Published March 16, 2017

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Miscast Mentors

Ryan North provides a guide to less than stellar leaders!

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In UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #19, due out April 12, fans will encounter the worst mentor of all time, Melissa Morbeck. In a Marvel Universe resplendent with poor guidance figures of all sorts, we disagreed and took our arguments right to SQUIRREL GIRL writer Ryan North

Professor X and the Original X-Men
The Case:
Of the original five X-Men, one destroyed a planet full of broccoli humanoids and has been periodically dying ever since, one went bad and died, one lost his wings and made a deal with Apocalypse to become the Horsemen Death, and one ended up covered in blue fur. Of the quintet only Iceman has largely dodged life-altering tragedies. Beyond, you know, being hated and feared, of course.

Plus, Professor X had a crush on Jean which certainly qualifies as a bad way for a mentor to feel about his charge.

Ryan North Responds: “If you look at how his mentoring worked, I think it turned out pretty okay! Only one of those five ended up becoming host to an immortal star-killing cosmic entity, and then only for a little while. Professor X gets the coveted ‘You Did Ok I Guess award!’

“Compared to Melissa, Professor X would probably be a better mentor, though it’s still probably for the best to keep Squirrel Girl away from that 1/5 chance of becoming host to an immortal star-killing cosmic entity.”

Hawkeye and Hawkeye
The Case:
Kate Bishop spent much of their relationship patching up Clint Barton’s numerous bumps, bruises, and cuts and playing traffic cop to the multiple women her mentor seemed to be seeing at any given point.

Also, she disappeared to the West Coast for months and never once did he even file a Missing Person’s Report.

Ryan North Responds: “Clint is a man with a bunch of problems, and as much as he’s helped Kate, I think Kate has helped him just as much. Therefore, I would call this mentorship a tie, and both Clint and Kate get prizes. Let’s say…sticky putty arrows.

“Compared to Melissa, both Clint or Kate would be improvements. Plus, the two of them come with a dog, which easily pushes them over the top. Clint and Kate are the true winners of our mentorship competition.”

Odin and Odinson
The Case:
Odin has a temper and consistently deals with his issues with Thor—his son by the way—by exiling him to the world of humans. When not doing that, Odin demands Odinson fight a cybernetic horseman from space to prove himself. Basically, Odin has two moves: “Go away and learn a lesson,” or “Show me how well you fight!”

Ryan North Responds: “Odin is Thor’s father, but he was kind of a horrible mentor. He basically gave him a weapon of mass destruction in the form of Mjolnir and then disappeared for a while to go have an extended nap? That’s some pretty weak mentorship game. However, you do get a fun hammer out of the deal, which must be considered.

“Compared to Melissa, Odin would be an improvement.  Melissa gave Squirrel Girl a flying suit, but then she stuck around and tried to manipulate her to do what she wants. If she had given Squirrel Girl a flying suit and then went to have a nap, then it would’ve been a much shorter story with much less conflict. It’s one of the reasons I went with Melissa when drafting the story instead of her much sleepier twin, Rip Von Melissa.

“That is an original character by me being revealed here for the first time, by the way. She looks like the regular Melissa only she’s wearing a sleeping cap and those old-timey pajamas with a button-up hole on the back that if you don’t button them properly everyone can see your butt.”

Doctor Doom and Kristoff
The Case:
Well, he’s Dr. Doom, for one.

Besides that, though, Doom has had Kristoff stand in for him on multiple occasions, exposing the youth to the possibility of death and dismemberment. And if the monarch’s various enemies do not do it to Kristoff, Doom just might handle it himself, due to the not-actually-a-Doctor’s hair-trigger temper and massive inferiority complex.

Ryan North Responds: “This should not even be a question. The man’s name is Doctor Doom, you do not want him mentoring you in anything except, possibly, in how to choose really suspicious names. You let him teach you anything else, and the second things go wrong everyone’s gonna say ‘Your mentor was Doctor Doom; what did you expect to happen?’

“Compared to Melissa, I’d call it a tie. Doom is an awful guy but he dresses the part, so you know what you’re getting. Melissa looks like a regular lady, so when she turns out to be bad, you can at least be surprised.  If she wore a steel mask and called herself ‘Doctor Doom 2: Better Than Doctor Doom’ then that would at least be something.”

Witness malevolent mentorship in action courtesy of Ryan North and Erica Henderson with UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #19, available April 12!