfied. Much better than I was expecting.