The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1
Writer: Ryan North | Artist: Erica Henderson
Without planning it, I decided to review the first volume of Squirrel Girl in the same week the internet is abuzz with Anna Kendrick pushing to play the character in a Marvel film. Kendrick has admitted she doesn’t know much about the character beyond that she is half-squirrel, so let me have the honor of helping to educate to Ms. Kendrick, and those of you in the audience who wish to read on further, about just who Squirrel Girl is.
Doreen Green was born with the genes of a squirrel mixed with her own. Not a mutant, but the victim of genetic tampering, Doreen first outing as a superhero had her teaming up with Iron Man and taking down Dr. Doom. Pretty impressive. She would later join the Great Lakes Avengers, a team that poked fun at the ubiquity of superhero teams in the 1980s. From there she ended up the nanny of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ infant daughter and is now solo in her own series. She is akin to Dr. Doolittle, except limited in her communication to just squirrels. She has a big bushy tail and can climb trees without strain.
In her first solo series, Squirrel Girl has just enrolled at Empire State University in NYC and has a roommate, Nancy Whitehead. Nancy is an introverted, take no nonsense character who at first has no clue her roommate is a superhero. There’s also Tippy Toe, Squirrel Girl’s sidekick, a squirrel who ends up converting an Iron Man glove into mini armor for himself. While our heroine takes on Kraven the Hunter in this first issue, I’m sure you can tell it’s not a deeply serious battle to the death. As Squirrel Girl encounters these villains she references her deck of Deadpool’s Guide to Super Villain cards.
This is a very light-hearted view of the Marvel Universe and it is a pretty fun read. I would admit this is not my usual cup of tea when I read comics, but it wasn’t terrible. The jokes are very clever and I love the Deadpool villain cards that pop up every issue. While each issue is essentially a stand alone tale, there is a plot thread throughout of Galactus’ impending attack on Earth. The artwork is perfect this style of comic, very cartoony, conveys a sense of motion and kicks in when things get crazy. I saw a criticism online comparing this to Mike Allred’s X-Statix work as an insult. I think to have your art compared to Allred’s is a major compliment and Erica Henderson earns it.
If you’re getting annoyed and tired with a second Civil War and a little overkill with darker storylines in comics, Squirrel Girl provides a good palette cleanser. If you were a fan of the self-referential style of Giffen & DeMatteis’s Justice League or Joe Kelly’s Deadpool, Squirrel Girl continues that fun, less than serious tradition.