The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson: Squirrel!
Title: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1 (Issues 1–4)
Author: Ryan North
Illustrator: Erica Henderson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Rating: 5 out of 5
How I got it: I borrowed a copy from the library
Rare is the book that can make me howl with laughter from the first page, but Ryan North and Erica Henderson are just the right people for this sort of thing. North, of Dinosaur Comics and To Be or Not to Be fame (trust me, having a choose-your-own-adventure-story based on Hamlet is so worth it), and Henderson have created something so rich and funny and utterly joyous that I can’t stay uncharmed.
Doreen Green is Squirrel Girl, a mutant with the powers of both squirrel and girl. Although she’s spent her formative years in a secret hideout in the attic of the Avengers Mansion (where else would a squirrel girl go?), she’s off to start university with her pet and sidekick, the squirrel Tippy-Toe. University is weird but fun, and Doreen and her roommate worry about classes, getting falafel, and finding clubs to join. (I myself would want to be part of the Get Together and Eat Cookies Once a Week Club, as well as Small Fighting Staff Club.)
But wait! Squirrel Girl also has to deal with things like bank robbers! And Kraven the Hunter! And Whiplash! And Galactus, Devourer of Worlds and Wielder of the Power Cosmic, who is less than two hours away on a course headed straight for Earth! (Squirrel Girl is the only one who knows that Galactus is coming because Tippy-Toe is in touch with all of the secret squirrel observatories around the world. Of course.)
Can Squirrel Girl rescue her roommate, defeat Kraven, find an Iron Man suit, defeat Whiplash, and prevent the Earth from being eaten by Galactus in two hours?
Of course! She’s unbeatable! And, oh yeah, she’s got her wits, her set of “Deadpool’s Guide to Super Villains” collectible cards, and a huge army of squirrels (and one confused chipmunk) at her beck and call.
Fans of Dinosaur Comics will see North’s brand of meta humour at work here in spades, from the snarky text on the Deadpool cards to the running captions in the footer of most of the pages from issue 2 onwards. Hell, there’s even a fake Twitter feed in some of the issues showing her Twitter conversations with Kraven and Iron Man.
Erica Henderson’s lines are smooth, fluid, and distinctive, and I love her decision to draw Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl as a short, chunky girl with powerful thighs. Also, I am stupidly happy at the fact that Squirrel Girl disguises her tail when she’s in “human” form by making it look like her butt is super big. Doreen’s got junk in her trunk, and she’s damn proud of it! I like this way better than the stick-thin, D-cup bombshells you see in most mainstream comics.
I love, love, love this series so far for its humour, its wit, and its steadfast refusal to indulge in any of the fate-of-the-cosmos, grim-and-gritty histrionics that other comic series do. I can’t wait to see what the next few issues will be like.