Squirrel Girl Shows Us Computer Science Can Be Extremely Metal

In a quest to continue being the go-to comic for creating the most nonsensical blogs, this week’s issue of Squirrel Girl uses basic computer science and counting in binary to deliver a splash page so fundamentally rad it should probably grace the cover of a mid-’80s metal album. Suffice to say, it’s rather brilliant.


Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11—written by Ryan North, and featuring guest artist Jacob Chabot and colors from Rico Renzi—takes a break from its usual adventures to deliver a wonderful dreamscape battle between Squirrel Girl and the villainous Nightmare. It starts off with a fight between Doreen and Doc Ock, which is how Doreen first learns she’s in a dream (because, of course, Ock has been dead for a few years now).

But the fight allows her to dissect Octavius’ villainous boasts as if they were basic programming statements:

She continues with the programming lesson long enough to distract Ock so she can beat him, but the fun really begins when Nightmare reveals himself to Doreen, attempting to beat Doreen in her dreams so she’ll be driven insane. Nightmare summons Count Nefaria to battle her, but it turns out Nefaria is a little less Count Dracula, a little more Count von Count from Sesame Street:


So Doreen dazzles him with (computer) science, and in the process teaches us all how to count to huge numbers on one hand using the power of binary. Yes, this is still a superhero comic and not a piece of edutainment.


The binary counting becomes important later on, when Nightmare finally decides to fight Doreen himself, with a bit of help from the venom symbiote—chasing her through nightmare after nightmare (from the classic “It’s the final exam in a class you’ve never attended!” to the slightly more Squirrel-Girl-oriented “All the trees in New York have stopped growing nuts and the squirrels are starving!”) until Doreen commands her squirrel hordes to smack Nightmare-Venom about with devestating sonic blasts. She directs them, because the sound of their chittering is too loud to shout, through Binary counting on her fingers. Which leads to this glorious, ridiculously album-cover-worthy splash page:


Seriously, how is this not an album cover already?

In short, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #11 is the only superhero comic you can read this week that also teaches you how to count in binary on one hand, and some basic principals of computer programming. If that’s not a solid purchase recommendation, I don’t know what it is.


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James Whitbrook

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!