Comic Book Reviews: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2015-2019)


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a character who has been around for a while but only recently began to get her own line of comic books. These comics are simultaneously a parody of superhero comic book conventions and also terrifically entertaining superhero stories.  Squirrel Girl may not always beat the villains in the way you’d expect, but the one thing that’s true is that she’s unbeatable.

Author:   Ryan North (Author), Erica Henderson (Illustrator)
Title:  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power
Publication Info: Marvel (2015)
Summary/Review:

Doreen Green is a young woman just starting college, studying computer science, making friends, and signing up for clubs.  She also is a superhero with all the powers of a squirrel, the ability to talk with squirrels, and a long bushy tail.  She’s also unbeatable, in that she wins every fight, one way or another.  The premise sounds absurd and predictable but in practice it’s funny as hell and awesome.  Watch as she simultaneously stops a bank robbery with a suit of squirrels while also stopping Galactus from consuming the earth using stolen armor from Iron Man. Doreen is not drawn in the conventionally beautiful way of most women in comics, but is short-haired and curvy, and full of confidence and charm.  I have a little crush on her.

Rating: ****


Author: Ryan North (Author), Erica Henderson (Artist)
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It’s True
Publication Info: Marvel (2015)
Summary/Review:

Squirrel Girl returns and must face Ratatoskr, the Norse God of Squirrels, who has an evil plan for taking over the world.  But she has help in Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi, two very familiar-looking superheroes, and her roommate Nancy, who has no powers but is the most sensible person around.  This volume also begins with hostages trapped in the Statue of Liberty telling stories of Squirrel Girl that are hilarious send-ups of classic Marvel superhero stories.
Rating: ****


Author:  Ryan North (Author), Erica Henderson (Illustrator)
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now
Publication Info: Marvel (2016)
Summary/Review:

Another terrific volume of Squirrel Girl sees our hero thrown back in time to the 1960s with several other Computer Science majors that she has no memory of meeting in class.  Of course, Doreen adapts her fashion to fit in seamlessly in the 1960s as she works to resolve the conundrum.  There’s also a crossover story with Howard the Duck in which Doreen and Howard are captured as part of a menagerie for a villain’s “most dangerous game” fantasy.  As someone who only knows Howard the Duck from the atrocious 1980s movie, I was quite impressed by this story.

Rating: ****


Author: Ryan North (Author), Erica Henderson (Illustrator)
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 4: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked it
Publication Info: Marvel (2016)
Summary/Review:

Some more laugh out loud adventures from the ever resourceful Squirrel Girl and friends.  This includes a “You Are Squirrel Girl” adventure where you can follow flow-charts to make decisions for Squirrel Girl. Then Squirrel Girl tries online dating leading to several unsuccessful dates with superheroes and one superhero truther.  Mole Man pursues Squirrel Girl’s hand in a spot-on parody of those stories where creepy men make grand romantic gestures and are supposed to be taken seriously.  Finally, Squirrel Girl defeats a supervillain in her sleep while using the principles of computer science.

Rating: ****


Author:  Ryan North (Author), Erica Henderson (Illustrator)
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 5: Like I’m the Only Squirrel in the World
Publication Info: Marvel (2017)
Summary/Review:

Doreen, Nancy, Tippy-Toe, and Doreen’s mom try to go on vacation in a remote cabin in Canada (leading to an endless series of Canada jokes), but are interrupted by Enigmo’s plot to take over the world.  Enigmo has the ability to split into infinite smaller versions of himself, making him hard to beat, but also a number of great sight gags.  Ant-Man plays a part in Squirrel Girl’s plan to save the world.  This book also includes an adventure entirely from the perspective of Nancy’s cat, Mew.  There’s also a 25th anniversary issue with parts of Squirrel Girl’s origin story.

Rating: ****1/2


Author: Ryan North (Author), Erica Henderson (Illustrator)
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 6: Who Run the World? Squirrels 
Publication Info:  Marvel (2017)
Summary/Review:

Squirrel Girls gains the ability to become a Flying Squirrel, but at a cost.  This time she has to fight Melissa Morbeck, and yet another attempt to take over the world.  There’s also a fun side story starring the new crime fighting trio of Chipmunk Hunk, Koi Boi, and Brain Drain.

Rating: ****


Author: Ryan North (Author), Erica Henderson (Illustrator)
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 7: I’ve Been Waiting For a Squirrel Like You
Publication Info: Marvel (2018)
Summary/Review:

This epic tale sends Doreen and Nancy to the Savage Land (an alien-built, atmosphere-controlled, dinosaur preserve in Antarctica) where they need to use their computer skills to save the Savage Land and work with Doctor Doom’s Latverians.  SPOILER: The villain is Ultron in the form of a robot T-Rex!  The book also includes tributes to the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by numerous comic writers and artists, including bizarrely Garfield’s Jim Davis.

Rating: ****1/2


Author: Ryan North
Artists: Erica Henderson
Color Artist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Erica Henderson
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 8, My Best Friend’s Squirrel
Publication Info: New York, NY : Marvel Worldwide, Inc., a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 2018
Summary/Review:

Nancy and Tippy-Toe have been transported across the galaxy to a planet of squirrels and Doreen must rescue her with the help of Loki, who has somehow taken over for Doctor Strange.  The villains they must contend with are grifters disguised as the Silver Surfer.  Drax, an anthropomorphic hairless cat, a Thor that looks like a horse, a Thor that literally is a horse, and the real Silver Surfer are also involved.  A terrific single issue story also shows Doreen and Nancy trapped in hypertime aging to senior citizens in the time the rest of the world experiences only a few days.

Rating: ****


Author: Ryan North
Artists: Derek Charm
Color Artist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Erica Henderson
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 9, Squirrels Fall Like Dominoes
Publication Info: New York, NY : Marvel Worldwide, Inc., 2018
Summary/Review:

A new artist takes over and the characters seem less expressive.  This will take some getting used to.  The main story here is that Doreen wants Kraven the Hunter to adjust to his new life no longer being a villain, and invites him to spend time with other heroes in an escape room.  Of course, the escape room is run by a C-level villain who makes it really dangerous and they have to used their unique powers to escape.  Except that being with Kraven gets them all arrested and they go to trial with She-Hulk as their lawyer.  It’s a funny adventure with a thoughtful discussion of the shaky line between vigilante heroes and villains.  The last issue is a wonderful story with minimal spoken dialogue as all of New York is silenced by the ghost of a librarian!

Rating: ****


Author:Ryan North
Artists: Derek Charm, Naomi Franquiz
Color Artist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Erica Henderson
TitleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 10, Life is Too Short, Squirrel
Publication Info: New York, NY : Marvel Worldwide, Inc., a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 2019
Summary/Review:

This volume begins with the funeral of Squirrel Girl, with Doreen in attendance in disguise.  Not actually being dead, she decides to remain undercover in order to investigate who the impostor is that faked her death. After some corny confrontations with Tony Stark, it is revealed that a refugee Skrull girl is behind it all.  I’m only familiar with the Skrulls from the Captain Marvel movie, so it seems that they always turn out to be good despite being feared and mistrusted. Nevertheless it’s another good story.  The final issue is not as brilliant as its two predecessors but more of filler as Nancy and Peter Parker are in danger as the villain Ms. Quizzler terrorizes everyone with trivia questions.  I like the art better, though.

 

Rating: ****

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