The best superhero ever is back in her own ongoing series! No, not Lady Deadpool, Squirrel Girl! At least I was told she is awesome by everyone. I didn’t know until I picked up The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. Is she really as great as everybody says or will this book be cancelled in twelve issues? Your Major Spoilers review awaits.
Previously in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Girl is awesome and has apparently kicked everyone’s butt, even Doctor Doom’s.
A NICE, SOMEWHAT NORMAL YOUNG WOMAN
If you’re like me and know nothing about Squirrel Girl then this issue is the perfect introduction. Everything we need is given in fun and silly ways that don’t feel forced. You don’t need to know everything about Squirrel Girl’s history, just that she has the proportional speed and strength of a squirrel, can talk to squirrels, is secretly living in the attic of Avengers Mansion and can kick the tail of every jerk that comes her way. The story is simple and works well as a first issue. Squirrel Girl is starting college and while moving in gets into a fight with Kraven, of all people. Nothing extraordinary but it’s such a pleasurable read it’s hard not to like the character. Ryan North writes one of the best portrayals of a young woman I’ve read and Squirrel Girl’s personality is the best thing. She’s an extremely confident, happy and loving character. Even better is that her appearance is completely against the norm of what readers have seen women portrayed as in comics. She’s not the most attractive and doesn’t have ridiculously large breasts or needle thin waist. A moment early on we see Squirrel Girl hide her tail by tucking it into her pants. As she explains to Tippy-Toe, she’s just a regular girl “who just happens to appear to have a conspicuously large and conspicuously awesome butt.” I loved it. To make the moment better, the very next panel has a guy checking out her butt right in front of his girlfriend. It’s great to see a young woman with a larger figure who is downright happy with it as well as men attracted to it.
The issue didn’t get me as much as I expected it to though. Maybe it was the hype surrounding the character mixed with my unfamiliarity and love of strange characters that set my expectations too high. The funny moments are good but nothing really got a huge laugh. There are comments from Squirrel Girl written at the bottom of every page and while cute, it wore out its welcome. If it had been spread out it would have been more effective, causing the jokes to have more impact. Still, this is a darling book and I highly recommend it to young and old female readers.
VIBRANT AND FULL OF ENERGY
Erica Henderson’s work fits the tone of the issue perfectly. Akin to a Saturday morning cartoon, the book is full of life and energy. It’s everything I would expect from a book like this. There’s an enthusiasm that runs throughout and it’s clear that Erica Henderson is having tons of fun drawing her heart out. There are lots of small visual gags that are neat to find and add to the read. Maris Wicks is a cool addition, supplying art for the “Deadpool’s Guide to Super-Villains” trading cards. My main concern is with Squirrel Girl’s facial features and expressions. Due to her squirrelly teeth, she sometimes has a face that resembles a person with an intellectual disability. Obviously unintentional, yet it still stuck out and brought me out of the story every time she looked that way. Overall it’s cute stuff that fans of books like Adventure Time will enjoy.
THE BOTTOM LINE: FOR THE YOUNG AND YOUNG AT HEART
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 is fun and lighthearted and though it may not appeal to everyone, it is the perfect book for the young and young at heart. If I had a daughter, this would be the superhero book I’d want her to read. The story and art are full of energy and positivity and never takes itself too seriously. It’s also got a great, confident protagonist that girls can look up to. Readers looking for some silly fun have got a nice alternative to the typical Marvel books currently out.